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Sailor Hakone Yosegi-Zaiku


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19 replies to this topic

#1 de_pen_dent

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 10:06

After reading a review posted here about the Sailor Ironwood, I was ready to pull the trigger with my local pen peddler, till I realized that it was a fairly small pen, comparable to the Sapporo. I like bigger, chunkier pens and quite fortuitously, I came across an article on the Sailor Hakone Yosegi-Zaiku (whew, that's a mouthful!) on FPGeeks and after seeing the dimensions, I was sold!

As I havent seen any reviews of this pen on FPN (apologies if i missed it, I did look), I thought I'd do a write-up.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: 9/10

One of the things I like about a brand like Sailor, as opposed to others, is the quiet, understatement and this is evident right from the start, with the packaging. The Hakone came in a non-descript wooden box in a thick paper outer case. Nothing that impressive at first blush, and nothing indicating that inside lay a fairly expensive pen.

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On extracting the box from the paper cover and opening up, I saw the expected bits'n'bobs: a converter in a box, warranty papers and manual, some cartridges... and, hello, what was that? A case for carrying converters, made of matching wood.

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That was a pleasant surprise - while I do not use catridges, it was a very thoughtful touch by Sailor.

APPEARANCE AND DESIGN - 10/10

Made of 4 different woods arranged in a rectangular pattern, the pen is, in a single word, gorgeous.

I love wooden pens - in addition to this, I have a Pilot Custom in maplewood, and a $10 handmade pen I picked up while in Uganda a couple of months ago, and I am going to pick up a Nakaya Briarwood at some point. I like all of them. But this is the One Pen, to rule all the other Wooden Pens.

This is a pen that says "look at the amount of skill it took to make me", not "see how expensive I am". I like that!

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The wood feels nice and smooth to the touch, with a matt finish that is has a very pleasing tactile quality. The overall level of workmanship & artistry that has gone into combining the wood is phenomenal. Going purely by look and feel, I wouldnt be able to tell that this pen consists of 4 different types of wood

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The Hakone is finished like other Sailors - gold-plated clip and a broad band on the cap, with the words Sailor 1911 written on it: standard stuff, nothing unusual. While I generally prefer a chrome finish to gold, I find there here, it adds a little bit of pizzaz to the pen.

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Initially, I was wishing Sailor had made it the same size as the 1911L (it is a bit smaller, as the photos later show), but once I had it my hands, I realized this was just the right size. Too big and it would have been visually over the top, and gone from elegant to gauche. As it is, it is visually arresting, but the medium size keeps it classy, as opposed to over-the-top. But that is typical of Sailor - barring the KoP, most of their pens are modestly sized and dont scream "look at me, see how big my pen is is" (although I do own a few monster sized pens and I dont want to speculate about what that says about me!) :)

WEIGHT AND DIMENSIONS - 10/10

The pen is about 136mm long and weights 18.4gm or thereabouts, based on what I could find on the web. The following photo shows how it compares size-wise to the other members of the Sailor family:

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From left to right: Sailor 1911L, Hakone, 1911M, Pro Gear and Sapporo.

As you can see, it falls right in the middle between the 2 1911s - it is about the same diameter as a 1911L, but just a little shorter. I like bigger pens, and the slight increase in size over the 1911M makes this just right for me.

NIB AND PERFORMANCE

The Hakone has a stock 14kt Sailor nib - like all Sailors, it runs a little small. I got a M, and it would be comparable to a F on most Western nibs. The entire section of the Hakone is actually interchangeable with that of the 1911M or the Sapporo, so if you have either of these pens, you can actually swap the sections around without needing to extract the nib.

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Writing performance - out of the box, the pen was a little dry. I pulled out the nib, and did my usual non-FPN-recommended "blade in the tines" thing, which fixed it. After that, it wrote just the way I like my "extensive use" pens to write: adequate wetness (6 or so on a scale of 1-10), smooth and consistent, with a hint of tooth. The analogy I've used before is that of skating on freshly-zambonied ice: smooth but you can feel the nib skate over the paper.

