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 Namiki Vanishing Point Fountain Pen ~ Black Faceted Pilot Vanishing Point Fountain Pen With Avocado Green Body~used~ Fine Nib1960 Rare Vintage Pilot Namiki Makie Imperial Chrysanthemum14k Fountain Pen1940's Pilot Urushi Eye Dropper, 14ct Flex F, Exc+, Ink Flow Control, Super Rare1977 Japan Pilot Namiki Black Strip Myu Murex 70 Fountain Pen Stainless Steel Pilot Namiki Vanishing Point Capless Rhodium Accents 18k Gold F Nib White F.pPilot Namiki Falcon Fountain Pen Fine Nib Black BodyNew!!! Pilot Namiki Myu M90 Limited Edition Fountain Pen From JapanPilot Myu Murex Fountain PenNew Pilot Namiki Custom Heritage 912 Black 14kt Fine Nib Point Fountain PenPilot Vanishing Point Fountain Pen With Med Gold Nib Black Laquer BodyPilot Namiki Vanishing Point Capless Chrome Silverspecial Alloy F Nib Black F.pPilot Near Mint "custom 74" Fountain Pen & Case Gold Namiki Made In Japan NrNew! Pilot Custom Ichii (yew) Wood Fountain Pen - 18k Solid Gold Medium NibNew Pilot Namiki Sterling Silver 925 Grance Stripes Fountain Pen 14kt Fine NibPilot Namiki Capless Decimo Rhodium 18k Gold F Nib Black Body Fountain PenPilot Namiki B (broad) Nib Vanishing Point Capless 14kt Fountain Pen Pilot Namiki F (fine) Nib Dr Vanishing Point Capless Fountain Pen Pilot Decimo Fountain Pen Fine 18 Karat Gold Nib Metal Blue Body UsedPilot Custom Heritage 91 Fountain Pen ~double Broad Nib Pilot Namiki Japan Beautiful Fountain Pen White Silver Gold Trim Fp NrPilot "silver Volex" Fountain Pen Ss Namiki Japan Vintage Fp Cartridge Free MyuPilot Custom 74 Black Fountain Pen With Music Nib (ms)New Pilot Namiki Makie Hagi Clover Flower Fountain Pen 14kt Fine Nib PointPilot Namiki Vanishing Point Capless Bk (black) Fine(f) Nib Fountain PenPilot Namiki F (fine) Nib Dy Vanishing Point Capless Fountain Pen Pilot Namiki Custom 74 Transparent Demonstrator Clear Body 14k Gold M Nib F.pNamika Pilot Capless Fountain Beveled With Gold Nib Medium~black Beveled BodyPilot Decimo Fountain Pen Medium 18 Karat Gold Nib Grey Body UsedPilot Namiki Elite 95s Deep Red 14k Gold M Nib Fp *remake Of Elite-s 1974 *Pilot Namiki Vanishing Point Capless 18k Gold Fm Nib Black Body Fountain PenPilot Namiki Custom Heritage 91 Black Color Rhodium 14k Gold Fm Nib Fountain PenEarly Mint Pilot Brilliant Black Capless Fountain Pen 1970s With Sticker M NibBeautiful Very Rare Jade Green Pilot Namiki Fountain Pen !!Pilot Namiki Vanishing Point Capless Dl (darkblue) Fine(f) Nib Fountain PenPilot Namiki Custom 98 Black Color 14k Gold F Nib Fountain PenTwo Sailors Fountain Pens, One Vanishing Point With An Extra Nib*new Old Stock* Pilot Namiki Vanishing Point Replacement NibVintage Parker Calligraphy Set With Four NibsPilot Namiki Capless Decimo Rhodium 18k Gold M Nib Violet Body Fountain PenLarge Pilot, Maroon Body, Tagged, N. Mint, 14ct M, Piston Converter, 5 5/8"Pilot Namiki M (medium) Nib Dy Vanishing Point Capless Fountain Pen Pilot Namiki Vanishing Point Capless 18k Gold M Nib Deep Red Body Fountain PenPilot Frixion Erasable Ball Point Pen Nock Black 0.5mm & Refills(pack Of 3) Set!Pilot Namiki Fine (f) Nib Silver(sv) Vanishing Point Capless Fountain PenPilot Namiki Stella 90s Night Blue Mica 14k Gold Rhodium Plated Fnib FountainpenPilot 3000yen Pocket Fountain Pen(estimated Elite Or Volex)4 Vintage Fountain Pens - Sheaffer Conway Stewart Burnham Pilot Spares RepairsPilot Namiki Stella 90s Jet Black Body 14k Gold Rhodium Plated M Nib Fountainpen1990s Vintage Black Pilot 55-c2 Fine Bb Nib Fountain Pens Genuine Made In JapanPilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen, Silver, Medium NibPilot Namiki Elite 95s Black Body 14k Gold F Nib Fp *remake Of Elite-s 1974 *Pilot Namiki Custom 74 Black Color 14k Gold Nib 2 Slits Music Nib Fountain PenPilot Namiki Custom 98 Deep Red Color 14k Gold M Nib Fountain PenNew Japan Pilot Namiki Lucina Blue Fountain & Roller Pen Set Pilot Namiki Custom 74 Dark Blue Color 14k Gold Nib F Nib Fountain Pen1970's Pelikan Pelikano P465 Export ModelRare 1990s Vintage Black Pilot 55/c2 Fine Nib Fountain Pen Bb New But Old PenVtg Pilot, 14ct F, Jet Black, Exc Working Cond,glossy Mirror Clip, Superb WriterPilot Namiki Custom 74 Black Color 14k Gold Nib Bb Nib Fountain Pen