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Just Wondering... Are Nakaya Pens Really Worth It?

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107 replies to this topic

#1 kalum

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 18:55

Dear all,
Hope your good. To any of you who have pens by Nakaya, I was wondering if you could help explain why these pens are held in such high esteem. In the UK, I have never seen anyone with one of these so have never had a chance to try one. Are they simply beautiful to look at or do their nibs in terms of writing experience justify their price, even over manufacturers like pilot and sailor?
I saw a video about the painstaking methods employed in their manufacture, so I can appreciate the costs but I would me more inclined if along with this, their nibs were a particular pleasure to use. Is this in your opinion so?
Thank you.

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#2 Soot

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 20:06

Nakaya is worth it if you can appreciate their craftsmanship and the smoothness of their nib.

 

They are great all around, but the characteristics of their nib-- buttery smooth, turns me off


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#3 Mickey

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 20:10

The Nakaya mystique has several parts: relative scarcity, artisan product, finish (urushi), balance (neutral), shape (classic), nib/feed (reliable), and potential exclusivity (the willingness of the company to make bespoke pens).

 

There is also something appealing about a company which has entry level products, but doesn't really have an economy line. The $20,000 pen is built on the same lathe turned barrel and cap as the $550 pen. (The Briarwood pens are almost an economy line, but not really. They carry the same nib and feed as the rest of the company's products.)

 

Finally, they are great writing pens. They feel good in the hand (if one isn't allergic to Urushi) and the nib and feed are reliable. Of my five favorite pens, three are Nakayas. (The other 2 are a Platinum and an Aurora.)


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#4 Pen Nut

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 20:11

I own one Nakaya and quite a lot of Montblanc writing instruments (pens) and 'Nakkers' do have a certain 'something'. Now then are they worth 'it'.....all things considered I would say yes. Others may, and no doubt, will disagree. 


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#5 UK Mike

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 20:14

If you value individual craftsmanship and classic Japanese design, then Yes, a Nakaya is worth every penny.

 

If you are just after a decent writer then a Platinum comes with essentially the same nib at a fraction of the price. I don't quite agree on the nibs being "buttery" smooth, as although they are indeed smooth, there is always a slight and pleasant Japanese feedback which, once you have experienced it, becomes quite addictive.


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#6 Mickey

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 20:22

Nakaya is worth it if you can appreciate their craftsmanship and the smoothness of their nib.

 

They are great all around, but the characteristics of their nib-- buttery smooth, turns me off

If a nib is buttery smooth, it's almost surely set up too wet. I've never encountered a nib which wouldn't give a reasonable amount of feedback if set up properly, and I've encountered plenty of so-called smooth pens which wrote like ragged chisels once they were adjusted for sensible flow. (Most of the pens people hand me to try out are way too wet, writing one or two sizes larger than they're supposed to.) A Nakaya (or any other quality pen) will provide as little or as much feed back as you wish if properly adjusted to your weight of hand and writing style.


The liberty of the press is indeed essential to the nature of a free state; but this consists in laying no previous restraints upon publications, and not in freedom from censure for criminal matter when published. Every freeman has an undoubted right to lay what sentiments he pleases before the public; to forbid this, is to destroy the freedom of the press; but if he publishes what is improper, mischievous or illegal, he must take the consequence of his own temerity. (4 Bl. Com. 151, 152.) Blackstone's Commentaries


#7 DesertWind221183

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 20:26

I think it's worth it. The nibs are smooth and fit my writing style perfectly. The excellent craftmanship also makes me appriciate the pen more so than my off the assembly line pens.
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#8 Soot

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 20:57

If a nib is buttery smooth, it's almost surely set up too wet. I've never encountered a nib which wouldn't give a reasonable amount of feedback if set up properly, and I've encountered plenty of so-called smooth pens which wrote like ragged chisels once they were adjusted for sensible flow. (Most of the pens people hand me to try out are way too wet, writing one or two sizes larger than they're supposed to.) A Nakaya (or any other quality pen) will provide as little or as much feed back as you wish if properly adjusted to your weight of hand and writing style.

 

Thanks for the info, Mickey.

Unfortunately, Nakaya are not so DIY friendly and I don't want to pull out the nib/feed to find I have ruined it. Maybe another time, perhaps I'll leave that for the next user.


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#9 mirosc

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 21:32

They don't have the best (=most beloved by me) nibs, but still I love to write with mine. They are wonderful pieces of art with an extraordinary high level of every-day-usability.

For me their greatness it not so much in the nib, but rather in the appearance.


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#10 Mickey

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 21:33

 

Thanks for the info, Mickey.

