Here is a short review (and lots of pictures) of the Wancher Japan Blue limited edition fountain pen. This is a Wancher pen with Sailor base. TLDR - it is a beautiful made, striking pen whcih writes like a Sailor pro gear slim/1911 Std but feels more substantial (in a positive way) in the hand. It is a great collector's item as it is a limited edition, but also a very functional writer. Speaking of being LE, that is somewhat diluted by several repeat runs (I think 3 now).
I personally don't care much for packaging, but a pen of this price probably warrants a good effort, which can double as display case. Wancher does not disappoint.
The pen comes in a nice packaging which splits open from the middle to reveal the pen. Not much else is supplied except the pen, the converter and some papers about the pen. But this is nice understated display case which has my approval.
Appearance & Design -
The pen is, simply put, gorgeous and writes very well. The pen has a beaten aluminium body and cap dyed with real indigo flowers to provide an absolutely beautiful deep blue colour that veers to purple at some angles from the light. the hand hammered pattern is exquisite, and (according to Wancher) is meant to invoke the designing on the guards of samurai swords (Tsuba). The section is a black standard to Sailor's pro gear slim and 1911 Std pens. The finial has a sailor logo. there are 5 Chrome rings: at the top and base of the cap, before the section threads, and at the beginning and end of the metal part fo the barrel. The one at the bottom of the cap is a thick one (about 0.5 inch) and has the words "Oita made" and "Japan Blue" engraved.
Here is a picture of the pen uncapped, with the nice (though for my tastes a bit small) Sailor 14K medium nib on display:
There is no clip. This causes the pen to roll on a desk without a roll stop. It may have been a design decision to showcase more of that beaten metal pattern, but I personally don't think that a clip would be amiss.
Some more pictures near the window (where the purple gleam comes through nicely :
Construction & Quality
The construction seems to be of the beaten aluminium tubes attached to an resin base. This means there is a step down at the top and bottom extremes where the aluminium tubes end and the black resin is exposed. Construction is to a high standard. Everything feels dense, solid and just right. there is a satisfying heft to it, which makes it easier to hold (though see my comments on writing comfort below).
The only asterisk to this is that the inner cap liner disengaged from the cap and came with the barrel once. I had probably screwed in the barrel too tight on that occassion but this should not have happened. Nevertheless, after I firmly pushed the cap liner into place, it has never come off again.
Weight, Dimensions and ergonomics
I would call this a medium size, but weighty pen. The size dimensions (which are below) are very similar to a pelikan M600 or between a duofold centennial and international. However, the weight is higher than either because of the aluminium body (but still, I wouldn't call this pen heavy).
Length/ weight (capped): 133.3mm (5.25 inch) / 36 gms (the website says 45 gms for some reason; but my pen definitely weights 36gms)
Length/ weight (uncapped) : 122 mm (4.8 inch) / 19 gms
Length (posted) : 163 mm (6.42 inch)
The posting is not deep at all. The cap basically covers the exposed resin part at the very bottom of the barrel. But it is very secure as there is a clicking mechanism to hold the cap in place.
The pen is longer and heftier than both its close cousins the Sailors pro gear slim and 1911 std. It is therefore more comfortable to hold than either. But not perfect, because :
the pen is just about long enough to use uncapped, but I find it marginally small. However, I find it marginally back weighted when using it capped (the cap is almost half the weight, after all, and doesn't post deep)! Solution: to stop cribbing, and just get used to one of them!
Nib & Performance
It has the 14K smaller Sailor nib found in the Pro Gear Slim and 1911 Std. and mine is a M. It writes beautifully as expected of a Sailor, but like all their 14K hard nibs, there is very little springiness. There is that typcally Sailor 'pencil like' feedback, and the flow is good, without being gushing.
The pen did write a little dry out of the box when I received it, and I had to work on the feed and nib a wee bit to get it just right. I don't mind, but a pen of this price shouldn't require user mod to work perfectly, especially since a lot of buyers will not be comfortable tinkering with such a costly item.
Some writing samples: First with Pelikan Edelstein Topaz:
This one with Lamy Azurite (sorry about the bleed through from the other side); which I think is the perfect shade of ink for this pen!
Filling System & Maintenance –
It has basic Sailor CC as filling mechanism; which as you know...em..works. But it doesn't hold much ink, which may disappoint some. I mostly don't mind as I like changing pens and inks often.
Cost & Value –
It costs about $ 550. The value will depend if you want an EDC, in which case you can get the same sailor nib and performance on a cheaper pen, such as any std. Pro Gear Slim or Sapporo. If you like this size of pen, a Pelikan M600 will generally be cheaper.
However, if you like pens which are unique, made of unique materials, and still function as perfectly good writers, then this may appeal to you.
Beautiful pen and glad to have bought it. I wish they found a way to put a 21K sailor nib without increasing the cost and thickness (as I really love those); but it is still great as it is.
Edited by TheVintagelife, 12 June 2020 - 20:23.