Sunday, April 17, 2011

Capless Nibs (I)

Six are the nibs Pilot manufactures nowadays for its very successful line of Capless pens –Vanishing Point in the US. However, only three of them are widely available outside Japan: 18 K gold nibs in F, M, and B. To these nibs we might add some made in 14 K gold available in the past in some markets; the US among them.

The six nibs currently on production.

F and M points in steel are, in Japan, remarkably cheaper than those in gold, but how do they compare? To answer this question, I inked three Capless nibs with Diamine Teal: 18 K, 14 K, and steel; all medium points.

The three nibs under review.

The differences among them can be summarized as follows:

— The steel nib is a lot thinner than those in gold. There is no significant line variation between the 14 K and the 18 K gold ones.

— The steel nib is also drier than those in gold, as is often the case.

— None of these nibs is truly flexible, but all of them show some springy character. The steel nib is the most rigid of the lot, and the 14 K shows more flexibility (even if very limited).

— Smooth-wise, both gold nibs work better than the steel one—ink flow and wider line favor smoothness. But the steel nib still scores very high on this department and it is very pleasant to use.

The steel nibs, available in Japan.

In conclusion, we must admit that gold Capless nibs work better than the cheaper steel one. But is the gold nib worth the price difference? Gold nibbed Capless pens come in Japan at a premium of JPY 5000.

The two possible trimmings on a Capless pen. Originally, the silver-color pen came with a steel nib. All the nibs shown on the first picture fit inside these empty boxes.

There is, however, another detail to take into consideration. Steel nibs come only as gold plated and their Capless bodies, as sold in Japan, are silver-trimmed and, therefore, mismatched in color. Gold nibs, on their side, can either be golden or silver (rhodiated) in color, and they are always matched with the body trim.


Writing samples of the three M nibs under study.

The answer to the previous question on the price difference, as usual, belongs to each of us—provided we could buy any of the options anywhere. Unfortunately, Pilot’s marketing policy does not allow that. But we have Internet and online shopping to overcome the short-sighted attitude of the company and of the importers.

An analysis of the Capless F nibs can be seen on the chronicle Capless Nibs (II).

(Pilot Capless, 14 K gold M nib – Diamine Teal)

Bruno Taut
April 16, 2011
[labels: Pilot, mercado]

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