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Namiki Emperor Or Pilot Custom Urushi?


Tseg
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I'm relatively new to collecting fountain pens, but having now rotated through 'collecting' other things over the years (and I, like most people, actually hoard rather than collect, in the true sense of the word), I know how things ultimately play out. Whether it be camera equipment, watches, even vacuums, always the same process, so now I like to get right to the punch line and be efficient with my spend and my learning investment with new hobbies. Start with the beginner unit, work up to a really solid performing 'value' unit that punches above it's weight, then get a VERY NICE ​unit that becomes one's daily driver even following the hobby immersion, then top it off with THE GRAIL... then on to the next hobby, but keep ties to this one, without the incessant urges to buy, Buy, BUY! Some people spend 40 years wandering in the desert to get to this place (its about the journey, right?)... others, perhaps a matter of months. The whole while, immersing oneself into forums, online shopping feedback, professional written reviews and You Tube videos soaking in knowledge and sharing about the hobby and its equipment. One gets very familiar with the technology of the hobby, the key brands and their traits, the temperament of that collecting universe, etc... And hopefully along the way, if involved long enough, develop some enthusiast contacts and share that enthusiasm of the hobby virtually.

 

My learning over the years is that until one finally buys the Big Kahuna grail collectable, one ends up with a lot of equipment and a lot of money spent, most of which goes underutilized, the whole while feeling compelled to buy the next thing. Or there is the (uncomfortable for me) process of offloading of equipment (for pennies on the dollar, more times than not) through the 'sales corner' of the forum.

 

Anyway, I've got my meager 3 pen collection, and the remaining 'grail' must be purchased. I know for my GRAIL, I want a BIG pen, but one that functions very well. I spent a number of hours researching European big pens and am very concerned about the fickle nature of their quality and usability. There are some horror stories out there about the Pelikan M1000 (specific to nib performance) and not consistent adoring reviews of the MB149 either. I personally enjoy my Asian pens, with crisp writing output and not sloppy wet. They all seem to punch above their weight. Which is why when I am looking at a $1K-$2K Asian pen, I can only imagine what I would actually feel about it in my hand.

 

I've really become attracted to vermillion Urushi from a color/material standpoint. I know the Emperor is honking huge... but this a grail so really should be over the top. I understand it is well balanced and writes well. Meanwhile the Custom Urushi just looks really tight and I love the two-tone nib. Does anyone have any actual knowledge of which one writes better? Which has the best fit and finish? Which is just more awesome?

 

Right now I'm finding the Emperor at ~ a 50% premium over the Custom. Assuming money is no object, which is more awesome, and why? What are the concerns with each? Anyone own both?

 

40529900862_e0cc7e6d0f_o.jpg

 

40529898832_3492a0ff4c_o.jpg

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Emperor, always. I like Japanese eyedroppers, and that big nib is the biggest in regular production nib at the moment. I have 3 of these and absolutely love them.

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My father always told me "never bring a knife to a gun fight." The Pilot is a knife.

 

Clearly you decide in the end what matters. Ramblings of strangers can be helpful, but they do not replace hand time. So I'll leave a few words on where I think the NamikI urushi #50 shines:

 

-prestige

-capacity

-elegance

-touch

-nib size

-depth

 

I also encourage you to consider the Yukari Royale. If you don't feel the need to have the biggest pen, it may be a better fit for ita comfort in use. Most days I prefer it.

Edited by zaddick

If you want less blah, blah, blah and more pictures, follow me on Instagram!

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The Namiki is too large for a comfortable everyday carry from what I have heard, but its one heck of a pen. Top notch work goes into it, even for Pilot.

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My father always told me "never bring a knife to a gun fight." The Pilot is a knife.

 

Clearly you decide in the end what matters. Ramblings of strangers can be helpful, but they do not replace hand time. So I'll leave a few words on where I think the NamikI urushi #50 shines:

 

-prestige

-capacity

-elegance

-touch

-nib size

-depth

 

I also encourage you to consider the Yukari Royale. If you don't feel the need to have the biggest pen, it may be a better fit for ita comfort in use. Most days I prefer it.

 

After my initial post I did investigate the Royale. It does look awesome. I understand the nib is quite stiff. Any sense if the Emperor has more softness and/or flex and/or line variation? I'm thinking it would be nice for my Grail to facilitate a little more creative expression. Since this grail pen would be mostly used at home and more for fun, I'm less concerned about size. My Custom 823 is for immersive writing and travel.

 

So far, not many speaking up on behalf of the Custom Urushi... maybe because it remains a bit new to market.

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I have the Urushi no 50. The nib is not flexy by any stretch of imagination. The nib is smooth and reliable. I own a B.

 

If portability is not an issue go for the no 50.

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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After my initial post I did investigate the Royale. It does look awesome. I understand the nib is quite stiff. Any sense if the Emperor has more softness and/or flex and/or line variation? I'm thinking it would be nice for my Grail to facilitate a little more creative expression. Since this grail pen would be mostly used at home and more for fun, I'm less concerned about size. My Custom 823 is for immersive writing and travel.

 

 

If I may say: the #50 is a soft nib, not for line variation. Softness should not be confused as intended for flex/line variation. It will give a nice consistent line with some cushioning.

