Namiki Custom Impressions Fountain Pen Review

Namiki Custom Impressions Fountain Pen-1

The Namiki Custom Impressions line of pens was produced in the late 90s and while it predates the very popular Pilot Custom 74, it is essentially the same pen with a “celluloid” body and no markings on the cap band.  These pens are cellulose acetate and not the cellulose nitrate normally associated with the word “celluloid”. The difference is that the cellulose acetate feels and can often look like a more typical plastic without the depth and oily feel of real celluloid.

The Custom Impressions came in five colors: Sapphire, Medley, Ambertone, Ruby and Emerald. I have Sapphire, Medley and Ambertone. It has been suggested (and from what I can tell rightly so) that Aurora used the same green plastic as the Emerald in their Optima. I have photographed them with a couple of Optimas…I am not certain that the Ruby is the same as Aurora’s Burgundy but they are close.

My Namiki Custom Impressions with two Aurora Optimas
Left to right: Custom Impressions in Ambertone, Medley, Sapphire, Aurora Optimas in green and Burgundy

I particularly like the Sapphire and Medley colors; these to me are the most unique and beautiful.

These pens came with a con-70 converter and a 14kt gold #5 nib.

Namiki Custom Impressions Fountain Pen-7

There is another variation of the Custom Impressions that very closely resembles the shape of the Custom 845, but again in “celluloid” and with a #10 instead of #15 nib. This model seems to be much more scarce and considerably more expensive than the pens I am showing here.

Like the Pilot Custom 74, the Namiki Custom Impressions make excellent workhorses. The nibs are butter smooth and wonderful writers.

Namiki Custom Impressions Fountain Pen-6

To my knowledge these pens were only produced in fine, medium and broad nib grades.

Medium nib on top, fine on bottom
Medium nib on top, fine on bottom

I also find the nibs on the Impressions to be softer than the ones on the Custom 74. It seems to me, based on a small sample of Pilot/Namiki pens, that the pens from the 90s and early 00s have softer nibs than the ones produced more recently.

I have a decent amount of experience writing with Pilot/Namiki nibs from size #5 to size #20 and while I find all of these nib sizes to be very comfortable, the #10 seems to hit the sweet spot, with the #5 feeling a bit small and the #15 and #20 feeling a bit big. If you have big hands, which I do not, you may not like the #5 nib on these pens.

Namiki Custom Impressions Fountain Pen-2

The Custom Impressions are full size pens measuring just over 13.5cm long, capped and weigh approximately 22.5 grams empty (with the con-70 installed).  These pens post very well and I find them comfortable to use posted and unposted.

Namiki Custom Impressions Fountain Pen-8

Prices for the Custom Impressions range a bit as they do not come up for sale all that often. If you can get one for around $150-$200 (depending on condition) I think that is a fair price but keep in mind if you prefer the look of a simple black body, a Custom 74 can be had for around $90 new.

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