The Shop Has Reopened - Dudek Modern Goods

Hello Everyone!

First and foremost, July was a fantastic month and thank you all for the generous support!  I love creating my products and sending them out into the world.  Thank you to those that have ordered and given me the opportunity to do so.

Secondly, for those that have been waiting to order, thank you for your patience as I took some time off during the month of August (as it is hot here in Arizona...).  

The Groove

The Groove

The Display

The Display

The Cube

The Cube

The Block

The Block

The shop has reopened for new orders and please let me know if you have questions about any of the products!

- Mike

Pilot Custom Heritage 92 Demonstrator Fountain Pen - M Nib

Oh, Pilot...  

I seem to have become smitten with Pilot pens.  This is a major shift for me over the past year as I've traditional been more interested in German brands like rOtring or Lamy, but my experiences have been so good with Pilot that I can't help but keep buying them.

The only other "demonstrator" pens I've owned thus far have been the Lamy Vista and the TWSBI Mini and 540.  Whilst these pens are quite nice and of good quality, using them couldn't prepare me for the feel, fit, and finish of the Custom Heritage 92.  

The TWSBIs (not so much the Lamy) have always felt a bit "loose" to me as in not extremely sturdy.  The plastic is a bit thin and they are prone to cracking or breaking from time to time.  Still, an excellent piston filler option for the $50 range though.

Upon removing the Pilot from its case, the first thing that stood out to me was how thick and sturdy the plastic felt.  Nothing felt shaky or loose and the build quality took me completely by surprise.  Even the clip is well affixed and solid with next to no wiggling.  First thumbs up...  

I purchased my Pilot Custom Heritage 92 from Pen Chalet about a month or so ago and have enjoyed getting acquainted with it.  In addition to the new pen, I also opted to pick up some new Iroshizuku Yama-budo ink which is WAY outside of my normal comfort zone.  

It is often described as "wine" colored; almost a reddish-purple.  I'm normally a blue-black sort of guy, so a reddish or even purple ink is something that is not in my day to day.  Nonetheless, I've actually really enjoyed it.  Sometimes it takes stepping outside of our comfort zone to grow a bit.

I decided to get a medium nib on the Pilot which is wet and smooth.  Not a skip in the lines since I've had it which is always a good thing.  Thumbs up #2.  

Although I bought a medium, I'm finding myself more partial to the Pilot fine nibs.  The lines seem a bit more crisp, a little less ink (although I enjoy dark lines), but the medium is very enjoyable.  

I've mentioned it before, the jump from a fine to a medium Pilot nib seems huge.  The medium seems to be nearly two times the width of a fine.  Maybe there are proportions to these things?  What makes a medium vs a fine?  Is an extra fine half of a fine?   

The nib is of 14k gold and has some slight flex to it but I wouldn't consider it overly springy.  It still feels solid as it hits the page.

The idea of a demonstrator pen is pretty fascinating and the 92 has a super clear barrel and a big ink reservoir to show all the colorful goodness.  I'm not sure all people enjoy seeing what goes on "behind the curtain" so-to-speak.  I'd love to hear opinions: do you enjoy the look of demonstrator pens?  

Pilot does make a more traditional, solid barreled Custom Heritage 91 which is similar, but does not have a piston filler.  Brad did some good reviews of the 91 and 912 awhile back which were great.  Or, if you wanted a bit more subtle (well, sort of...) demonstrator, you could still buy a piston filler 92 in a variety of "smokey" colors like greyish/black, blue, or orange.

Now, even with all that swooning talk at the beginning of the review, is the 92 one of my new favorite pens?  I'm not so sure.  I've really enjoyed writing with it and the quality is top notch, but I'm not sure if it is really interesting to me if that makes sense.  The silver furniture does class it up a bit and provide a bit of the bling factor, but doesn't quite aesthetically push a lot of my buttons.   

Maybe the benefit of a demonstrator is almost a curse that it can be a bit distracting to look at because all the parts and pieces are just staring at you all the time.  Whilst it is neat and amusing to see the goings on inside the pen, I look at this pen and don't think I would consider it beautiful, nor exciting.  Functionally, it is amazing to use and feels great.  Is it worth its pricetag?  Maybe.  Personally I could be just as happy with a solid barreled cartridge/converter of the same model.  Am I enjoying having it?  Absolutely, but I do have opinions about it.

If you are interested in the Pilot Custom Heritage 92 or other Pilot pens, visit Pen Chalet to peruse their wares.  Also, for an additional 10% you can use the promo code CLICKYPOST at checkout.  Pen Chalet is adding new brands and models all of the time to their lineup, so I check in often to see what they might have in stock.  



Pilot Murex Stainless Steel Fountain Pen - F Nib

The Pilot Murex?  What is the Pilot Murex?  Up until around a year or so ago I had no idea it existed.  The Pilot Murex is a fountain pen model that was produced back in the 70's and into the early 80's, but has long since been discontinued.  Really, an absolutely fascinating piece.

More than likely, most (if not all) of you follow Mr. Brad Dowdy of the Pen Addict whom I'd say really introduced me to the Murex which he reviewed back in January of last year.  At the time, the Murex he reviewed was not part of his collection (is now...), so I must actually thank Mr. Thomas Hall (the legend) for allowing Brad the opportunity to review his.

