Sunday, January 13, 2013

Ultra (I)

One of the most memorable pens ever made by Pilot is the Super Ultra 500 model released in 1959. It was the top of the line pen of the Super series, Pilot’s workhorse of the time. This pen was a very expensive to produce, and it was short lived—barely a couple of years. We all know how scarcity makes goods more valuable –that is the basic argument of all those limited editions— and the Super Ultra 500 became a mythic pen even among Japanese stylophiles—loved, desired, sought-after,…. and elusive.

Pilot, on its side, is not any different from other companies and some thirty six years later a reissue of this pen was released as –did I need to say this?—a limited edition of just 350 units. The price was JPY 60000, and the name was simply Ultra (catalog reference FU-6MR-BM).


As is the case with many a reissue of past glories, this new Ultra was a cartridge-converter pen instead of the sac-based quarter-switch filler (called hose-system in Japan). The rest of the pen is very similar to the original, including the urushi coating caps and barrels. The external differences lay on the cap ring, wider on the reissued pen, and on the top part of the section—the cap of the newer pen closes the pen with a tight fit with this rubber ring.



The section of the 1995 version of the Ultra pen. There was only one nib point option--M.

Although the shape and size of both pens are very close, the reissued pen is remarkably heavier:

Super Ultra 500

(1959)

Ultra (1995)

Length closed (mm) 139 140
Length posted (mm) 147 153
Diameter (mm) 12.0 12.2
Weight (g) 18 30.5

On another chronicle I will speak about the implications of the filling systems of these two pens.

Parker 51, Canadian – Parker Quink Blue

Bruno Taut
Yokohama, January 13th, 2013
etiquetas: Pilot

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