Pilot (pen company)


Pilot Corporation
TypePublic (K.K)
TYO: 7846
Founded1918; 104 years ago (1918) as "Namiki Manufacturing Company"
FounderRyosuke Namiki
Area served
Key people
Shu Itoh (President) [1]
ProductsWriting implements
BrandsG2, Precise, FriXion, Dr. Grip, Enso, Kakuno, Acroball, VBall, Varsity, Razor Point, Down Force, EasyTouch, Axiom [2]

Pilot Corporation (株式会社パイロットコーポレーション, Kabushiki Gaisha Pairotto Kōporēshon, TYO: 7846) is a Japanese pen manufacturer based in Tokyo, Japan. It produces writing instruments, stationery and jewelry, but is best known for its pens.[3]

It is the largest pen manufacturer in Japan, with competition globally from other pen companies like Japanese Pentel Co., Mitsubishi Pencil Co. (Uni-ball) and American Paper Mate. Pilot has many subsidiaries throughout the world, including in the Philippines, United Kingdom, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Brazil, South Africa, Germany and France. Most Pilot pens are made in Japan, France and the US. Namiki, Pilot's fountain pens with maki-e lacquering designs, are made in the Hiratsuka factory.


In 1915, Ryōsuke Namiki (並木良輔), a professor from Tokyo Nautical College in Japan, left his job to find a small factory near Tokyo to produce gold pen nibs.[4] In 1916, Namiki expanded his product line and became a full-fledged manufacturer of writing instruments.[4]

The Pilot Pen Corporation was founded by Ryosuke Namiki with Masao Wada (和田正雄) in 1918 under the name of the Namiki Manufacturing Company.[4]

In 1926 it established overseas offices in Malaysia, Singapore, Boston, London and Shanghai. In 1938 the name of the company changed to the Pilot Pen Co., Ltd. It was again renamed in 1950 as the Pilot Ink Company, Ltd. In 1954 a branch was opened in Brazil. From 1972 to 1999 various sub-companies were formed to cover the various branches, and the collective name for these is Pilot Corporation. More recently, Pilot began the BeGreen line—pens and pencils composed of mostly recycled content.

In 1995 and 1996, they raced a Ferrari F40 LM at the 24 Hours Of Le Mans. The racing team that entered the F40 LM was at first named Pilot-Aldix Racing, but was soon named under Pilot Pen Racing and Pilot Racing. It won at the 4 Hours of Anderstorp and finished 12th at Le Mans.

In 2018 Pilot celebrated the company's 100th anniversary with a number of special pages to its website and special edition pens.[5]


Fountain pens

Fltr, (above): Petit1 fountain pen, Dr. Grip gel pen, 0.25mm Hi-Tec-C gel pen; (middle): FriXion erasable pens [note 1], FriXion ball pens; (below): Hi-Tec-C color pens, ballpoint pens, FriXion ball pen refills

In 1963,[7] Pilot Corporation introduced the Capless. Unlike other fountain pens during its time, the Pilot Capless featured a fully retractable nib. The Capless was later reintroduced as the Vanishing Point in 1972. In 2012, the company released the Metropolitan (known as Cocoon in Japan), a popular entry-level fountain pen. The Varsity is a disposable fountain pen that is pre-loaded with ink, while the Prera is a smaller pocket pen. Other offerings include the Pilot Falcon, which has a semi-flexible gold nib.

Some of Pilot’s higher-end pens bear the name of "Custom" or "Custom Heritage" and a two or three digit number. "Custom" models are cigar-shaped, while "Custom Heritage" models have flat tops and bottoms. The number is based on the year of introduction (from the foundation of the company—the Custom 74 was introduced in 1992) for models with two digits, while the third digit on models with three digits represents a list price when multiplied by ¥10,000 (the Custom 823 was introduced in 2000 and cost ¥30,000 at the time of introduction).


Fountain pen

  • Iroshizuku (15 ml, 50 ml): 24 kinds of themes of "beautiful scenery of Japan" (3 new colors added to the conventional 21 colors in November 2012). All are bottled inks.
  • Bottle ink (30ml, 70ml, 350ml): The color variations are black, blue black, blue and red.
  • Cartridge ink (sold in units of 12): Four colours (black, blue black, blue, and red).


  • Drawing ink (30ml, 350ml), securities ink (30ml): It is an ink for each application and is used with a pen or brush.

Pens from recycled bottles

Pilot Corporation published some ecological facts about its pens in 2015.[8] The most eco-friendly is the Bottle-2-Pen (B2P) which is made of 90.4% recycled components. [9] PET plastic from bottles are used for much of it, so it is sometimes nicknamed the 'PetPen' or 'PetBall'.


The brand manufactures and commercialises a wide range of products under its own name and other brands, such as FriXion (erasable ink gel pens), Acroball (hybrid ink ballpoint pens); Pintor; B2P and Begreen (both, products with recycled components).[10]

Sub brands include: Better, Rex-Grip, Super Grip G (oil-based ballpoint); Precise, Hi-Tecpoint (rollerballs); Hi-Tec-C, G-2, Juice (or Pop'lol) (gel pens); and Coleto (customizable multi-pen system); Mogulair, Doctor Grip series, Super Grip, Fure Fure (2020) series (mechanical pencils); Automac (mechanical pencil equipped with automatic function); S series: S3, S5, S10, S20, S30 (drafting pencils).

The following table contains the Pilot product lines in Asia, Europe, and North and South America, as of December 2019:[11]

Category Products
Writing implements Ballpoint, rollerball, gel, needle point and fountain pens, markers, highlighters, mechanical pencils, refills, digital pens
Accessories Erasers, correction fluids, inks


  1. ^ These pens has a mechanism for which their gel ink become transparent by erasing-friction heat; "When you rub the ink with the hard rubber eraser, heat from the resulting friction causes a temperature-sensing compound to activate an acid compounds, thus neutralizing the dye."[6]


  1. ^ Executives (Corporate profile) on Pilot, 20 Aug 2020
  2. ^ Brands on PilotPen, 20 Aug 2020
  3. ^ Chicago Tribune. Patterson, Troy. 2017.
  4. ^ a b c "Pilot Pen: History", Pilot website.
  5. ^ "Pilot 100th Anniversary Site". Retrieved 20 August 2019.
  6. ^ "Pilot FriXion Erasable Pens: A Comprehensive Guide".
  7. ^ Pilot Vanishing Point Unsharpen.com
  8. ^ Pilot Pen Offers Alternative for Trashed Water Bottles: The World's First Pen Made From Recycled Bottles on PR Newsware, 22 Apr 2015
  9. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Top 10 Ballpoint Pens". YouTube.
  10. ^ Collections on Pilot Europe
  11. ^ Writing categories

External links

  • Official website Edit this at Wikidata
  • Pilot Pen global