08 January 2011

Matching (VI)

The controversy is always there: Is that pen original or a copy of another? Which company did father that idea? Sometimes, the answers are clear…

In the history of Spanish fountain pens, that sad history of multiple frustrations, Inoxcrom is the most successful brand. It is still alive, albeit amid harsh financial conditions.

This brand started its activities in 1942 producing nibs for other manufacturers. Then the company continued by assembling pens with parts from other companies. Finally, in 1955, Inoxcrom released the model 55. Even though some of the models marketed in 1950s and 1960s were copies of the Parker 51/21, Inoxcrom also managed to create some original products like the model 77 and the rare luxury 88.

Inoxcrom Caravel II.

In the nineties, the model to copy changed. Now Parker had lost some of its past luster and the successful icon was Montblanc.

The Caravel was the Inoxcrom copy á la Meisterstück. It was a cartridge/converter black torpedo with a smooth steel nib.

In fountain pen fora in Spanish there exists the argument that this pen was a good quality copy and Montblanc demanded to stop its production under the threat of legal actions. A couple of pinches of salt can be added to this argument. First is the fact that Inoxcrom released two Caravel models. The initial Caravel dates back from the early 1990s and has a two-toned nib and a screw-on cap. In 1995, the Caravel II appeared: smaller than its predecessor, single-toned gold coated steel nib, and a slip cap.

So, would anyone release a second black torpedo under those legal threats?

Pilot Custom 74 (on top) compared to an Inoxcrom Caravel II.

The second point is the proliferation of torpedo-shaped pens all over and, in particular, in Japan. And those Japanese copies are really good quality pens!

Sure Montblanc might be acting against these Japanese companies, but the production of Pilot Custom, Platinum 3776 and Sailor Profit/1911 has not stopped in the last thirty years or so… Cannot Montblanc reach that far?

(Inoxcrom Caravel II – Waterman Havana)

Bruno Taut
(In exile, January 6th, 2011)
[labels: Montblanc, Inoxcrom, Japón, España, Pilot, Platinum, Sailor]


Readymade said...

The Japanese probably have their language and legal system to thank :)

Bruno Taut said...

Thanks, Readymade, for your comments.

You are right on your point, I am afraid. But these Japanese companies also sell their Montblanc copies in other markets --Europe and the US-- where the language and the legal systems are not that biased.


pitquim said...


I write you from Spain

I have what you call "Caravell II" since 1992

I received it in March, as a gift and there's no error: 144(?)slip cap and single tone "M" nib...


Bruno Taut said...

Gracias, Pitquim, por su comentario.

Poco puedo decir acerca de una Caravel II de 1992. La datación de las plumas españolas es siempre difícil por la poca documentación que existe. La información de que la Caravel II es del año 1995 proviene de las discusiones recogidas en el Foro de Relojes, subforo Grafopasión, si no recuerdo mal. Pero siempre es posible que hubiera errores o lanzamientos de prueba para explorar el mercado. Lo que no entiendo es la referencia a 144. El número mágico de Inoxcrom es 1920 porque, dicen, Manuel Vaqué consideraba ese año como el de madurez de la estilográfica.

En cualquier caso, se trata de una pluma muy digna que proporciona muchas satisfacciones. Siempre me sorprenden la suavidad de los plumines de Inoxcrom.

Saludos y gracias de nuevo por el comentario.


pitquim said...

Efectivamente es una buena pluma que usé desde 1992 hasta 2008.

El número 144 lo puse porque es algo más estrecha que mi MB Meisterstuck 145.

Un saludo

simp said...

Japanese are not copying, they were producing that kind of streamlined pen from '30s, far more early than any montblanc 14x. See this picture


Post a Comment

Your comments are welcome and appreciated.