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Sailor nib choices in higher-end pens


Paul-in-SF
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23 minutes ago, The-Thinker said:

I still don’t know why

 

Read the fourth post in this thread.  If that doesn't work for you I suggest you write to Sailor Coporate head office and ask them directly.  No one here has the answers you seek.  Please let us know the response.

"Simplicate and add Lightness."

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2 minutes ago, Karmachanic said:

 

Read the fourth post in this thread.  If that doesn't work for you I suggest you write to Sailor Coporate head office and ask them directly.  No one here has the answers you seek.  Please let us know the response.

I did both of them. I do agree with sailor being a Japanese brand, but even brushworks and large font is rooted in their culture and many of the Japanese would love having large nib size to write Japanese characters. The main purpose for their initial creation was exactly for that reason (artistic expression of a Japanese artist). I did contact sailor many times in the past couple of years and recently. The only replies that I got were not hopeful, between the lines of having no plans not for now nor for the future. The only “logical” reason I got from one of the emails was that sailor is focusing more on the smaller nibs since they sell more and it’s where sailor excels. I still did not understand why they don’t even produce them in limited number and at least make them available for the minority that would want to purchase them. They are producing Naginata limited editions (for 3 years now) why not other nibs options each year.

 

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1 hour ago, The-Thinker said:

why not other nibs options each year.

 

As we have no power to change them, I suggest accepting things as they are.

"Simplicate and add Lightness."

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Sailor may secretly hate people who use XL sized fountain pens?

 

😉🤣

David-

 

So many restoration projects...

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4 hours ago, Karmachanic said:

As we have no power to change them, I suggest accepting things as they are.

 

The premise of this thread has been to speculate about reasons why Sailor markets these pens in this way. You are free to not read it. 

 

I have learned a lot from this thread, and am grateful for most of the responses. 

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13 hours ago, The-Thinker said:

The main purpose for their initial creation was exactly for that reason (artistic expression of a Japanese artist). I did contact sailor many times in the past couple of years and recently. The only replies that I got were not hopeful, between the lines of having no plans not for now nor for the future.

 

Maybe the demand from Japanese artists, and artists overseas wanting to practice that sort of art, with fountain pens just isn't there — as in being sufficient to justify and support profitable production and sales — these days. Are you one of those who want to buy one of every Naginata specialty nib of the past (and, if I recall correctly, there was a collector's set of 19 different nib made by Sailor, each fitted in a separate section, and a single Profit pen body onto which the sections can be screwed), or at least one of every stacked-and-fused nib design, to practise art?

 

You've been going on about this for months now; and, please correct me if I misread you, but it seems you're only after one unit, no more than two, of the most ‘exotic’ Sailor specialty nibs previously produced. I hope you can get it, but I certainly don't think it justifies Sailor restarting production. So, the constraints on your purchase would be: you don't get to choose the timing, as it's up to sellers who have those nibs in their collections to offer, irrespective of when would suit you best; they get to name the price, for such rarely available items in the absence of competition; and you don't get to buy new, if that's your preference, but I doubt you want ‘new’ so badly that you're prepared to pay even double what a seller of a secondhand or new-old-stock King Eagle-nibbed pen, if only Sailor would oblige you and make that one custom unit just for you.

 

13 hours ago, The-Thinker said:

I still did not understand why they don’t even produce them in limited number and at least make them available for the minority that would want to purchase them.

 

What's there to understand? Sailor obviously does not think it is worth the company's while — or production costs, diversion of resources and efforts, and taking business risks — to make and sell those nibs; the prices that would make such an undertaking profitable would probably snuff out demand for those nibs new. I'm confident the company understands the market, especially the Japanese domestic market, well enough to make an informed decision about that.

 

14 hours ago, The-Thinker said:

I feel this way their higher end models would be more appealing instead of just changing colors and such. I think producing a limited number of bent nibs and stacked nibs like the cross and cobra would not haunt their production pace and make put them ahead of their competitors that only produce their high end pen in Mf, M and B (like the pilot custom urushi).

