[Brief introduction] This is my sixth pen review in English.
Pilot launched Limited Edition Pilot65 in 1983 to commemorate the 65th Anniversary of its Foundation (1918).
6500 pieces were produced and sold out with favorable review. This pen was the first firebrand of limited edition
pens in Japan. This Pilot65, like Waterman LeMan100 that were released in the same year,1983, has been in fact
appreciated as a legendary masterpiece in Japan*. Afterwards Pilot 65 was inherited to standard series, Custom 67
with cartridge and converter system.
* In the booklet about Pilot65, the president of Pilot, Mr. Katsuro Yamaura stated: Pilot65 was a confident product
with combination of good taste like old ages' hand-made work and up-to-date technology. Pilot had concentrated
its 65years' technology* on the Pilot65 and had realized the quality enough for a lifelong companion.
* In the booklet, the following events were introduced as major technology related to Pilot65.
1916 Development of welding technology of iridosmine.
1926 Development of urushi lacquer technology over ebonite(patent from US and Japanese Government.)
1929 Completion of 4kinds of special nib by which we can choose the taste of writing.
1930 Invention of blue black ink that can avoid settling naturally. (patent from US ,UK, France, Netherlands
and Japanese Government.)
1941 Development of injection molding machine. Adoption of synthetic resin as parts of fountain pens for
the first time in Japan.
1954 Development of tip fill feeder that has revolutionize fountain pens to avoid dripping and to inhale ink
from the low level of the hole.
Pilot65 is now rather rare pen, but I happened to find a used Pilot65 for sale at 9th Pen Trading in Tokyo held this
April in 2009. The pen was used and the paint was peeled off in the black part of the filling system, but the state of
the pen seemed good in general and the price was reasonable. So I got the pen. Perhaps this pen is not famous
outside Japan. I would like to introduce it to you.
1 First Impressions (8/10) – The box is suede like cardboard .On the inner side of the lid golden Japanese characters
meaning the fountain pen to commemorate the 65th Anniversary of Pilot and English characters"PILOT65" were stamped.
The size of the "65" is big surprisingly. The exterior of the box is old and worn-out. When I opened the box, there were
the Pilot65, a special bottle of Pilot ink, a card and so on. I disappointed that there was no booklet about Pilot65.Later
I got a copy of the booklet from a fountain pen lover who once worked for Pilot. The pen itself seemed as if it was new. I feel
happy to have rather rare pen in hand.
2 Appearance & Design (10/10) - The shape of the pen is so-called balance type. It is said to be innovated by Sheaffer
in 1928. Shortly afterwards, Pilot made original balance type fountain pens and they became most popular as Dunhill-Namiki
brand pens during 1930's. Pilot65 is reprinted edition of the then popular shape*. The pen is made of black AS resin and
golden parts (the clip and rings) are plated by 22k gold. The surface of the body except the cap top, cap end, barrel end and
grip section was worked by exquisite wave patterns.
* Shigeki Chiba who worked for Pilot as a designer stated :People had been bored with very fast change of the times
when the economic had grown rapidly. So we think design should be make people feel warm or give people a feeling
of warmth and we should go back to the basics of design. Pilot65 was designed by this basics and the shape of
Dunhill-Namiki brand fountain pens was adopted. ( Source: p217, "Mannenhitsu no Tatsujin"(Masters of Fountain
pens),EI Publishing Co.Ltd,2006)
The cap end ring was garnished by Nindomon *, "65"and serial number of 4 fingers(1 to 6500). Regarding the Nindomon,
Pilot explained that it was a symbol of culture suitable for Pilot65. I do not know why it was a symbol suitable for Pilot65.
It may imply the analogy about the diffusion of pens from Egypt to Japan. There is no other decoration without 2 lean rings
of the cap end and barrel end. The clip is a simple ball type.
* Nindomon The direct translation into English is "honeysuckle pattern" and it is derived from an ancient Egypt.
spreaded via the Silk Road to Japan where it became very popular during the 7-8c (Asuka and Nara periods).
For example, this pattern was used on Tamamushi no Zushi(national treasure, a kind of indoors work with roof
to enshrine image of Buddha decorated by iridescent beetle wings) in Horyuji Temple that was inscribed on
the world heritage list in 1993 as the oldest wooden structure in the world.
This pen has nothing novel, but to the contrary it has nothing old after 25years. I agree to Pilot's lasting design concept.
3 Weight & Dimensions (10/10) – The length of this pen is almost the same as that of Montblanc 146, measuring
142mm long capped, 127mm uncapped and 161mm posted. The maximum diameter of the barrel is 14mm. It weighs
about 20g. As Pilot stated that they considered the thickness, balance and weight of Pilot65 through and through
in the booklet, I feel that it fits my hands almost perfectly.
4 Nib & Performance (10/10) – This pen comes with a 14k monotone gold M nib (M, B were available.). The size of
the nib is almost the same as No.10 of Pilot that is attached to Custom 742, Bamboo, Custom Maple, 70thAnniversary
and so on. Pilot stated that they finished the nib with the taste of warmth.* The most impressive thing is that the nib
is bended under unusually and pretty flexible. The taste of it is quite different from ordinary Pilot nib. Very smooth, like
skating on ice and I have a feeling that the nib sticks to the paper. The line it puts down is only a bit finer than that of
my Waterman Leman100M and Parker Duofold True Blue M. I use this pen to make a note on business occasionally
using Pilot Black. I always appreciate the goodness of this pen afresh when I use it.
*In the booklet Pilot stated : they welded sphere of iridosmine, alloy that wears well, in the tip of the nib. Iridosmine
is made of iridium and osmium and it is the only way adopted by Pilot in the world. 6million letters were able to be
written by this nib. Osaka Eiichi who was a technical adviser of Pilot and a famous authority of making fountain pens
examined the nibs and adjusted them one by one in personto have the taste of warmth. The feeder is tip-fill type
and the ink can be filled by dipping only the hole of the nib.
5 Filling System (7/10) – It comes with a Push Button type filling system and holds 1.5ml ink. When I tried the system
for the first time, it was easy to fill it up with ink. But it was hard to exhaust ink. I found the system had trouble. So I
made it repaired .To my joy, the cost was only 1000yen (about $10), and now it has been working well. The system
resembles converter Con-70, but it is fixed and can not be stripped. Accordingly, ink can not be cleared thoroughly. So
I prefer Con-70.
6 Cost & Value (9/10) - The list price was 38,000 yen 25 years ago in Japan, about $380 at current
rate. I bought this used pen at about 60 % of the list price. The state of the pen is rather good. There are
no scratches or flaws. But the trouble of the filling system is regrettable though the repair cost only 1000yen.
In Japan 65th pen(NOS) is rarely put on the market. The contract price at that case in auctions is usually
higher than 50000yen lately. So I think I got a good deal probably.
7 Conclusion (Final score: 9.0)- Mr. Koichi Furuyama ,the author of the above mentioned "Mannenhitsu
no Tatsujin" and a leading painter using fountain pens, has given his opinion that he likes the period during
several years from Pilot65 to PIilot70 the most among the history of Pilot because Pilot sticked to writing
sincerely then, not to have intension for ready sale. I agree with him. I think Pilot65 embodies the spirit of
Pilot and it is one of our ultimate fountain pens from the viewpoint of writing instruments. If you are a
fountain pen enthusiast and find this legendary Pilot65, I recommend you to obtain the pen without hesitation.
Edited by rokurinpapa, 22 October 2009 - 14:18.