Unfortunately, Nakaya are not so DIY friendly and I don't want to pull out the nib/feed to find I have ruined it. Maybe another time, perhaps I'll leave that for the next user.

Try a drier ink, like Pelikan or one of the IG inks (e.g., Salix or MBMB). That's often enough to make gushers behave. I recently put Salix in a Platinum President UEF. Judging by line width, the net ink flow is about half what it was with Diamine Monaco Red.


Edited by Mickey, 30 October 2013 - 21:33.

The liberty of the press is indeed essential to the nature of a free state; but this consists in laying no previous restraints upon publications, and not in freedom from censure for criminal matter when published. Every freeman has an undoubted right to lay what sentiments he pleases before the public; to forbid this, is to destroy the freedom of the press; but if he publishes what is improper, mischievous or illegal, he must take the consequence of his own temerity. (4 Bl. Com. 151, 152.) Blackstone's Commentaries


#11 Pterodactylus

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 21:38

For me personal very expensive pens are not worth it, as I'm mainly interested in the writing experience and not the packaging.

IMO the heart and the soul of a pen are the nib and the feed and no matter at which pen you are looking this parts have a material value of not more than 5-15€ (Also if you are looking at big gold nibs).

And I'm sure the price on very expensive pens is not related to a better heart and soul, and I'm 100% convinced that very expensive pens does not write per se better than not so expensive pens.
You pay mainly for the packaging, design and prestige.

My personal price border which I consider reasonable for a pen, already with a lot of stomach aching is 400-500€ maximum (and I consider this already as really expensive) , which leaves (considering the material value of any pen which is almost nothing beside the little gold value) huge room for superb packaging, filling system (and a Converter I consider as unworthy for an expensive pen), design, labor costs, marketing, sales, company overhead,....

But this is only my personal view and has to be decided from each person individually.
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#12 mbankirer

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 21:56

I own 2 Nakaya's....so, my opinion is that they are so worth it that I went back for more.

Superb craftsmanship, beauty, performance! And I like the very idea that they were made for me, to my specification.

#13 Simius

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 22:08

I vastly prefer my Pilot 845 to my Nakaya portable cigar. Both are incredible writers, but somehow I find myself reaching for the Pilot a lot more often.



#14 Dillo

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 22:33

Hi,

 

Personally, I think Nakaya pens are worth it, but that might not be necessarily true for everyone. The pens themselves are quite durable, and I worry the least about taking one of my Nakaya pens with me out of all the pens I have, and that's something because I have many much less costly pens that I worry about more when I take them with me. The nibs are also quite nice. They make excellent finer nibs, and they work well combined with their cartridge/converter system. If you use broader nibs, the converter may be a little small, and that's a drawback. The cartridges themselves hold 1.2 ml approximately. The cartridges and converters they use are unique, and Nakaya also offers decorated converters. I use those converters in my pens. I also like the thought that the pens were made specially for me, and are unique. There isn't a pen exactly like mine anywhere else.

 

Stuff I like:

Very stiff nibs

Very fine nibs

A gold nib (I like the feel of steel, but gold is low maintenance since it is less likely to corrode)

A durable finish that is quite scratch-proof

Lack of trim ring near the nib

Durable construction

Materials that age well

Light weight

Good balance

Attention to packaging

Good fit and finish

The pen doesn't dry out if I don't use it for several months although chances of that are quite low. The pen start right away even if filled with carbon ink and unused for two months (that's a bad idea. Don't do that.)

Nice packaging that I can repurpose for something else

Nakaya will repair any part of my pen that is broken

A nice sleeve so that I can put the pen into my pencil case without worrying about damage

 

Stuff to think about

These pens don't have a huge ink capacity as noted earlier

If you are allergic to the material, you need to let the pen age for a few weeks in a humid environment so that the urushi cures completely

The nibs are not for everyone-don't expect miracles. Besides my Aurora gold nibs, I like the feel of the stiff Nakaya nibs a lot.

The pens can be expensive

The pens are made for you. Choose wisely, and ask advice from the Nakaya people.

The pens are fairly large compared to a lot of other pens. I can use them despite my smaller hands due to the way they are made

The pens aren't often designed for posting. If you need a longer pen for balance, consider ordering a longer model.

 

Dillon


Edited by Dillo, 30 October 2013 - 22:54.

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#15 migo984

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 22:34

 

If you are just after a decent writer then a Platinum comes with essentially the same nib at a fraction of the price. I don't quite agree on the nibs being "buttery" smooth, as although they are indeed smooth, there is always a slight and pleasant Japanese feedback which, once you have experienced it, becomes quite addictive.

