Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Elite

The Pilot Elite 95 is already on the street in Japan, and in other markets, as fellow blog author KMPN has recently reported. This pen is a remake of a pocket pen, so popular in the 1960s and 1970s in Japan, and implements an inlaid nib made of 14 K gold, available in EF, F, and M points. Two finishes are available—all black with golden accents, and burgundy with silver-colored cap. The latter, thought for the female customer, seems to be a lot more popular than the former. It might be worth to note that the number 95 indicates this pen was released on 95th year in the history of the company. The same applied to the model Justus 95.


The new Elite 95. Picture taken from the Pilot's press relase on the pen.

But originally the Pilot Elite was a whole family of pens in a number of different styles. So many of them, actually, that it is hard to ignore the impression of Elite being a catchy word that was attached to any pen with a serious and formal look in the sixties and seventies. Or even not that formal!


A small selection of old Pilot Elite.

It is not easy to determine the chronological order in which the following pens appeared in the market. The lot, as well, is far from being an exhaustive and complete catalog of all Elite pen Pilot released.

--The balance model. This is an easy to find pen. More often than not it is a cartridge-converter pen, but some models (1968) were equipped with an accordion sac (bellows) as the filling system Very often, but not always, their nibs were inlaid, and were imprinted with the word “CUSTOM”.

There existed balance-shaped Elite made of silver (1968) with inlaid nibs. These were the precursors of the Art Silvern series of pens still on production nowadays with some minor differences.


Three balance models, but only the two on bottom are labeled as Elite.

--The flat top Elite. Not a usual find. A cartridge-converter. Nail-type nib.


A flat top Elite. Nail-type nib in 18 K gold.

--Elite pocket pens come in many styles. All of them are cartridge-converter.

a. The all-black with golden accents and inlaid nib. Some people call this pen as “Socrates”. Nail-type nibs were also implemented and are easy to find. This pen style –black and gold— in pocket pens was popular among all pen makers in Japan, and some examples (::1::, ::2::) have been covered on these Chronicles.


A black pocket Elite with a 22 K gold nib.

b. The cross-hatched decorative pattern. Inlaid nib made gold, usually rhodiated, although some white gold units might also exist. This pen was also called “Isaac Newton”. Cheaper versions had black plastic barrel and nail-type gold nib. These are late models, made in the late 1980s.


The sought-after cross-hatched Elite, also known as "Isaac Newton". It has an 18 K inlaid nib, rhodiated.

c. Silver pens. As in the previous case, either cap and barrel or just the cap were made of silver. Inlaid and nail-type nibs were available.


An Elite with a silver cap. The nib is made of 18 K gold, nail style.

d. Colorful Elite. Already by the 1969, the first Pilot pocket pen was released in the last trimester of 1968, colorful pocket Elite were marketed as S-KaraKara. Their target were students, and there was nothing formal on them. There even existed a demonstrator version of those. Their nibs were made of gold-plated steel.

As I said in the beginning, this is far from being complete. The drawback is that nobody should be surprised if more styles and shapes and colors were found.

The newly released Pilot Elite 95 costs JPY 10000, plus taxes. Second hand pocket Elite in black can easily be found, in good condition, for less than JPY 5000.


Pilot Capless FC-15SR (1989 model), stub nib by Shimizu Seisakusho – Pilot Blue

Bruno Taut
Shinjuku, July 6th, 2013
etiquetas: Pilot, mercado

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