Minimalistic but modern pens

I’ve been toying with the idea of getting the C1 pencil. Just haven’t researched it enough. I do like seeing TOMBOW getting back into daring designs. The “floating” rear end piece is a nice step in that direction.


I think you’ll enjoy both the C1 pencil and pen. Great internals, design and materials. The pencil is one that’s been on my desk for a good while.


This is about the best price I have seen on this one.



Thanks – it’s a beautiful design. I’m leaning towards the silver color, as I think it may make the floating tail piece more eye catching.

I’ve seen no indication of TOMBOW planning to release the C1 in other markets. Maybe it’ll just remain in the JDM? It’ll also be interesting to see how long they keep it in production. Anyway, if JDM, it probably won’t be discounted. Might be a good idea to buy it while the USD/JPY exchange rate is so favorable.


It’s hard to imagine Tombow retreating the Zoom brand back to JDM only status. But then again, Pilot Raiz hardly gets a mention anywhere, and Mitsubishi’s Steward is even rarer.

I believe the Zoom will eventually make it overseas. How will they recoup the development costs by only selling to locals? How many locals would buy a 7000-yen pen or pencil? This is next level up from a 5000-yen KT Dive.


I wasn’t suggesting the whole Zoom brand would be… only the C1 model. I don’t know how difficult it is to manufacture it, but we’ve seen something like this with the Kuru Toga Dive. They tried to roll it out for export to the USA, but they bungled it by not making enough that fueled a raging scalper business. So they pulled it back, then later reintroduced it at an astronomical price, and still had to pull it again. I don’t see that happening with the C1, but it’s curious how TOMBOW hasn’t been forthcoming about their marketing intensions.


Oh no, I’m with you on being puzzled by Tombow. Somehow the new Zoom series, which is supposed to supersede the existing models, has been focused exclusively for JDM.

Perhaps the actual sales figures for legacy Zoom gave them pause? For sure, the stocks of Zoom L105, 535, 505mf were never ‘sold out’ at local specialty stores in Singapore. For that matter, Sakura Craft Lab also didn’t exactly catch fire here, sadly.

The non-JDM enthusiast market may not be as big as they hoped for.


Somehow the new Zoom series, which is supposed to supersede the existing models, has been focused exclusively for JDM.

It could be that intended production was not going to be enough to serve an international market. Outside of a small enthusiast community like ours… how could they know if there was going to be enough appeal? My guess is that they’d do JDM first and then if they saw enough interest, expand for markets like USA / EU.

(NOTE: I had an unexpected “reCAPTCHA failure” on the TOMBOW USA website, upon submitting the form. Make sure you select all and copy before submit. You can write directly by email, sending to “”)

In any case, I’ve submitted inquiries to both Tombow USA and in Japan. Hopefully they’ll be able to supply some useful information about the intended sales market future of the C1 model line.

I think you’re right about the Sakura Craft Lab line. I’ve been seeing a lot of stock going up for sale in various auction and used market sites. That line is a little bit pricey, but it’s definitely high quality. I just wish they’d “bite the bullet” and do a special limited edition of the Sakura Archi YS3000!


That’s the list price? I am waiting for discounts on them, 7700 with all the proxy cost levels add on is a bit heavy for my taste… but maybe they come to Europe (tombow is appearing here from time to time) – then the list price is ok for me.


You can find some on Mercari that are used but without any scratches and such being sold for less than half of that, even with original box included.

1 Like

PILOT’s MR series looks a bit ordinary at first. Typical all steel body, rear clicker mechanism with chamfered steel cover. Chromed steel clip. The mechanism is very smooth with a satisfying slightly muted click. A few etched models were made with different patterns. The most common being the dotted grid. The mechanical pencil is more common, but you can occasionally find the ballpoint. I believe they were usually sold in sets of MP+BP. No sign of a matching fountain pen.

I got lucky on this one. Poor listing, tucked under the fountain pen → PILOT category. No mention of “MR” or “dotted.” LINK

Overall, the machining quality of the micro dot grid is very good, although you will see some imperfections under close examination. Some worse than others. I’ve only seen one example with a dot missed. Some may be a little off alignment. But generally, PILOT did a pretty phenomenal job.

The only aesthetic drawback is the rear clicker metal cap will show signs of use by scratching from movement in/out. In a way, it’s kind of a good indicator of how well used is an example. Because the steel body is so resilient and can also be buffed to remove scratches from use. I’ve not tried using micromesh on the cap–will have to give it a try.


Found out something interesting from PILOT Japan.

Pilot vintage stainless steel mechanical pencil, code HG-300SK. Launched in January of 1978. The name of it is the Custom Mizutama (which means “polka-dot”). It looks exactly like a PILOT MR (mechanical pencil and ballpoint) but “MR” isn’t present and instead there is a grid of engraved dots. Interestingly enough, the product code for the MR is HMR-250S (basically with “MR” engraved, no dotted grid). And the Custom silver grid model (MP paired with the FP of same theme) is HG-500SK.

Anyway, this explains why it’s absent from the 1977 catalog.

I had also inquired about two other engraved models… but alas, they had no information about them.