FILLING SYSTEM - 9/10

It uses a cartridge. 'Nuff said.

I know some people hate that but I am perfectly ok with it. Makes it easy to clean the pens; if something goes wrong, I just need to buy a replacement converter and not send the pen off for repairs.

COST AND VALUE - 8/10

I paid about $530 for the pen. I think I've seen it marginally cheaper on Ebay, but getting it here then involves a big dance with shipping it to my US address and forwarding onwards by Fedex/DHL - the local post is very unreliable where I am (a point of disagreement which has led to my deciding to never buy anything from a certain very popular UK-based seller of an inexpensive pen, but that's a different story). Once I factored in customs, waiting time, etc. the small premium over Ebay was a non-issue.

I buy from a local subsidiary of Engeika, and my contact person there told me that they had one of these in stock, and I wouldnt have to wait for it to be made-to-order. So that swung the deal in my favor.

As for value - is it good value? As far as pens go, not really. It has the same writing performance as a $150 Sailor 1911L - not surprising, as they use the same 14k nib. So the extra money isnt getting you anything there. You are paying a premium for the workmanship and unique nature of the pen. And that, by definition, becomes a matter of personal preference.

That being said, Sailor, would it have killed you guys to put the 21k nib on it?

CONCLUSION

Make no mistake - there is nothing high-tech about this, nothing bling, no fancy metals or other things. It is a handmade work of art - and the price premium that you are paying is for that. Personally, I feel that there is very little to be gained in writing performance once you go past the $200-250 mark (and even that mark is perilously similar to the performance at the $50 mark) - anything additional you pay is for the uniqueness of the pen as a tool.

For me, the level of workmanship, understated elegance and unique nature of this pen make it a far more attractive purchase than a stock MB146/149 or other comparable pens. My only regret is that I didnt get it with a B nib (I already have a couple of Sailors in M and F nibs), but since it is easy enough to swap sections, I may yet pick up a B-nibbed Sapporo and change the nibs with it.

Edited by de_pen_dent, 31 October 2012 - 16:25.

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#2 hari317

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 10:38

Hi,

Thanks for sharing the review. Is there any description of how they have achieved this mosaic? Are the barrel and cap lined with plastic or metal?

Best
Hari
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#3 de_pen_dent

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 10:56

Hi Hari -

The inner part of both the barrel and the cap are made of what appears to be plastic.

The amount of work and skill involved in shaping 4 different types of wood into a barrel and a cap, and doing so with such precision, is nothing short of mind-boggling, atleast to me. I am guessing first the wood was joined together, then the cavity for the plastic insert created and then the outer part was finished. That, to be me, sounds easier than laying the wood on top of the barrel.
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#4 hari317

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 11:05

Hi Hari -

The inner part of both the barrel and the cap are made of what appears to be plastic.

The amount of work and skill involved in shaping 4 different types of wood into a barrel and a cap, and doing so with such precision, is nothing short of mind-boggling, atleast to me. I am guessing first the wood was joined together, then the cavity for the plastic insert created and then the outer part was finished. That, to be me, sounds easier than laying the wood on top of the barrel.


Ok, I did some reading about the pen and the parquetry. Sailor page.

It appears to me that a parquet is formed out of veneers from the 4 woods and then wrapped around the resin core of the pen. It is only my guess.

Best
Hari

Edited by hari317, 31 October 2012 - 11:07.

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#5 smk

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 12:52

I would guess it easier to glue strips of the 4 woods in the required thickness. When dry cut these up in strips and glue back together in a staggered pattern. The resulting solid block will have the desired pattern to any depth and can be shaped and worked as a regular wooden piece.

The pattern of woods repeats in the order: Light - Dark - Medium - Red in the pen shown above and on Sailor's website and I guess that's the order the strips were arranged in the first gluing.

BTW - I'm just saying this could be one way to do it. I don't know if Sailor did it that way for sure.

