weeks ago,I knew that a review was necessary. This is a pen that is more beautiful than pictures could show. This is also
a review that showcases both the good points and the bad points of the pen.
A)Size--The Tsugaru-nuri Talentum is 5 3/16" capped and 6 3/8" posted. I like to post the caps on all of my pens.
B)Weight--This pen comes in at 1 oz. which I find to be not as light as my Aurora Sole,but not particularly heavy either.
C)Nib--Broad. Not a normal choice of nib that I would make,but considering that there were so few made,I'll take it as it is.
Shown is an example of handwriting with the Tsugaru-nuri. The nib writes very much like an M nib.
Tsugaru-nuri is a famous type of lacquerware created in Japan using Urushi,the same knid of lacquer used to make Maki-E
type pens. The difference,however,is that Tsgaru-nuri is a layering process,while Maki-E involves handpainting figures or
scenes onto a lacquered pen. Maki-E allows for no mistakes;thus a scene with a mistake in it is thrown away because it
cannot be fixed. Tsugaru-nuri is a created pattern made on a pen through sanding and applying many coats of Urushi lacquer.
Nuri is the Japanese term for lacquerware;Tsugaru refers to the 16th-century name of the area ruled in the upper northwest
portion of Honshu island which is now Hirosaki City in the Aomori Prefecture(BTW,Tsugaru castle still exists in the park in
The process of Karanuri involves six steps: 1)Shikake, in which a beginning lacquer is applied and then dried under
low moisture conditions using a lacquer drying box(urushu-buro)for two days. The amount of moisture is then raised to
about 80% and the lacquer coating is allowed to harden for another five days.
2)Nuri-kake--The application of a yellow lacquer over the entire piece.
3)Sai-shiki--The application of colored lacquer in splotches of various colors.
4)Ro-nuri--The application of black lacquer over the entire piece.
5)Tsuma-nuri--The application of susubun,a tin-powdered lacquer.
6)Age-nuri--The application of a colored surface lacquer and then many coats of a clear finishing or colored lacquer. In the
case of the Talentum,a clear finishing lacquer,or ro-age-nokaranuri was applied.
It takes between 40 and 50 coats of lacquer to create the process. I should add that Karanuri is a type of pattern in
Tsugaru-nuri. There are four types of lacquer patterning in Tsugaru-nuri: Kara-nuri,Nanako-nuri,Monsha-nuri,and Nishiki-nuri.
PROS AND CONS OF THE TSUGARU-NURI TALENTUM
1. Impressive classic style--I like the look of the Talentum because it has what I think is a classic style to it. Aparrently
Aurora thinks so too,because the Talentum is used as a base for many of its other LE pens;Guiseppe Verdi,Dante Aligheri,
Jubalaeum and others.
2.Lacquer coating impressively done--As stated previously,it takes between 40 and 50 coats of lacquer for the process of
Tsugaru-nuri. This gives the pen a durable finish that will last for many years.
3.Aurora's fame for making their own nibs and making them interchangeable--It is nice to see a pen company that makes their own nibs and doesn't farm them out to another company to have that company's nib put in an Aurora pen. Even more nicer than that is the ability to change to another nib just by unscrewing one nib out and putting another in,giving the owner
many choices of nibs to choose from.
4.Only 150 made worldwide--OK,I have to confess that this was one of the top reasons for getting this pen. Having only so
many made of a certain style creates a rarity,whether vintage or contemporary. Wouldn't you want to own something that
not many people have?
1.Cartridge/Converter filler only--The Talentum in general is a C/C filler;i.e., it can use both cartridges or its little piston
filler to fill the pen. For the basic Talentum I suppose that's OK,but for an LE pen like the Tsugaru-nuri, it should have a
piston filler. The Jubalaeum(a Talentum clone)was made in 2000,and the catalog shows it having an ink window,thus indicating that a piston filler was present. The Tsugaru-nuri,I believe,was made 4 years later.
2.Lack of a two-tone nib--While Aurora is famous for making its own nibs,it's also famous for not having anything other than
gold nibs. This pen would be much more attractive with a two-tone nib highlighting the Aurora name. The rococo nibs do
get old after awhile.
3.Lack of a better box(case)--This Talentum comes in the standard felt-black-case-on-the-outside. That may be good for
special pens like the Optima and Ottantoto series,but a pen of this rarity should have a special wooden box made for it,
in a similar fashion as the Jubalaeum,perhaps lacquered like the pen. Granted,such a box would have driven the price for the pen higher, but I think that in this case it would have been worth it,given the small amount of pens made.
4.Lack of a number on the pen--This is definitely my biggest beef with Aurora about this pen. In another post I made a comment about why it's necessary to keep everything--the outer box,case,paperwork(instructions)--that the pen came in. Aurora only put the series number of the pen on the cardboard sleeve that the case came in--not on the pen and not on the box. If the owner decides to throw away everything but the pen,how are they going to know the series number of the pen?
The perfect place for a series number would be just like on the Optima Sole--on the back of the captop.
The Tsugaru-nuri Talentum is a pen that could have been better packaged. Some would venture to say that such packing would've driven the price of the pen up,and I would have to agree. But a nicer box,numbered pen and two-tone nib would
do much to raise the impression of such a special pen. This is a pen that deserves that kind of treatment. In spite of that,
however,it has the Aurora quality given to writing instruments:good quality instruments that are easy to write with;not heavy on the hand. Interchangeable nibs are a plus to changing writing styles. Am I glad that I own 1 of only 150 of these made?
Yup. It's not every day that one gets to own such luxury.
Edited by sumgaikid, 03 August 2008 - 20:12.