Wilson Pro Staff 85 Made in Belgium

YamahaSecret

New User
I just found this Wilson Pro Staff 85 at the thrift store. I have been looking for one for years now. The thing that sets this one apart though, is that there is a "Made in Belgium" sticker. In researching the pro staff 85, I could only find hearsay about the staff being made in Belgium. The wiki page only says that they were made in ST Vincent, chicago, taiwan, china, etc. No mention of Belgium. Does anyone have any real definitive information about this stick? Thanks a lot!

Pics here : http://imgur.com/a/tBjlM
 

vsbabolat

G.O.A.T.
I think the first batch of Pro Staff were made in Belgium by Donnay. There are many Donnay racquets that have used the Pro Staff mold with out PWS.
 

vsbabolat

G.O.A.T.
The Donnay CGX 25 from 1984 was the first Donnay with that PS Mold. It wasn't until 1986 Pro Cynetic that Donnay used the PS mold with braided graphite and Kevlar.
 

Sanglier

Semi-Pro
There were at least two different models of CGX-25 produced: one with 8 holes in the bridge, one with 6 holes. An example of the 8-hole model can be seen in this thread: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/donnay-c-g-x-25-info.370567/. This was the model reviewed in World Tennis in 1984, and was said to have an 84.1 SQIN head (smaller than the ProStaff's 85 SQIN; therefore not covered by the Howard Head/Prince patent!). I have not been able to determine whether the 6-hole model (seen here:http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/donay-graphite-cgx-25.393481/) came before or after the 8-hole version, but based on the fact that the later Pro Cynetic had 8 holes, I am leaning towards the 6-hole model being the earlier version. Also, I don't think the CGX-25 was intended to go head-to-head with the PS, as it is mostly fiberglass, and retailed for only $109 (mail-order price was between $60 and $70 strung); whereas the PS85 was more expensively made and retailed for $260 (mail order price was $150 and up). The CGX-25 is more appropriately classed together with Dunlop Black Max and Wilson Aggressor. There were two 25 series racquets above the CGX model in 1983, the "Graphite Plus 25" (retailing for $165) and "Boron 25" (retailing for $225).

As for the Donnay-contract PS85, according to Rich Janes (one of the men responsible for the PS85 design), they were made briefly for European distribution, AFTER the St.Vincent factory was already up and running. In other words, the very first PS85 were made in Chicago, alongside the Ultras, then came the St. Vincent, then the Belgian... This is another reason the CGX-25 design cannot have been a derivative of the PS, as it predates the latter's release by about a year.

Unless Donnay had a spy in Chicago who was feeding Wilson R&D documents to Couvin! :)
 

BorgCash

Legend
Correction, the racquet i pictured before is GTX-25 (similar frame to PS85 without PWS), it's also Graphite Kevlar Braided Structure, it's indicated on the throat.
CGX-25 is different frame. I will post pictures of all racquets comparing each other later today.
 

vsbabolat

G.O.A.T.
There were at least two different models of CGX-25 produced: one with 8 holes in the bridge, one with 6 holes. An example of the 8-hole model can be seen in this thread: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/donnay-c-g-x-25-info.370567/. This was the model reviewed in World Tennis in 1984, and was said to have an 84.1 SQIN head (smaller than the ProStaff's 85 SQIN; therefore not covered by the Howard Head/Prince patent!). I have not been able to determine whether the 6-hole model (seen here:http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/donay-graphite-cgx-25.393481/) came before or after the 8-hole version, but based on the fact that the later Pro Cynetic had 8 holes, I am leaning towards the 6-hole model being the earlier version. Also, I don't think the CGX-25 was intended to go head-to-head with the PS, as it is mostly fiberglass, and retailed for only $109 (mail-order price was between $60 and $70 strung); whereas the PS85 was more expensively made and retailed for $260 (mail order price was $150 and up). The CGX-25 is more appropriately classed together with Dunlop Black Max and Wilson Aggressor. There were two 25 series racquets above the CGX model in 1983, the "Graphite Plus 25" (retailing for $165) and "Boron 25" (retailing for $225).

As for the Donnay-contract PS85, according to Rich Janes (one of the men responsible for the PS85 design), they were made briefly for European distribution, AFTER the St.Vincent factory was already up and running. In other words, the very first PS85 were made in Chicago, alongside the Ultras, then came the St. Vincent, then the Belgian... This is another reason the CGX-25 design cannot have been a derivative of the PS, as it predates the latter's release by about a year.

Unless Donnay had a spy in Chicago who was feeding Wilson R&D documents to Couvin! :)
There was two different molds for the CGX 25. The photo from your link was the first one in 1983. The second one that I am referring was from 1984 and is from the same mold as the Pro Staff.

The Wilson Pro Staff from the OP's post is an early production. The tell tale sign is that the grip size is on the inside of the throat. At the end of Pro Staff St. Vincent production the grip size was moved to the outside of the shaft above the grip with a small black sticker and on the other side was the Wilson Quality hologram. The Made in Belgium by Donnay did not have this. Only in later production St. Vincent and then the Made in Taiwan Pro Staff had the Wilson hologram. Donnay did a lot OEM work for Wilson. Many Wilson wood racquets were made by Donnay. For example the top end Pro Select Jack Kramer Autograph and Pro Select Jack Kramer Pro Staff were made by Donnay.




