Friday, March 11, 2016

Side Effects

What is the value of writing a blog about fountain pens?

This blog is about to enter into its seventh year of existence. Along this time, it has slowly specialized on vintage Japanese pens. During the first years, I also spoke about contemporary models, but that aspect of the blog faded away as Japanese pens became better known and distributed overseas, and fora and other blogs were prompt to speak about them. Needless to say, I also digress now and then and I have also written about somehow exotic pens (North and South Koreans, Spanish, Czechoslovakian,…) or about stationery

At first I thought that writing on fountain pens had a positive effect—information added value to the good, and our pens became more appreciated. But that appreciation also plays against us as those old pens are now harder to find and buy.


Two overpriced Pilot pens: M90 on top, Myu-701 on bottom.

Case in point—the Pilot Myu-701 has steadily increased its price along the past 10 years. The American demand –wealthy and numerous—creates an inflationary process on any pen becoming fashionable. And the first step for anything to become so is to be known.


This inflationary effect also affects new pens. we all know how Nakaya –to name a Japanese brand— increased its prices around 2010 after months of hype on international fora. But very often, companies react slowly to these fashions. Pilot, for instance, has not changed the price of the highly praised Custom 823 in the last twenty-something years. So, this inflationary effect is less dramatic on contemporary pens.


A Custom 823 by Pilot. Its Japanese price, JPY 30000 plus tax, has not changed in over 20 years.

The conclusion of all this is that writing about pens and, particularly, about vintage pens is a bit like shooting ourselves on the foot. But somehow I enjoy it—the writing, not the bullet.


Pilot Murex – Pilot Black

Bruno Taut
Chuo (Tokyo), March 4th, 2016
etiquetas: mercado, metabitácora, fora, Pilot, Platinum

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