06 April 2011


I have already mentioned on these chronicles how stationeries and department stores in Japan used to sell pens under their own name or, eventually, their own brand. Those pens were produced by some of the important manufacturers of the day. Maruzen’s pens, branded as Olivier or as Athena, were made by companies like De la Rue in the early 1920s; and we have already seen a Pilot pen labeled as Pilot Matsuzakaya, the name of a very traditional department store in Japan.

Today’s pen is a similar case: A Pilot-made OEM for Mitsukoshi, another department store. This is a beautiful BCHR eye-dropper with hoshiawase (星合せ) shut-off system.

The embossed decoration has been nicely smoothened over years of use. The cap has a detachable clip in steel that shows some signs of wear. All this give the pen a nice shibui look.

The barrel is engraved with the seal and the name of the department store: "MITSUKOSHI" / FOUNTAIN PEN. The nib is a14 K gold in size 3, very flexible, signed by Pilot.

The most interesting feature of this pen, however, is the Pilot proprietary shut-off system in the form of “crossed stars” or hoshiawase. This system was not very reliable and was phased out around 1928. But on this particular unit, the concentric cylinders in the section fit very well and provide a nice seal.

The pen dimensions are as follows:
Diameter: 12 mm
Length capped: 122 mm
Length uncapped: 117 mm
Length posted: 156 mm
Weight (dry): 13 g

This pen was made in 1927, and its overall condition is very good, albeit used.

(Pilot Volex, M nib – Montegrappa Turquoise)

Bruno Taut
April 5, 2011
[labels: Pilot, soluciones técnicas]

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