 

+ 1

I love my Platinum pens. The nibs just suit me and feel really responsive. In, fact, one of the best, IMHO, is the cheapo PGB-3000A (Cool)


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#16 akustyk

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 22:42

I do not have a Nakaya - I am more like Pterodactylus, I like nibs, more than pens. I do have a Platinum #3776 with an 18k nib that was ground to cursive italic by John Mottishaw (from a C), and it's a wonderful italic. This makes me wonder if a Nakaya nib would be any better. From what I heard, it's essentially a very, very similar nib, at least the way it starts out. The finishing and customizations are what make those nibs sing, right? Nakaya owners, please correct me if I am wrong on this. Nakaya (and nibs.com) will modify the nib to suit one's personal taste, but the nib starts out from a "baseline" that's very much like a Platinum nib.

 

Speaking of nibs and Nakaya, I recently bought a Platinum President with a Broad nib (the price was so good, I couldn't resist), and, out-of-the-box, this is the smoothest nib I've ever used. It's quite remarkable how much the pen and nib look like the MB 146, but the President B writes smoother than my MB 146 F, with the same line width. Quite fascinating, really. Japanese pens are just so awesome. 


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#17 pajaro

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 22:57

I thought the Urushi on the Nakaya pens was sealed so that it wouldn't be a problem.


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#18 Mickey

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 23:04

I do not have a Nakaya - I am more like Pterodactylus, I like nibs, more than pens. I do have a Platinum #3776 with an 18k nib that was ground to cursive italic by John Mottishaw (from a C), and it's a wonderful italic. This makes me wonder if a Nakaya nib would be any better. From what I heard, it's essentially a very, very similar nib, at least the way it starts out. The finishing and customizations are what make those nibs sing, right? Nakaya owners, please correct me if I am wrong on this. Nakaya (and nibs.com) will modify the nib to suit one's personal taste, but the nib starts out from a "baseline" that's very much like a Platinum nib.

 

Speaking of nibs and Nakaya, I recently bought a Platinum President with a Broad nib (the price was so good, I couldn't resist), and, out-of-the-box, this is the smoothest nib I've ever used. It's quite remarkable how much the pen and nib look like the MB 146, but the President B writes smoother than my MB 146 F, with the same line width. Quite fascinating, really. Japanese pens are just so awesome. 

The basic tweak from Mottishaw (and Binder, for that matter) is setting flow and confirming function, which includes alignment. (Worth getting.) Customization, like added flex, is extra and one pays a fair (read reasonable) price for it.

 

Other than Nayaka nibs all being 14K and some of the Platinum nibs being 18K (like the UEF on my President) the nibs are pretty much the same. Nakaya offers soft versions of the F and M nibs and a Flexible modification, neither of which Platinum offers, I believe, in the U.S. market.

 

BTW Thanks for the vote of confidence in the other thread.


Edited by Mickey, 30 October 2013 - 23:05.

The liberty of the press is indeed essential to the nature of a free state; but this consists in laying no previous restraints upon publications, and not in freedom from censure for criminal matter when published. Every freeman has an undoubted right to lay what sentiments he pleases before the public; to forbid this, is to destroy the freedom of the press; but if he publishes what is improper, mischievous or illegal, he must take the consequence of his own temerity. (4 Bl. Com. 151, 152.) Blackstone's Commentaries


#19 pelicanachic

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 00:04

The basic tweak from Mottishaw (and Binder, for that matter) is setting flow and confirming function, which includes alignment. (Worth getting.) Customization, like added flex, is extra and one pays a fair (read reasonable) price for it.
 
Other than Nayaka nibs all being 14K and some of the Platinum nibs being 18K (like the UEF on my President) the nibs are pretty much the same. Nakaya offers soft versions of the F and M nibs and a Flexible modification, neither of which Platinum offers, I believe, in the U.S. market.
 
BTW Thanks for the vote of confidence in the other thread.


platinum certainly offers sf nib.you can find sf nib easily on century 3776

#20 Mickey

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 02:04

platinum certainly offers sf nib.you can find sf nib easily on century 3776

I would have thought, but nibs.com does not show those nibs on the 3776 or any of the Platinum pens. I could still be wrong, but I couldn't find them.


The liberty of the press is indeed essential to the nature of a free state; but this consists in laying no previous restraints upon publications, and not in freedom from censure for criminal matter when published. Every freeman has an undoubted right to lay what sentiments he pleases before the public; to forbid this, is to destroy the freedom of the press; but if he publishes what is improper, mischievous or illegal, he must take the consequence of his own temerity. (4 Bl. Com. 151, 152.) Blackstone's Commentaries






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