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  1. Hello all, hope you and yours are doing well during these odd times. I am reevaluating my ‘desirables’ list of pricier fountain pens and attempting to narrow down my choices a good deal. For example, I’ve recently removed the Montblanc l’Aubrac after finally getting a chance to try one and being disappointed by the slippery metal section. (Why, Montblanc? Also, why do I trick myself into thinking I won’t mind it, every time?) The basis for my pruning of the list is that I want a pen I can use. I write a lot, usually for several hours everyday. I’d told myself that this ought to limit my quiver of pens to only the most utilitarian models. Nakaya is out, on account of their tiny ink capacity. Sailor—whose nibs are my absolute favourites—is also out, unless I put their nibs in a Conid. However, the Con-70 is a fair capacity converter, and much easier to clean than an eye dropper, so the Yukari Royale remains on the table. Why can’t I have a pen that’s gorgeous and practical? As I try to inject some majesty back into my rotation of pens (all delrin Conids and ‘precious’ plastic Montblanc) I see myself drifting further towards the Yukari Royale. It is beautifully lacquered, yet tastefully subtle, black with reserved furniture. It is unassuming, which for me is a huge plus. The last thing I want is someone to ask me about my pens. I have to work hard to hide the Montblanc snow cap if ever I leave the house with one of them. I’m counting on the uninitiated not recognizing the Namiki clip, as no one ever makes a fuss about the Conid final. The review on this forum have been wonderful, by the way. There are some effective reviewers and spectacular photographers in this community. For that, I owe you all my thanks. So, all told I am simply looking for opinions on the viability of the Namiki Yukari Royale as a moderate to heavy use daily writing pen. It’s hefty, but only seven grams more so than my Conid inked and uncapped. It’s lacquered, but urushi’s withstood more abuse over the centuries than I ever intend to throw at it. Does anyone actually use this pen to get some decent chunks of writing done? Any insight, advice, or words of caution would be greatly appreciated. Stay healthy, stay happy, folks.
  2. Sakura FP Gallery

    Namiki Yukari Phoenix Lim. Edition

    In May 2019, the Crown Prince Naruhito has acceded to the throne, and it is in his honor that Pilot Group has created this commemorative fountain pen, in high relief, made by the famous artisans of Kokkokai school. In stock! https://www.sakurafountainpengallery.com/en/boutique/detail/namiki-yukari-phoenix-limited-edition The pen is presented in a box of paulownia wood, in the same octagonal shape as the imperial throne. Beautiful pen in a remarkable shaped box. This one stands for good luck! Sincerely, Catherine
  3. A wait longer than words can define, an Emperor in Red singing a glistening rhapsody, and then a Yukari dazzling in Royale Red glory. The pens, an encompassment of elegance of words, combined with precision of maki-e artisans have been unsurpassed. The Yukari did anxiously waited in my hands to have it's first sip of ink and I had same thoughts with what if clauses! Before getting the Yukari, this is a must read-review by FPNer shuuemura, which is a rather poetic series of pictures with practical words, comparing two pilot beauties in black urushi. This pen, one can find ideal for everyday carry to write or to keep admiring the marvel it is! The doubly magnified and magnificent emperor would be more suitable for the latter though. Having said that, when both are together, it’s more fulfilling than a sumptuous meal. PS. Google says Yukari in Japanese means Affinity (上記) and is feminine by gender. In case you are looking for a review of the Yukari Royale or the Emperor (sized pen), the below links redirect to the necessarily ‘unnecessary’ eye-candies on a blogger optimized view The Yukari Royale Review The Namiki Emperor Review A BRIEF HISTORY The Namiki Yukari Royale more or less derives itself from the 80th Anniversary fountain pen (with only 1918 produced) aka the ShiSen, which was launched in 1998. The cap band was then imprinted with four mythical creatures - Dragon, Phoenix, Tiger and XuanWu (Tortoise). The band decorated with the Shijin (four gods) was finished in Togidashi maki-e. The Chinese fable of these creatures goes like this - Each mythical creature is supposed to guard one particular Earth direction and is Harbinger of a particular season. They are respectively, Shujaku - the red phoenix of the South (Summer), Byakko - the white tiger of the West (Autumn), Genbu - the black tortoise of the North (Winter) and Seiryu - the blue dragon of the East (Spring). The latter four are the Buddhist guardians of the four directions who serve Lord Taishakuten (who represents the center), and are associated with China’s Theory of Five Elements. The 80th Anniversary pen is rather excellently reviewed here by RLD. And later, in 2005, another 50 Seki Shun LE pieces (branded as Dunhill Namiki) were made by Pilot/Namiki for the Elephant & Coral Store which are still available. The clip matches the colour of the main finish in the earlier editions, something which may or may not appeal to all of us. URUSHI