Originally Posted by Sanglier
Thanks for the heads-up, Hans! Yes, that Rossignol frame seems to be a very close match to the Durafiber I picked up. However, I noticed that it has a denser string pattern (16x20) than that of the DF (16x18 ). This is not a stringer artifact - I counted 64 grommets on the Rossignol, whereas the DF only has 58. My guess is that these two frames are likely fraternal twins rather than exact clones.
Incidentally, I came across another PS85 this week at one of my fishing spots. This one is really worn (though not broken), and I was going to pass on it due to the condition. However, when I lifted the stringer sticker on the butt cap, I could vaguely make out the letters "JWB". I didn't have my reading glasses with me to clearly see the 'B', but those tiny and widely spaced letters are distinct enough from the later iterations that I knew instantly - thanks to what I had learned on this board - that this is a Couvin frame.
The semi-glossy paint, the single sticker with the moderate tension range - everything is just as others had previously described regarding this model. However, I've also noticed that my Couvin frame has a significantly more rounded contour than the sharply chiseled look of the later models. This is especially obvious around the PWS bumps. If this characteristic is unique to the Couvin frames, then it would indicate that Wilson didn't simply ship the molds from Couvin to Chicago when they switched production sites, but that they had in fact made a new mold for the Chicago frame that incorporated small adjustments.
You are absolutely right, I had noticed this "deviation" also.
According to Michel Guilluy, a Donnay historian and good friend, Couvin was a proving ground to develop the braided graphite production process.
They could not have chosen a worst site since Donnay had absolutely no clue how to deal with modern materials such as graphite etc.
They were behind in this technology for they had only produced wooden rackets so far but since Donnay and Wilson had been involved in previous years, Donnay produced many wooden frames for Wilson, they figured it would be a nice hidden place to try this out.
The PS 85 moulds did stay behind in Couvin and at a later stage Donnay used them to make the Pro Cynetic range with the same braided graphite/kevlar mix as the PS 85 but without the PWS. If you compare your Belgium PS 85 with a Pro Cynetic 1 you will be astound by the similar moulding marks.