On this picture, the whole gamut of Pilot converters is displayed:
The long CON-70 converter is, to many pen enthusiasts, the best converter in the market. It has a great capacity and it has a very efficient filling process—it becomes almost completely full. The catalog (MSRP) price is JPY 735 in Japan.
My experience with it is mixed. I do not like the idea of pushing down a button while the precious nib of my pen is so close to the bottom end of the inkwell. Not to mention that I do not fully understand how this converter works.
The major inconvenience of this converter is its size—it only fits in full size pens. This is the reason behind the other models.
The CON-50 is a piston filler of much smaller capacity. This seems to be the standard converter in a number of markets for the range of modern Pilot Capless pens. The price in Japan is JPY 525 (MSRP).
This is the converter I like less. The ink tends to stick to its walls instead of flowing freely to the feed. This is clearly a surface tension problem associated to the material of the ink deposit. On the positive side, being transparent it is possible to check how much ink is left in the pen.
The CON-20 is an aerometric filler. This is most basic, cheap and reliable of the whole lot. This converter works in almost any Pilot pen, including the pocket pens from the seventies. The price, JPY 210 (MSRP).
Its main inconvenient is not being able to check the amount of ink in the pen.
The last converter is an oldie—the CON-W. Oldie, but still on production. This is the converter to be used in Pilot fountain pens manufactured up to some time in the mid sixties. Those pens used the so called “double spare” type of cartridge that went out of production in the mid seventies. It consisted on two smaller cartridges that allowed the pen user to have a full spare one always inside the pen—much in the fashion of the small international cartridge. On some pens using these cartridges, you can either use one full size cartridge or two small size ones inside the barrel.
The CON-W is very similar to the CON-20 save for the nipple—narrower on the former. The price in Japan is JPN 735 (MSRP).
The most interesting detail of this story is the fact that Pilot still produces converters for pens long gone from the production line, pens from the sixties. This is certainly a very nice detail for the user of those old pens. No need of reusing old cartridges or modifying other converters to fit in those pens. Quite different from the practice of other companies.
ADDENDUM March 17th, 2011: Information on the actual capacities of these converters can be found on the chronicle "Pilot Converters".
(Inagi, June 28, 2010)
[labels: Pilot, Platinum, conversor]