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Platinum Izumo Sora Tamenuri (Fine Nib)


atomic_doug
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This stupid site; you can't spend any amount of time on it without deciding that you really need an urushi pen. So...that's where I am right now. I've had a little time now with my new Platinum Izumo Sora tamenuri pen and I've decided to write a little review. Obviously, I am not in any way affiliated with Platinum or anyone who sells pens or services them etc etc.

 

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The Platinum Izumo has been around for a few years now. It is named after a certain prefecture of Japan where they, apparently, make really nice paper. The pen intended to compete (to some degree) with the Namikis, Sailor King of Pens (Kings of Pen?) and Nakayas of the world. It comes in ebonite in four urushi finishes (black -kuro-, red -aka-, greenish -sora*-, and maki-e -yamonoguri-). It also comes in a wooden version (tagayasan) which is apparently much bigger.

*as far as I know, sora means 'sky', but the color is pretty green. Go figure.

Packaging

I don't particularly care about packaging. I would just as soon buy the pen if it came in a blister-and-card package. However, this pen comes really nicely packaged. A textured paperboard outer sleeve contains a nice paulonia wood box with some Japanese writing on it. Inside the box are the usual accoutrements like paperwork I will never read, a cartridge I will never use, and a converter. There is also a nice scroll of blank mulberry paper for your calligraphy projects. The pen itself is in a cute little "pen kimono". All in all, it looks like as much care was taken in packing the pen as in making the pen itself.

 

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Dimensions

 

Length, capped: 155mm

Length, uncapped: 137mm

Length, section (not incl. nib): 32mm

Width, at threads: 13mm

Width, max.: 18mm

Weight, capped (not incl. cart or converter): 33g

 

Here it is in comparison to a Pelikan M800 and a Platinum #3776 Century, two relatively common pens.

 

http://s8.postimg.org/6ngqenjnp/IMG_4722.jpg

 

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Impressions & Design

No way around it. This is an enormous pen. That hit me first. However, it's very light, since it's made of ebonite (hard rubber) and has very little metal in it. It's nice and wide at the section and is comfortable to hold. The metal threads are far enough back that they don't interfere with your grip. It is very nicely balanced and hours of writing do not yield any appreciable hand fatigue. (I didn't post the pen, since there was a warning in the box not to do so; plus, if you need to post this pen, you must have hands like Johnny Bench.)

 

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The shape of the pen is superficially like a traditional cigar shape, but it has smooth, dare I say, sensual curves. The body is a deep brown-black with greenish coloring appearing at all the joints and edges. The color is like a much darker version of Nakaya's heki tamenuri finish. The clip is very uniquely shaped and says 'Platinum' on it. It is of moderate stiffness and is made of folded metal. Par for the course for Japanese pens but it would feel cheap on a European pen of this price range. The section and barrel have a metal-on-metal interface with precise threads.

 

http://s7.postimg.org/6qb1mcz57/IMG_4716.jpg

The cap screws on and off with a single twist and feels secure. The threads on the section are metal while the threads in the cap aren't. It does not appear to have anything like the Slip-and-seal system.
The section and barrel interface with precision-cut metal threads (so no eye-dropper conversions). There's a nice long metal sleeve that the converter or cartridge slips into so you never have to worry about inserting the converter off-kilter.

Overall, there is a great feel of a piece that was made with care and precision.

Nib

The Izumo series uses the nib and feed from the Platinum President series. A plastic feed supplies ink to an 18k gold, two-toned nib. (Mine is a fine.) The nib is stiffer, but it is both wetter and smoother than other Platinum (particularly the 14k #3776 Century) nibs I have used. I read in an article once that the President nib was designed for Western writing, not Japanese writing, but it didn't say how. I don't know exactly they did that, but I can assure you the President nib lays down a nice, wet line and it never has a problem with hesitating or skipping.

 

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I can also point out that my Izumo's idea of "fine" is noticeably wider than my 3776 Century's "fine" with the same ink.

