Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Big PC

My defences were down when I saw the auction for this Pierre Cardin ballpoint pen/pencil set. The seller claimed to have bought it about 10 years ago from a genuine Pierre Cardin retail outlet in New York, and I hit that "Bid" button.Black plastic body with chrome metal filigree overlay sleeve on the top half of the body. The other metal trims are a very light gold colour. I’m not really sure what metal that would be.

Fancy filigree work on pencils is not usually to my taste, but I must admit this pen set is rather attractive. As you might expect, all that metalwork makes for a heavy pencil, and one that is quite top heavy.The mechanical pencil is a screw action mechanism – wind the top half of the body around to propel or retract the 0.9mm lead. The top half of the body pulls off to access the eraser, and lead storage beneath the eraser. As usual though, leads are replaced via the tip.“Pierre Cardin” and “China” are engraved on the middle body ring, and the PC logo on the tip of the pocket clip. There are no model numbers or designations to be seen. The box has various Pierre Cardin markings. I must say I am surprised at the prominence given to this items Chinese origin, and I would have expected another source for a brand name like Pierre Cardin. Despite its claimed age, this set is in very good condition, although the box has a little wear and tear. Of course the world is awash with fakes, and I’ve got no idea what a real Pierre Cardin pen set is supposed to look like. So whilst I assume I have a real Pierre Cardin,someone could have just as easily played me for a chump and sold me a Peter Cardigan.At the end of the day, I got the set for a rather paltry sum, and I’m happy whatever PC it is.

16 comments:

B2-kun said...

It looks like an interesting good-looking set. Though it seems unlikely that PC would've outsourced production to China ten years ago. Reportedly back then the industry of manufacturing and selling fakes was large and well operating openly in the same streets where the real McCoys were sold.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave, you're just hell-bent on making your groggy readers BUST out laughing over their morning coffee with all this talk about SCREW ACTION mechanisms. Well, you got me again :>))). My track record guessing the professional backgrounds of your mannequins is pretty spotty, but once again I'll bite. Your lead spokesmodel, is she a daytime drama queen or your country's premier microbiologist?

The Pierre Cardin pen and pencils sets are legion over here. They sprout up like kudzu during the holidays and are available at WalMart and all the big box office supply outlets. I have looked askance at these sets for years because somehow I associate them with fake Rolexes. Some models may be good enough to pass but deep down you know they're the mass produced result of cheap labor and a licensing agreement (or not) picked up for a song. At the price point they sell for over here I can't quite see why anyone would go to the trouble of faking them. I will agree your set looks better than most and you're probably right that early on these sets did more than just trade on the Pierre Cardin name, but the ones I see everywhere now remind me of the decline and fall of Grundig shortwave radios. Grundigs went from hand assembled chassis with top notch componentry and superbly finished bodies in the Sixties, Seventies, and Eighties, to disposable plastic junk in the Nineties and Aughts with the advent of globalization. The Grundig name used to mean something. Like so many other brands I no longer follow it.

Barrel Of A Pencil

kiwi-d said...

Hello Barrel
Well I’m not sure I can be held accountable for your interpretation of the innocent use of mechanical terminology.
I had no idea PC was so common in the USA, so thanks for all that information. Maybe then the price I paid wasn’t such a bargain, and I am indeed a chump.
For once my lead spokesmodel is areasonably appropriate choice to the subject matter, she is one of my countries leading fashion designers.

Anonymous said...

Tricky, tricky, tricky Dave :>))). I knew she was going to be more than a pretty...face, she's a leading businesswoman. I'm still laughing :>))).

Anonymous said...

Barrell - brilliant comment about GRUNDIG - my old man uesd to go ape over their shortwave radios.

Tuppencehapenny

Anonymous said...

Grundig you say? Grundig went bankrupt in 2003 and was sliced and diced into various other companies. The TV and radio stuff went to a Turkish holding. From my point of view, Grundig just became a sticker attached to garden-variety stuff produced somewhere in China.

Anonymous said...

2 1/2 p, your dad's attachment was not misplaced.

Hypocrite that I am, I am not immune to the siren call of cheap Chinese eye-candy. About two seconds after I posted my comment taking Dave to task for buying a Pierre Cardin (!) pen and pencil set, I remebered I just bought two Chinese made Jinhao (?) fountain pens. I only had to send one of them back. Dave, our Pencil Confessor, has given me absolution. Well...not yet, I'm hoping he will :>))).

Barrel Of A Pencil

Germ said...

I have been given 2 pierre cardin sets as gifts. they reside either at someone elses house or at the bottom of a landfill.

Anonymous said...

Hello Kiwi-d
I have a similar set as well. Cant remember where I bought it from. For the life of me, I cant figure out how to refill the led - can anyone help.

Newbie

Anonymous said...

Hey Folks,

I have one of these pencils. Love it. Only problem is, what lead does it take? I'm guessing at a 0.9mm since a 0.7 falls out.
Anyone know?

kiwi-d said...

Mine is 0.9mm as noted in the article.

Tim said...

oh, BTW Dave, mine just says Pierre Cardin on the ring. No China. Ya might have a knock-off there.

Tim said...

Dave, Mine says Pierre Cardin on the band (in fact, that is the only writing on it anywhere), no China.
You might have a knock-off there.

Shushan said...

I have the red w/ chrome set. Found your site looking for the lead specs as the box died and I threw it away without noting that info (oops!)

Mine was a lovely Christmas present some years ago that I am finally getting around to using...No idea where they found it.

Anonymous said...

hmmm id wonder what kind of price he paid i think i got a set of 4 i use for desk pens in the house that i recall only spending 15 dollars for in that same design navy with silver. they are a nice looking pen. really didnt think they were any kind of collectors item though. mine have a slightly different incet pattern.

Anonymous said...

Tim, you are optimistic. Get you magnifying glass out and look at the very top of the clips where it joins the cap. There you will China!