13 September 2013

Datation of Japanese Pens. III. Pilot’s Pen Bodies

On part II of this series of Chronicles, I explained the well known date code present on most nibs made by Pilot. That is, more often than not, the most solid piece of information available on any Pilot pen. But at times there is something else. Between 1960 and some time after 1980 Pilot also dated most of its pen bodies, and did this in a very detailed form.

On most –but not on all— Pilot pens from those twenty-something years there exist a subtle engraving on their barrel in the form


The exceptions to this general rule are all-metal bodies and richly decorated barrels.

The push buttons of two Capless pens from 1965 (C-100RW). On them we can read the dating codes: GJ13 for the one on the left, and GF15 for that on the right. (Click on the picture for an enlarged view)

On that code, A is a letter ranging from A to Z. This encodes the production year starting in 1960 (letter A), and increasing on alphabetical order: B for 1961, C for 1962… And Z should be 1985. However, this code disappeared in actual terms around 1980 (and I would love to be proven wrong on this).

B is another letter and encodes two data: Letters from A to L represent the months from January to December when the pen had been made at the Hiratsuka plant. And M to X do the same –M for January, N for February… X for December— on pens made at the Tokyo plant in Shimura.

Finally, the digits cc simply indicated the day of the month in which that pen had been made.

The tail of the Capless model from 1963 (C-600MW). It was manufactured at the Hiratsuka plant on May 28th, 1964.

In summary, the ABcc engraving should be read as follows:
A is the year of production: A=1960, B=1961, and so on.
B is the month and place of production:
A to L are January to December at Hiratsuka plant.
M to X are January to December at Tokyo plant.
cc is the day of the month in which the pen was made.

Indeed an exhaustive way to date each pen—down to the very day it was produced. Although limited to about twenty years of the history of Pilot.

This picture corresponds to a pocket pen whose body was manufactured at Hiratsuka on July 25th, 1976.

My thanks to Mr. Sunami.

Pilot Grandee, Sterling Silver – Platinum Black

Bruno Taut
Yokohama, September 11th, 2013
etiquetas: Pilot


Unknown said...

Absolute good stuff.. Love the Pilot datation series, thanks mate.

Fphilipp said...

Thanks! Al tast I know that my Pilot Elite datse from June, aa, 1973. BTW love your site, really impressive.

Bruno Taut said...

Thanks, Tony Rex and Fphilipp, for passing by and commenting. I am happy to see my texts are of use.

And thanks, Fphilipp, for the link on FPN. I am avoiding publishing in there after the latest change in their policy, according to which linking to external blogs is not allowed unless you were a Premium Account Holder (Section B, rule 17 of the Terms and Conditions of Use, http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/index.php/blog/7/entry-86-fpn-rules-guidelines-terms-and-conditions-terms-of-use/). In fact, I am not sure your link is in accordance with those.

My point on those is public: http://estilofilos.blogspot.jp/2013/06/fora-ii-changes.html

Thanks a lot for passing by, commenting, and linking.


Ina said...

This was very helpful. It helped me date my Pilot Elite. Thank you! :-)

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