Pilot Custom Urushi

Well known all over the world for their unparalleled quality and timeless design, Japanese pens prove to be the best option for those looking for simplicity, performance and reliability. Built to withstand the test of time, if well maintained, a Japanese pen is likely to last you a lifetime. Besides functionality, these pens also reflect a good part of Japan’s cultural heritage, given the impressive Urushi editions or Maki-e illustrations they boast. And while there are many Japanese brands worth mentioning, today we’re having a look at Pilot’s flagship pen, the Custom Urushi.

Design & Construction

At first glance, regardless of its impressive size you might say there’s nothing special about this pen, which is true, at least in terms of design – the pen is as simple as it gets. However,  Pilot has never focused on design, but rather on other details, such as finish, nib, writing experience, but we’ll get there pretty soon. And, to be honest, I can’t even imagine this pen taking a different shape. Let’s not forget, sometimes less is more. 

Photo credit: Ting Photography

Now let’s get to the interesting part – how it’s made. Well, the pen is crafted out of ebonite and coated in Urushi lacquer making it both luxurious and valuable. I should mention that there are also some plastic elements on this pen (section and other parts) which doesn’t really bother me, but I must say I would have liked these parts in ebonite as well. This pen is available in two finishes – Vermilion and Black, but honestly, the Vermilion steals the show – the Urushi lacquer is applied so neatly that it gives the pen a lovely lustre you could stare at for hours.

Size & Handling

When it comes to size, this pen is on the oversized side and plays in its own league, being larger than a Montblanc 149 or Pelikan M1000. Still, it’s smaller than the impressive Namiki Emperor, but hey, is any other pen bigger than that? I don’t think so. Now, despite its size, the pen feels quite comfortable in my hand, and is well-balanced at just 25g without the cap, so it performs great even for slightly longer writing sessions.

Photo credit: The Fountain Pen Network

Nib & Ink Capacity

This is another reason why I love Pilot pens, their nibs are just excellent and the one on the Custom Urushi is no exception. The pen is fitted with Pilot’s famous No. 30 18k gold nib an impressively huge nib that perfectly complements Custom Urushi’s proportions. Thanks to Japanese quality control, these nibs provide such a wonderful writing experience straight out-of-the-box, which I’ve always appreciated. 

Moving on to the ink capacity. I know most of you would have preferred the Custom Urushi with a piston filling mechanism, but it comes with a cartridge/converter system, which is not a disaster. It won’t hold as much ink as a piston system that’s for sure, but the Pilot Con-70 pump converter still holds a pretty decent amount of ink. 


The Pilot Custom Urushi is priced at €1,400 at various retailers in Europe, which is probably the aspect that bothers most people looking to own a Pilot Custom Urushi. But for what you get, I don’t see this pen pricey at all. Just consider the impeccable Urushi finish, the craftsmanship, the exceptional quality of the pen itself, the nib, and Pilot’s reputation in general. It seems a fair deal to me and definitely a piece worth collecting.

Do you own a Pilot Custom Urushi? Let us know your experience with it.

One Comment

  1. I can confirm that the quality and finish of the PCU are really exceptional and can justify the price . However there are other options like buying directly from Japan.

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