The Pilot Murex is super stylish and ultra modern in a 1970's kind of way.  The barrel, grip, cap, and nib are all made of stainless steel which gives it a super sleek look.  The clip is a shiny chrome adorned with a parallel groove which is filled with a black enamel or paint of some sort.  Definitely a sort of "space age" look from decades past, but is still fantastic.

What makes the Murex very unique when it comes to fountain pens is the nib.  The nib is not simply hooded or inlaid into the grip, it IS the grip and is called "integral", meaning, it is one and the same.  Pilot made the nib and grip out of one solid piece of stainless which is incredibly cool.  While writing, it gets you a bit more up close and personal with the pen and paper.  In some email correspondence with Thomas about the Murex, he said it well in saying that using the Murex is a "more direct writing experience" due to the nib.  Couldn't agree more.

The Murex also has a predecessor called the MYU which seem to be almost more difficult to find and seem to run more expensive these days.  Was Pilot the first to create such a pen?  Oddly enough, Parker Pen made a very similar style (I believe the first of its kind) in 1970 called the T-1.  The "T" stood for titanium... below is a picture I borrowed from Tom Heath who posted about the T-1 on Fountain Pen Network awhile back.

Parker T-1 - image by Tom Heath

Parker T-1 - image by Tom Heath

I'm planting all of these little nuggets to go dig into, aren't I?...

Based on the material used, I'd wager that the Murex will age extremely well considering I won't be leaving it in a damp closet anywhere.  Think of the DeLorean... nearly all of those that have survived still look nice and shiny as long as someone didn't smash them.  Or at least the stainless steel panels do.  Another 30 years from now, I bet this thing will look as good as new.

It took me a little while, but I ended up purchasing a Murex that was New Old Stock for a decent price (although not cheap) in an F nib.  This was a pen I couldn't wait to get my hands on to ink up immediately!

Upon receiving the Murex I was actually surprised by how compact it really is.  It is a full size pen in length, but is quite slim.  Although it is a smaller pen, it is not uncomfortable to hold.  The grip section has been machined with 16 individual grooves or rings (yes, I counted them) that are evenly spaced apart by about a millimeter.  The grooves are quite smooth, but you would think they might have some "tooth" considering the pen material.  My mind imagines this due to the spiral grip machined into the Fisher Space Pen models which does bite back a bit.  The Murex grip is nice and smooth, but the rings provide just enough of a texture to make holding the pen a bit easier.

The pen takes either the standard Pilot/Namiki cartridges or can also take a Pilot converter.  I was thinking about this the other day, but kudos to Pilot for keeping the same cartridge design for more than 30 or 40 years (or longer?...).  Being proprietary, they easily over time could have found some way to tweak the design if need be for efficiency, cost, or whatever.  The fact that I can buy a 30 or 40 year old pen and pop a brand new, off of the shelf cartridge into it is kind of astounding.  

Perhaps I think of how technology ebbs and flows so much?  If I found an old laser disc player from back in the day, I could not buy a laser disc off the shelf that is still being produced today.  Maybe a giant leap...?  Just another thing to love about pens, right?

The nib inked right up and is surprisingly smooth.  Being stainless steel I wasn't sure how well it would do, but it writes with about the perfect level of wetness and feedback.  Being a fine nib and a Pilot fine at that, the lines are quite narrow and don't produce any extreme variation.  I read that the Murex was built as more of a workhorse pen which I could absolutely see it being.

The nib, as you can imagine, is very stiff.

Upon receiving my Murex it still had its original ¥5,000 sticker on it from almost 35 years ago.  I ended up taking it off, but snagged a shot of it before hand.

Being over 30 years ago I thought, how much did the Murex cost when it was actually being sold and the sticker meant something?  I pulled up some archives and found that the Yen to Dollar conversion at the time my pen was produced (date stamped 09/1980) was 214.41 to 1, meaning it took ¥214.41 to make up $1 in the US.  This puts the actual price of the pen in September of 1980 at around $23.31.  With inflation, that same $23.31 would no be worth $67.40 in 2014.

Date and nib stamp on back: F H980 (Fine Nib, September 1980)

Now, if you've been eyeing these pens, you know that they don't go for $67 (more like $200), but it's all part of supply and demand.  Similar to how expensive rOtring pens go nowadays?...

These pens were only sold in Japan back in the 70's and 80's which also makes their appeal in the West more intense.

Pilot did end up remaking a version of the MYU (predecessor) back in 2008 called the M90 which themselves now fetch a high price of $500+.  Their original price tag was $180.  Why doesn't Pilot have a full line of these in current production?  I'd imagine these pens are not necessarily cheap or easy to make, so the price points on them would have to be fairly high to be worth it.

While a bit impulsive and slightly expensive, I'm so happy to have finally added a Murex to the collection.  Its sleek design really is fantastic and gives shout out to how Pilot has done things right for a very long time.  Its scarcity and attainability are the only downsides to this pen I'd say (also, if damaged...), but is worth looking into if you feel it is pushing your buttons.

Next up, MYU...

Also, for some amazing MYU and Murex info, visit the site of Russ Stutler as his archive is awesome.