Salman

ps. Nice pen - I really like Sailor pens too and this one's a beauty.

Edited by smk, 31 October 2012 - 12:54.


#6 de_pen_dent

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 16:22

^^ Oh yeah, that makes sense! So much for my woodwork prediction skills :)
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#7 rokurinpapa

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 14:30

Thank you for your nice review. I want to get the cartrige case especially.

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#8 ethernautrix

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 16:07

As for value - is it good value? As far as pens go, not really. It has the same writing performance as a $150 Sailor 1911L - not surprising, as they use the same 14k nib. So the extra money isnt getting you anything there. You are paying a premium for the workmanship and unique nature of the pen. And that, by definition, becomes a matter of personal preference.


I don't typically care for wooden pens, even if I like what they look like, but this one is especially lovely. The box for the cartridges also caught my attention, ha ha ha.

I agree with you about paying a premium for craftsmanship. At some point along my fp journey, that became an important factor. Thus, my Nakaya fixation and maki-e appreciation.

It's a lovely pen. Hope it brings you much writing pleasure.

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#9 basterma

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 17:23

Have to give credit here for some great workmanship. Thanks for posting.

#10 Montblanc owner and lover

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 18:59

very special pen.Not the kind i like but still lovely
A people can be great withouth a great pen but a people who love great pens is surely a great people too... Pens owned actually: MB 146 EF;Pelikan M200 SE Clear Demonstrator 2012 B;Parker 17 EF;Parker 51 EF;Waterman Expert II M,Waterman Hemisphere M;Waterman Carene F and Stub;Pilot Justus 95 F. Nearly owned: MB 149 B(Circa 2002);Conway Stewart Belliver LE bracket Brown IB.

#11 tenney

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 00:30

Thanks for the review. I've only seen pics of the Hakone and it's nice to read your experiences.
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#12 de_pen_dent

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 18:23

Glad to know you guys liked the review. Since I am an absolutely sucker for wooden pens, I am ordering the new Ironwood pen as well.

@Ethernautrix - I get my first Nakaya in a week or so. Looking forward to that as well!
True bliss: knowing that the guy next to you is suffering more than you are.

#13 humsin

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 00:01

Lord this pen is nice!!!!!
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#14 halidak

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 14:56

Thank for your nice review of this great looking pen. Like you, I’m a big fan of wooden pens. When Taizo-san sent the advertisement e-mail about it I fell in love with it and was very tempted to buy but my finances didn’t like the idea.

Regards,

Halid

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#15 VirtuThe3rd

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 15:51

Really cool review! I do like Sailor as well. Thanks for the sharing! :)

#16 de_pen_dent

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 18:30

Thanks - glad to know you liked the review :)
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#17 xHaishou

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 19:11

Wow! There's a matching case for carrying cartridges? That's awesome!
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#18 Mr. Sweet

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 00:12

Wow, it's a mesmerizing pen. Enjoy!

#19 b1lynch

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 00:31

What a great review - it's great to read something so well thought out.  As for the pen it is stunning.  It reminds me of a japanese puzzle box my wife purchased a couple of years ago...now there's an interesting thought...a Japanese Puzzle Pen!  Anyway, I've read so much about the high quality of Sailor but just haven't been moved by the design and honestly as you so rightly point out there are great writing pens for $50 (I am in awe of TWSBI) so a big part of this becomes aesthetic and I think the Hakone Josegi-Zaiku has an understated, yet undeniable beauty and elegance.  Thank you for the new addition to my wish list :-)



#20 de_pen_dent

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 03:41

Thanks for the reading - and glad to know i have enabled another person.  My work here is done   :)

 

In the period since that review, I have acquired a bunch of other wooden pens - 2 Platinum Briarwoods, a couple of Sailor Precious Woods of the World, a Sailor Birchwood and an Omas AM87.    But this one still remains up there among my favorites.


Edited by de_pen_dent, 15 August 2014 - 03:43.

True bliss: knowing that the guy next to you is suffering more than you are.






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