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Namiki Nippon Art Origami Series Crane


nicholasyeo
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This is my second review. My first review was of the Sailor Professional Gear A-mode, and can be seen HERE.

 

The photo above is enlarged, a scan of test writings. It is actually a Rhodia N°16 - A5 - 14.8 x 21 cm sheet. (Not up yet.)

 

My first impressions: This pen comes in a golden cardboard box that opens to reveal two papers, firstly, a Pilot Singapore certificate of authenticity and Namiki instruction guidebook with different languages which is also an international guarantee. Then, a crafted wooden box bearing the Namiki logo and name that opens up, revealing the pen, surrounded by a luxurious looking, contrasting red fabric which is smooth to the feel.

 

#1 Appearance & Design (8/10) – The Namiki Nippon Art Origami Series Crane is one in a series of five pens released by Namiki, which included the Kabuto, Rabbit, Goldfish, Penguin and of course Crane. Launched in fall 2009, this beautifully crafted fountain pen comes in a classic design unique to Namiki. On the barrel, a characteristic depiction of three origami (paper folding) cranes, one in red, green as well as gold. Further, ten stylised clouds with bits of gold sprinkled below. The pen sports Namiki's trademark gold clip, which tapers towards a round sphere at it's end. A true statement in discriminating quality and exacting workmanship to the pen world, and truly symbolic in the choice of motifs, which tease the eye with their mirages.

 

As one site explains:

The crane is a majestic bird long treasured as the Japanese symbol of ‘honour’, ‘loyalty’ and ‘longevity’, and is one of the most famous Origami designs. Legends tell that one who folds a thousand paper cranes will be blessed and his greatest desires will come true. The graceful and free-spirited cranes depicted roaming through the drifting clouds on the Namiki pen evoke an impression of harmony and eternity, giving one a tranquil sensation of gazing at the heavenly skies.

 

#2 Construction & Quality (10/10) –

This is an extremely well built pen that has extremely high quality decorations. Employing the fine art of Hira Maki-e, a celebrated lacquer decoration technique developed in Japan since the Heian period from year 794AD - an ornamentation used by court nobles, the art form soon grew in popularity and was adopted by royal families as well as military leaders as a symbol of their status and influence. It is manufactured in a process where extremely fine gold dust and colour pigment is sprinkled over wet urushi resin. The highly distinct, colourful, but not just yet overdone designs on the pen compliment the smooth, shiny lacquer. The deep black lacquer background forms a base for these applied pigments. There are absolutely no manufacturing flaws. One may not dare to post the cap on top for fear of damaging the precious finish.

 

#3 Weight & Dimensions (10/10) – The pen itself is not very heavy, but feels like a perfectly complete piece that is easy to hold in the hand. It is of a standard size, not overly large but neither small, just slightly larger than my Professional Gear.

 

#4 Nib & Performance (10/10) – I have to give it to them. Namiki's 14K solid gold nib in a medium width lays down a line so smooth and consistent, even at the right and left rotational angles. It writes somewhat the width of my Lamy 2000 Fine nib, albeit much more smoothly and with a very nice feel. Being a 14K, it has a slight flex to it, that makes it really comfortable if one would like a little more variation. The nib has a design that is ostensibly that of Mount Fuji. There are some markings on the right and left side, probably the identification number of the pen and/or nib. Although it comes in a gold sheen, I thought that it went well with the rest of the pen's design. I was initially reluctant at purchasing a medium, but since I have tried and tested it, I found that the Japanese medium nib was a real pleasure to write with. This is a strangely well controlled, consistent nib. It does not lay down a wet (but not overly so) line that causes bleeding on the page. I can write on virtually every kind of paper and achieve stunning results. (Ink used was Pilot/Namiki Iroshizuku Asa-Gao "Morning Glory")

 

#5 Filling System & Maintenance (10-10) - This is a welcome relief. People have for long expressed their discontent at the low capacity and quality of build of fountain pen converters. This changes everything. (As Apple says) A well built CON-70 push operated, removable converter siphons ink from the inkwell and stores an extremely large (for c/c pens) amount of ink. It is probably the best or one of the best converters out on the market right now, but costs quite a bit. Nevertheless, it is fast, allowing me to efficiently clean out the pen and change inks. It has a springy button and metal part at the top, and slots very securely into the nib section. The only comment I might say about this converter is that it cannot be disassembled, unlike that of my Professional Gear. But the final verdict? Incredible. I have always been an advocate for converter systems. People say that fountain pens with a piston operated filling system are the best, but the simple fact is that converters can easily be thrown away and replaced if they aren't performing as well as they should be. They don't have to be oiled and cleaned. - And this is my point about maintenance. The pen is easy to maintain, clean out, fill up. Very much unlike the piston fillers, the slow twist converters and the sac fillers in a positive way.

 

#6 Cost & Value (8/10) – This is the scary part. A 14K nib, urushi resin and maki-e. It is very subjective as to whether or not a pen has value. For me, beautifully crafted and painstakingly manufactured artwork is valuable. For others, what are they? Just illustrations of clouds and folded paper cranes. The perceptions of value in art change from generation to generation, from culture to culture. One day, a man's simple technical drawings that come ahead of his time may be brushed off as fantasy. Another, they may be heralded as genius, as a revolutionary creation that the artist themselves may never live to see. Moving on, I must mention that I got this pen brand new, un-inked and at the affordable price of 470SGD. I shall not mention where I had bought it from, just say that it was quite a steal, and that a pen shop would never sell it at this price. For this, to me, the pen is at an affordable enough cost and of incredible value. Nevertheless, one of the cheaper Namikis out there.

