Pilot Long/Short

A cheaper, lighter companion to my Myu:

Still has the sticker on it, too.

These pocket pens were all the rage in Japan in the 70s, with the Big Three well-represented in the range and variety of models sold. Richard Binder talks more about them here, including a lovely discussion about nib material (steel on mine, gold easily available at all sorts of prices) and an examination of the offerings made by smaller brands.

This one is a direct relation of the Elite (which became the E95s), and in fact is a budget model with a different nib design: hooded instead of inlaid. They are all pocket-sized and incredibly light, with the exception of the famous steel ones, and Pilot’s Long/Short takes the smaller cartridge-sized converters:

Top to bottom: cap, body + CON-40, and barrel.

These pens are all united by their common feature: a small bump on the body, allowing the cap to post securely behind onto the barrel to extend into a full-sized pen. The lightness of the materials used prevent the assembly from being too heavy, as seen below:

The cap weighs practically nothing, so the pen remains well-balanced.

I found the nib on this one rather lovely, if a bit on the dry side. Pilot’s design means I can’t take it apart as easily, with the nib and feed locked in place with some extra bits of plastic inside the body, but it’s a fine gold-plated steel nib that does its job really well. No fuss at all: pop a cartridge in, wait a little, and off it goes. Very smooth and dependable, as ever with Pilot.


These are easily found on eBay and on the secondary market, and don’t cost much. It’s even possible to find some still in their original packaging. The range of designs and nib sizes is truly astonishing, and you can even come across demonstrator versions of these!

If you like really small and light pens, these are for you: it’s really light, enough to go missing in your own pocket because you don’t feel a weight there. 

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