When the St. Vincent factory was closed Pro Staff production moved to Taiwan.
 
Last edited:

Sanglier

Semi-Pro
As for the Donnay-contract PS85, according to Rich Janes (one of the men responsible for the PS85 design), they were made briefly for European distribution, AFTER the St.Vincent factory was already up and running. In other words, the very first PS85 were made in Chicago, alongside the Ultras, then came the St. Vincent, then the Belgian... This is another reason the CGX-25 design cannot have been a derivative of the PS, as it predates the latter's release by about a year.
I hope what I wrote above didn't leave the impression that Belgian production began after the St. Vincent production had ended. I only stated that the Belgian contract was initiated after the St Vincent production had already begun (i.e., the earliest St. Vincent frames predate the first Belgian frames, which were made concurrently with the St. Vincent frames). It's also clear that Donnay's brief production run ended long before the one in St. Vincent.

Again, this is from Janes' recollection, and he is quite adamant that the Donnay contract did not predate the St Vincent production.

As for the CGX-25, I included two links in my post above, one for the 8-hole version, one for the 6-hole version. The 6-hole version definitely looks different from the PS, and VS' post seems to confirm that it is the earlier model. the later 8-hole version does indeed resemble a PS85 minus the PWS bumps (the one I linked to looks virtually the same as the one VS posted, save for some very minor details in the graphics). World Tennis reviewers claimed that this model had an 84.1 SQIN head, which would have made it slightly smaller than the PS85. However, a side by side comparison (see scans below; WT did a very good job of photographing their frames from the same distance and angle; I added some red lines to facilitate dimensional comparison) shows that while there are small differences between the CGX-25 and PS85 in throat geometry, their head geometry is essentially identical. So either WT was mistakenly referring to the earlier 6-hole version in their review, or the head size of PS 85 was rounded up by nearly a full square inch. Either way, I would agree that based on appearance alone, the 8-hole CGX-25 seems to be closely modeled after the PS-85 (which is a 6-hole design, incidentally), possibly as a byproduct of the brief PS 85 contract Donnay obtained from Wilson.

Note the ubiquitous presence of young Mary Carillo in WT equipment reviews of that era:

 

PBODY99

Legend
I seem to recall most of the 1st midsize frames measure just under the "Prince limit" so the companies would not have to pay for use of their patent.
 

BreakPoint

Bionic Poster
$260 back then! That's a fortune in 1983 for a tennis racket
Yup, some of the earliest graphite racquets in the mid-to-late 1970's cost around $300 or so back then. That's almost $1,200 in today's dollars! So keep that in mind whenever someone complains about the costs of racquets today. The prices today are a steal compared to what the used to cost. :)

What's just as amazing is the the cost of a can of tennis balls has remained pretty much the same over the past 40 years. Given inflation, the price of a can of balls should be around $8 today. So the fact that it's still closer to $2 a can, as it was back in the 70's, is another steal. ;)
 

Sanglier

Semi-Pro
$260 back then! That's a fortune in 1983 for a tennis racket
The scan is actually from 1984, but yes, that's about $587 in 2015 dollars. However, this is MSRP; the mail order price for the PS85 at the time was between $150 and $170 depending on your string choice; which is still plenty steep. The retail price shown in "Tennis" magazine is often way lower than the one in "World Tennis" for some reason, perhaps because it reflects real world store prices rather than MSRP? For the PS85, "Tennis" shows a retail price of $215 in 1984, same for the "PS Largehead" and "PS 125".

This is at the same price point as the Prince Graphite and Head TXD, TXE.

The only production racquet that actually sold for close to $300 in 1984 (and close to $400 in 1983) was the Prince Boron, which carried the astronomical MSRP of $500 (or nearly $1200 in today's dollars) when it came out in 1983, yet a quick look on the big auction site would reveal that many were made, and even more shockingly, bought and used! I drove several used cars back then that were cheaper... Boron was expensive, but not THAT expensive! The similarly-constructed Wimbledon Super Boron, made by the same Kunnan factory, likely using the same raw materials, retailed for $200 less. The "Boron" was not even the racquet with the highest boron content made at the time: Two Sentra racquets that were largely ignored by the market, the "Panther" and the "Boron Stealth", claimed to have boron content of 50% and 90%, respectively, and both retailed for only a hair more than the PS85. Prince seemed to be the only brand that was completely immune to pricing pressure during those years, even though they OEM'd everything!
 

BorgCash

Legend
Yes, i got this one but not in such a great condition as yours. And all balance weights were missed, actually i forst recgnized what the hole in the hadle is for just now when i see your picture. So there are different weights, interesting. How secure they stay in place? I like this racquet, the head seems softer than PS 85. Can i use the grommets of PS85?
 
Top