30 June 2015

Datation of Japanese Pens. VI. Sailor's Bodies

On the previous Chronicle we have seen how the manufacturing date is codified on Sailor nibs. But that is not the only dating system used by Sailor—pen bodies were also dated for some time.

Between 1958 and some time around 1970, Sailor pens had their sections engraved with a two letter code, either or in lower or in upper case:


(Occasionally, there is a period between the two letters).

On it, Y stands for the year of productions following a simple rule: A (or a) is 1958, B (b) is 1959, C (c) is 1960, and so on. Z is the month of production, with A being January; B is February and so on.

This pen is encoded as C.E--May of 1960. It corresponds to the pen shown on the following picture.

This is the Jubilee pen made by Sailor on the occasion of its 50th anniversary (1961). This particular unit, as we saw on the previous picture, was manufactured on May of 1960.

This system, as said before, lasted until ca. 1970, when the system changed to a three digit code identical to that used on the nibs: abb, where bb is the month and a is the last digit of the year of production.

This 3-digit system did not last long. On my records I can only see it between 1971 and 1974. As a result, modern Sailor pens carry no dating code on their bodies

This pen is dated as 109, which might mean September of 1971.

This is the nib of the previous pen, which is one of the rare examples of dual datation. On this case, the nib carries the manufacturing date of 108--August of 1971. 1971 seems a very reasonable date of production given the fact that the nib is made of 23 K gold, and the gold fever of the Japanese pen makers took place in the early 1970s.

The previous pen, posted. A 23 K gold nib in a pocket pen.

Another interesting detail is that it is very rare to see a (Sailor) pen dated on BOTH nib and body, although there are some few examples of dual datation.

My thanks to Mr. Sunami.

Sailor pocket pen, quasi-inlaid nib (dated as 301 on the section) – Montblanc Racing Green

Bruno Taut
Shinjuku, June 20th, 2015
etiquetas: Sailor


Unknown said...

One thing that has always puzzled me -- why did Sailor & Pilot use the Roman alphabet for the dates on Japanese pens?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all your helpful articles! As a very small way of contributing, I have a Sailor 23k pen just like yours which is nib marked 009 and body marked 011. It's a great writer.

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