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Nakaya Dorsal Fin - Version 2


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45 replies to this topic

#1 Jonst

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 13:31

1. First Impressions

Unless you are lucky enough to have bought a Nakaya pen held in stock by John Mottishaw, Aesthetic Bay or one of the other small number of Nakaya retailers, in all likelihood you will have had a wait of at least 2-3 months to see your pen, by which time the anticipation will have reached fever pitch! It would therefore be very easy for the actual pen not to live up to expectations. Fortunately, for me (and many other happy Nayaka owners)that was not the case when my pen finally arrived in November 2009, having been ordered in the previous July.

Upon the arrival of the Dorsal Fin, the thing that first struck me was the simple packaging. A European pen at a similar price point would probably have a lavish box, whereas Nakaya (and other Japanese manufacturers) supply their pens in a modest softwood box with the pen nestled in a lovely embroidered pen kimono.

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2. Appearance & Design

Unwrapping the kimono reveals a large pen, about the same size as an MB 149 or Pelikan M1000, but slightly longer.

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From looking at photos prior to placing my order, I thought that the pen would be silver/black in colour but in fact it is more like bronze/black in the flesh. Regardless, the combination of the textured metallic surface finish and the fin running down the barrel and cap results in an absolutely stunning and innovative design, like no other pen I have seen. It is hard to describe it but with the pitted surface and tampering ends I have always thought it looked like an Iron Age nail recovered from an archeological dig!

It is hard to capture the fin in photos since it is most pronounced at the tip of the cap and the end of the barrel and it tapers as it reaches the middle of the pen.


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The fin really does work to stop the pen rolling off a desk so long as you don't put the pen down too quickly and this sort of surface finish does look much better without a clip.

3. Weight & Dimensions

The Dorsal Fin is 34 grams and about 6 inches (15 cms) in length when closed. The fin at the end of the barrel prevents the cap from being posted. Without the cap posted, the Dorsal Fin has a really nice weight when writing - it feels like it has some substance without being overly heavy.

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4. Nib & Performance

On the basis that I thought the pen would be silver/black in colour I ordered the monotone rhodium nib but given that it is really bronze/black I think the standard two tone nib would look just fine on it. I went for the medium nib which, as with many of the Japanese manufacturers, is more like a European fine or extra-fine. There is quite a lot of feedback on the nib but I have to say that the flow of ink is exceptional - it is constant and not too wet or too dry. It starts first time every time and never stutters. It is ideal for me to use at work. Overall very impressive.

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5. Filling System

The Dorsal Fin is a cartridge converter. The converter holds a decent amount of ink (I have never run out of ink in a meeting, which is how I judge ink capacity!). I went for the Maki-e goldfish converter to add a bit of fun to what is otherwise quite a serious pen.

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6. Cost & Value

I live in the UK and so I considered ordering via John Mottishaw but in the end I thought it would be more interesting to order straight from Nakaya, and I had no regrets about that choice. Nakaya's Ms Kono writes perfectly in English and answered all my questions helpfully and promptly (notwithstanding the 2009 earthquake!).

The base cost of the Dorsal Fin at the time I placed my order was $1,200, with a bit extra for the rhodium nib, goldfish converter and leather pen case. The price went up to $1,400 about a week after I placed my order so I was lucky but if I were doing it again I would happily pay the $1,400 for this pen. The only thing which I did think was expensive was the leather case, which was over $100 and I think they are now priced $150. It is very well made and adds to the whole authentic Japanese feel but I probably wouldn't order one if I were doing this again.

One tip I would give is that at the time I placed the order, Nakaya's on-line payment system gave choice of currencies in which to pay. The default currency was $ but at the time the £ was stronger against the Yen than against the $, and so by choosing to pay in Yen I saved a little bit

7. Conclusion

The Dorsal Fin v2 is a fantastic pen. The surface finish and the fin down the cap and barrel make it so interesting to look at and touch. The experience ordering from Nakaya was great and although the wait was long it was definitely worth it.

I would definitely choose the version 2 of this pen over version 1 since the fin on both the cap and the barrel is useful to me when putting the pen down on a desk a work.

I took all of the above photos around the time the pen arrived in 2009, but I thought I would add the following photos to show how the pen has aged over 18 months of frequent use. Most noticeably the lacquer and texture around the grip and the back of the barrel (where the pen rests against the web of my thumb and forefinger when writing) has worn. Personnally, I like these signs of wear because they show the pen has been put to use.

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Best wishes

Jon

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#2 Doug C

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 13:49

Wonderful review Jon, and great pictures.

They really highlight the texture of the finish. I have 2 Nakayas, and this just reminds me that it is about time for a 3rd.
the Danitrio Fellowship

#3 777

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 13:59

I've finally realized my grail of grails... Posted Image Far out of my price range but maybe someday! I've never seen such a lovely pen before!

Congrats on owning such a beauty!

Regards,
777 Posted Image

Need a pen repaired or a nib re-ground? I'd love to help you out.


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Colossians 3:17 - And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.


#4 APHK

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 13:59

That is a very interesting pen. I have never seen the dorsal design before. Is this an original idea?

The price is probably much higher now due to the yen appreciation so way above my budget.

#5 jandrese

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 14:21

Wow, thanks for sharing. I too love my Nakaya's--is there anyone who does not? This is a much bigger pen than I imagined it to be. Have to put it on the list. Ordering direct from Nakaya is, I think, the preferred method; they are the acme.

