Pilot Vanishing Point Pen
1 History*


The Namiki Vanishing Point retractable fountain pen was launched in Japan during the early 1960s by the Pilot Corporation.  Originally called "Capless," it had one of the most complex inner mechanisms ever made.  The twist-retractable nib action was a remarkable innovation, making the Capless a truly sensational pen.  Its tiny nib was flat and the pen body was made of a new, satin-gold (aluminum) material.  Later, an economy Capless model with push button retraction was introduced for students.  Besides twist and knock-on (push button) types, the evolution of Pilot's Capless line incorporated a clip-slide variation as well.  These styles were made in different color finishes with versions for seniors, juniors and ladies.  In 1973 the Capless fountain pen name was changed to the Vanishing Point. 

I just listed a number of Vanishing Point fountain pens for sale, as well as other Pilot pens, and will update the Vanishing Point history page very soon.  

(In the table below I have put question marks on months that I am still researching and have not been able to confirm.  The months and/or years in parentheses are the Japanese release dates that are different than the U.S.)

     
Year Launch Function Body
1963   November Twisting   Aluminum
    December Twisting   Gold Filled  
1964   May Push Button   Stainless Steel & Plastic  
    August Push Button   Gold Plated & Plastic 
    October Push Button   Chrome Plated & Plastic 
1965   March Push Button   Aluminum & Plastic   
     June (July) Push Button   Aluminum & Plastic (Short Body) 
       September (November) Twisting   Aluminum & Plastic  
      November (October)   Push Button   Aluminum & Plastic (Short Body)  
  1966   May (July)   Twisting   Gold Plated & Aluminum   
     May (?)  Not sure if released in U.S. (July) Twisting    Gold Plated
1968   May Sliding Clip   Stainless Steel & Plastic
1971   June   Push Button   Stainless Steel & Plastic  
    (June?)  Not released in U.S. Push Button   Stainless Steel & Plastic   
1973   December Push Button   Stainless Steel & Aluminum  
1981   December Push Button   Stainless Steel & Plastic  
(1987)   (December?) Possibly released in U.S. 
   June 1990
 Push Button   Stainless Steel & Plastic  
1990   June (?) Push Button   Stainless Steel & Plastic  
1994   January (Namiki Brand)
  December 1999 (Namiki Brand Retired)
Push Button   Stainless Steel & Plastic
    October (?) Push Button   Stainless Steel & Plastic  
1998   December (Released only in Japan) Push Button   Gold Plated & Lacquered Enamel
1999   October  (Pilot Vanishing Point
  reintroduced in U.S.)  
Push Button   Gold Plated & Lacquered Enamel          
     December (Released only in Japan) Push Button   Gold Plated & Lacquered Enamel - ("Check" Pattern)   
2000   May Push Button   Rhodium & Lacquered Enamel 
     October
  (October 2003)
Push Button   Rhodium & Lacquer  (Black Carbonesque)
    December (Alloy nib, released only in Japan) Push Button   Rhodium & Lacquered Enamel  
2001   October Push Button   Rhodium  
    October (Namiki)
  (November 2003-Pilot)
Push Button   Rhodium & Lacquered Abalone Shell (Raden)
2002   October
  (October 2003)
Push Button   Rhodium & Lacquered (Blue Carbonesque)  
2003   May  (Limited U.S. release of 1,500) Push Button   Rhodium & Lacquered Enamel  (Mandarin Yellow)
       October Push Button   Rhodium & Lacquered Enamel (Chrome)   
    October  (Limited U.S. release of 1,500)
  (September 2004)
Push Button   Rhodium & Lacquered (Red Carbonesque)  
2004   September  (Released only in Japan) Push Button   Rhodium & Lacquered (Green Carbonesque)  
2005   March (Released only in Japan) Push Button   Rhodium & Lacquered Enamel (Turquoise)    
    November (First released in Japan - Summer
  2006 release in France)
Push Button   Rhodium & Painted Aluminum (DECIMO)    
2006   July 15 Push Button   Rhodium & Lacquered Enamel (Slate Gray)  
    September (Released only in Japan) Twisting   Rhodium & Lacquered Enamel  (FERMO)  
    November (Limited U.S. release of 1,235) Push Button   Rhodium & Lacquered Enamel (Ice Blue)  
2007   June (Limited edition released only in Japan
  - 400 pens)
Push Button   Chromium & Painted Aluminum (SESENTA Brown Marble)
    June (Limited edition released only in Japan
  - 100 pens)
Push Button   Chromium & Painted Aluminum (SESENTA Red Marble)
    June (Limited edition released only in Japan
  - 100 pens)
Push Button   Chromium & Painted Aluminum (SESENTA Blue/Green  Marble)
    September (Numbered limited edition - 300  
  Japan/ 900 U.S.  release out of 2007 pens
  worldwide)
Push Button   Rhodium & Lacquered Enamel (Orange)
    November Push Button   Rhodium & Lacquered Enamel (Gun Metal Gray)
2008   August (Numbered limited edition - 900      
  U.S. release out of 2008 pens  worldwide)
Push Button   Rhodium & Lacquered Enamel (Purple) 
    September Push Button   Rhodium & Lacquered Enamel (Yellow)
2009   Spring (Limited edition released only in 
  Japan  - 800 pens)
Push Button   Rhodium & Painted Aluminum (DECIMO "sparkly" Red) 
    Spring (Limited edition released only in
  Japan  - 800 pens)
Push Button   Rhodium & Painted Aluminum (DECIMO "sparkly" Blue) 
   August (Numbered limited edition - 850     
  U.S. release out of 2009 pens  worldwide)
Push Button   Rhodium & Lacquered Enamel (Vivid Red) 
2010  February 12 Push Button   Rhodium & Lacquered Enamel (Brown)

