Hello fellow pen enthusiasts,
So far I have seen just one review on the internet for this pen and I strongly felt it merited another look. The comments about it being a baseball bat are, though funny and mostly in good humor, about as appropriate as saying Babe Ruth's bat was but a twig to be burned with the chaff. This pen is spectacular, and not just because of it's size. Yes, it sports the #50 nib, which if I understand correctly is the largest production nib around. Yes, its Mount Fuji engraving on the nib is breathtaking to behold, and it also writes smooth as butter. But, seldom have I had a pen where what's outside the cap rivals what is under the cap. This pen is vermilion red urushi. This is not just a "big red pen." This is not a "red injection molded plastic pen." This is a work of art--specifically, the technique is called Roiro Urushi. I suggest searching out youtube and other video or Japanese print sources to admire this technique as a Westerner's written explanation would not do this work justice. In short, this pen begins as a black ebonite barrel and, after countless hours of applying, burnishing, smoothing, and finely polishing the red-pigmented urushi, this whole process is repeating ad neuseam with clear urushi lacquer coats--that is, if my rudimentary understanding is not misinformed. This pen is dazzling to the eye and to the touch. I have red pens. This is not just a red pen.
Below are as many photos as FPN size limitations will allow me to post. Pictures truly are worth 1,000 words. The only pic missing due to size limits is the first picture I took that showed the boring outer box (cardboard). Nothing really missed there...
I don't want to take away from the photos with endless text. But I will offer these words as first impressions and by way of explanation on a few matters: 1) I liked the simple wood box with the elegant and soft purple tie-strings. Very elegant and very Japanese... 2) I knew the pen was big. When I opened the box I smiled because it was even bigger than I expected--in a good way. The simple elegance of this pen is unmatched. I have chosen the ringless version, but one can get this pen with gold bands around the barrel. 3) Comparison pens left to right are: Namiki Emperor, MB149, Yard O Led Grand Viceroy, and the Pelikan M1000--all very large pens. 4) The red feed is awesome. That is all on that subject. 10 out of 10. 5) There is a brilliantly crafted velvet-ish lining to the cap so if one posts the cap (WHY WOULD ANYONE POST THIS PEN?) it will not scratch the urushi barrel. 6) In the photos I challenge you to find the place where the end cap unscrews from the barrel. This craftsmanship is un-improvable. 7) Once you locate the invisible end-cap, one needs only to hold the pen vertical and unscrew it apx. 1.5 turns to let the ink gush out into the feed. 8) Yes, this is an eyedropper. It should be called eyedroppers as I literally gave up filling it after 4 full droppers. Please see the up close photo of the inside of the section to see how this comes together to form an impressive, leakproof seal. 9) One complaint. In the final pen-photo I posted a picture showing the threads. You can see a small hint of black there where the vermilion urushi was either not applied perfectly or where, perhaps by the unavoidable friction-nature of how threads function, the urushi is rubbed off right out of the box. I'm slightly unhappy about that and submit this as a charge to Namiki to look into that problem if it happens more than on my pen. However, I am so happy with this pen that my enjoyment is not reduced even a little by this minuscule problem. 10) Shout out to Chatterly Luxuries for a good price.
This is a beautiful pen and I recommend it highly.
Did anyone actually read the writing sample?
Appearance & Design: 8. Small deduction for the black-thread issue. Stunning with a truly "blind" cap--no visible slits on the barrel. Threads do not hurt to use. I personally think it's a 10, but recognize there is not detailed makie-e work, etc. It's the best single color pen I have ever seen. It is not the most beautiful pen I have ever seen.
Construction/Quality: 9.5 for the thread issue. There is no perfect pen and they can't all be high scores. But so far there is no squeaking or weak-fitting parts and urushi coverage is stunning. Clip works well. Rare and ingenious felt-lining inside cap for posting (which no one would ever use--but it is there).
Nib/feed: 10. I realize all the high ratings. This pen is that good. Zero scratch. Nib flow is unhampered with any amount of speed writing or even scribbling. No "tapping" to get things moving after opening up the eyedropper end cap each use. The nib is also a little springy, too, because it is gold and huge. If you want flex pen performance, buy a flex pen. This is a wet writer but not out of control. My 10 rating is based on smoothness, flow performance, and superb performance right out of the box. I have many pens and none of them have performed like this right out of the box.
Filling system/Maintenance: 8 Friends, I intend to review more pens with lower ratings, I promise. But this one is sweet. The eyedropper filling system is awesome. I wanted to give this a 10 but decided for the sake of some credibility to say something critical. The fact that this holds 6ml of ink is baller. The fact that it takes over 5 pipets full of ink is slow. So, my feeble attempt at a criticism is that this pen should come with a bigger and more efficient pipet. I cannot fault the huge ink capacity. Love it. I will circle back and adjust the score if maintenance becomes an issue.
Cost and Value: 7 There are plenty of worse pens out there priced much higher. And yes, it is a work of art. But at its retail price this pen is a bit pricey. If you can get a good deal and appreciate large urushi pens, the value is a 10. If you pay full retail, you will love this pen; however, you will have a lot of money into it. Value is in the eye of the beholder I guess.
Conclusion: 8.46 total score.
Edited by Ebonite And Ivory, 23 August 2016 - 18:40.