#6 Jonst

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 14:22

APHK - thanks for your comments. The Dorsal Fin is an original idea but unfortunately not mine! Nakaya started with version 1 which just has the fin on the cap and then in 2009 produced version 2 with the fin on the cap and barrel.

777 - you are very kind. Before you make this your grail pen please have a look at the Nakaya website as there are some other fabulous designs!

Doug - thanks for your post. I have also come to the conclusion that you can never have too many Nakayas!

#7 Jonst

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 14:27

Wow, thanks for sharing. I too love my Nakaya's--is there anyone who does not? This is a much bigger pen than I imagined it to be. Have to put it on the list. Ordering direct from Nakaya is, I think, the preferred method; they are the acme.


Thanks Jon.

Here is a shot with the M1005 and Optima:

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Incidentally, thanks for all your reviews, I have been working my way through them!

Jon

#8 777

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 14:53

APHK - thanks for your comments. The Dorsal Fin is an original idea but unfortunately not mine! Nakaya started with version 1 which just has the fin on the cap and then in 2009 produced version 2 with the fin on the cap and barrel.

777 - you are very kind. Before you make this your grail pen please have a look at the Nakaya website as there are some other fabulous designs!

Doug - thanks for your post. I have also come to the conclusion that you can never have too many Nakayas!


Wow, I just looked at nibs.com and saw the Nakaya page. The Picolo in Aka-Tamenuri... Posted Image Posted Image Want, want, want, want...

Regards,
777

Need a pen repaired or a nib re-ground? I'd love to help you out.


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Colossians 3:17 - And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.


#9 SHK

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 15:02

Wwwwwoooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww
Can you give us a writing example?
I hope you enjoy it every day.

Sascha

#10 reprieve

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 15:15

This is a fantastic review! It's very thorough. Thank you.

I'm waiting on this pen from Nibs.com--it should be here very soon, and I'm excited! I didn't quite realize how large this pen is, but I love my M1000 and MB 149 so I'm happy about that. I love the silver around the threads! So pretty!

#11 Classics

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 15:17

Great looking pen. I have been toying around getting Ver.1 dorsal fin.
You are sending me over the edge! thanks for the great review.

John
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#12 Jonst

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 18:05

Thanks Sascha, I will see what I can do in terms of a writing sample.

John - thanks for your kind words. As I mentioned in my review, for what it's worth, I would go for the v2 rather than the v1 because I think that the v2 is the more complete design. But either way they are great pens.

#13 Jonst

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 18:09

This is a fantastic review! It's very thorough. Thank you.

I'm waiting on this pen from Nibs.com--it should be here very soon, and I'm excited! I didn't quite realize how large this pen is, but I love my M1000 and MB 149 so I'm happy about that. I love the silver around the threads! So pretty!


Thanks Reprieve!

Make no mistake, the Dorsal Fin is a big pen but if you are happy with the 149 and the M1000, you will love the Dorsal Fin when it arrives!

It is actually a bronze colour around the threads, not silver. I think they offered me a choice of colours but I went with their original design - the bronze colour.

Best wishes

Jon

#14 IWantThat

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 18:27

Gorgeous! I think your shot of the dorsal fin is amazing. It shows the nuance very well :) I was never particularly interested in the dorsal fin in other photos. Yours makes it seem very interesting, particularly with this finish.
Tamara

#15 geoduc

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 03:36

So how is the feel of the textured surface when you're writing with it?

I considered ordering my neo-standard with a textured section, but decided against it. I didn't want to spend that kind of money only to find out that it was uncomfortable to grip when writing for an extended period.

#16 Jonst

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 08:30

Gorgeous! I think your shot of the dorsal fin is amazing. It shows the nuance very well :) I was never particularly interested in the dorsal fin in other photos. Yours makes it seem very interesting, particularly with this finish.


Thanks Tamara. The Doral Fin is not beautiful like some of the maki-e pens but it is a unique design and this textured surface and the fin make it so interesting and tactile.

Best wishes

Jon

#17 Jonst

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 08:36

So how is the feel of the textured surface when you're writing with it?

I considered ordering my neo-standard with a textured section, but decided against it. I didn't want to spend that kind of money only to find out that it was uncomfortable to grip when writing for an extended period.


Hi Geoduc,

The textured surface feels fine. It is perfectly comfortable. I have found it ideal for long writing sessions because the texture helps give grip (my fingers get sweaty during extend periods of writing!). It also hides wear and tear on the pen.

Best wishes

Jon

#18 geoduc

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 18:33

So how is the feel of the textured surface when you're writing with it?

I considered ordering my neo-standard with a textured section, but decided against it. I didn't want to spend that kind of money only to find out that it was uncomfortable to grip when writing for an extended period.


Hi Geoduc,

The textured surface feels fine. It is perfectly comfortable. I have found it ideal for long writing sessions because the texture helps give grip (my fingers get sweaty during extend periods of writing!). It also hides wear and tear on the pen.

Best wishes

Jon


Thank you, Jon. I very much enjoyed your review.

#19 Brian

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 18:57

What a great review. Initially when I first saw this pen I thought the design a little wonky, but this version you've commissioned works very well with the finish and color. I like the case you've added and together they make a fantastic package. Congratulations.

#20 young.1429

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Posted 06 June 2011 - 01:49

+1, Thanks for the review! I had no idea the dorsal was so large. I got my first Nakaya, a piccolo, awhile ago and they are great pens!






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