1.- First Impressions.
Loving Japanese art in aplying Urushi and Makie finishes to FP’s, I started with Danitrio, which I love for their beautiful work, taste and performance. In this world it is impossible not to hear every day from the marvellous performance exhibited by Namiki pens, but … huh! … they are pricy things. About a year ago I had the chance to test a Sterling Silver Series Namiki pen fitted with a fine nib, only to experiment this special sensation of gliding with an ultra-narrow rich line which was much finer than any of the EF european nibs that I had the chance to use previously. As you know, Danitrio fits non-Japan made nibs and has standard west nib widths.
I decided that my collection lacked a Namiki “specimen” and decided to go for one of those “rara avis”. Searching Namiki in online stores, sooner or later one lands in Tay’s Peninasia web site, plagued with hughe ammounts of very good and detailed photos on every model he carries. There are several spectacular Namiki designs, but keeping in mind a budget limit (around $1000) the final options narrow quite a bit. The maximum would be a Yukari and within this model, there were variuos designs which did not take-off from the limit previously set. Decision was finally for a simple design (I do not like overcharged ones) and Peachtree and Warbler design was choosen, with an Fnib, which should be finer than western EF nibs.
The parcel took longer than expected to arrive due to a problem at the origin Post Office, but once it was solved it took about a week to reach my hands coming from Singapore, which is a very good mark (usually express from US takes 10 days or more). Communication with Tay was very good indeed and kept me always with fresh info and fast replies to my mails. The pen was packed with two more companions (2 Nakayas) in a big and very well protected parcel which was opened for inspection at the local Post Office, but nothing inside was missing.
The Namiki Yukari came into its propietary package, with an outside cardboard box that contained another box, this one made of soft white natural wood, very nicely crafted. On lifting the lid, and protected by grey foam, there was the pen and a blue-black Namiki ink bottle, both inside sealed plasic bags. A generic Namiki instruction leaflet was also by.
2.- Apperance and Finish.
The pen is a Makie design over a black Urushi base with a shiny and perfect surface. It consists of some peachtree branches with detailed flowers that are purple-pink for the cap and white in the pen barrel. One of the branches of the barrel has a Warbler viewed from the side. There are bands of sprinkled gold of different weight at various levels completing the design. The pen is signed by the artist. The detail is absolutely stunning and cannot be really judged without a good magnifying glass. Not being a high-end Namiki pen it is a pen which meets perfection in its level. No faults to be seen or noticed subsequently and seems very well and solidly built. Knowing beforehand Namiki’s quality and price, I would say that it met perfectly my expectations or perhaps it exceeded when the taste, detailed design and overall finish were slowly examined. Cap screws securely on the barrel (1¾ turns) with no hessitation and with a perfect fit.
3.- Design / Size / Weight.
Regarding its shape, it is a cigar shaped pen which I would classify as slim, not a fattie, with very clean lines and flow. The cap is almost flush with the pen barrel. It has a golden clip inserted into a slot in the cap. The clip has a tiny serial number engraved on the top bears also Namiki’s name and logo and ends in a ball. When holding for the first time tis pen it appears on the heavy side, the eye makes think that it may be much lighter, perhaps because I’m used to HR pens like Danitrio’s Takumi which being fatter seem lighter. The pen, as far as I have read, may be made of resin as base for the Urushi and Makie subsequent work. The overall weight, filled with ink (about 2cc) is a mere 32 gr, which is close to a Pelikan M800 weight. Uncapped it only weighs 19 gr. Overall length is 5.58inches (close to M800) and section diameter 0.4inches (close to M600). I would say that it is a standard sized pen but on the slim shape side. When used it feels very well and secure in the hand, with very good control and does feel with the right weight, not light, not heavy, just comphortable. I think that a good compromise has been achieved. Uncapped the balance is excellent, which is good as Urushi and Makie pens should never be used posted.
4.- Nib Design & Performance.
The Fine nib fitted is of a medium size, not the same outline but similar dimensions to M800. It is a two-tone 18K-750 nib which has the logo engraved and Mt. Fuji in white Rhodium. Feed underneath resembles ebonite, but I’m not sure about it. The nib is buttery smooth, which is really notorius for such a fine nib (finer than a western EF nib). It has some ammount of flex, perhaps a line variation from 1 to 3-4 when pressure is applied. Flow is smooth and rich and no faults were observed (was tried with Aurora Black), no matter how fast or direction was the nib forced to write on normal stock paper. Nib and feed seem to be friction fit. Here I was impressed by the nib performance; it is really top.
5.- The Filling System.
Once the barrel is unscrewed from the section, the filling system appears. It is a “Pilot” marked converter with a repeated push buttom system which moves a piston inside. This way the ink is drawn inside the converter in a similar way as the Vacumatic pens. It has a good ink capacity (about 2cc which is the same for a Pel M800) which lasts for a good time combined with the F nib. This converter is removable, giving excellent access for cleaning and flushing. When filled for the first time it was foolproof and easy, getting within 5 strokes into maximum capacity. Emptying and subsequent cleaning was a dream, only compared with emptying and cleaning an ED pen; easy and effective.
6.- Cost / Value.
There are some FP’s in the market in which you pay a “name” and you get samples with lots of problems in performance, finish, design or absolute lack of quality control. In case of this Namiki pen, the name is also in the price, but my experience has shown that there are reasons for this name. The quality is outstanding, workmanship is first class, clever solutions are everywhere, nib is a perfect Japanese F … and Makie work is perfect in every detail. It would be unfair to pay less for such a FP; it is something special indeed and thus, the price paid is more than justified. It is not cheap, but it is a dream pen. I just want to say that it is in no way overpriced. You pay what you get.
7.- Overall Opinion / Conclusion.
This is a special pen for a special price. It just fills perfectly a dream which I had for some time. It is a pleasure to see, to touch and to write with. For my hand it is perhaps on the fine side, but its weight makes it present without stressing at all. It is a very well made pen, in every aspect with the bonus of the very delicate and detailed artwork that covers it. Yes, I like it!
More photos are published in this thread: NAMIKI YUKARI PEACHTREE AND WARBLER
Edited by Jopen, 22 October 2008 - 15:03.