09 March 2021

Against Marketing: New Parker 51

This is not new, and years ago I already argued in favor of the original model over the opportunistic re-issue:

Against marketing, history.

And that argument is again relevant on the occasion of the Parker 51. Well, the release of the newest version.

New or old?

Is it pertinent? Does it add anything to the market and to the old model?

The Parker 51 is, according to some sources, the best selling pen in history with well over 20 million pens sold. And this means that there are many Parker 51 available in the secondary market, and for not much money.

New and old.

The new Parker 51 with gold nib (JPY 33000, plus tax).

For the uninitiated, the classic Parker 51 is a well-built pen that was marketed in a number of finishes and sizes, with a variety of nibs –14 K gold and steel--, and with three different filling systems—vacumatic, aerometric and cartridge/converter. The very common aerometric, in particular, is a extraordinary pen in terms of durability and performance. And its price in pen shows, antique shops and flea markets can be as low as EUR 50 (about JPY 6500)--if not lower.

Two Parker 51 (top and middle), and a Parker 21 Super (bottom). The 21 is an alternative to the 51 for even less.

A collection of classic Parker 51. None of them cost more than EUR 200.

On the contrary, the newly-released Parker 51 comes only as a cartridge/converter, with two possible nibs –18 K gold and steel--, and with two nib points –F and M. And all that for JPY 12000 (steel nib) of JPY 33000 (gold nib).

And what can you buy in Japan for that money? A lot. For those prices, the big three Japanese companies offer about half dozen models with gold nibs nad many more options in nib points and filling systems.

So, we could conclude that neither as a classic pen or as novelty, the new Parker 51 makes much sense in the Japanese market. Parker, obviously, thinks differently.

WiPens Bokumondoh Kanshitsu – Lamy Petrol

Bruno Taut
Nakano, March 9th, 2021
labels: Parker, mercado, Japón


Paul Bloch said...

As a ballpoint user, I purchased both the GP (plum) and CP (navy) models. The fit and finish is just okay - not special, and certainly not in line with the premium price. The pens could weigh a touch more, to feel more like they were made with pride, rather than as a commodity. But then, these folks long ago stopped taking pride in their products or caring about customer reaction. More than disappointing, it marks, I think, the beginning of the end and certainly for me ever again using one of their 51 products.

Papish said...

Trying to attract new fountain pen users, maybe? Cartridge/converter filling system is more user friendly and easy for beginners. That being said, these pens are not any novelty nor anything attractive from my point of view. If you like a Parker 51, just buy one. It's not difficult to find in a budget friendly range of prices, as you said.

Bruno Taut said...

Thanks, Paul Bloch, for your insight on the ball pen versions of the 51. Sadly, I agree with your take: "(Parker) long ago stopped taking pride in their products or caring about customer reaction". Sad indeed.

Thanks for passing by and commenting.


Bruno Taut said...

Thanks, Papish, for your comment.

I would add that there were a couple of classic P51 using cartridges.

These new pens might also show that the world of pen aficionados and the world of occasional buyers are very different and rarely intersect.

Thanks for passing by and commenting.


Saltire Turquoise said...

As you say, there are far better options for the price. The noticeable jump in price between the steel nib and gold nib models is worth noting. The '51 not exactly being known for flex.

However, please let us know more about the WiPen featured at the bottom of the article.

Bruno Taut said...

Thanks, Saltire, for passing by and commenting.

About that WiPen, that is some abuse of the language. That pen is a frankenpen whose only signed element is the nib. But it writes well and it is beautiful. My apologies.



Anonymous said...

I wish I had read the reviews before buying the new Parker 51. I am not getting along with it at all. I just cannot see the nib when I am writing. The hood is too high: the shape should be smoothed nearer to the nib as in the original 51. I do not like the screw lid and it does not stay on the pen when I am writing. I am going to sell it on Ebay and buy an original 51. What a tragic disappointment. Mags.

Bruno Taut said...


I am sorry for the delay in publishing your comment and in replying. Your text got buried in my inbox.

I am sorry to hear your disappointment with the new P51, and I wish you good luck with a classic P51.

However, reviews like mine might be very subjective and might not apply to you. In this case, your points are mostly about how you feel and see the pen, and no review could provide you with that information.

Anyway, good luck with your new pen.



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