Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Strategies

During the last months I have paid quite a lot of attention to modern pens. To modern Japanese pens, should I be more specific. And soon did I realize that Platinum pen company is the one, among the big three, offering less appealing products nowadays. And I will explain why.

Pilot is, certainly, the biggest pen company in Japan and it shows. Not only this company offers a broad selection of nibs –up to 15 in some models— but also the styles of Pilot pens are becoming more appealing in both looks and filing systems: a plunger filler (Custom 823), a demonstrator piston filler (Custom Heritage 92), and even traditional eyedroppers for the luxury division Namiki.

A Pilot self-filling pen.

Sailor, on its side, has a very powerful argument: a unique and unmatched selection of nibs. And there is also a self-filling pen, the Realo, either in the Profit or in the Professional Gear styles in its catalog.

The Sailor Realo in Profit style.

Compared to these strategies, Platinum’s arguments are reduced to a wonderful music nib –in a non very exciting plastic body, prone to scratches— and a collection of cartridge-converter pens. Even the new demonstrator Motosu is a cartridge-converter pen. The rest of exciting nibs, that is, those soft elastic and a stub, are only associated to the luxury division Nakaya. And even so, Nakaya pens are cartridge-converters. The fact that usually they are not present at regular shops does not help either to attract any additional attention to the brand.

Nakaya's filling system is based on the unappealing cartridge-converter system.

Indeed a sad scenario. Platinum makes excellent nibs and feeds, but seems stuck in a very limited scheme. Or it might that the company was truly faithful to the technological evolution accomplished with the Platinum Honest 60 pen—the first cartridge-converter pen in Japan. However, despite its “Good bye, ink bottle”, Platinum recently launched the Mix Free line of inks…

"Good bye, ink bottle", said the ad for the Platinum Honest 60 (or Honest 66) from 1960.

In the meantime, while the company rethinks its strategy for fountain pens, I will stick to vintage Platinums.

(Sailor ProGear – Daiso Red)
Bruno Taut
November 9th, 2011
[etiquetas: Sailor, Platinum, Pilot, Japón]

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