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Namiki Emperor Vermillion Or Montblanc 149 Silver Rings Celluloid

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Any thoughts or opinions on the Namiki Emperor Vermillion or Montblanc 149 silver rings celluloid? These are obviously stupidly expensive pens so I can be happy if I never buy either but I came across decent deals on each and am considering getting one of them. They are very different pens (except for their prices which are relatively similar) and each are appealing in their own way.


I already have a small 149 collection so I am probably leaning towards the Namiki but the 149 is rarer and part of fountain pen history.


Are there any other similar pens I should consider?

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If you are looking for excellent writing experience, get the Namiki. Buying vintage can be a hit or miss, you don't know always get what you wish for, particularly so for the writing part.


However, if you are simply buying for collecting, I'd get the 149. The Namiki can always be bought at a later time.

"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." -- A. Einstein

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1950-70 149, will have a semi-flex or a maxi-semi-flex nib. Telescope piston.


I have a '50-70 medium large 146 with a great maxi-semi-flex nib. A 234 1/2 Deluxe ('52-54 only, KOB semi-flex nib. (I prefer the balance of the medium-large 146 and it's better nib than my '70-80 Large 146...with only a regular flex nib.

I don't know when MB went over to the 'Springy' good tine bend but only 2 X tine spread nibs they now have. I have a Woolf in modern.

German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

RIP...200's once great nib, now a double ball.:crybaby::wallbash:


The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.




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The Namiki urushi #50 is more impressive to look at and hold. The nib will be different than your 149s by a bit. I have an older nib and it has a nice softness to it. The pen is usable and holds a lot of ink. I find the ringless version appealing to look at and use. Cases are harder to find and it will not ride comfortably in a standard work shirt (for a male).


The celluloid 149 is a bit of a different experience than a modern 149. It is a little shorter and the weight distribution is different. I think the ink capacity is also a bit higher. Of course the tactile experience will also be different than resin. I adore the 2-stage piston and enjoy using it. If you can get one with a flexible nib it is close to a 10/10 type pen for me. The issue with all vintage pens is condition. It is hard to judge unless you are buying in person and even then you can miss things. There is also no guarantee of a flexible nib (more and issue of you are buying without testing) and that can be a big disappointment if you were hoping for that 1950s MB nib softness. Maintaining the pen will be more work, especially if there is a cork seal. Celluloid will eventually deteriorate, the inner black barrel paint will wear away, etc.


I'd probably recommend that Namiki for you as it will be a new experience, it is lower maintenance, it holds value well, and it is a good writer.


I personally would go for the 149 if it had the right nib. I like that pen better.

Edited by zaddick

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The Emperor is a massive pen, whereas the Vermillion #20 is a similar sized pen to the149, but I think a smaller nib. For collectability, the Emperor is an interesting novelty, if you want some level of practicality the Vermillion #20 may want to be considered.




Vermillion No. 20 vs. Pelikan M1000:



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I really appreciate all the comments and observations.


I'm still torn between the two but think I'll go with the Namiki just because it will require less maintenance. The celluloid 149 I found has a springy nib, is being sold by a reputable dealer, and was restored by a very qualified person so I have no doubt the pen is in good condition. I just don't have the skill to keep it in that condition for the next 20+ years.


Unfortunately, the Emperor I was looking at has sold so my purchase is suspended indefinitely. Maybe if the 149 is still available in a few months I'll just buy it instead.

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