 

But it wouldn't need to. As I've ventured previously in this thread, those who want a particular nib type for its performance characteristics will buy regular-sized, plain black resin-bodied pens in the respective product line (to essentially serve as a nib handle) to have that drawing/writing instrument they require. Those who want “show pens”, and are prepared to pay good money for them, will do so regardless of the lack of special/exotic nib options, since those pens need not serve also as someone's everyday tool for artistic endeavours.

 

If you are after something with two or three orthogonal aspects (outside of price and ready availability!), but have no prospect of getting it in a single, integrated, best-of-all-worlds solution, then I'm afraid banging on repeatedly about how you don't understand it won't get you anywhere. I suggest you try a different approach: work out the ‘worst’ solution — including composite solutions, that take two different pens to meet two orthogonal requirements, and cost you twice as much to acquire, for example — that you could possibly accept, and then try to improve from there based on what is available (at least from time to time, if not on-demand), instead of badgering an unwilling prospective solution provider to come to the party. Changing yourself — what your budget is, what your expectations are, what you can accept as a compromise in the face of the needs that seem to be driving your quest — is comparatively easier, even if you think it would make you less happy with the outcome, when the alternative is remaining empty-handed.

 

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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1 hour ago, Paul-in-SF said:

You are free to not read it. 

 

I'm also free to express my view.

"Simplicate and add Lightness."

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28 minutes ago, Karmachanic said:

 

I'm also free to express my view.

 

Your view seems to be that this topic is not worth discussing, and that we are all wasting our time doing so.

 

Have I misunderstood you?

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3 hours ago, A Smug Dill said:

 

Maybe the demand from Japanese artists, and artists overseas wanting to practice that sort of art, with fountain pens just isn't there — as in being sufficient to justify and support profitable production and sales — these days. Are you one of those who want to buy one of every Naginata specialty nib of the past (and, if I recall correctly, there was a collector's set of 19 different nib made by Sailor, each fitted in a separate section, and a single Profit pen body onto which the sections can be screwed), or at least one of every stacked-and-fused nib, to practise art?

 

You've been going on about this for months now; and, please correct me if I misread you, but it seems you're only after one unit, no more than two, of the most ‘exotic’ Sailor specialty nibs previously produced. I hope you can get it, but I certainly don't think it justifies Sailor restarting production. So, the constraints on your purchase would be: you don't get to choose the timing, as it's up to sellers who have those nibs in their collections to offer, irrespective of when would suit you best; they get to name the price, for such rarely available items in the absence of competition; and you don't get to buy new, if that's your preference, but I doubt you want ‘new’ so badly that you're prepared to pay even double what a seller of a secondhand or new-old-stock King Eagle-nibbed pen, if only Sailor would oblige you and make that one custom unit just for you.

 

 

What's there to understand? Sailor obviously does not think it is worth the company's while — or production costs, diversion of resources and efforts, and taking business risks — to make and sell those nibs; the prices that would make such an undertaking profitable would probably snuff out demand for those nibs new. I'm confident the company understands the market, especially the Japanese domestic market, well enough to make an informed decision about that.

 

 

But it wouldn't need to. As I've ventured previously in this thread, those who want a particular nib type for its performance characteristics will buy regular-sized, plain black resin-bodied pens in the respective product line (to essentially serve as a nib handle) to have that drawing/writing instrument they require. Those who want “show pens”, and are prepared to pay good money for them, will do so regardless of the lack of special/exotic nib options, since those pens need not serve also as someone's everyday tool for artistic endeavours.

 

If you are after something with two or three orthogonal aspects (outside of price and ready availability!), but have no prospect of getting it in a single, integrated, best-of-all-worlds solution, then I'm afraid banging on repeatedly about how you don't understand it won't get you anywhere. I suggest you try a different approach: work out the ‘worst’ solution — including composite solutions, that takes two different pens to meet two orthogonal requirements, and cost you twice as much to acquire, for example — that you could possibly accept, and then try to improve from there based on what is available (at least from time to time, if not on-demand), instead of badgering an unwilling prospective solution provider to come to the party. Changing yourself — what your budget is, what your expectations are, what you can accept as a compromise in the face of the needs that seem to be driving your quest — is comparatively easier, even if you think it would make you less happy with the outcome, when the alternative is remaining empty-handed.

