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    

Pilot "falcon" Namiki Black & Gold, Nr. Mint Boxed With Cartridges & ConverterPilot Myu90Pilot Namiki Metal Falcon Elabo Metal Edition Red Flexible 14k Gold Sm Nib F.pPilot Namiki Custom Heritage 92 Demonstrator Blue Piston Filler 14k Gold Fm F.pPilot Namiki Vanishing Point Capless Fermo Dark Green Rhodium 18k Gold F Nib F.p[b Nib] Pilot Namiki Custom Heritage 92 Fountain Pen Broad Clear Blue Fkvh-15srsPilot Vanishing Point Carbonesque Blue Kasuri Finish 14kt 585 M NibPilot Namiki Metal Falcon Elabo Metal Light Blue Flexible 14k Gold Sm Nib F.pPilot Namiki Custom 823 Transparent Nc Large F Nib 14kt Fountain Pen LimitedPilot Namiki M90 Myu Fountain Pen W/ Medium Nib Excellent No ReservePilot Namiki Custom Heritage 92 Demonstrator Orange Piston Filler 14k F Nib F.p[fine Nib] Pilot Namiki Revolving Type Fountain Pen Capless Fermo 18k Gold Black[m Nib] Pilot Namiki Revolving Type Fountain Pen Capless Fermo 18k Dark Blue[b Nib] Pilot Capless Retractable Fountain Pen Matte Black Broad 18k Fc-18sr[medium Nib] Pilot Namiki Stella 90s Fountain Pen White 14k #3 Japan Fse-1mrPilot Custom 18k-wg Fountain Pen Sterling Silver & Black With Cartridge [905-2]Pilot Namiki Falcon - Elabo Resin Edition Red Rhodium Flexible 14k Sf Nib F.p[fa Nib] Pilot Namiki Custom 742 Fountain Pen Black Converter Falcon Fkk-1000rPilot Namiki Vanishing Point Capless Fermo Dark Blue Rhodium 18k Gold F Nib F.pPilot Namiki Custom Heritage 92 Demonstrator Clear Piston Filler 14k Gold M F.pNear Mint! Pilot Volex Silver X Black Vintage Fine H280 Japan Fountain Pen Japan[soft Fine Nib] Pilot Namiki Custom74 Fountain Pen Black 14k Sf Fkk-1000r SaleRare! Pilot Prera Canary Yellow Oeste Fountain Pen Converter Limited 500 New F[fine Nib] Pilot Namiki Capless Decimo Retractable Fountain Pen Light Blue 18kPilot Namiki Elite 95s Black Body 14k Gold Fine Nib Pocket Fountain PenPilot Namiki Myu Fountain Pen Silver & Black Stripe Very Rare!! [448][m Nib] Pilot Namiki Revolving Type Fountain Pen Capless Fermo 18k Black Fcf-2mr[extra Fine Nib] Pilot Namiki Elite 95s Fountain Pen Deep Red 14k Fes-1mm SalePilot Namiki Justus 95 Stripe Black Adjustable Special Flex 14k Gold Fm Nib Fp[medium Nib] Pilot Namiki Stella 90s Fountain Pen Red 14k #3 Short Japan Fse-1mrVintage Set Of Pilot Birdie Fountain Pen Japan Lead PencilF Nib: Pilot Namiki Custom 845 Urushi Lacquer Fountain Pen 18k Converter Fkv-5mrPilot Namiki Metal Falcon Elabo Metal Edition Brown Flexible 14k Gold Sef Nib Fp[soft Medium Nib] Pilot Namiki Custom74 Fountain Pen Black 14k Gold Fkk-1000rPilot Burgundy X Gold Fountain Pen 18k-750 Beautiful Leather Made Japan NamikiFountain Pens - Namiki Falcon PilotPilot Namiki Silvern Spinning Silk Sterling Silver Body 18k Gold F Nib Fp[extra Fine Nib] Pilot Capless Retractable Fountain Pen Matte Black 18k Fc-18sr[medium Nib] Pilot Namiki Capless Decimo Retractable Fountain Pen Light Blue 18k[f Nib] Pilot Namiki Capless Decimo Retractable Fountain Pen White 18k Fct-15srPilot Namiki Fine (f) Nib Silver(sv) Vanishing Point Capless Fountain PenVintage Pilot Elite Fountain Pen 18k Gold Fine Nib. Rare!! Pilot Namiki Lizard Leather Black Fountain Pen 18k-750 Gold Japan Namiki [medium Nib] Pilot Namiki Custom 74 Fountain Pen Transparence 14k #5 Fkk-1mrPilot Elite 95s Pocket Fountain Pen 14k M Nib (imported From Japan)[fine Nib] Pilot Namiki Custom 98 Fountain Pen Black 14k #3 Japan Fk-1mr Sale![medium Nib] Pilot Namiki Custom 98 Fountain Pen Black 14k #3 Fk-1mr Sale!!![music Nib] Pilot Namiki Custom 74 Fountain Pen Ms Black 74 14k Gold Japan Sale[fine Nib] Pilot Namiki Capless Retractable Fountain Pen Black 18k Fc-15sr Sale![fine Nib] Pilot Namiki Capless Retractable Fountain Pen White 18k Fcn-15srPilot Namiki Vanishing Point Capless Fermo Black Body Rhodium 18k Gold M Nib F.pCool Form!! Pilot Myu Family Fountain Pen Cartridge Free Namiki Made Japan Fp NrPilot Namiki Custom Heritage 92 Demonstrator Black Piston Filler 14k Gold Fm F.pPilot Namiki Vanishing Point Capless Dl (darkblue) Fine(f) Nib Fountain PenPilot Namiki Elite 95s Deep Red Body 14k Gold Ef Nib Pocket Fountain PenRare!! Pilote Namiki Silver Cross-hatch 18k Gold Gorgeous Fountain Pen Japan[fine Nib] Pilot Namiki Elite 95s Fountain Pen Deep Red 14k Fes-1mm Japan SalePilot Fountain Pen Custom 74 Clear (medium)Beautiful Stainless Steel!! Myu Pilot μ701 Fountain Pen New Converter Japan FpPilot Namiki Stella 90s Ruby Red 14k Gold Rhodium Plated F Nib Fountain Pen