Urushi as you may know is the otherwise poisonous sap of the urushi or lacquer tree (Toxicodendron Vernicifluum) which grows in Japan, China, and Korea and is primarily brown in colour. The sap of this tree polymerises to form a hard, durable, plastic-like substance, when exposed to moisture/air. Liquid urushi can be applied to multiple materials like wood, metal, cloth, resin, ceramics or ebonite as opposed to the best available synthetic lacquers. When it solidifies, it turns into a very hard coating that is waterproof and protects the coated object from effects of fungus, ambient chemical reactions at surface due to heat or humidity or even from caustic acids. By mixing pigments into cured urushi, colored urushi such as black or shu (red) are made. With natural exposure to air and ultraviolet light (extended UV exposure ends up in discolouration), the urushi layers gradually increase in transparency and the material gradually unveils shades of original bright colours within. Like the Emperor, the Yukari Royale also comes in a spacious wooden box, made of traditional Paulownia wood. The box is protectively packaged inside a cardboard box. I had to let go of the box, while someone hand-delivered the pen, along with the accessories! The model number of the pen, in this case FNK-128S-<R/B>-<F/FM/M/B> contains the launch price, colour and nib width. The 128 refers to the list price of JPY 128,000 whereas the third digit R/B refers to the red/black urushi. THE TORPEDO This Lacquer No.#20 model comes in two standard finishes - Black & Vermillion (Urushi) with gold plated clips. The brass body feels comfortable in hand, from dual perspectives of dimensions and weight. The torpedo shaped pen in Vermillion/Red is adorable in both light and shadow, and when light reflects through layers of urushi, it renders itself an electric red appearance. I believe the brass substrate is partly responsible for its bright hues compared to a relatively darker scarlet hue off the Emperor’s ebonite. The expected fit & finish seem impeccable. The simplistic yet elegant design comes with two golden accents, provided deftly by the traditional triangular shaped tension fit clip with a sphere and a thin gold ring at the cap lip. Again there is a marked absence of any other decoration like a cap band or ring or anything else on the entire pen, extending infinity to modes of artistic convergence. Vermillion is considered as an auspicious colour throughout East Asia, where it’s culturally imbibed. It has four synthetic & natural shades as of today: Red-Orange[sRGB (255, 83, 73)], Orange-Red[sRGB (255, 69, 0)], Plochere[sRGB (217, 96, 59)] and Chinese Red[sRGB (170, 56, 30)]. The shades/hue of the pens in red urushi might vary. The cap finds itself after two turns, revealing a nib with the modern Mt.Fuji inscription. The seamless grip shows a pronounced taper starting from the barrel and ends up with a smoothly carved out bump, rendering continuity. The cap threads on the barrel are carved out with artistic finesse, deftly spaced and carved out of brass. The barrel at the other end leads leisurely to the smoothest tail. The brass cap again displays the most subtle art, sans any discernible extravagance. It carries the same perseverance and focus with a fluid like finish. The finish is impeccable with a parabolic finial and with colours hovering between bright and dark red, with the play of light. The clip is traditional triangular Pilot with a sphere at the end, inscribed with Namiki with the ‘Isosceles Triangle within a Pentagon’ logo. There is a thin gold ring at the cap lip, the only adornment than the golden clip. There is a alphanumeric code inscribed on the upper base of the clip, where it delves into the cap. FILLING SYSTEM - ‘CON-70 ZINDABAD’ The section unscrews from the barrel with three and half turns, with a metallic clink, given the metallic threads on both the section and the barrel. This exposes the golden metallic threads of the section, which would otherwise remain ever hidden! A special CON-70 converter, in black, is pushed inside. The inner barrel carries the opposite metallic threads. With a short black coating near the threads which contacts with the section, the rest of the brass barrel is all exposed metal on the inside. The pen can take all pilot converters CON-20/40/50 (0.4-0.5 mL) & CON-70 (1 mL) along with pilot proprietary cartridges (0.9 mL). I have used the included ‘special black’ CON-70 converter, which has a push button filling mechanism. Mind you, the ink bottle with have some froth during the otherwise fun filling exercise. Although, for Yukari I have always directly filled the converter from an eye dropper! NIB WITH THE ‘OVAL’ BREATHER HOLE The nib with the Yukari Royale is 18k, Size#20 (similar to Pilot#15) and it comes in four stock widths - F, FM, M & B, across Japan and other distribution countries. Inscribed upon it, is the symbol of Mt. Fuji and the upper part does seems symbolic of the snow caps! Comparatively the nib weighs a tad more than a usual pilot#15 nib (0.78g vs 0.70g), but at the same time it is much less wide at the shoulders. The oval breather hole rests within the snow caps. Below the snow, etched are the Namiki Logo (Isosceles triangle inside a Pentagon), Namiki, gold alloy specs (18k-75%) and Nib