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    

Vintage Rare 1979 Pilot Namiki Myu Murex 701stainless Steel Fountain Pen Near Mint!! Pilot Namiki "murex Excellent Fountain Pen Stainless Steel ConverteRare" Namiki Pilot Vintage Myu Fountain Pen & New Converter Box Stainless SteelFountain Pen And Ink Lot (noodler's, Levenger, Pilot)Ultra Rare! New Old Stock! Pilot "murex Quartz" Fountain Pen + Bp Box Converter Pilot Excellent Namiki Japan Fountain Pen Black X Silver Cross-hatch Fp Vintage[fine Nib] Pilot Namiki Retractable Fountain Pen Capless Blue Fcn-1mr Japan SalePilot Namiki Custom 743 Black Color 14k Gold Fa Nib Fountain PenPilot Namiki Metal Falcon Elabo Metal Edition Brown Flexible 14k Gold Sf Nib F.p[fine Nib] Pilot Namiki Retractable Fountain Pen Capless Black Fcn-1mr New JapanVintage Fountain Pen Lot Esterbook Pilot !! 2 Pens!Pilot Namiki Justus 95 Stripe Black Adjustable Special Flex 14k Gold Fm Nib FpVintage Black & Gold Pilot Fountain Pen Japanese Flowers 14k 585 Nib ** K 4723Pilot Namiki Grance Nc Barleycorn Sterling Silver 925 Body 18k Gold M Nib F.p Excellent Pilot Custom 18k Fountain Pen Black Gold Trim Namiki Vintage Japan FpPilot Namiki Custom 742 Maroon Color 14k Gold M Nib Fountain PenPilot Namiki Custom Heritage 912 Black Color Rhodium 14k Gold F Nib FpPilot "elite 95s Deep Red" With Converter 14k Extra Fine NibPilot Elite Namiki Japan 14k Fountain Pen Good Black Gold Trim Cartridge FreeMint1980s Vintage Pilot Namiki Stainless Steel Fountain Pencil Roller Pen SetPilot Vanishing Point 18k Medium NibMint Unused Namiki Pilot Vanising Point Fountain Pen 18 C Gold M NibPilot Fountain Pen Elite 95s Deep Red Axis Extra-fine (ef) From JapanPilot Namiki Silvern Spinning Silk Sterling Silver Body 18k Gold M Nib FpPilot Capless Mustard Color. Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen (silver) With 2 Ink BottlesPilot 1960's Black Vanishing Point / Capless Pilot Namiki Metal Falcon Elabo Metal Light Blue Flexible 14k Gold Sb Nib F.pNew Old Stock" Pilot Namiki Fountain Pen Black Gold Trim Cartridge Free Japan FpRare Vintage Pilot Old Model Black / Gold , Japan Lever Filler Fountain Pen 50'sPilot G2 0.7mm Retractable Black Pens (3 Pens) Free ShippingPilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen, Silver, Medium NibPilot G2 0.7mm Retractable Blue Pens (3 Pens) Free ShippingPilot Fountain PenPilot Striped CollectionVintage Pilot Vanishing Point Pen Pilot Namiki Burgundy 14k Medium Fp & Pink X Silver Fine Fp Cartridge Free Nr New * Beautiful Gold Stripe Metal Fountain Pen By PilotPilot Pen G2 Limited PurplePilot Pen G2 Limited GoldPilot Pen G2 Limited Cherry RedPilot Metropolitan Matte Silver Ct Fountain Pen - Solid Brass Metal Pen- BoxedNew" Pilot Namiki Cavalier Excellent Fountain Pen Pink Japan Nib:fine Nr(2) Pilot Varsity Blue Fountain Pen. (new)Pilot G2 0.38mm Retractable Black Pens (5 Pens) Free ShippingPilot G2 0.38mm Retractable Blue Pens (5 Pens) Free Shipping