Like Sailor, Pilot began making pens in Japan in the early part of the 20th century. Founder Ryosuki Namiki started out in 1915 producing gold nibs, but by 1918 his Namiki Manufacturing Company, Ltd. was churning out writing instruments—Pilot was its first brand.

In 1924 the company stopped focusing solely on pen production and expanded its repertoire to include lacquering and hand-painted pens, called Maki’e. The designs, which are known for their longevity and stubborn refusal to fade, ranged from quiet garden scenes to depictions of samurai soldiers and dragons. The exquisite detail put into every pen makes these some of the priciest collectible pens in the world.

The richly lacquered bodies of these early Pilot pens set them apart from their competitors and by the late 1920s, Pilot pens were being sold around the world. In 1930, Namiki signed a marketing deal with Alfred Dunhill, a British pen distributor. Subsequent vintage pens made between 1930 and 1940 and marketed by Dunhill are referred to as Dunhill-Namiki pens. Like its Pilot predecessors, the Maki’e pens are the most collectible Dunhill-Namikis, whether the nibs are in sizes from 1 to 6, 20, or even 50.

Dunhill-Namiki also made a small number of celluloid pens, which are extremely rare—some collectors don’t even know they exist. Then, in 1938, the company became known as the Pilot Pen Corporation, and Pilot continues to control Namiki to this day.

With the outbreak of World War II, Japan and the United Kingdom became belligerents, and Dunhill-Namiki halted pen production. After the war, in 1961, ballpoints entered the Pilot product line, but Pilot did not forsake its fountain-pen roots—its Cap-less fountain pen from 1964 featured a retractable nib.

Today, Pilot produces rollerball pens, needlepoint pens, and mechanical pencils, with Namiki as a subsidiary that produces high-end writing instruments. It has even reestablished its relationship with Dunhill, releasing a limited-edition set of Dunhill-Namikis in 1996.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Parker51.com

Parker51.com

Ernesto Soler's extensive homage to one of the most popular pens ever produced, the Parker "51," introduced in 1941… [read review or visit site]

Penhero.com

Penhero.com

Jim Mamoulides' vintage and modern pen-cyclopedia. Start at the main gallery, featuring detailed articles (with pho… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