 

 

@A Smug Dill (drops mic) 👏

David-

 

So many restoration projects...

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Here's a fun game of speculation. Let's say that Sailor was going to do this. How many should they make of what nib size, and how much should they charge for them? How often should they make them? What production cycle should they use? What colors should they produce? A lot of people ask why they can't get this or that, but I find it very interesting to ponder how well our expectations might align with reality. What would it take to make it possible? 

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8 hours ago, arcfide said:

Here's a fun game of speculation. Let's say that Sailor was going to do this. How many should they make of what nib size, and how much should they charge for them? How often should they make them? What production cycle should they use? What colors should they produce? A lot of people ask why they can't get this or that, but I find it very interesting to ponder how well our expectations might align with reality. What would it take to make it possible? 

 

The way I see it there are only a very few reasons Sailor might decide to make limited run, Top-end pens available in every nib configuration they produce (or rather have produced)...

 

a) Overwhelming interest expressed by customers or retailers, this doesn't mean eight emails and a hand full of social media posts wishing for such, it means hundreds or thousands of requests in a production year that carry the financial certainty of a purchase to back that interest up (and that these purchases would be *above and beyond* sales of similar models sold with M and B nibs only).

 

b) A Corporate power move to exert brand supremacy at the apex of the Japanese pen market (which would amount to the stylus manufacturers' equivalent of a racing team for a vehicle manufacturer, in as much as it would likely be a perpetual financial loss, that only clawed a small return back through product trickle-down and brand prestige).

 

c) The creation of a Nakaya-esque sub brand, focused on made to order and limited run product, with pricing set to reflect that level of customer interaction and the lack of economies of scale (very likely also a financial loss or break-even prospect).

 

I'm sure that these scenarios aren't the only ones possible, but they all seem plausible, if not probable to actually occur, at least to my mind.

 

I'll also hazard the guess that Sailor has backed off of producing the layered nib designs due to the nature of their manufacture, which is intricate and requires craftsmen(or women) with skills far beyond those required to make conventional nibs. Obviously this adds to costs and dictates low production numbers... 

On top of that, we have to face the fact that even in our growing fellowship of FP lovers, people who want or need these nibs are the tiniest of minorities.

 

David-

 

So many restoration projects...

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11 hours ago, arcfide said:

Here's a fun game of speculation. Let's say that Sailor was going to do this. How many should they make of what nib size, and how much should they charge for them? How often should they make them? What production cycle should they use? What colors should they produce? A lot of people ask why they can't get this or that, but I find it very interesting to ponder how well our expectations might align with reality. What would it take to make it possible? 

 

Pens are made up of components. Especially the bodies vs. the nibs. They could make an educated guess's amount of each type of special nib in advance of making the bodies, for example, and make more as needed (marking some as "out of stock" temporarily where appropriate).  

 

Then they could make the bodies, and wait to fit them at the factory with the nibs as requested. This would result in some delay in delivery of the pens, but for high-end urushi pens delays are not unusual, and even add to the cachet of the line. 

 

Or they could (here's a thought) authorize certain retailers to stock bodies and nibs and to fit them together at the retailer as the orders come in. 

 

I'm not saying they ought to do these things, or even that they make sense within their marketing zeitgeist. just that they are possible. 

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4 hours ago, Paul-in-SF said:

 

Pens are made up of components. Especially the bodies vs. the nibs. They could make an educated guess's amount of each type of special nib in advance of making the bodies, for example, and make more as needed (marking some as "out of stock" temporarily where appropriate).  

 

Then they could make the bodies, and wait to fit them at the factory with the nibs as requested. This would result in some delay in delivery of the pens, but for high-end urushi pens delays are not unusual, and even add to the cachet of the line. 

