30 January 2014

Pilot Capless - 1964 - C-300SW and variations


Pilot was quick to react to the limited success of the expensive C-600MW, and released a cheaper Capless less than one year after the previous model. The price was initially halved, and soon afterwards it was further reduced to JPY 2000. It is questionable whether these pens were different models or not. Their nib units are perfectly compatible.





Codes. C-300SW, C-300GW, C-200SW. The first one, from March 1964, has a silver trim and the push button is totally metallic. The C-300GW golden trimmed, and keeps the all metal push button. Finally, the C-200SW –from August 1964— is silver trimmed, and the push button is made of plastic with a metallic crown. In year 1969 there was another version of the C-300GW with nib units with B points.
Original_price. JPY 3000 (C-300SW and C-300GW) and JPY 2000 (C-200SW).
Production_years. 1964-1971 (?)
Nib_unit. Type II. Gold 14 K. There are three variations on this type.
Filling_system Double spare cartridge, 2 units. CON-W can be used.
Opening_system. "Knock system" (push button). The button has two positions. The first one, the first knock, releases the nib. The second retracts it. If, when closed, pushed the button deep inside, the nib will return to the closed position.



C-300SW / C-300GW C-200SW
Length closed 142.5 mm 143 mm
Length open 137 mm 137 mm
Diameter 12 mm 12 mm
Weight 19.0 g 18.4 g

Nib unit:

Type II. In 14 K gold. There are three variations, labeled as IIa, IIb and IIc, with the same dimensions and perfectly interchangeable. These labels do not reflect possible changes in the color of the feeds--either black or transparent. IIa unit is usually associated to models C-300SW and C-300GW, and model C-200SW can be seen with both IIb and IIc types. However, it is very likely that there existed exceptions to this rule.

Type IIa, usually associated to model C-300SW and C-300GW.

Type IIb, seen on model C-200SW.

Type IIc, usually associated to model C-200SW.

The differences among the three types of nib units are on the nibs. From top to bottom, types IIc, IIb, and IIa.

Additional data.

These models were made in a very wide number of colors. In fact, Pilot is not aware of how many color variations were released.

Nibs and bodies are engraved with the production place and date.

Assorted C-200SW and C-300GW models.

Back to the "Pilot Capless - 50 years" page.

Bruno Taut
Yokohama, January 2014
etiquetas: Pilot, Capless

28 January 2014

Hidden Origins

A simple and obvious observation for today. And an implicit classification as well.

The number of fountain pen companies that actually manufacture their own nibs and feeds is not that numerous. However, many of those using third-party nibs hide this fact. Some, very actively: they label the nibs as theirs and hardly disclose their origin.

A second group imprints those nibs with their own logo, but they reveal the name of the manufacturer promptly if requested. In Japan, Hakase –Sailor and Pilot nibs—, and Ohashido –Sailor nibs— belong to this group.

A Pilot nib, a Hakase pen. It is labeled as Hakase.

A Sailor nib of an Ohashido pen labeled as Ohashido.

A Bock nib in a Nebotek pen. The nib has no marking other than the Bock logo.

Finally, a small group keeps some signs on the nib that allow for a quick and easy identification. At least, for most aficionados. Stylo-Art Karuizawa –which implements Pilot and Platinum nibs— and Nebotek –Bock nibs— are clear examples of this policy.

P. S: Around January 2014, Nebotek pens changed its name to Eboya.

Ferme pocket pen, 18 K nib – Sailor Yama-dori

Bruno Taut
Yokohama, January 28th, 2014
etiquetas: plumín, Hakase, Stylo-Art Karuizawa, Ohashido, Nebotek, mercado, Pilot, Bock, Sailor, Platinum.

25 January 2014

Pilot Capless - 1963 - C-600MW


The first Capless model by Pilot was released on November of 1963. Some associate it model to the incoming celebration of the Tokyo Olympic Games in 1964. It was a luxurious and expensive pen, JPY 6000 was a decent monthly income in Tokyo at the time, and had a limited success.



Codes. C-600MW (basic model). Other variations encoded as C-1000DW and C-1000GW.
Original_price. JPY 6000 (C-600MW); JPY 10000 (C-1000DW and C-1000GW).
Production_years. 1963-1965 (?)
Nib_unit. Type I. Gold 14 K.
Filling_system "Double spare" cartridge. 2 units.CON-W converter can be used.
Opening_system. "Belt system". The barrel rotates with respect to the gripping section, thus releasing the nib. However, the whole releasing mechanism is inside the section of the pen. The mechanism actually pulls the nib in and out of the pen.


For the basic model C-600MW.
Length closed 140 mm
Length open 146 mm
Diameter 13 mm
Weight 20.5 g

Nib unit:

Type I. In 14 K gold.