width <M> On the left the #20 nib carries the Namiki Logo with Ste PP-F hallmark and on the right it carries a simple date stamp. The red plastic feeder does converge with the overall color of the pen, though I would have preferred a similarly urushi coated feeder, which only the Emperor has! May be it’s a feed size limitation, may be Pilot doesn't want to spend more money, I have no idea. The moderately spaced fins ensure levelling ambient air pressure and give you a good buffer, my experience says it’s a tad better than the usual pilot feed. You can see the three different feeds, Size#50 Emperor, Size#20 Yukari Royale & the Size#15 Custom 823, side by side. PHYSICS AS RELATIVELY IT IS The lacquer somewhat helps in keeping the pen warm which is otherwise metallic, and renders it comfortable for writing. The pen is deftly balanced for writing, even for extended use. The grip, smooth & soothing, showcases both utility and elegance at the same time. I do not post the pen as the cap is not as inlaid with as much felt/velvet as the Emperor. Figures for weight and dimensions run below for the technically minded ones. Length closed ~ 14.9 cm Length open ~ 13.4 cm Grip Diameter ~ 1.1 cm Nib Leverage ~ 2.4 cm Weight (without ink) ~ 45 g Weight (without cap) ~ 27.4 g Capped, uncapped pictures with a Pilot Custom 823 run below for your reference. There is an Emperor posing, just to highlight its relative significance The uncapped Emperor without weighs around 31 grams and the Yukari with an unfilled converter weighs around 27 grams. And this is one of the most comfortable pens, I found. ECONOMIC VALUE The Yukari Royale retails at around USD 1200 in the US, and you can find it at similar prices in Japan. I was able to source the pen at a good bargain. Logically the economic value should be equal to salvage value of the pen after a few years of use and I don't think the price will vary by much even after few years of use, given that someone finally decides to sell it off. Having said that, even though the pen is one of its kind, you should give it a serious thought. It will result in a fair amount of money trapped within the urushi layers! FINAL WORDS IN WRITING The medium nib is graced with a super wet flow, which might put a few of my Pelikans to utter shame! The nib is as smooth as I want it to be, with a slight hint of control, evident in all pilot gold nibs, strictly speaking. I feel that there is some characteristic spring and softness because of the size & shape of the nib, and it does open up with a bit of pressure. The verticals grow thicker with pressure, and this nib runs a tad thicker than a usual pilot medium nib. No skips with fast or normal writing. It writes pretty similar at whether held at a high angle or a low angle. A relatively wet Sailor Nioi-Sumire ink takes around 55 seconds to dry completely on Tomoe River paper with the #20 medium nib. Thank you again for going through the review. You can find other pen and paraphernalia reviews here. REFERENCES Urushi FPN Thread on Care for Urushi lacquered pens Pilot Custom 823 Review The Namiki #50 Emperor Review
  4. shuuemura

    Battle Of The Big Reds

    Battle of the Big Reds http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5480/11931434345_5ea0b7cbff_b.jpg From top to bottom: Sailor King of Pen in Crimson Urushi, Namiki Emperor in Vermilion Urushi, Namiki Yukari Royale in Vermilion Urushi. They are resting on a Nakaya three-pen pillow in Kuro-Tamenuri Urushi. Introduction In his excellent comparative review of four black urushi pens, rhk had shared with us his opinion of the Namiki Yukari Royale versus the Sailor King of Pen. In yet another great review, rubyeyespenlover had waxed lyrical about the beauty of the Namiki Emperor. Yours truly has reviewed the Sailor King of Pen here. Other great reviews of the King of Pen and the Yukari Royale can be found on FPN as well. But since these three pens have never been considered together in a single review, I thought it would be fun to write this comparative review (as well as give myself an excuse to snap more pictures of these gorgeous pens). Some history behind these three pens, paraphrased from Fountain Pens of Japan by Andreas Lambrou and Masamichi Sunami (2012) - the reference text for fans of Japanese fountain pens:- The Namiki Emperor (also known as Pilot #50 FFK fountain pen or Pilot #50 Jumbo) was first introduced in the 1930s but later discontinued. When Pilot decided to reintroduce its Namiki #50 Jumbo model in 1985, it commissioned the famed Japanese pen craftsman Eisuke Sakai (also known as "Ban-Ei", meaning "Eisuke the sawman") to make a prototype with the balance, shape and size of its vintage jumbo pen, and the result was outstanding. A variation of this jumbo pen design exists ("vest-type #50 fountain pen") and was first introduced in 2005 in the form of the celebrated Dunhill-Namiki Sakura-Rose pen (and you can see pictures of it here and here and read a short discussion on FPN about the pen here). I was fortunate enough to handle another vest-type Dunhill-Namiki pen, the Turtle pen, and it is truly a magnificent work of art. Current Emperor models using the vest-type pen design include the Goldfish and the Crane, as well as Chinkin models and other limited edition pens. The Yukari Royale design