 

http://s21.postimg.org/jh63hk7jr/IMG_4725.jpg

Straight out of the box, this nib performs better than any Japanese nib I have ever experienced and equals the performance of an OMAS in terms of smoothness and precision. (I am almost at the point where I'd say it actually is better than a lot of nibs I have had tuned by nibmeisters. It is that good.) Its smoothness feels like a cross between the glassiness of a European pen and the feedback-y smoothness of a Sailor.

 

http://s27.postimg.org/6bu9s6rhv/IMG_4721.jpg

Filling System

You know that converter that Platinum pens come with? Yeah, it's that one. How do you feel about it? Just pretend that I am transcribing in this section of the review what you're thinking about that converter and that you totally agree with me. I like you too.

 

http://s15.postimg.org/z5rz27ajf/IMG_4719.jpg

Value

This is not a cheap pen. It costs about what a non-custom Nakaya would cost. Is it the most sublime writing experience ever? Of course not. It's just a pen. That said, it's very nice to look at and comfortable to write with, with a truly brilliant nib. If you want to get the same nib for a fraction of the cost, buy a Platinum President.

Final Thoughts

This is a pen that does not get a lot of love on the forum. Perhaps that is because when you can afford one of these, why don't you get a Nakaya? A lot of pens fall into that trap: if you can afford X, why didn't you just buy X instead of something that costs the same? Personally, I love this pen. It's the best all-around Japanese pen I've ever owned and certainly one of the prettiest regardless of place of origin. Its enormous size makes it a little impractical for taking to the office, but I write more at home anyway.

How does it compare to a Nakaya?

If you didn't skip ahead, you probably asked yourself this anyway. I've been asked this question more than a few times already. Now, I'm not going to say one is better than the other because that's not fair and there are so many subjective things that go into an opinion like that it would render the answer pointless. However, I will say this. They write differently. The Nakaya uses a tuned #3776 nib and feed, while the Izumo uses a tuned President nib and feed. If you like one over the other, then that difference will be magnified comparing a Nakaya and an Izumo.
Nakayas are obviously far more tailored to the individual. That's their point. The Izumo is not. The Izumo is meant to be a flagship pen from a large company. Personally, I like the President nib and the sensual curves of the Izumo more than I value the customization options of the pen body that Nakaya offers me. You may be the opposite.
In either case, you are going to be getting a hand-made ebonite-bodied fountain pen with a wonderful nib and lovingly- and expertly-applied coats of lacquer. (And it's STILL just a c/c) You're really choosing between Rolls Royce and Bentley and you can't go wrong.

 

http://s15.postimg.org/aqjr15bmj/IMG_4718.jpg

Pelikan | Pilot | Montblanc | Sailor | Franklin-Christoph | Platinum | OMAS


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I have this pen, and also the Ironwood with a Medium nib. The Ironwood is a bit longer than the others, but not by much--all of them are huge pens! I agree with atomic_doug's observations in every respect. The nibs are very nice, and the feel of the pens is luxurious. Nor do I have an explanation why Platinum has these pens competing with its Nakayas, or why they didn't use the President nib in the Nakayas. I do know that these pens are beautiful and easy to write with, and that they are impeccably assembled and finished. Do give this pen a thought if you are looking for a tamenuri lacquered pen of high quality, but you don't want to wait a long time.

Rationalizing pen and ink purchases since 1967.

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I have a few Izumos. There is no other pen like it in production today. It has a very original and a unique shape. The Nakayas of the same price range or a few hundred dollars costlier are also at the same level of mass production as the Izumo(for example dealers like CFP maintain stocks of the popular ones and can ship out the next day), I don't know why when a Nakaya is mentioned, the personalisation aspect is assumed automatically, personalisation of a Nakaya is optional and the true personalisation to the buyer's ideas come at a much higher price point than the usual tamenuri Nakaya that one gets to see on FPN.

 

ETA: Thanks for the review, we need more reviews of the Izumo and the Soratame is on my list and also the 4th color Biwatame in yellow.

Edited by hari317

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...Nor do I have an explanation why Platinum has these pens competing with its Nakayas, or why they didn't use the President nib in the Nakayas. ...

 

I believe it is because Platinum and Nakaya are separate companies, albeit with the same owner, in the same way that Audi and Porsche have models that compete with one another.

