I went to Tokyo this afternoon to get nib work on two of my new pens. I ended up leaving with a pen that’s older than I am.
Although I like my Namisu Nexus Minimal fountain pens, both pens had nib issues. The Titanium nib was off center and the tines were misaligned. The steel nib was dry. I could have realigned the tines myself, but I had part of the day off and it was a good chance to get out of Dodge for a while.
I decided to go to EuroBox (link in Japanese) which is a small vintage pen shop right at the end of the Ginza shopping district in downtown Tokyo. It is in one of the old creepy buildings I like a lot. The stair case to the 4th floor (3rd floor UK) is hard to find and it’s narrow, low and creepy. If you go up the main staircase, you won’t find EuroBox, just a dark hallway with lots of suspicious empty rooms. EuroBox, when you find it, is surrounded by peeled paint and exposed electrical boxes.
When I arrived, the proprietor, Eizo Fujii was helping a customer. This gave me time to peruse the displays of vintage pens. (I didn’t take any pictures as there’s a sign asking you not to. Because he was busy, i didn’t get a chance to ask him for permission. You’ll just have to visit yourself.)
As I was looking, he returned a tray of pens to the display and I noticed they were vintage Pilot Capless pens. My ears went up and I took a look at a black one expecting the price to be absurd. When it wasn’t–it’s actually cheaper than a new Pilot Vanishing Point–I started the pen buyer’s rationalization process: I expected that to be a lot more expensive than that therefore, at that price, that’s like getting a discount on it. That’s totally a bargain! I’ll take that but only because I’m saving money on that.
(Note: by that logic, almost anything, even a private jet with gold toilet fixtures, can be considered a bargain.)
When it was my turn, Mr. Fujii, who speaks very good English, fixed my Nexus pens as I watched. After he finished I asked to try to the Pilot Capless C200SW (manufactured August 1964 I believe). Unfortunately, I liked it enough I decided to buy it.
I then had to go down to Ito-Ya, one of the best stationers in Japan, to get a converter that fit the pen. (The cartridges it takes are no longer made.) After I got the pen home I had to soak it to clean out quite a bit of gunk, but now it works fine.
The initial impressions are good: It is slender but unlike other Capless pens, the clip helps you rather than gets in your way. I suspect lefties would have little trouble using this pen, which is not always true of vanishing point pens. It’s also a touch longer than my similar Vanishing Points.
The nock mechanism is odd. You have to push it half way to extend the nib, then push it the rest of the way to release it. If you just push it all the way it doesn’t stay open and Mr. Fujii looks at you in a sad way as if you are an idiot (well, maybe that’s just me.) It has a Fine nib which I usually don’t like but Mr. Fujii smoothed it perfectly.
I’ll put it in my pen rotation and do a long term review another day. Until then, there was a pink one She Who Must Be Obeyed might like. And a red and gold one other people might like. At that price they are real bargains…