 

Conclusion (Final score, 56/6 = 9.333') - This has been the most unique pen in my collection. It is something that I really appreciate, both for the design and manufacture, brand, the filling system, the nib quality and finally, the cultural significance of the crane in the design of the pen. I picked it out of the collection of six as my favourite. Having been a user of the Professional Gear and Lamy 2000, I can appreciate the unique and individual qualities that this pen possesses over others. It does not try too hard to be something else, and doesn't try to hard not to be something else as well. The Japanese have, yet again, impressed upon me their singular ingenuity and supreme technical mastery.

 

Do voice your constructive criticism and opinions as you wish. I think there's always something to learn. I'm not that experienced, but I try my best to be accurate.

If you like to know more about me, you can view my profile. Thank you for reading this review. I hope it is informative and insightful to you.

 

http://i175.photobucket.com/albums/w143/nicholasyzh/NY0_4425.jpg

http://i175.photobucket.com/albums/w143/nicholasyzh/NY0_4385.jpg

http://i175.photobucket.com/albums/w143/nicholasyzh/NY0_4388.jpg

http://i175.photobucket.com/albums/w143/nicholasyzh/NY0_4449.jpg

http://i175.photobucket.com/albums/w143/nicholasyzh/NY0_4459.jpg

http://i175.photobucket.com/albums/w143/nicholasyzh/NY0_4464.jpg

http://i175.photobucket.com/albums/w143/nicholasyzh/NY0_4473.jpg

Edited by nicholasyeo
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  • nicholasyeo

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very nice review and excellent pics

thanks!

 

Thanks, but somehow the picture of the nib turned out a little blurry.

Anyway, people don't seem to have much interest in these pens...

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Very nice pen and write-up.

How wide around is the pen, would you say? Compared perhaps to an 823 or a peli 800?

Personally I think it is a nice addition of whimsy with a nod to another Japanese tradition.

Enjoy your new pen !

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Very nice pen and write-up.

How wide around is the pen, would you say? Compared perhaps to an 823 or a peli 800?

Personally I think it is a nice addition of whimsy with a nod to another Japanese tradition.

Enjoy your new pen !

 

Compared to a M800 I would say that this pen is slightly thicker.

It's also wetter. For some reason the ink flow here is quite a bit

more loose, especially when I have just inked it. When I use the

converter to suck up ink, it's extremely saturated. It does get a

bit more moderate as I write on... It doesn't cause any bleed,

on Rhodia paper despite the good flow. I think that is great.

 

And yes, you are right about whimsy. I think that the pen is a

very huge difference from the no-nonsense workhorse writers

I have previously used - a totally white Pro Gear A-mode and

Lamy 2000.

Edited by nicholasyeo
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Congratulations! You have written a a passonate review of a lovely pen! May I request to post some close-up pictures of Origami Cranes? How much is reatil price in USD? Your pen looks lovely! I agree Con-70 is an efficient converter!

Thanks for reviewing!

Abhik.

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Congratulations! You have written a a passonate review of a lovely pen! May I request to post some close-up pictures of Origami Cranes? How much is reatil price in USD? Your pen looks lovely! I agree Con-70 is an efficient converter!

Thanks for reviewing!

Abhik.

 

Hi there,

I will take more close up pictures of the Origami Crane FP. I haven't yet got pictures of the nib, clip, converter and body.

I love that converter, and nothing else has come close thus far. Anyway, retail price for this pen isn't very cheap. I see

that Nibs.com sells it at 600USD after discount. Retail is apparently 750USD?! I got it at a great price from a friend!

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Generally the nib is wetter but at the same time also smoother, understandably

due to the fact that it is a medium. I am not used to writing with this usually but

it is quite a pleasure. I like how glides softly on a page. A slight 14K flex as well.

Also, more photos of the nib and Maki-e designs on the barrel.

 

http://i175.photobucket.com/albums/w143/nicholasyzh/P1030449.jpg

http://i175.photobucket.com/albums/w143/nicholasyzh/P1030447.jpg

Edited by nicholasyeo
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  • 4 months later...

I just found out several things about Namiki/Pilot nibs.

My Namiki nib here comes with a PP-F marking, as well

as the date of manufacture and welding machines used

to manufacture the nib. It says A809 meaning that

"Machine A was used to manufacture this nib in August

of the year 2009". Wow, this pen is 1 year, 7 months +

old right now, though still in mint condition due to not

being used... It's far too precious... My Heritage 92 has

a stamp saying 1110 which means it was manufactured

in November of the year 2010. The first alphabet, as

you can see, has been omitted since 2010. :eureka:

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Thank you for your nice and passionnate review. For me, crane is a symbol of hope to recovery.

 

rokurinpapa

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Thank you for your nice and passionnate review. For me, crane is a symbol of hope to recovery.

 

rokurinpapa

 

Japan needs that now - a thousand paper cranes. Many thousands.

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  • 1 month later...

More than making beautiful pens, Pilot/Namiki make them wonderful writers!

Great review and pictures! Thanks!

 

Truly a wonderful writer! Nice, wet but not overly so, and the medium nib

is one of the most effortless I have ever tried. Put that together with a

CON-70 converter and BANG! There is magic.

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