derives from a Balance model first used for the principal pen series (out of four) made to commemorate Pilot's 80th anniversary in 1998. It was smaller than the Namiki Emperor but larger than the Yukari, and you can see a review of the original Pilot 80th anniversary pen by RLD here. Perusing old Pilot catalogues from the 1930s gives the impression that the Yukari Royale design ultimately derives from vintage balanced-form maki-e pens that Pilot used to produce. The Sailor King of Pen [sic] (often abbreviated as KOP) has the shortest history of these three pens, having only been introduced in 2003. It was Sailor's first truly oversized pen targeted at the export market. In the first year, the KOP was made of lacquered black hard rubber with gold trimming and wide cap lip band a la Montblanc 149. In subsequent years, the pen was produced in PMMA resin, as well as a variety of materials and finishes including mosaic acrylic, plain and mottled wood grain ebonite, as well as urushi-lacquered ebonite and maki-e models. A rare piston-filler version of the KOP ("Realo") was produced to commemorate Sailor's 95th anniversary, and you can read Rokurinpapa's review of the KOP Realo here. Notable is the lack of trim on all KOP models (when capped) except for the PMMA versions. http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7363/11931711953_5d75962d4a_b.jpg The pens uncapped. Pen construction, urushi finish and ownership experience Namiki Emperor The Namiki Emperor is huge by any standard. It dwarves all other pens placed next to it, except maybe the Danitrio Yokuzuna, Genkai or Mikado models. Capped, this pen is about 46 g and 30 g uncapped (all measurements taken with the pen uninked). Dimensions of this pen: 173 mm capped, with a barrel diameter of 17 mm and cap diameter of 20 mm. Section diameter is about 14 mm. Despite its enormous size, it is comparatively light and well-balanced because of its all-ebonite body. Personally I find it quite comfortable to use, although at times I feel that I am painting rather than writing words on paper with this pen. Because very few pen cases can accommodate this size of fountain pen, I bought a custom pen case from Maison Takuya for this pen. In case you were wondering about a pen chest with slots wide enough to fit this pen, I have found that the 24-pen chest from Vox Luxury works. Quality of construction on this pen is very high - it looks machine-made. The urushi lacquer is flawless and very durable. I have had no problems with the lacquer finish throughout these five years of ownership. Its enormous size does not lend itself to portability, and hence this pen remains as a desk pen to be used at home. As may not be apparent from my photos, this pen is an eyedropper, specifically a Japanese eyedropper. Ron Dutcher wrote an authoritative article about Japanese eyedropper pens a while ago. Briefly, a Japanese eyedropper includes a plunger rod linked to a blind cap at the end of the barrel, and the whole point of the plunger is to plug the section so that no ink can leak out of the barrel once the blind cap is screwed all the way in. To use the pen, one simply unscrews the blind cap a couple of turns (roughly 1/4") to allow ink from the barrel to flow through the section to the nib. The Pilot Custom 823 pen also uses this plunger system to seal the pen against leaks, except that it's a plunger-filler rather than an eyedropper. The eyedropper system works well in use, but requires periodic maintenance. Vintage Japanese eyedroppers usually have stiff plunger rods as well as leaky seals at the barrel end that require repair. In fact, the blind cap on my own Emperor actually came off the plunger rod while I was washing it out one day, necessitating two lengthy trips to Pilot USA to get the pen repaired. Ink capacity of the pen is ginormous - I routinely fill it with 4 to 5 ml of my favourite ink blend (~1:1 ratio of Iroshizuku Kon-Peki to Yama-Budo). Needless to say, I have never run out of ink during a writing session. As far as I know, the Emperor nib (size #50) has been produced in three variations. From kmpn's blog, the oldest is the 14K version with text, followed by an 18K version with text (also pictured below). The current variation is the "Mount Fuji" nib, similar to but larger than the one in the Yukari Royale pictured below. On maki-e Emperor pens, the "Mount Fuji" motif is rhodium-plated to give the nib a two-tone finish. Currently, three nib sizes are offered, FM, M and B. My Emperor pen first came to me with a "Mount Fuji" nib in medium size. This nib never wrote well (skipping and hard-starting), however, so early last year I sent it to Pilot USA for a nib exchange to broad size. The pen came back with an 18K text version nib, which to me is the most desirable version of the Emperor nib. This broad nib writes well and is a little springy. Namiki Yukari Royale I own two versions of this pen, one in Black urushi and the other in Vermilion urushi. Also see my review where I compared the Yukari Royale to the Pilot Custom 845 for detailed photos and impressions of the Yukari Royale. When completely filled, this pen weighs 46 g capped/29 g uncapped. Dimensions of the pen are 150 mm capped/ 134 mm uncapped/ 179 mm posted, with a cap diameter of about 15 mm and a barrel diameter