Thursday, January 19, 2012

Second Chance

Even though a number of pens go through some changes over their production years, few of them see re-editions after having been discontinued. Now, how faithful to the original these re-editions are is a different point—little resemblance there seems to be between the modern Parker Duofolds and those from the 1920s and 1930s, for instance. Another example was the Parker 100 trying to re-create the venerable Parker 51.

Myu-701 on the top, and M90 on the bottom.

The Pilot M90 followed this pattern as a re-issue of the iconic Myu-701 from the 1970s. In 2008, on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the company, 9000 units were released. Then, how do both pens compare?

M90 on the top, and Myu-701 on the bottom.

There are indeed some differences between these two models, but the overall aspect of the newer model is remarkably similar to the original. Other than the small size variations, they differ on the following details:

There are also some differences on the feeds. M90 on the left, Myu on the right.

Nib
. Both pens implement integrated steel nibs. However, those on the M90 are springier than those of the Myu. Pilot, on its catalog, called these M90 nibs as “soft” (SF and SM). Only two points were available on this pen, F and M, versus the three points of the Myu.


M90 on the left, Myu on the right.

Cap jewel. The M90 sports and bright blue jewel that gives this pen a fancier look. This stone is often the bigger source of disappointment among those users who got the M90 as a replacement for the harder-to-find Myu.

The blue jewel belongs to the newer M90. The Myu-701 has a softer look.

Section clutch and central ring. As was described on the review of the Myu-701, one of the weak points of the original pen laid on the central ring. Occasionally, at opening the barrel, the ring would unscrew from the section leaving the clutch exposed. The newer M90 solved this problem—now the clutch is integrated in the ring, and the ring cannot be removed (not easily, at least) from the section. The price for this is a significant increase in the weight of the pen.

Close-up of the central rings, with the barrels slightly off. That of the M90, on the left, is wider and thicker, and integrates the clutch. On the Myu, on the right, the clutch is attached to the section. The production dates are clearly visible: August 2008 for the M90, December 1980 for the Myu.

The new design of the ring also prevents the usual scratches on section and barrel caused by the cap. On the M90, the clutch secures the cap on both closed and posted configurations. On the Myu, the posted configuration relied solely on the tight fit between barrel and cap and was responsible for those scratches.

M90 on the top. It cost JPY 12000 (without taxes) in 2008. Myu-701 on the bottom. It still has the price sticker--JPY 3500 (without taxes) in 1980.

Clip. The M90 clip, while preserving the basic design of the Myu, is longer and has a clear arc shape. This causes to be stiffer, and makes the pen to look bigger. The new clip is subtly engraved with the model name.

The rest of features are mostly the same, including the filling system by Pilot proprietary cartridges and by the converter CON-20, the only one fitting inside the sections of these two pens.

These are their dimensions

................................................Myu-701...............M90
Diameter:..................................11 mm...............12 mm
Length capped:......................119 mm..............119 mm
Length open:..........................105 mm..............105 mm
Length posted:.......................143 mm..............140 mm
Dry weight with CON-20:.........20.5 g.................26.3 g

The overall impression is that Pilot took benefit of this second chance to improve the weak points of the original Myu-701, mostly on the central ring and the clutch. These improvements, however, had some cost and the question of whether the M90 is better of worse than the Myu-701 remains open in many a forum.


(Pilot Prera, M nib, eyedropper – Senator Regent Royal Blue)

Bruno Taut
January 18th, 2011
[labels: Pilot]

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