24 May 2019

The Invisible Hand... (II)

… Or I told you so...

Years ago I published several texts on the actual costs of inks. At the time, 2010, inks were becoming significantly more expensive while producers were increasing the gamut of colors.

Smaller inkwells, higher prices. But what matters is variety and price per inkwell. Ink Studio inks by Sailor (2018).

“A market driven by collectors –I said in 2011-- is bound to becoming irrational”. And ten years later the scene is a lot more complicated—more ink brands and makers, more colors, higher prices, smaller inkwells...

So, ink prices have become more expensive, and a side effect is a growing market of open inkwells. What not so long ago was almost worthless is now an object of trade.

As seen at the recent Pen Trading in Tokyo (2019). A second life for the inks after trying them...

Again, the invisible hand of capitalism plays its game.

Iwase Seisakusho – Caran D'Ache Sunset

Bruno Taut
Nakano, May 24th 2019
etiquetas: mercado, tinta

15 May 2019

The Invisible Hand...

...of capitalism.

Pilot's converters and cartridges currently available in the market... more or less.

By the end of 2016, Pilot phased out the converters CON-20 and CON-50. And the substitute was the new CON-40.

Prices of Pilot's cartridges and converters in JPY without taxes. It is possible to find some of them at discount.

Nobody really misses the CON-50, a small piston whose problems with the surface tension were never completely solved. But many do miss the bladder-type CON-20—it was capable (0.8 ml), inexpensive (JPY 200) and efficient. The CON-40 is the opposite—small (0.5 ml), unreliable and twice more expensive at JPY 400.

Then, many an aficionado started looking for remaining stocks of CON-20 in small and out-of-the-beaten-path stationers in Japan.

CON-20 on the left; CON-40 on the right. The second is twice the price of the discontinued CON-20.

The result? In the black market –sorry, in the second hand market— the price of the CON-20 is now JPY 500.

Did Pilot make a good move discontinuing the CON-20? The invisible hand of capitalism says they did not.

Iwase Seisakusho prototype – Caran d'Ache Sunset

Bruno Taut
Shinjuku, May 14th 2019
etiquetas: conversor, Pilot, mercado

13 May 2019

Tokyo Pen Scene in 2019

The 19th edition of the Pen Trading event in Tokyo was celebrated on the weekend of May 4th at the KFC building in the district of Sumida. And for the first time, this event lasted three days.

But all in all the figures of the show have not changed much along recent years—about 20 to 25 traders, and 200 visitors. And these numbers hardly justify such a long duration.

The first day, Friday 3rd, had Platinum as protagonist—Mr. Masa Sunami gave a lecture on the history of the brand, and the president –Mr. Nakata— answered some questions previously submitted by the attendees. However, the answers were to be kept strictly intramural, and any leak through social media was prohibited. Trading started at 12:30, albeit restricted to non-gold nib pens and assorted goods.

Saturday and Sunday were more of a traditional pen show –no restrictions of the type of pens to be on offer--, and were combined with a number of workshops.

Pen Trading in Tokyo, 19th edition.

Along this past year there has been a wealth of activities in the fountain pen world in Tokyo. The Wagner group has extended its events in order to attract younger aficionados, for instance. In October, the Tokyo International Pen Show (TIPS) worked well as a meeting point for aficionados previously disconnected, thus enlarging the pen community.

All this should imply that the trading events like that of Spring should become more important in the basic figures, but that was not the case ten days ago. The second edition of TIPS, to be celebrated in October 5th and 6th, looks like the best chance for the local activity to become something more according to the relevance of Japan in the international market.

And the only way to do so is to become more international.

So, next stop, the second edition of the Tokyo International Pen Show in October 5th and 6th. Hope to see you there.

Iwase Seisakusho prototype – Wagner 2008 ink

Bruno Taut
Shinjuku, May 9th 2019
etiquetas: Tokyo, Japón, evento, mercado