of approximately 14 mm. This pen is made of brass and has very good balance in the hand. Most people would probably find it a comfortable pen to use. As would be expected from Namiki, the urushi lacquer is shiny and perfect. The pen uses the CON-70 converter which has a capacity of about 1.9 ml - sufficient for most people. Regular Pilot ink tends to stain the urushi section but can be cleaned off with some rubbing. Iroshizuku ink, on the other hand, does not cause any staining. The Yukari Royale uses the Namiki #20 size nib. My Black urushi version of this pen is perfect with its medium nib. This nib is extremely wet, springy and responsive, and is my favourite pen out of my thirty-odd pen collection. In fact, I liked this pen so much that I decided to get another Yukari Royale in Vermilion urushi with a broad nib last year. In comparison to the medium nib, I find that the broad nib is rigid and not as responsive. My Vermilion Yukari Royale came with several problems as well. First, it wrote very dryly with Pilot Iroshizuku but did much better with regular Pilot ink. In addition, the pen tended to stop writing in the middle of sentences, sometimes even stopping just after being uncapped. These interruptions in ink flow were rare, but extremely frustrating when they occurred. A hard-starting issue has lessened after I had the nib professionally adjusted. Finally, one of the starts for the internal (female) thread inside the cap does not engage perfectly with the external (male) thread on the barrel, causing occasional thread seizure when I try to cap the pen. Over time this might cause premature wear of the urushi on the threads. For the price and pedigree of this pen, I feel that these problems are unacceptable. Currently, I am in contact with Pilot to try to get my pen replaced with a fine-nibbed version. Sailor King of Pen This pen has an ebonite base covered with twelve layers of the most exquisite crimson urushi lacquer. Hard-rubber KOPs are hand-lathed and then polished, or sent to Ms. Kato Seishou, a famous maki-e artist in Japan, for hand-application of urushi lacquer. Nine different colours of urushi lacquer are offered on the KOP: black, ivory, crimson red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple and lilac. Maki-e models are occasionally offered as well. A non-exhaustive listing of KOP models can be seen here. The urushi finish and unusual shape of this pen were the two main reasons why I purchased this pen in the first place. In fact, the shape of this pen has inspired homages, most notably the Herald and Herald Grande models from the Edison Pen Company. The KOP is large but very comfortable in the hand. It is 153 mm capped/ 134 mm uncapped and has a cap diameter of 17 mm and a section diameter of 12 mm. My pen weighs 35 g capped and 22 g uncapped. Unlike the ebonite barrel and cap, the pen section is made of urushi-lacquered PMMA resin with a enormous brass converter/cartridge holder, which helps direct the pen weight toward the nib. Hence I find that this pen is more comfortable to use than, say, the Montblanc 149 and Pelikan M800 pens which are weighted more towards the end of the pen barrel. As can be seen from the pictures below, the nib on this pen is big and beautiful. My pen originally came with a medium nib, which wrote lusciously with Aurora Black after being adjusted. Last year I managed to get the medium nib exchanged to a Crosspoint nib, one of the specialty Nagahara nibs that Sailor is known for. Most people here probably know how these Nagahara nibs work: the line they put down gets broader the more acute the angle is against paper. The versatility of the Crosspoint nib in making different line widths has made this one of the best writing pens in my collection. I have occasionally toyed with the idea of getting another KOP in Black urushi, but my experience above with the Yukari Royale suggests that perfection might be hard to beat. For my detailed review and more photos of the KOP, go here. Some thoughts and concluding remarks All three pens reviewed here are definitely "grail" pens for most people. I have owned these pens long enough (four to five years) so that any post-purchase rationalization has long been overcome, hence this comparative review tends to be more logical rather than emotional. In terms of practicality, I find that the Yukari Royale and KOP pens are always inked and in my pen holder. The Emperor, however, has not been inked for a while and will likely remain that way for the near future. The final verdict? Expensive pens are not always better, but do offer one a greater chance of obtaining the ultimate writing experience. My Yukari Royale in Black urushi will remain my favourite pen until the next "grail" comes along. Hakase, anyone??? Anyway, I hope you had fun reading this review! http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2861/11932284706_41976b55b3_b.jpg The nibs exposed. http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7352/11931712733_b9990d28d1_b.jpg Side-profiles of the nibs. http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3727/11931887804_28f55fdbbb_b.jpg Comparison of the feeds and nib tippings. I believe the Emperor's feed is made of urushi-lacquered ebonite while the Yukari Royale's and KOP's feeds are made of plastic.