 

Or they could (here's a thought) authorize certain retailers to stock bodies and nibs and to fit them together at the retailer as the orders come in. 

 

I'm not saying they ought to do these things, or even that they make sense within their marketing zeitgeist. just that they are possible. 

 

Thinking about this some more, I suspect that one of the problems here is that they are probably already capacity limited in producing the Naginata-togi nibs. They've just now begun to be able to produce them in quantities that allow them to be more readily available overseas, and even then, they are in short supply. And that's considering a nib that has exceptionally small demand. I imagine it has taken a long time to even get that capacity back (after having shut it down). Sailor is one of those companies, especially in Japan, that is not at all afraid to produce lots of specialized pens. They do a lot of small batch production runs for specific retailors globally, and they have an exceptionally small line of pens in terms of their actual form factors: they use lots and lots of different colors and resins to create their diversity. So, we can be reasonably confident in their capacity on the resin production side of things; after all, their robotics division specializes in this sort of automation and scaling. But if we look at their history, we see the wide range of nibs that were produced in the past, and then their struggle to fill the demand for those nibs, leading to them eventually shutting down orders for those nibs, for quite a long time, before finally being able to bring back a few of the nib styles. I think, if I had to guess, that the limitation right now is in their ability to staff skilled labor to produce these specialized nibs at a high enough level of consistency. They managed to get the Naginata-togi nibs up and running, and they're even pushing them out to the KOPs again, but that has taken a while to get up and running in a way that we are able to start seeing the fruits of that work. If you all of a sudden wanted them to start introducing Music, Zoom, EF, and the other specialty nibs into their KOP lines, I suspect that it would overwhelm the people who could do those nibs, which all take more care and skill to do right. 

 

It's very possible that Sailor is working to train more people to do this work, like they did with the Naginata-togi nibs, as they are pretty proud of their specialty nibs, but it is also possible that they don't perceive the demand, even if it is there. One of the issues that can happen with some of the Japanese companies is that they are able to stay in tune with the needs of their domestic market, where their main focus is, but they are often much more distanced from the foreign markets, and they don't always get the right signals. They often aren't set up to properly process and analyze demands in foreign markets from hobbyists if the distributors don't get them good data. So it's possible that Sailor isn't even aware of whether or not there is a market for these nibs overseas. It may be the case that Sailor has recognized that there isn't enough of a market for such nibs in the local market and is not aware of what is available elsewhere. 

 

That's all speculation, but Sailor has already done the "make your own pen" thing in Japan: there is a store there (see Inky Rocks' videos on YT) which allows you to pick your pen parts and they will assemble your Sailor pen there in the store for you. By all accounts it has been well received. So, especially among the big 3 of Japan, we know that Sailor is pretty on top of the "on demand" game when it comes to resin. I really do think the thing holding them back is probably something to do with being able to manage and produce the other nibs for the larger pen bodies profitably and scalably. 

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On 1/21/2022 at 4:22 AM, sansenri said:

is there a reason also for the Japanese?

A salesman from Pilot-Namiki once told me - a big pen and an EF nib do not match. Let me guess, Sailor thinks the same way - company philosophy?

Or they simply cannot/want not compete against the dominant MB which sells most of their 146/149 as EFs in Japan.

 

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I was thinking along the same lines: proportionality bias - a big event must have a big cause. Well, sometimes they simply don’t. The Sailor KoP comes with a M or B nib. Just because.

 

An equal idea might apply why big (over)sized pens exist. We tend to analyse that by using arguments like big hands, office status, for-signature-purpose-only, and what have you.
 

But what if it is much simpler? Comparable to e.g. wristwatch sizes? In the mid 80s the norm for male watches was around 36mm, and that increased within half a decade to around 40mm, where some brands (Hublot, Panerai) even went beyond that. Why? Beacause of popular demand. There was a market for it. It got sold.

 

i expect the same reason to apply with fountain pens. The number 50 Namiki has been around for almost a century now, i.e. there is demand. So all brands have big pens. Nothing more, nothing less.
 

At least there is more surface for a nice maki-e artwork.. 

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