11 October 2010

Super 200. Music Nib

Pen review of the Pilot Super 200 with music nib.

In 1955 Pilot launched the “Super” series of pens as its workhorse. From the Super Ultra 500 –already mentioned on these chronicles— to the smaller Super 50, they were the equivalent, dare I say, to today’s Custom range.

Fifty-something years later, they are very interesting models as they feature two characteristics many a stylophile enjoy—a suggestive selection of nibs, and a self-filling mechanism. Pilot still implements non-boring nibs in some of their pens, but they are not combined with filling systems of interest, much to the disappointment of us pen users.

The pen I am showing on this chronicle is a Super 200 with a fingernail music nib.

1. Appearance and design (8.0/10).
As a fountain pen, this Super 200 is certainly not a fashion statement. It is a formal looking pen in black and gold, although the wide golden ring on the cap and the short clip give the pen a more daring look. Some variations on this model had gold filled caps.

2. Construction and quality. (9.0/10)
This pen is about fifty years old and works perfectly. Sure it needs some maintenance, mostly replacing the sac, but so far it is in quite good shape. Minor scratches can be seen on the body—normal tear and wear that do not affect its functions.

The push-in cap fits perfectly onto the barrel both when closed and when posted.

3. Weight and dimensions. (8.0/10)
Medium to small sized pen. Well balanced if unposted; posted, though, is perfectly usable.

Diameter: 11 mm.
Length capped: 133 mm.
Length uncapped: 118 mm.
Length posted: 146 mm.
Weight: 17 g.

4. Nib and writing performance. (9.0/10)
This pen is a smooth and wet writer with a clear line variation, as is mandatory in any stub or music nib. The nib geometry allows for some flexibility. The horizontal line is about 0.5 mm wide, and the vertical ranges between 0.9 and 1.9 mm.

The fact that the feed is single-grooved is not a problem to supply ink to this wet nib.

5. Filling system and maintenance. (8.0/10)
This pen uses a quarter turn filler: a knob rotates 90 degrees to move a plate against the internal rubber sac. Sure it is more exciting than any cartridge/converter system, but at the end this sac’s capacity is not bigger than that of the excellent Pilot converter CON-70.

The use of self-filling systems imply a more difficult cleaning and maintenance. The case of this pen is not particularly complicated, though—the whole pen can be disassembled easily.

6. Cost and value. (9.0/10)
Although Pilot Super pens are not unusual in the second hand market in Japan, those with music nibs are not common at all. So, its rarity makes them more valued.

In any event, this is very interesting pen with quite unique features. The price, in my opinion, was fair.

7. Conclusion. (51/60 = 85/100)
An exciting nib in a self-filling pen with more than fifty years of history—not bad at all. However, this high score might be driven by some romantic consideration for those features more than by the real virtues of the pen.

Speaking personally, I am very happy with this pen.

(Pilot Super 200 with music nib – Pelikan Brilliant Brown)

Bruno Taut
(Inagi, October 10th, 2010)
[labels: Plumín, Pilot]


Leigh said...

Oh, I love that pen. You know whom to let it go to when the time is right. LOL.

Bruno Taut said...

I certainly know you love these pens. I will keep you in mind should I decide to sell it.

Thanks for commenting.


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