  5. Namiki Yukari Royale versus Pilot Custom 845 http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7346/11918876405_a4b358c5a4_b.jpg Introducing the Namiki Yukari Royale in Black Urushi (top) and the Pilot Custom 845 (bottom). Both pens are resting on a Nakaya three-pen pillow in Kuro Tamenuri Urushi on top of a Midori pad. On the right is a box of Namiki Black ink. Introduction This is a long over-due comparison between two of Pilot's arguably most luxurious mainstream pens, the Namiki Yukari Royale and the Pilot Custom 845. As you all know, the Pilot Corporation uses the Namiki brand for its premium line of writing instruments, much like Toyota uses the Lexus brand and Honda uses the Acura brand for their luxury marquees. The Yukari Royale occupies the second highest rung of Namiki writing instruments, and many people have also made a case for the Pilot Custom 845 being the "flagship" of the regular line-up of fountain pens that Pilot produces, due to its comparatively high MSRP and the superior materials used in its construction. I first acquired the Yukari Royale in 2010, and found it an ideal pen to use. Over time I found myself attracted to the Pilot Custom 845 because it was similar, yet different enough so that I could justify ownership of the pen to myself. So late last year I found an 845 making its way from the sales board into my stable of pens. Some history behind these two pens, according to Fountain Pens of Japan by Andreas Lambrou and Masamichi Sunami (2012), and I paraphrase the information from this invaluable resource here. The Yukari Royale design came from a Balance model first used for the principal pen series made to commemorate Pilot's 80th anniversary in 1998. It was smaller than the #50 FFK Jumbo pen (also known as Namiki Emperor) but bigger than the standard FK Balance model (also known as Namiki Yukari). This limited edition of 1918 pens is long sold-out, but they came in black or red urushi finishes (even the clip was lacquered), and a "four animal gods" lacquer band theme around the opening of the pen cap. See this link from Namiki's website for a picture of this pen and RLD's excellent review of the Pilot 80th anniversary pen. The 845 first debuted in 2002 and its design was derived from the Pilot 75 pen (edition of 7500 pens) made to celebrate Pilot's 75th anniversary in 1993. The Pilot 75 was designed to resemble pens made in the 1930s and it sported a Kikuza clip reminiscent of 1940s-style clips. See Rokurinpapa's extensive review of the Pilot 75 pen. So how do these two pens compare, given their distinguished lineages? First up, their prices. The Yukari Royale has an MSRP of $1500 while the Pilot Custom 845 sells for around $525. Market rates of these pens brand-new hover around $1200 for the Yukari Royale and mid-to-high $400's for the 845. Fortunately, I managed to acquire both pens for much less. Are they worth their suggested retail prices? This will be up to the individual, but for me hunting for a good price is part of the fun in the pen chase. Packaging and Pen Presentation http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3716/11921486675_9a296dfab1_b.jpg The Namiki Yukari Royale pictured in its paulownia wood box. http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5473/11916545376_e7e6dbba02_b.jpg Another picture of the Namiki Yukari Royale in its box. The Yukari Royale comes in a box made of paulownia wood. Included is a bottle of Pilot Blue ink as well as some literature describing the operation of the pen. Notable is a certificate attesting to the authenticity and quality of the urushi finish (not shown). According to the Namiki website, the Yukari Royale comes with a lifetime guarantee: it is "unconditionally guaranteed against failures due to faulty materials or workmanship throughout [its] life with the original owner." http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3818/11916544816_10ee357512_b.jpg The Pilot Custom 845 in its box. The 845 comes in a faux suede-covered box with a velvety-lining inside. One ink cartridge and some literature describing operation of the pen are included. A short card emphasizing the history and excellence of the urushi finish is pictured above. http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5532/11919204383_8d23bbf501_b.jpg The two pens uncapped. Pen Construction and Urushi Finish On to the real comparison. The Yukari Royale is torpedo-shaped and has a underlying body of brass. Conforming to the Japanese aesthetic ideal, it is unadorned, save for a clip as well as a thin gold ring to protect the cap lip from impact. The 845, on the other hand, is styled in the tradition of the Montblanc Meisterstück series but with squared-off ends. There are five trim rings on this pen (including the one on the section) and the cap jewel has a golden ring around it as well. The 845 is made of hard rubber (ebonite), the material traditionally used to make fountain pens. The cap and barrel ends, as well as the section, are made of plastic, however. In his review, MYU had noted that the 845 is a cross between a Montblanc 149 and a Sailor Professional Gear (which itself debuted in 2003), and I concur. I first happened across the 845 in a Hong Kong shop called Winner Pens Collection (you can read my Hong Kong trip report here), and I was taken with its large, yet comfortable size. Both pens have triangular-shaped clips which terminate in a ball, making them highly usable. The Yukari Royale's clip is attached to the cap in a seamless fashion, while the 845's clip is clearly part of the gold trim at the cap end. The Yukari Royale's clip measures 41 mm in length/8 mm at the top while the 845's clip measures 38 mm in length/6 mm at the top. There are four numbers at the top of the Yukari Royale's clip, which might serve as the pen's serial number. More measurements for the statistically-minded here: the Yukari Royale is 46 g capped/29 g uncapped while the 845 is 29 g capped/18 g uncapped. Weights were measured with the converter completely filled. Dimensions: the Yukari Royale is 150 mm capped/134 mm uncapped/179 mm posted, with a diameter of approximately 14 mm, while the 845 is 146 mm capped/132 mm uncapped/165 mm posted, with a diameter of approximately 12.6 mm. Both pens are very well-balanced in the hand, no problems with comfort here. Both pens initially appealed to me because of their urushi finish. I was impressed as well with the history and legendary in-house expertise of Pilot/Namiki in urushi lacquering. The entirety of the Yukari Royale - including the section - is flawlessly lacquered in jet-black urushi lacquer. After four years of hard use, the finish remains impeccably shiny, a testimony to the durability of the lacquer finish. When I first received my 845 last year, I noticed two tiny specks in the lacquer finish towards the barrel end, which are only visible from certain angles and lighting. These specks are