The type I nib unit. 2 double spare cartridges are attached to it.

Additional information:

There were, at least, two other versions—a gold­ plated one (C­-1000GW, JPY 10000, 1963), and a clipless unit with maki-e (seirei­nuri) decoration (C-­1000DW, JPY 10000, 1964). This was a limited released of 20 units.

The gold plated model C-1000GW.

The maki-e decorated C-1000DW model.

This pen carries two plastic dots on the section, perpendicular to the movement of the nib. On the first units, their were yellow. Later in 1964, it changed to white.

As is the case of most Pilot pens of the time, both the nib unit and the body are dated.

Back to the "Pilot Capless - 50 years" page.

Bruno Taut
Yokohama, January 2013
etiquetas: Pilot, Capless

24 January 2014

A Project

Shortly, but without any fixed periodicity, I will be publishing a series of files to document all the Pilot Capless models released along its 50 years of history. Most, if not all, of these data have already been published on these Chronicles, but often in a fragmentary way, scattered among several entries.

The final destination of these files will be a separated website a fellow stylophile and I are now preparing.

Pilot Capless (1998 model), steel nib in M – Pilot Petit Black cartridge

Bruno Taut
Yokohama, January 24th, 2014
etiquetas: Pilot, Capless, metabitácora

22 January 2014

Ferme (I)

Ferme was a minor brand of fountain pens and other writing tools about which not much is known. Andreas Lambrou and Masamichi Sunami, on their Fountain Pens of Japan (2012), simply say that this company had been founded in 1928 in Tokyo, made some good quality pens, collaborated with the company Ishikawa Kinpen Seisakushô, struggled with a small production of pens by the late 1960s and 1970s, and went out of business around 1985.

This W was the logo of the brand Ferme.

On the graphic part, Mr Sunami (who was the actual author of most of the book) shows a Ferme pocket pen with a beautiful three-tined music nib among half a dozen examples of this brand, all of them dating from 1969 on. All of them are cartridge-converter fillers.

The Ferme 59.

The JIS engraved nib. It is probably made of steel, but I have not been able to disassemble it from the section.

But it is possible to find older Ferme pens, although there are never common finds. The following is a Ferme 59, a regular size, aerometric filler. It uses a (presumably) gold plated nib imprinted with the Japan Industrial Standards (JIS) logo. The size and the general structure of this pen is half way between the Parker 51 and some Pilot Super models of the late 1950s.

The filling system is aerometric. The pressing plate is engraved with the brand name.

These are the dimensions of the Ferme 59:
  • Length closed: 134 mm
  • Length open: 124 mm
  • Length posted: 144 mm
  • Diameter: 11 mm
  • Weight (dry): 16.0 g
  • Ink deposit: 0.7 ml

Pilot Custom 742, falcon nib – Sailor 土用 (Doyô)

Bruno Taut
Yokohama, January 21st, 2014
etiquetas: Ferme

17 January 2014

Platinum Changes

Platinum has released what seems to be just a new presentation of its traditional line of inks—that is, those that are not pigmented not belonging to the Mix Free gamut. Up to now, Platinum offered three inks –red, black and blue-black—in 30 ml inkwells for JPY 400 (plus tax). The blue-black ink, might be worth to mention, was an iron-gall formulation.

The by now old 30 ml inkwells of Platinum ink. Only the red ink is missing from the picture. The blue-black is an iron-gall ink. The price of these inks was JPY 400, plus tax.

The new presentation are 60 ml inkwells with the same design as those of the remaining inks (pigmented and “Mix Free”), albeit with the novelty of an inner cup to help using the last milliliters of ink in the inkwell. The price of this new presentation is significantly more expensive—60 ml of ink for JPY 1200 (plus tax). This price represents a 50% hike over the old 30 ml inkwell presentation.

The new inkwells of 60 ml at a price of JPY 1200, plus tax. Are these inks the same as those on the previous picture?

Now, are these inks the same as before? Hard to say, as Platinum incurs in several contradictions on its website and on the new packaging.

On one hand, on its website, Platinum speaks (look for reference INK-1200; as read on January 15th 2014) of these inks as dye inks—“dye stuff ink”, it literally says. However, in the past and even today, Platinum had already stated that the blue-black ink was a ferro-gallic ink (as read on January 16th 2014).

The new, or not so new, black ink together with the pigmented "Carbon Ink".

The "water-based pigmented" blue-black ink together with the "Pigment Blue" ink, both by Platinum.

And on the other hand, the new packaging the company labels these new inks as water-based pigmented inks. Inside, it also mentions they should not be mixed. And in the case of the black ink, there is an additional note saying it contains a “special resin component for improved water and light resistance”.

The notes on the box speak of a "special resin component" included for the black ink.

The new/old inks are not to be mixed, the box says.

