Flagship of the Pilot fountain pen range and a comparative behemoth in size, the Custom Urushi has shown that simplicity and cleanliness of design can be as appealing as complicated art works. Available primarily in black, it is also made in smaller numbers with a vermilion finish to the cap and barrel. For a long time it was only available in Japan and the USA, however as of recent it can now be bought from an increasing number of European and UK based retailers. Continue reading
Click, click, clickity, click …. if ever there was a fountain pen to distract the wielder and annoy colleagues it is Pilot’s Vanishing Point/Capless/Decimo (depending on country and width). Until very recently no other fountain pen had been on sale for a long time with a ballpoint type clicker mechanism. Sure it’s not the only retractable fountain pen out there, and even around the time of launch there were JDM rivals, but for single handed ease of use there has been nothing comparable until this month (February 2020) with Platinum’s launch of the Curidas.
I’m far from alone in liking maki-e and appreciating the skills and processes that go in to the creation of this form of art. As with many I often thought that my only options would be the ‘cheap’ commercial screen print pens, which are approximately £100 a pop, as the far more attractive alternatives I saw were all high end in the four figure price range and with releases been limited to single digit numbers of pens. Discovering the Namiki Nippon Art range was a revelation. Sure these pens are still £400+ outside of rare deals, but they are also much more affordable for a hand drawn piece of work.
Most people who are involved in the pen world are aware of the Sailor King of Pen. A range of over sized fountain pens with a 21k nib available either as a medium, broad, or a hand made naginata (supposedly while Nagahara-san has retired, his son is meant to be restarting a limited set of the range). Most commonly found in the cigar shape of the 1911/Profit and ranging from acrylic, through the eponymous ebonite version and on to high end and high art Maki-e master pieces, the KoP is also found to a lesser extent with the flat finials of the Pro Gear shape. Over the last number of years there has been a limited edition release of the latter based on the five Japanese elements, starting with Wind (2016), then Earth (2017), Ocean (2018) and now Fire (I expect ether/heaven will finish the set next year). The same Pro Gear limited edition can also be found in regular and slim sized models.