probably dust or imperfections in the underlying ebonite body. In any case, these defects did not bother me very much after I inked up the pen and discovered how good of a writer it was. Note that only the ebonite parts of the 845 are lacquered with urushi; the plastic cap and barrel ends, as well as the section, are not. The transition between the urushi and plastic bits of the 845 is seamless - with only the tiny and subtle "URUSHI" gold letters above the cap trim ring serving to remind one of the special lacquer finish. Peering inside the caps of both pens reveals a thin ring of felt that serves to protect the barrel end from marring, should one choose to post the cap on these urushi pens. The felt ring inside the Yukari Royale cap tends to wear away with time, but I haven't found this to affect the urushi finish during normal use. The Yukari Royale comes in both Black and Vermilion urushi finishes, as well as a variety of exquisite maki-e designs. The 845 normally comes in a Black urushi finish, but certain shops in Japan have managed to procure a special Vermilion edition (see here and here and also kmpn's blog for some absolutely breathtaking comparison photos of the Black and Vermilion edition 845 pens, amongst other pens). http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3677/11921489765_1be37c4ca4_b.jpg Comparison of the two sections with attached CON-70 converters. The Yukari Royale is inked with Pilot Blue-Black while the 845 is inked with Pilot Black. Both pens use the superior CON-70 piston converter, arguably the best converter on the market today. I shall not belabour the obvious, except to say that I have had no problems using this filling system. The urushi section of the Yukari Royale tends to stain with Pilot Blue-Black ink but can be cleaned off with some elbow grease. I have had no issues with ink staining the 845 plastic section. http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3774/11916555726_8945294163_b.jpg Close-up of the two nibs: the 845's #15 nib is two-tone while the Yukari Royale in plain urushi finishes come with monotone #20 nibs. The #20 nibs on maki-e Yukari Royale pens are two-tone (the stylized Mount Fuji on the nib is rhodium-plated), however. Writing Experience My Yukari Royale in Black Urushi has a medium #20 nib while the 845 is equipped with a broad #15 nib. The #20 and #15 are approximately the same in length, but have different shapes and feeds. Initially the Yukari Royale nib was a hard-starter. I persisted in using it for approximately six months without much improvement. While cleaning the pen one day, the centre channel rod in the feed came out (also see Richard Binder's page on feeds for more information). Naturally the pen went back to Pilot USA for warranty repair. After it returned, the pen wrote like a dream. I'm not sure what the service centre did but over the course of the last four years, this pen has become my absolute favourite to use. The nib on this pen is springy and extremely responsive, and will lay ink down at the slightest touch to paper. The date code on the nib reads "A809", indicating that it was made by the "A" machine in the Pilot Hiratsuka factory in August of 2009. See kmpn's blogpost for more information on dating Pilot nibs. My 845 pen's broad #15 nib came to me pre-adjusted by Yukio Nagahara of Sailor Pen Company during a pen clinic in India. It writes very well too, requiring absolutely no pressure to put ink onto paper. The date code on this nib is 1210, indicating that it was made in December of 2010 (Since 2010, Pilot has stopped using the "A" and "B" designations on their nibs). In comparison to the Yukari Royale nib, however, the 845 nib is rigid. I have another Yukari Royale with a broad #20 nib ( date code 712 - made in July of 2012), and the nib is inflexible as well. To me, it appears that Pilot broad nibs tend to be more rigid than their finer brethren, perhaps to cater for heavy-handed people? http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2831/11915941023_b990a2faeb_b.jpg Another close-up of the two nibs. http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3732/11916114524_8da4105d9e_b.jpg Side-profiles of the two nibs. The 845's nib tends to stick out more beyond the feed, giving the impression that the user is wielding a brush rather than a pen. http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2810/11915944563_405e387c83_b.jpg See how different the two feeds are! The Yukari Royale's feed is more finned than the 845's feed. Both feeds are made of injection-moulded plastic, however. From this picture, it is apparent that the two nibs are shaped differently as well. The shoulders of the 845 nib tend to flare out a bit more. Conclusions These two pens have excellent construction, an impeccable urushi lacquer finish, write well, and fly under the radar for most people. Either pen is definitely worthy of "grail" status. As might already be apparent from the following pictures, I have chosen the Yukari Royale as my favourite pen to own. Anyway, I hope that you have enjoyed reading this review! Size Comparison to other well-known pens Because more eye-candy is always welcome IMHO. Why would I take photos of all these pens and not share them? http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7369/11916119674_78a7fc57a0_b.jpg Both pens depicted with the Namiki Yukari Royale in Vermilion Urushi. http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5520/11915945783_b74755a931_b.jpgBoth pens depicted with the Namiki Emperor in Vermilion Urushi. http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3682/11915661975_5cf6eec826_b.jpg Both pens depicted with the Sailor King of Pen in Crimson Urushi, reviewed here. http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2873/11915945153_d82eccab9b_b.jpg Both pens depicted with the Sailor Professional Gear Kanreki. http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7319/11916118974_82b36dc5a6_b.jpg Both pens depicted with the Montblanc 149. http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7343/11915937543_41a3e08573_b.jpgBoth pens depicted with the Pelikan M800 in Green. http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3834/11916118674_f73a8ea1ca_b.jpgBoth pens depicted with the Pelikan M800 in Tortoiseshell Brown. http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5547/11923905185_93af11c485_b.jpg Both pens depicted with the Parker Duofold Centennial in Black. http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5477/11916119294_a1a38c6d05_b.jpgBoth pens depicted with the Nakaya Portable Writer in Shobu. A non-exhaustive listing of FPN reviews for the individual pens (Apologies in advance for any omissions) Namiki Yukari Royale: pmrogers, Archimark, enlasombra, enlasombra (again), rhk (comparison between four pens), Mkim, Painterspal, Brian. Pilot Custom 845: J-san, MYU, Hari317, Hari317 (again), seikoguy, Pen2009.