So, what should we believe? Are these dye-based inks or pigmented? We might need to perform our own experiments, although this 50% price increase is a discouraging argument to buy this –or any— Platinum ink.

NOTE ADDED ON JANUARY 17th, 2014: Commentator Gary added some insight to the basic question of this Chronicle. In his opinion, the whole problem is due to a confusion between the terms dye and pigment when translated from Japanese to English. The experiments he described on his blog showed that the "new" blue-black ink is still an iron-gall formulation.

But then, the price hike --that unjustifiable 50% increase-- can hardly be understood.

Pilot Capless (1998 model), steel nib in M – Pilot Black

Bruno Taut
Yokohama, January 16th, 2014
etiquetas: Platinum, tinta, mercado.

14 January 2014


Contrary to that of the previous text, this story is well known and little can be added. My one and only point, then, is to illustrate it with some pictures of real pens.

India has always been a big market for fountain pens, and home to many small producers. In the 1950s Pilot wanted to increase its presence in this market and installed a factory in Madras (nowadays Chennai, in the state of Tamil Nadu). Initially, this plant only produced ink and assembled pens out of parts shipped from Japan. These were, mostly, the 53R model in celluloid. From 1955 on, the plant was able to manufacture complete pens.

Two Indian-made Pilot pens in celluloid. Pure eyedropper pens.

The feed, clearly visible on this picture, shows no seat for any shut-off valve, as is the case on most Japanese eyedropper pens.

The steel nibs of those celluloid eyedroppers. The engraving reads "PILOT / MADE IN / INDIA / -<2>- / HARDEST ". Presumably the hidden word is "IRIDIUM", plus the manufacturing date.

Technical problems associated to the durability of rubber sacs in the hot and humid local weather made Pilot to change their designs. Consequently, their sac based 53 and Super models were transformed in eyedropper pens. But contrary to the usual fashion in Japanese pens, these Indian-made Pilots had no shut-off valve.

Two Indian-made Super models.

The nib in detail. It is made of 14 K gold.

In fact, Indian pen companies produce mostly eyedropper pens—a basic and reliable pen, albeit not without drawbacks—the large ink deposit and the little need for maintenance is at the expense of occasional ink blops when the ink level was low.

The other unit is an Indian version of the G-300 model. On both cases, the nibs are made of 14 K gold.

Both cap and barrel are labeled as coming from India.

The Japanese version is a cartridge-converter pen, not labeled with any country of origin. Its nib is also made of 14 K gold.

Indian-made Pilot nibs are often dated with an F (foreign) before the digits showing the manufacturing date.

The Madras plant was active until 1978.

My thanks to Paco-san, Mr. Niikura, Mr. Sunami and FPN member Hari317.

Gama eyedropper pen (Gem Pens and Co.) – Indian-made royal blue ink

Bruno Taut
Machida, January 6th, 2014
etiquetas: India, Pilot

08 January 2014


The books –or maybe just The Book Fountain Pens of Japan— speak clearly about Pilot pens made overseas, in India, Burma, Thailand, and Brazil. But few sources mention the case of Korean Pilot pens.

This is, in fact, a totally different business. The South Korean Pilot Company (Pilot Pen Co.) is not operated by the Japanese counterpart (Pilot Corporation) but simply licensed the use of the Pilot brand. This license allows the commercialization of these South Korean products in Asian markets, but prohibits its sale in Japan.

Several Korean-made Pilot pens. On one of them, the company logo is the same Pilot used in Japan in the 1970s.

The Korean Pilots are, in principle, different to those made by the Japanese company, although both companies share some elements—converters, nib and feed designs, some logos… The Korean quality seems to be clearly lower.

This nib shows the usual logo of Korean-made Pilot pens. What looks like a circle is, in fact, a P.

This feed is very close --if not the same-- to those used by Pilot Japan in models like Prera, Cocoon/Metropolitan, Kaküno, etc.

The converter CON-20 is also used on Korean Pilot pens. Consequently, all Pilot converters and cartridges could also be used on those Korean-made pens, provided there was enough room inside the barrel.

There are, however, some better quality Korean Pilots. The Pilot Art Craft Silvern pen of the late 1960s had its counterpart in Korea. On the picture we see the very characteristic inlaid nib of said model clearly engraved as made in Korea.

This Art Craft Silvern had its original Korean nib, broken as we can see on the picture, replaced with another unit made in Japan.

This license scheme started in 1960 and is still active today. Pilot in South Korea has its headquarters in the city of Seongnam, in the outskirts of Seoul.

My thanks to Mr. Niikura and Mr. Sunami.

Platinum black pocket pen, manifold nib – Platinum Violet

Bruno Taut
Yokohama, January 5th, 2014
etiquetas: Corea del Sur, Pilot