  
In 1994 Pilot Corporation of America launched its Namiki line of fine writing instruments in the United States.  The Vanishing Point, with its unique, innovative technology soon became a top seller.  A plastic body in five colors, stainless steel accents and 14K gold nib made Namiki's Vanishing Point a veritable must-have fountain pen.

In October 1999 Pilot launched a break-through version of this awesome fountain pen.  The new Vanishing Point bears the brilliant retractable design and ingenious technology, but is reborn in a refined, elegant style with a larger size, durable metal body and attractive gold or rhodium accents. 

In December 1999 Pilot retired the Namiki brand name for all new Vanishing Points except for the Raden.  

In November 2005 Pilot Japan returned to the narrower barrel design and added new vibrant colors to create the Decimo line, and in September of 2006 they released the Fermo with a twisting barrel end. 


An Important Note:   Pilot has in the past released different colors of the same model of pen at different times.  For example, in January 1994 Pilot first introduced the faceted "Namiki" Vanishing Point in black and stainless steel, and in matte black.  Then, in October (?) 1994, they released the same model in green, burgundy and blue.  In the above history page I have tried to show when every model/color was released, although I do not show all the released colors.  My next project is to figure out exactly what colors were released with each model.  The 1965 releases will take a bit of work because they came in a wide range of plastic colors and metal finishes.  I would appreciate an e-mail from anyone who knows what colors and finishes were released during this time period.


* I originally used the Namiki Certificate of Retirement (that was released in late 1999 when Pilot announced the retirement of the 1994 "Namiki" Vanishing Point pen) as a starting point of the launch dates and descriptions of the various models of Capless/Vanishing Point pens.  I have revised the table as I acquired new information.  I have included a revision date at the bottom of this section for those of you who want to keep up with the latest changes to the compendium.  Please e-mail me if you have any additions, comments or corrections.

1Namiki, Pilot Corporation. 1999. Certificate of Retirement, Namiki Vanishing Point (1994-1999)
 

  
Click below for Pilot/Namiki Vanishing Point/Capless fountain pen ink filling instructions.  
Ink Cartridge
(Large Document - English & Japanese)
Press-Plate (Squeeze) Converter and Twist Converter  
 Twist Converter with Ink Bottle
 
 
Last revision: November 3, 2009

 

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