  6. jmccarty3

    Great Service From Dromgoole's

    Some of you may have been aware of the Namiki Yukari Grapevine I purchased from Dromgoole's at the Dallas Pen Show that turned out to have a Pilot nib. To make a long story short, Larry Dromgoole arranged for an exchange of the pen for one with a proper Namiki nib. The pen is to be a gift to a good friend of mine who is a winemaker, and I'm sure he will be pleased. I appreciate Larry's help in taking care of this, and I highly recommend his store to everyone. He knows how to take care of his customers!
  7. We are glad to announce two Namiki Yukari fountain pens will also launch this upcoming November 2016. Discover the new Namiki Yukari Milky Way and Namiki Yukari Shooting Stars! Namiki Yukari Milky Way This fountain pen is inspired by the mythical and mysterious Milky Way giving a touch of modernity to a refined design that will make the writer dream. On the barrel we can find the Lyra constellation, which is located on the northern hemisphere and dominated by the bright Vega. The cap shows the Aquila constellation and its main star Altair, which are located near the celestial equator. Hira Maki-e gold powder streaks, are scattered elegantly around the pens black urushi lacquer body representing how the Milky Way crosses the night sky. The Shu-kanshitsu Maki-e technique sprinkles dry vermilion lacquer particles enhancing the design. Stars are represented by small gold, silver and mother of pearl circles finely cut in shellfish using the Raden technique. The amazing shades they feature are achieved due to a very special technique: Fuse-zaishikim. This technique colors the back of the shell pieces to be encrusted so that the color combines by transparency with its iridescent aspect. Namiki Shooting Stars Your wishes will have more chances of being fulfilled with this amazing Yukari dedicated to shooting stars. This fountain pen features two innovative techniques, added to the usual Maki-e. The planets in the galaxy are created by using inlays of small gold, silver and mother pearl circles. This last ones are finely cut in shellfish using the Raden technique. The Fuse-zaishiki technique, which we explained on the Namiki Yukari Milky Way, is also used to give these pieces their amazing shades. The bright trails of shootings stars are skillfully designed by trajectories of silver flakes due to Gin-birame, the second innovative technique. Both fountain pens will be available this upcoming November. For further information, or pre-orders do not hesitate to contact us via info@iguanasell.com Enjoy a sneak-peak at these amazing novelties below!
  8. jmccarty3

    Pilot Nib On Namiki Yukari

    At the Dallas show, I found a Namiki Yukari Grapevine, which is a difficult design to locate. I had been searching for it because I wanted to give it to a good friend who is a winemaker. It was new, the purchase was from an authorized dealer, and the price was right. I was admiring the beautiful Maki-e finish so much that I didn't even examine the nib. When I did, I realized that it was a Pilot size 5 nib rather than a Namiki nib. I realize that the only difference is the decoration, but I've never seen a photo of a Yukari with a Pilot nib. The dealer has made an inquiry to Pilot, but has not heard back. Have any of you ever seen or heard of anything like this?
  9. Hello my name is jonas I live in Paris and I am looking to buy a namiki yukari or a namiki emperor in black or vermillion. The pen nib is not important. If anyone want to sell, please contact me. Thanks ! Jonas
  10. hsianloon

    Namiki Raden Line Question

    So, I've been checking a lot of Raden pens recently, and found that I like the Yukari Nightline series very much due to the raden distribution and the sprinkled gold dust patterns. After much searching the net, the current version being marketed was not much to my taste due the ''black lines'' across the Raden which I felt detracted from the patterns, Picture from nibs.com I've been looking for this particular version, but I can't seem to find a name or model number per se, just that it's an older edition of the pen, which makes looking for it a bit hard. Pictures from http://ela123a.wordpress.com/2010/05/23/namiki-nightline-radean-fountain-pen/#comment-3 And there's even a nicer one here, on the right, which i'm told is from the 70s era ! Photo from Alfonso Mur https://www.facebook.com/amurbohigas?fref=photo So I was wondering if anyone knows a good resource to look up this particular line from Namiki-Pilot ? Help a fpn-er find a grail pen ! The 70s one really caught my eye...
  11. Hello! I am searching for a second hand Namiki emperor or Yukari royale in vermillon lacquer or black lacquer. Does anyone of you have one he might want to sell? Thanks a lot. Jonas





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