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Introduction: It was not long before that I had bought my first ASA fountain pen that had served as the stepping stone into the vast world of handmade Indian fountain pens. Now, I’m the proud owner of two ASA Naukas- one in Tangerine, and one in the clear acrylic, TransNauka. I’m not known for my patience, so the wait time was really quite a period of impatience, but in the end, the pen makes up for everything. Now, lets get to my first review here ....



Aesthetics and design: The pen’s design is reminiscent of a boat, hence the name Nauka (meaning boat in Hindi). The cap is almost cylindrical that has a bulbous dome at the top, which literally glows in my Tangerine Nauka in the right lighting, a bit less so with the TransNauka. The barrel has a significant taper towards the nib, but also has a slightly smaller taper near the end that ends in a point. The section is cylindrical with no taper at all, which really suits my hand. The cap to section threads are located on the top of the section, so that gives the pen almost a Lamy 2000 zeppelin-ish look.


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The looks of the pens really connect with me. The acrylics are brushed with abrasives. Some people compare this finish to a Franklin-Christoph but that is like comparing apples to oranges, since the F-C is polished on the outside, and rough on the inside, rather than brushed. I would compare it to a Lamy 2000, but slightly subtle. I imagine a Lamy 2000 demonstrator to be like this. In the right lighting, the Naukas glow. The Tangerine feels like a lava lamp. Both my Naukas are clipless and it just looks fantastic without a clip. But, that’s not going to be the case forever. I want to get some snake roll-stoppers for these Naukas, then they will be perfect for me.


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Construction and Quality: I’m not kidding here, but my TransNauka is flawless, almost to the point of believing that its not handmade, but it really is. My Tangerine on the other hand has a few scuffs here and there, but nothing intolerable. The quality of acrylic used is also quite nice. One issue however has crept in with the TransNauka. The engraving on the cap looks like it was done hurriedly. It isn’t really crisp and clear but has a blurred look. Other than that, I’m more than satisfied.


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Filling system: The Nauka comes in two variants: a simple eyedropper system, and a 3-in-1 system. Both of mine are the latter. A 3-in-1 system means the pen can be filled with a cartridge, converter or via eyedropper. In case you decide to eyedropper it, do remember to grease the section threads to avoid leakage. As a note, Mr. Subramanium will provide a small box of silicone grease with your pen. If you order the 3-in-1 system, you also receive a Schmidt converter. I don’t like using the converter since during filling, the cap threads are covered in ink and is difficult to remove. However, due to aesthetic reasons, I use a converter in my Tangerine Nauka.


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Writing comfort: The section of the TransNauka is cylindrical and has a diameter of 12mm. It makes for a comfortable grip for me, because I have unnaturally large hands for a 15 year old. It becomes slightly uncomfortable during really long writing sessions, however, it’s the most comfortable pen I own. This is true for both my Naukas. The pen can be used without posting and is really comfortable that way. The cap isn’t postable at all.


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Writing experience: The Nauka comes with three kinds of nibs: one are the ASA branded nibs in fine, medium, and broad, and these come with the simple eyedropper variant, two are the Schmidt nib units in fine, medium and broad, three are the JoWo nib units in fine, medium and broad, both available with the 3-in-1 system.

Mine are the #6 JoWo nibs. The TransNauka has a fine nib in steel with no plating. It writes really well. It has a distinct feel of feedback, that’s not as unpleasant as my Platinum 14k medium nib. The fine JoWo nib is not really quite a fine. Its almost a fine-medium, that edges more towards the medium. Its wider than my Platinum 14k medium. But it’s a remarkable nib. The Tangerine has a 1.1 stub in steel, with a two-tone finish. This nib is really fun to write. It also has some feedback, but I quite like it. The line variation is also excellent and for me, the nib can be used for daily writing. But both nibs were dry out of the box, which was an easy fix. I have also tried the medium, but it feels characterless to me, so I ground it into a stub and that nib resides in one of my Deccan Advocates.


