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

5 comments:

Saltire Turquoise said...

|Could Pilot not develop a smaller version of the Con-70?

Bruno Taut said...

Many would welcome that! However, I wonder how much capacity could a "pocket size" CON-70 have. On small converters the size of the mechanism becomes very relevant.

But with this policy many of us turn to refilling cartridges, which does not seem the best option for Pilot.

Thanks for passing by and commenting.

BT

R. Vieira said...

Thanks for the informationBruno, . I am now trying to locate a suitable converter for my (early 80s) Pilot capless. It is unfortunate that Pilot decided to close production of the aerometric CON-20.
Best,

Ruy

Bruno Taut said...

Any Capless from 1968 on can use the CON-20, the CON-40 and the CON-50. So you are not short of options.

Thanks for passing by and commenting.

BT

R. Vieira said...

Thank you! I was actually thinking about getting the CON-20, that's why I regret Pilot's decision to end its production. I have a pair of Pilot faceted capless pens (FCN-500R), but while one was inherited, complete with converter (plus manual and box), the other, while in mint condition - new old stock from a family owned shop that closed, but w/o box - was found without converter. Great price but no extra goodies.

As an aside note, I am amazed by the prices some sellers ask for Pilot capless models, especially early ones. You are indeed right about the bubble effect!

Best,

Ruy

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