02 October 2013

RW Capless (1965)

Year 1965 saw several new models of the Pilot Capless. After the expensive model of 1963 (C-600MW, JPY 6000, and variations), Pilot made cheaper versions in 1964 for JPY 3000 (C-300GW) and JPY 2000 (C-200SW), and the price went even lower in 1965 with models C-100RW and CS-100RW. These were sold for JPY 1000 and have been the cheapest Pilot Capless pens ever marketed.

Under the apparent simplicity of these pens, this model showed a number of variations, not always visible, that affect the fine identification of the unit. There were, in fact, three nominal models. Pilot released two of them –C-100RW and CS-100RW, both sold for JPY 1000— in March, and the third one –CS-200RW, JPY 2000— in October of that same year of 1965. The basic difference between them was the material of the nib—the early models implemented steel nibs whereas the CS-200RW used 14 K gold nibs. On top of that, the more luxurious model had a gold plated clip and a decorated body, in contrast with the plain aluminum cylinder of the cheaper models. Steel and gold nibs coexisted at least during 1966, and all these pens were made in a number of colors.

A number of RW Capless together with some later models (on the lower row).

And there are more variations. Early units of these pens had the nib-releasing mechanism made of plastic. Later in the 1965, it was changed to metal. This detail is difficult to check as it is deep inside the pen body. The obvious exception to this is the very rare transparent version.

The very rare demonstrator version is, most likely, the more luxurious CS-200RW. Its nib is made of 14 K gold.

Three examples of the luxury version CS-200RW. Note the golden clip on all of them.

Model C-100RW was the longer version of the CS-100RW, which is a lot more common. The difference between them is limited to the length of the push button. The aluminum body is exactly the same.

Long (C-100RW) and short (CS-100RW) of the Capless model released on March 1965.

The W of the catalog code means that these pens used the double standard cartridge. On the short model only such cartridges can be used and only one of them. The replacement converter CON-W should not be used—the pressure of the button on the plastic opening of the converter ends up cracking this plastic piece. Therefore, the actual alternative to the use of the long gone double-spare cartridge is the use of Sailor cartridges (thanks, commentator Kostas K).

The replacement converter CON-W for the double-spare cartridge. The blue plastic piece on the right ends up cracking when used in the short Capless CS-100RW and CS-200RW pens.

The nib units in all these pens are basically the same, but we can find some minor variations. Older nib units have an extra metallic sheath in the area of the guiding notch. The rear button then pushes against this ring. On more modern units, the button pushes just against the notch. This difference does not create any problem of incompatibility between them.

On this picture, inside the blue box, we can see the basic difference between the two types of nib units present on these RW Capless. On top, the older type, with an extra sheath of metal on the area of the guiding notch. On the nib at the bottom that additional metallic part has disappeared. It corresponds to the later version of the nib unit.

Another issue of these pens is the length and structure of the feed. It is indeed long and, more critical, it cannot be removed from the frame holding the nib-feed-cart unit together. Consequently, cleaning the feed can be difficult and, in case of clogging problems, the replacement of the whole structure might be the only solution. The nib alone can easily be detached from the feed by sliding it out. This potential problem, therefore, poses some risk when purchasing this pen model without a proper test to check the actual flow of ink from the cartridge to the nib.

The nib can easily be removed from the feed by sliding it out. The feed, however, cannot be detached from the steel cylinder that holds the nib unit together.

These models were exported to the US around 1966. There exist instruction sheets for it written in Spanish. The most likely hypothesis to it is that these pens were re-exported from the US to neighboring Spanish-speaking countries. Exports to Spain started much later, in the 1970s.

Instruction sheet in Spanish for the RW Capless. Courtesy of Nikos Syrigonakis.

Later in 1965, in November, Pilot released another Capless model—the twist-operated C-500MW.

My thanks to my many pen friends: Mr. Kostas K, Mr. Syrigonakis, Mr. Niikura, Mr. Shiomi, Mr. Sunami. And probably some more whose name I just cannot remember now.

Pilot Capless C-100RW, green – Platinum Black

Bruno Taut
Yokohama, October 2nd, 2013
etiquetas: Pilot, Capless

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hey are any of these for sale ?

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