New pen day: Pilot Custom 845 Urushi

In the past months, I’ve set aside some money to treat myself to a new fountain pen. I have had my mind set on something with urushi lacquer as I wanted a writing instrument that was a step up and a little more formal than my currently owned TWSBI Diamond 580alr, Pilot Falcon or Sailor Pro Gear Slim – Vega.

My earlier experience with urushi pens

During my visit to the Dutch Pen show in 2023, I tried a few pens that had earlier caught my eye. These included the Namiki Chinkin series, but also various ones from Taccia and Nakaya. After seeing a couple of them, holding them, I didn’t feel they were the right pen for me (or at least, not yet). I was a little underwhelmed by urushi pens as I had hoped for colors that you can’t see on a computer screen.

The road to getting my new pen

The feeling of getting an urushi pen never left me. I’m always intrigued by the beauty of lacquer, the craftsmanship, and dedication that goes into it. Plus, I have a preference for the use of natural materials. It’s the same reason why I prefer the buttons on my shirts or suits to be either horn or mother of pearl. So, I kept the ones I saw at the Dutch Pen Show in mind.

So I was quite close to saving up for the first tier of the urushi pens (Taccia), but I needed to save up a little more for a Namiki Yukari pen. Before I decided to save up even more, I thought, why not take a small trip to a store and revisit the pens that I’d seen at the show, come up with a shortlist, and perhaps my perception of them would change and guide me to save up a little more, or opt for a simpler one.

So, last week, I went to P.W. Akkerman in The Hague, The Netherlands to have a look at the pens on my shortlist.

Possible candidates

To reduce the amount of choices, I went with a list of the following pens I wanted to check-out.

The tamenuri colors always impress me. When I see them, they are absolutely beautiful. Dark, deep red to lighter red around the edges. However, the pure vermillion urushi lacquer still doesn’t grab me like the tamenuri does. Basically, my two big options are either black urushi or tamenuri. If I don’t like either of them, I may as well go for the Pilot Custom 823, as they are fine writers.

At closer inspection

I spent some time at P.W. Akkerman to take a look at most of the pens. I felt a little uncomfortable asking to hold them, as the pens are not cheap. I wasn’t in my best outfit that day. However, they took great care of me and treated me as a serious customer.

So after some time, I could acknowledge my previous thoughts:

Basically, it means that most pens on the list, at this moment in time, I still would not prefer to buy. As urushi pens are expensive, and for any of the reasons mentioned above, I would not carry it with me or am not 100% satisfied, I’d better not buy it. Tamenuri is beautiful but not formal. Also, the combination with a cigar-shaped/flat-capped one is not right for the ones I’ve looked at. The only one left that worked out for me is the Pilot Custom 845. It looks like the Pilot Custom Urushi but smaller. A beautiful, flat-capped, understated pen with gold trims. It’s the way I like it and I dare to show up with it in more formal settings.

As the pen with the preferred nib size (F/Fine) wasn’t available, they ordered it for me. A week later, I got a call that I could pick it up. I tried the pen in the shop, and I’m very happy that I picked this one out of the shortlist I had.

My experience with the Pilot Custom 845

Prices for the Pilot pens have gone up pretty much due to exchange rates. Nevertheless, I think this pen is worth it all. It writes lovely. It has a smooth-writing experience with its 18k two-tone gold nib. I paired it with the Sailor Shikiori Yonana, a lovely dark blue ink with subtle shading. It writes much smoother than my TWBSI Diamond, Pilot Falcon or my Sailor Pro Gear Slim.

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