You may have to look elsewhere if you want line variation because I don't think even Custom urushi offers anything more than softness.

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I'll go fot the new Pilot. By the way, this pic shows a Custom 845, not the big one!

Roger

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Haha, I would take a photo, but I left my phone at home today. Today I am carrying 6 pens of which the very 2 pens you are inquiring are the ones that are in my case.

 

First, if you spend so much time making the point that you're one that goes from zero to 100 in your collecting experience, then you should go for both. They are completely different pens. I did precisely because they are different pens. As many have mentioned, the Custom Urushi is much more similar to the Yukari Royale.

 

Contrary to what many say, I find the Emperor easy to use for taking notes and to carry around. It's a very comfortable pen for long writing sessions as is the Custom urushi. They both have very different filling systems, and they both work super well. As the feed for the Emperor is so huge, I don't have the need to open the ink chamber at all. I can write with the residual ink in the feed for all the notes I take.

 

As everyone have pointed out, the nib on the Emperor is stiff. There is no flex. Just a slight softness that for all intent and purposes you can consider it stiff. The Custom Urushi nibs are softer, but still not flex.

 

Don't know what else to tell you. Both are amazing pens and totally worth the price that Pilot is asking for.

Edited by gerigo
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The Emperor isn't a direct competitor the Custom; that'd be the Yukari Royale.

 

I've handled both, but own only the Namiki. It has a level of delicacy, beauty and balance that the bloated Custom completely lacks.

 

(As an aside, I own an Emperor too, and it is more ceremonial object than daily-use pen.)

Too many pens; too little writing.

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fpn_1520021715__img_0874.jpg

 

I think the Namiki #50 is the pen of the grail qualified by what you mean. It is the biggest ,best urushi quality, and Japanese eyedrops. However ,the Yukari Royale is more practical in daily writing and carrying out but almost the same urushi quality. Then the Custom Urushi appeared. The new #30 nib offers the wonderful writing experience that can compete with the western montblanc 149 or Pelikan M1000. I also prefer the Custom Urushi made by the warm ebonite than the Yukari Royale made by the cool brass. Yet the Yukari Royale has the zen style.

Edited by mjchuang9
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Good catch on the wrong Custom picture. I think this is the right one with the #30 nib.

 

So if I'm now debating between the Emperor and the Royale, sounds like still stick with the Emperor for pure jaw drop effect, yet very effective writing capability.

 

39869550714_2212ea1267_b.jpg

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fpn_1520021715__img_0874.jpg

 

I think the Namiki #50 is the pen of the grail qualified by what you mean. It is the biggest ,best urushi quality, and Japanese eyedrops. However ,the Yukari Royale is more practical in daily writing and carrying out but almost the same urushi quality. Then the Custom Urushi appeared. The new #30 nib offers the wonderful writing experience that can compete with the western montblanc 149 or Pelikan M1000. I also prefer the Custom Urushi made by the warm ebonite than the Yukari Royale made by the cool brass. Yet the Yukari Royale has the zen style.

 

Dang... I'll have to sleep on this. Nice shot and assessment. Also good to see the Custom vs. the Royale from a size perspective.

Edited by Tseg
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The Emperor is exquisite to write and draw with as are the Royale and Custom Urushi, but I think the Emperor is the most elegant. If money is really no object to you then you should own all three.

Love all, trust a few, do harm to none. Shakespeare

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Namiki is too large for a comfortable everyday carry from what I have heard, but its one heck of a pen. Top notch work goes into it, even for Pilot.

 

 

Agreed. I bought a used Emperor figuring I could use the large eydropper ink capacity for work and not worry about running out of ink, but it's just too large in my opinion for a practical EDC. Sadly, I mostly just use it like a dip pen at home now...

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The #50 is my next purchase... some day over the rainbow....

 

But many thanks for this great thread, it has brightened up my day in the rat race!

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Agreed. I bought a used Emperor figuring I could use the large eydropper ink capacity for work and not worry about running out of ink, but it's just too large in my opinion for a practical EDC. Sadly, I mostly just use it like a dip pen at home now...

 

This is my biggest fear with this Emperor pen... that will end up as a niche contributor to my writing enjoyment. I've now squeezed in a KOP before this to help me acclimate to larger sized pens.

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I don't have very large hands, and I find the Emperor comfortable to use.

 

I also don't really bother with a lot of opinions of others preferring to do I feel to be what's best for me. I constantly bring my Emperor out. I travel with it and use it daily in my place of work. People don't even blink an eye, and don't really care what pen I use. Most times what I find is the content of my notebook that draws attention more than my pens. About the only pens that get recognize are the Montblancs. I have stopped bringing those out of my home.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm currently looking at the Yukari Royale and the Emperor --I have touched neither so I'm not qualified to discuss.

 

However, you mentioned that no one was discussing the Custom Urushi. That pen, on the other hand, I have some experience with. For that I'll refer to my initial impressions on my website: http://www.sketchstack.com/pilot-custom-urushi.html

 

If you need some encouragement, rest assured that of these three pens it would seem that dissatisfaction is unlikely. If I'm being truthful, my only concern is which order I buy them in --one day I'm sure I'll own all three.

 

Best of luck!

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