11/2022 by  FRIEDRICH STIEMER, HOLGER DASSLER - Back to overview

CHERRY MX unveils the MX Black Clear-Top, a new edition of a switch that was produced in the 1980s and is known in the community as "Nixie". Due to the characteristic exterior and the smooth switching feel with rich acoustics, this variant is considered an insider tip for fans of linear MX switches. Since the switch, which was specially manufactured for Nixdorf Computer AG at the time, was only produced for a few years, the original "Nixie" is highly sought after and is only available second-hand or can be found as an expensive rarity on various sales platforms. The now-introduced MX Black Clear-Top follows in the footsteps of this legend but is optimized by current manufacturing processes and materials. In addition, there are two different variants to cover the diverse needs of DIY enthusiasts and the switch community: one with first-class high-performance lubricant in perfect dosage, which was applied in a high-precision, automated process, and one without pre-lubrication.

CHERRY MX Black Clear-Top - the new edition of the "Nixie"

The community name “Nixie” originates from a variant of the classic MX Black, which was specially adapted to the wishes of the former German company Nixdorf Computer AG: The requirement was a milky upper part of the housing, an increase in the actuating force from 60 to 63.5 centinewtons, as well as the relatively rare solution at the time of having a diode integrated into the switch for n-key rollover, or NKRO for short. The switch was mainly found in the "Nixdorf CT06-CT07/2 M Softkeys" keyboards for use on minicomputers, servers, or terminals. The production of these customer switches took place at CHERRY until the end of the 1980s, which makes the Nixie switch an absolute rarity these days, and even used ones are rarely found. 

The switch was highly praised among enthusiasts, especially for its smooth, linear typing feel and rich acoustics. In combination with the scarce availability, the "Nixie" is considered an MX variant that has enjoyed high esteem in the community for years and is traded at high prices.

Optimizations according to today's MX standards

With the official and new MX Black Clear-Top, CHERRY MX responds to the community demand that has existed for years and relaunches the iconic switch under a different product name to highlight the enhancements. During the design and manufacturing process, care was taken to ensure that the MX Black Clear-Top retains the features of the original while also incorporating all of the modern production optimizations to elevate the switch to today's industry-leading MX standard. 

That's why the MX Black Clear-Top still features the familiar milky top housing, black bottom housing, and a black stem. The linear switching characteristic features an actuation force of 63.5 centinewtons, a pre-travel of 2 millimeters, and a total travel of 4 millimeters. The vintage design was also retained for the spring, which is why it features a gold-colored stainless-steel variant. 

The MX Black Clear-Top is thus suitable for retro fans, frequent typists, gamers, and users who value a linear, direct switching characteristic paired with decent acoustics.

Available with or without grease ex-works

The CHERRY MX Black Clear-Top is offered exclusively as a 5-pin version with fixing pins for the printed circuit board (PCB). There will be a choice between a version with and without factory-applied lubricant. The former contains high-performance lubricant at selected points within the switch, explicitly applied and with high precision in ideal doses using an automated process. This ensures even lower-friction actuation with optimized acoustics without negatively affecting the typing feel or lifetime. In terms of ingredients and qualities, the applied lubricant corresponds to the community favorite KRYTOX GPL 205 GRADE 0, which guarantees reliable long-term lubrication. So, if you prefer a consistently high-quality lubricant and don't want to modify yourself further, this solution is the ideal choice. 

The CHERRY MX Black Clear-Top version without factory-applied lubricant is intended to give enthusiasts maximum freedom in customization and the opportunity to modify the switches according to their preferences.

Unrivaled contact system

Of course, the CHERRY MX Black Clear-Top is also manufactured exclusively in the German factory in Auerbach and subjected to continuous quality controls to meet the premium standard set by the company itself, even over high volumes. 

As typical for MX switches, the MX Black Clear-Top also features the world's exclusive, unrivaled Gold Crosspoint contact system for reliable, precise key inputs. As a result, the maximum number of actuations for the MX Black Clear-Top is guaranteed to be well over 50 million - without any loss of input quality. The Gold Crosspoint system is characterized by a thick gold layer on the two contacts, which are robustly and securely connected to the carrier plates by a high-precision welding process. With the particular bending radii, a bounce time of typically less than 1 millisecond is also guaranteed, resulting in the fastest response times.

Availability from the beginning of 2023

The CHERRY MX Black Clear-Top is expected to be available from all official distributors worldwide from the beginning of 2023.