1973 Japan Pilot Namiki Black Strip Myu Murex 70 Fountain Pen Stainless Steel 1981 Japan Pilot Namiki Quatrz Clock Myu Murex 70 Fountain Pen Stainless Steel New Pilot Namiki Red Ishiyaki Urushi Lacquer 14kt Fountain Pen Fine Nib New Pilot Namiki Black Ishiyaki Urushi Lacquer 14kt Fountain Pen Medium Nib New Pilot Namiki Capless Decimo Pink Champagne18kt Medium Nib Point Fountain PenPilot Namiki Falcon Collection Fountain Pen, Soft Fine Nib Rare" Fast Model Namiki Pilot Excellent Fountain Pen Capless Black Japan 585 FpPilot Namiki Excellent Cross-hatch 750 18k-wg Silver Fountain Pen Japan Fp Japanese Fountain Pen Platinum 3776 Maki E Golden Powder Box And Papers Ef NibPilot Namiki Silvern Lattice Patern Sterling Silver Body 18k Gold F Nib FpNew Pilot Namiki Metal Elabo Falcon Soft Flex Sm Nib Brown Fountain Pen Pilot Namiki Custom 743 Black Color 14k Gold Fa Nib Fountain PenPilot Namiki Metal Falcon Elabo Metal Black Flexible 14k Gold Sm Nib F.pPilot Namiki Custom 742 Maroon Color 14k Gold F Nib Fountain PenPilot M90 Limited Edition Fountain Pen Ultra Rare!! New Old Stock!! 1960's Namiki Pilot Capless Fountain Pen VanishingPilot Namiki Custom Heritage 92 Demonstrator Black Piston Filler 14k Gold M F.pPilot Decimo Capless Fountain Pen, ,gray, EfPilot Namiki Custom Heritage 91 Yamaguri Brown 14k Gold F Nib Fountain Pen Pilot Namiki Vintage 18k Fountain Pen Black Gold Trim Cartridge Free Japan FpPilot Namiki Custom 823 #15 Large M (medium) Nib 14kt Amber (brown) Fountain PenPilot Heritage 92 Clear Demonstrator Fountain Pen, FPilot Namiki Vanishing Point Capless Fermo Black Body Rhodium 18k Gold F Nib F.pPilot Namiki Custom 742 Black Color 14k Gold Fm Nib Fountain PenPilot Namiki Elite 95s Deep Red 14k Gold M Nib Fp *remake Of Elite-s 1974 *Montblanc Noblesse Slim Line Black Excellent Fountain Pen Gold Trim Germany FpNew Pilot Namiki Capless Raden Makie Sparkles Black 18kt Fountain Pen Free ShipPilot Namiki Custom 823 Smoke Black Demonstrator Body 14k Gold M Nib F.pPilot Namiki Custom Heritage 912 Black Color Rhodium 14k Gold Sf Nib FpPilot Namiki Custom Heritage 92 Demonstrator Clear Piston Filler 14k Gold Fm F.pNew Old Stock!! Pilot "pink Lady" Fountain Pen & Display Box Set Namiki Japan FpPilot Namiki Custom Legance Black Color 14k Gold Fine Nib Fountain PenPilot Namiki Metal Falcon Elabo Metal Burgundy Red Flexible 14k Gold Sf Nib F.pPilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen, Black, Fine NibPilot Namiki Custom Legance Marble Blue Color 14k Gold Fine Nib Fountain PenPilot Japan Black / Gold Vanishing Point Capless Fountain Pen - Namiki 14k F Nib*clearance Sale* Pilot Capless Limited Edition, Green Pilot Namiki Custom Heritage 912 Black Color Rhodium 14k Gold Fa Nib Fp Pilot Vintage Namiki Fountain Pen 18k Black Gold Trim Cartridge Free Japan FpPilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen - Medium Nib - Black With Diamond PatternPilot Japan Dark Red Vanishing Point Capless Fountain Pen - Pilot 14k M NibPilot Vanishing Point Fountain Pen Nib Units, Set Of 2, FinePilot Namiki Custom 743 Black Color 14k Gold Sfm Nib Fountain PenPilot Hi-tec-c Coleto Earth Music & Ecology -hn 4 Color Body Only LePilot Namiki Vanishing Point Capless Fermo Dark Blue Rhodium 18k Gold M Nib F.pPilot Namiki Vanishing Point Capless Rhodium Accents 18k Gold B Nib Brown F.pPilot Namiki Lucina Red Color Special Alloy Gold Colored Fine Nib FpPilot Vintage Fountain Pen Black & Gold With Cartridge Japan [321-4]Pilot Elite 14k Fountain Pen Black & Gold Script-nib Japan [312-2]Mint1980s Vintage Pilot Namiki Stainless Steel Fountain Pencil Roller Pen Set Pilot Namiki Elite 95s Black Body 14k Gold Ef Nib Fp *remake Of Elite-s 1974 *Pilot Hi-tec-c Coleto Earth Music & Ecology -dl 4 Color Body Only LePilot G2 0.7mm Retractable Black Pens (3 Pens) Free ShippingPilot Vanishing Point Capless Fountain Pen Deep Red With Con-50 New For SaleBrand New Pilot Translucent Black Prera Fountain Pen W/converter (m) -never UsedHi Tec C Maica 0.4mm Gel Ink Ballpoint Pen 12 Color PilotPilot G2 0.7mm Retractable Blue Pens (3 Pens) Free ShippingPilot Namiki 1972 "custom" Steel White Stripe Fountain Pen, 18k-wg Medium NibPilot G2 0.38mm Retractable Blue Pens (5 Pens) Free ShippingNew Sealed Pilot G2 Gel 1.0mm Bold Assorted Colors 4-pack #31255