13 February 2019

Pilot in 1993

The following two pens were available in the market in the year 1993, the year of the 75th anniversary of the company.

Pilot Custom 748 on top; Pilot 75th Anniversary pen. Both from 1993.

For the occasion, Pilot created a flat top pen with a size 15 nib made of 18 K gold. It was a limited edition of 7500 units and cost JPY 50,000. This pen, as is also the case of its natural successor the Custom 845, has most of the cap and most of the body coated with urushi.

These are the nibs of the previous pens. Both are made of 18 K gold. The anniversary pen, a limited edition, has a special engraving for the occasion.

On that same year, Pilot had marketed the more luxurious versions of its workhorse fountain pen—the Pilot Custom 745 (FKK-5000G and FKK-5000MS) and 748 (FKK-8000G and FKK-8000MS), based on the Custom 742 and 743. These luxury pens had their bodies in vermeil (G models) or Sterling silver (MS models), and each of them had two possible decorative pattern: barleycorn and pinstripe. The 745s implemented size 10 nibs and cost JPY 50,000; and the 748s, size 15 nibs for JPY 80,000; on both cases with a gold purity of 18 K.

The insides of the Pilot Custom 748, implementing a black-coated CON-70 converter.

And this is the paradox—a limited edition with urushi cost less, a lot less, that the regular edition made of Sterling silver. All the rest is the same—nib, feed, filling system... JPY 50,000 vs. JPY 80,000.

It seems that in 1993, silver was a lot more valued than urushi. That does not seem to be the case nowadays on the Pilot catalog. Although there are some difference on the nibs, the Silvern series and the Custom 845 cost the same, JPY 50,000. And the second hand market also reflects this trend—limited editions preserve their value better than regular models.

Custom 745 and 748 were discontinued in Spring of 2007.

Iwase Seisakusho prototype with Henckel nib – Takeda Jimiku Hisoku

Bruno Taut
Chuo, February 12th 2019
Etiquetas: Pilot, mercado, maki-e


Nikos said...

Very interesting observation! I have both the LE 75th and the 748 in the sterling barleycorn finish. While we will probably never know the answer for the price difference, I think that the 748 was, in a way, the Japanese answer to the MB149, a serious , large pen, and as such it had to priced accordingly. I don't know how well they sold (or not) but if they run from 1993 to 2007, I assume they did rather well. I do like the 748 in terms of size, finish and overall quality. It also performs really well.

Leo said...

Vermeil as in gold-plated sterling? I thought they were just gold plated brass.

Bruno Taut said...

Nikos, interesting point--I wonder how well the 748 sold. 14 years are quite a lot, but I also think that the manufacturing costs are not that high once the size 15 nibs were produced and marketed on other models. By the way, indeed a great nib.

Leo--that Masa Sunami says on _Fountain Pens of Japan_ (2012).

Thanks for passing by and commenting.


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