Saturday, February 01, 2014

2014 Starts With a Rip-Off?

In mid January an auction for a Pilot pen & mechanical pencil set on my local online auction site piqued my interest. The details of the set were minimal and I was a bit suspicious about it all, but I thought I would put in the minimum bid and leave it at that. If I lost then no drama, and if I won and it was a second hand scratched Pilot lemon then it would have only cost me the equivalent of US $10.19 including postage. Well, I won the auction and in due course my Pilot pen & pencil set arrived.

Upon opening the parcel the Pilot hard case had a fair bit of edge wear and tear, so my hopes were not good. I opened the case, to reveal an annoying lemon set. I say annoying because as you can see the case is a Pilot case, but the pen and pencil were unbranded, not Pilots. Clearly I had been trumped and taken for sucker.

After a few seconds my annoyance and disappointment subsided and said to myself just calm down, relax, be cool. I had a good shot at returning them and getting my money back. Anyway, may as well investigate the lemons and see how bad they are.

Firstly I said before the pen and mechanical pencil were themselves unbranded. That's not strictly correct. Around the centre band of each is printed in black the word KICPA. KICPA? Never heard of that brand. Also it wasn't engraved or anything, rather printed on. A bit strange really. So, I googled KICPA pens and pencils and got next to nothing, except links to a couple of old eBay auctions, for pen and pencil sets with KICPA printed on them, in Pilot cases! So, maybe there was a little more to this than first thought.
Right, time to start pulling things apart to have a look at the entrails.
Hmmm... definitely not an el-cheapo mechanical pencil insert mechanism.
There's a lead clearance needle on the eraser. Again, not the mark of a cheap generic set.
Things are even clearer with the ballpoint pen. It again has a good quality insert mechanism, and a Pilot brand R-3 refill.
So, despite my initial reaction, this is obviously a genuine Pilot pen and mechanical pencil set. What then is this KICPA? First thought is this set is part of Pilots corporate gift programme and KICPA are a company who have bought them as gifts. Back to googling KICPA.
Ahhhh.... KICPA... The Korean Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Pen and pencil users! Well, that's my best guess anyway.

The mechanical pencil is 0.5mm push top ratchet mechanism. As you can see, the metal body is a gold colour with a pattern of long rectangularish flat sections. There's probably a name for that sort of pattern but I don't know what it is. Please enlighten me if you do happen to know.

The set is in very good condition, basically "as new" despite the condition of the case. Man, those Pilot cases. They really are spring loaded. You could lose a finger closing them.

There is a reasonably large community of Korean immigrants down here, so I can only assume a KICPA member has emigrated and tired of his/her set.

Right then, moving on. Whilst browsing my Korean backgrounds I came across this.

Hmmmm, Little Miss Bo-Peep Korea and her sheep and a "Beat This Caption"? Hey, are they poking fun at us down here? I used to get a decent number of hits from Korea... translation please... whats it say?


Anonymous said...

Gosh the backgrounds take about from Pens
on this one..what are they saying?. The pens look well built but too much gold.

As always it was fun read...if one does not like the pens one wants to see the next background.

Unknown said...

My Korean expert says it roughly translates to "I said I needed a wolf"

Kiwi-d said...

Ahhh, right, a play on "the wolf in sheeps clothing".

Matthias said...

The mechanical pencil is very nice, but maybe a tad too bling for everyday use...

Andy said...

BTW, the name of the club in the background, loup garou, is French for werewolf.

Anonymous said...

Nice find. The sheep girl photo has been "cult" for a couple of years. The original title was "fight SLEEP for 24/7 fun" - it was of course an ad from a brand in clothes. There is a second one, a man kicking the sheep in front of the "Wolf club".


Kent said...

Thanks for funny posting.
I also think the pen and pencil had been given to people by Korean Institute of CPA, as gift. Maybe present to audience of seminar or conference. I guess it's made by Korea Pilot. I heard it got permission to use the name Pilot, but I'm not sure if it's a subsidiary company of Pilot Japan.
Here's an article (in Korean);
It's about gold-mining in old stationery store, and you can see the same pencil there.

What the girls says is, "I said, what I need is a wolf!"
Michael is right.

And, wolf and fox are used as symbol of man and woman in Korea. :D

Kiwi-d said...

Thanks Kent.
In that blog you mention it appears the pencil is marked as 6000D. Is that its model number?

Kent said...

Sorry for late reply.
Yes, he says the name of the pencil is 6000D. He doesn't know what 6000 and D mean exactly. He also says stationery store owner said it was stocked around late 1980's to early 1990's.
Some Korean stationery manufacturers used price to name product, so it is possible that 6000 is the price of the pencil. And at that time, 6,000 KRW was fairly high price for a Korean-made mechanical pencil.

ThirdeYe said...

Neat set. It's fun when things work out like that. I figured the "KICPA" was just a company imprint that ordered them.

John Bae said...

KICPA stands for Korean Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

John Bae said... check this out. Some guy went to the local stationery store and bought the 6000d at 3500 KRW, but another guy went to the official Korean Pilot website,and found that it was worth 140000 KRW.

John Bae said...

There was a very complicated relationship between the Korean and Japanese Pilot. The Korean Pilot was founded in 1975. They did technology R&D with the Japanese Pilot and grew up to become a big individual company. They also bought the Taiwanese Pilot from the Japanese Pilot, but they almost became bankrupt during the IMF. From what I know they are only manufacturing leads now.

Kiwi-d said...

Thanks for the information about Korea Pilot Co. It's something I have never really been able to figure out.

Unknown said...

Maybe the colour is a little bit hard, but the surface design is very very interesting....obviously it isn't a drafting tool. I do think you made a good business...

Larsthegreat said...

I have to disagree with Matthias when he said,
"The mechanical pencil is very nice, but maybe a tad too bling for everyday use..."
Of course, everybody has different taste. While I don't generally go for gold pencils, I just love that finish with the offset flat sections. And the clip that terminates not straight, but at a matching angle? Beautiful. I'd use this pencil every day.