 

Perhaps Nakaya didn't want the President nib due to its increased cost (18k vs 14k) or perhaps Platinum wanted to keep its flagship nib in-house?

 

 

To Hari's question on why people bring up the customization aspect of Nakaya: I think it's the same reason people bring up the customization aspect of, say, Edison. The option to have a completely customized pen is not something that too many companies offer and it's what makes the company unique compared to Pilot or Sailor or Platinum.

You could get an off-the-shelf Nakaya, and they are fantastic writers, but the full Nakaya experience does involve getting a pen completely created to your liking.

Pelikan | Pilot | Montblanc | Sailor | Franklin-Christoph | Platinum | OMAS


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I hold the view that the brand Nakaya from Platinum is marketing, a differentiation that allows the customer to pay substantially more than what the brand Platinum can pull. Like the brand Namiki from Pilot or Lexus from Toyota or the erstwhile low price category brand MonteRosa from Montblanc.

In case you wish to write to me, pls use ONLY email by clicking here. I do not check PMs. Thank you.

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I think a VW-Audi comparison is probably the most apt: two separate companies that are owned by the same corporate parent, allowing for a good amount of intellectual overlap.

 

Platinum shouldn't have any problem selling USD1000+ pens on their own. Sailor and Pilot manage. Namiki is strictly a marketing name.

Pelikan | Pilot | Montblanc | Sailor | Franklin-Christoph | Platinum | OMAS


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Nice review. The Izumo was in my list of pens to buy in the near future.

However, I have to say that this review had the effect of getting me to question if I really want it. I would rather have a springier nib than a stiffer one, particularly for a pen at this price point. So, I'm a little disappointed to learn that the nib in the Izumo is stiffer than the one in the 3776. Still a very interesting pen, though.

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If you want a springier nib, you probably would be better off getting a Nakaya from John Mottishaw, after discussing with him exactly how you write and what you want.

Rationalizing pen and ink purchases since 1967.

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If you want a springier nib, you probably would be better off getting a Nakaya from John Mottishaw, after discussing with him exactly how you write and what you want.

That's a very good idea. Thanks for the suggestion.

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Nice review. The Izumo was in my list of pens to buy in the near future.

However, I have to say that this review had the effect of getting me to question if I really want it. I would rather have a springier nib than a stiffer one, particularly for a pen at this price point. So, I'm a little disappointed to learn that the nib in the Izumo is stiffer than the one in the 3776. Still a very interesting pen, though.

 

If you want to see what the nib is like, try a Platinum President. They are very nice pens in their own right and not terribly expensive, about $220 from nibs.com

 

http://www.nibs.com/PlatinumPresSeries.html

 

The nibs are quite stiff, but that is a quality I like. The President is roughly the same size as a MB146, another one of my favorite pens.

 

I have been thinking about getting one of these pens for some time. I asked nibs.com about them at the LA Pen show, but they hadn't brought any with them. They did have a bunch of Nakayas, there, with every nib available and many of the possible nib modifications. The Nakayas were available for testing; I volunteered to fill them all—that way, I got to test them all! (I have no affiliation with nibs.com, besides being a happy and satisfied customer, and volunteer pen filler.)

"One can not waste time worrying about small minds . . . If we were normal, we'd still be using free ball point pens." —Bo Bo Olson "I already own more ink than a rational person can use in a lifetime." —Waski_the_Squirrel

I'm still trying to figure out how to list all my pens down here.

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IME, the feel of a nib can change when mounted in different pens. A good example is the 146 nib which is found in most of the WEs (with a custom imprint) but each WE might present a different writing feel to the user. The weight, the length and the girth of the barrel and the section and also the balance of the pen influences the final way in which a writer holds the pen and the way the nib presents to paper. It is a good idea to try any pen before purchase if that is possible.

Edited by hari317

In case you wish to write to me, pls use ONLY email by clicking here. I do not check PMs. Thank you.

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IME, the feel of a nib can change when mounted in different pens. A good example is the 146 nib which is found in most of the WEs (with a custom imprint) but each WE might present a different writing feel to the user. The weight, the length and the girth of the barrel and the section and also the balance of the pen influences the final way in which a writer holds the pen and the way the nib presents to paper. It is a good idea to try any pen before purchase if that is possible.