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Pricing: The Naukas are priced well. The regular TransNauka cost me 2400 INR without GST. The Tangerine commands a slight premium, at 3200 INR including GST. The international buyers will haver to pay more for many reasons involved, which I am unaware of. In my opinion, the pen is well worth the price, considering its handmade, has a JoWo nib, and is really comfortable.


Final Thoughts: In the end, you get a really nice pen, with nice looks, great comfort, and reliable writing at a great price. If it was not for my Platinum 3776 Century Chartres blue, with that medium nib and mind-blowing resin, this would have been my favorite pen. The Naukas are a close second, I look forward to owning two more in the Aqua Blue acrylic and a brushed black ebonite. Only I happen to not have the funds for that. I hope my reviews are helpful to someone, and if they are, then mission accomplished.


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P.S. The photos were taken with a Nikkon D5300 and edited using Polarr Photo Editor for Windows. And in case you are wondering about the surface that my pens are on in the photos, that is a Pearl Jingle Cajon with an awesome rough finish.


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Your photos and review are so very well done-thanks for sharing about a pen I've long been interested in.

 

gary

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Thank you for your review.

 

I agree that the Nauka clear acrylic pens are beautiful pens. I also own two of those pens. It´s very nice to watch the ink flow into the section and into the nib (and finally onto paper).

A little drawback is to clean the pens, especially when using certain inks. E.g. the use of "Kobe #25 Tarumi Apricot" is very difficult to clean as it is a very intense ink.

But nevertheless the Nauka are prize-worthy and beautiful pens.

 

Have fun.

 

Regards, Ingolf.

https://schreibkultur.requirements.de ... my blog - currently in German only

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Wonderful review and great photos! I like the way those pens look. A very nice design. I'll see where I might be able to try one.

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Your photos and review are so very well done-thanks for sharing about a pen I've long been interested in.

 

gary

Thank you, Gary. I must say, take the plunge and order it either in one of the acrylics, or the matte black ebonite. If you have an India visiting friend, you could have him buy the pen for you for much less.

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Thank you for your review.

 

I agree that the Nauka clear acrylic pens are beautiful pens. I also own two of those pens. It´s very nice to watch the ink flow into the section and into the nib (and finally onto paper).

A little drawback is to clean the pens, especially when using certain inks. E.g. the use of "Kobe #25 Tarumi Apricot" is very difficult to clean as it is a very intense ink.

But nevertheless the Nauka are prize-worthy and beautiful pens.

 

Have fun.

 

Regards, Ingolf.

 

I agree about the cleaning aspect. If you have a staining ink in it, best of luck getting it out especially through the threads. It would be nice to see your Naukas as well. Which ones do you have?

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Wonderful review and great photos! I like the way those pens look. A very nice design. I'll see where I might be able to try one.

 

Thank you! Well if you are trying the pens purely to check comfort, if you find pens like the Montblanc 149 or Pelikan M1000, or the Delta DolceVita comfortable, you will love the Nauka. Its light enough to feel comfortable and in case you don't like JoWo's standard nibs, you can order without the nibs and get a separate unit from FPnibs.com based in Spain.

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Nicely structured review and thank you for writing and preparing it. These photographs make me realize the versatility of the design. In these translucent materials, the pens look modern, and in rippled ebonite they look clasically Indian. In some acrylics they look like rare oversized pens from the 1930s.

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Nicely structured review and thank you for writing and preparing it. These photographs make me realize the versatility of the design. In these translucent materials, the pens look modern, and in rippled ebonite they look clasically Indian. In some acrylics they look like rare oversized pens from the 1930s.

I agree with you completely. I would personally like this pen in a Conway Stewart Amber blank or an Omas Arco celluloide.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hmm. $34 for one in broad.... I might have to do this.

Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)

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Very nice review and you have a beautiful handwriting.

 

Thank you for the kind words Mr Srinivas!

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SUPERB REVIEW!

 

Thank you. I love your photographs and editing and you are a big inspiration for photos.

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Hmm. $34 for one in broad.... I might have to do this.

 

Its well worth it, and I will recommend it whole heartedly.

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  • 11 months later...

Great review and photos. Thank you.

 

I ordered the Aqua Nauka and it has shipped. Cannot wait to try it.

 

Cheers

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