1964 was the year of the Tokyo Olympics, and Japan was keen to show off to the world. Pilot were one of the official sponsors, and wanted to have some impressive new products to demonstrate. Their most outstanding creation is still the best known retractable fountain pen today: the Pilot Capless (also known as the Vanishing Point in the USA). The first model used a twist-action at the top to extend and retract the tip, by sliding an internal 'nib unit' forwards and backwards. Later versions introduced the quicker push-button mechanism, still used in the current models.
These aren't cheap pens, so they'd be no good if they were just cute gimmicks - fortunately, they are beautifully-engineered pens, with top-quality nibs, making them practical to use as well as impressive and convenient.
And if you really want something impressive? How about the Italian-made Visconti Pininfarina Carbongrafite - a retractable fountain pen from the same designer who gave the world the Maserati GranTurismo?