 

I agree completely, especially with a $636 USD pen.

"One can not waste time worrying about small minds . . . If we were normal, we'd still be using free ball point pens." —Bo Bo Olson "I already own more ink than a rational person can use in a lifetime." —Waski_the_Squirrel

I'm still trying to figure out how to list all my pens down here.

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The nib is really stunning. Although this pen is probably too large for my small hands, it's certainly a beautiful and well built pen. Thanks for an awesome review.

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If you want to see what the nib is like, try a Platinum President. They are very nice pens in their own right and not terribly expensive, about $220 from nibs.com

 

http://www.nibs.com/PlatinumPresSeries.html

 

The nibs are quite stiff, but that is a quality I like. The President is roughly the same size as a MB146, another one of my favorite pens.

 

I have been thinking about getting one of these pens for some time. I asked nibs.com about them at the LA Pen show, but they hadn't brought any with them. They did have a bunch of Nakayas, there, with every nib available and many of the possible nib modifications. The Nakayas were available for testing; I volunteered to fill them all—that way, I got to test them all! (I have no affiliation with nibs.com, besides being a happy and satisfied customer, and volunteer pen filler.)

The Platinum president is an interesting idea. Even if the main reason I wanted the Izumo was for the beautiful urushi.

 

I also don't mind stiff nibs in some pens (I have a few Pelikans M800 which IMO are quite stiff), but for some reason I prefer my larger pens to have springier nibs. I wish I could try them before buying, but where I live there are no pen stores and, as far as I know, no pen shows at a reasonable distance.

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It was trying out a President that ultimately made the choice for me to buy the Izumo.

 

All the President's nib needed was a little polishing on some brown-bag paper and it was perfect. (The Izumo didn't even need that.) Ultimately, though, it was another black cigar with gold trim and ohmygod-I've-never-ever-seen-one-of-those-like-ever. I wish it had come in more interesting colors.

Pelikan | Pilot | Montblanc | Sailor | Franklin-Christoph | Platinum | OMAS


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FYI, penchalet has the Platinum President for $165. They do also offer coupons and so the price on that pen can be under $150 and it is a great buy. For those of you curious

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Great review!

 

The Izumo is a beautiful pen. I've tried a couple of them (thanks to Pen Posse), and I was impressed with how nicely they wrote.

 

I think they're not so much too big for my hand (I often use a Danitrio Komori) as too big for my pen case. I have an old cigar case in which five Nakaya Piccolos fit comfortably. Can't have a longer pen in there.

 

The urushi is why I love Nakaya (and the nibs), but if the Izumo had been my urushi discovery, I'd probably have one. Or two.

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etherX in To Miasto

Fleekair <--French accent.

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I have a few Izumos. There is no other pen like it in production today. It has a very original and a unique shape. The Nakayas of the same price range or a few hundred dollars costlier are also at the same level of mass production as the Izumo(for example dealers like CFP maintain stocks of the popular ones and can ship out the next day), I don't know why when a Nakaya is mentioned, the personalisation aspect is assumed automatically, personalisation of a Nakaya is optional and the true personalisation to the buyer's ideas come at a much higher price point than the usual tamenuri Nakaya that one gets to see on FPN.

 

ETA: Thanks for the review, we need more reviews of the Izumo and the Soratame is on my list and also the 4th color Biwatame in yellow.

I own an Izumo and a couple of Nakayas and from what I can tell the Nakaya has a more handmade feel to it. They are sloppier than the Izumos. It is also my understanding from correspondence with the company that Nakaya doesn't have a factory but instead has multiple craftsmen spread throughout Japan. To me a Nakaya feels more special though not better in any objective way. The personalization aspect doesn't really apply to the majority of Nakaya owners.

 

It is amazing how much more money a basic Nakaya costs over a 3776. Twice as expensive seems reasonable but 5 times is a bit nuts.

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  • 1 month later...

These kind of reviews are ruining my bank balance :crybaby: . Have the wooden Tagayasan and you are right about the stiffness of these nibs compared a #3776.

Loved your review. Thanks. :D

Edited by soniknitr

You have come to earth to entertain and to be entertained - P.Y

 

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