Crónicas Estilográficas

Monday, November 28, 2016

Another Music Nib

Ah, the fascination for the third tine…

Today’s pen is a so far unknown model. We can date it, however, to have been made in the second half of the 1970s. The actual production dates are April of 1977 for the nib, and May 16 of 1977 for the body.


Its inlaid nib certainly reminds of a good number of units present in some Custom and some Elite (::1::, ::2::) models, but this pen carries no inscription on the actual model name. Anyway, this three-tined ni bis particularly interesting and unusual due to its inlaid geometry. It is made of 18 K gold.



As for the filling system, this pen uses Pilot cartridges (single spare) and converters –CON-20, CON-40, CON-50. Converter CON-70 does not fit in the barrel.


These are the dimensions of the pen:

Length closed: 135 mm
Length open: 121 mm
Length posted: 150.5 mm
Diameter: 13.5 mm
Weight: 17.2 g (dry, with CON-50)
Ink deposit: between 0.4 ml (CON-40) and 0.9 ml (cartridge)


Pilot Muy-701 – Montblanc White Forest
Bruno Taut
Shinjuku, Oct 16th 2016
etiquetas: Pilot, plumín, plumín musical

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Las Danitrio Japonesas

Some weeks ago, my fellow blogger and friend Pedro Haddock published a very interesting article on a Danitrio pen on his blog “El pajarete orquidiado”. I then thought that I could offer some additional information on the story of the Ban-ei pens commissioned by Danitrio in the mid 1990s. This is the resulting text, this time written in Spanish as the information in this language on Danitrio is scarce.

I also wanted to recommend a visit to Pedro Haddock’s blog, one of the most interesting pen blogs written in Spanish. Remember that online translators are there to help you.


Danitrio, como ya está bien explicado, es esa empresa californiana fundada por el taiwanés Bernard Lyn que ahora se centra en plumas de lujo con decoración maki-e. El embrujo de esta decoración de Asia Oriental atrapó a su fundador alrededor del año 2000, pero previamente había hecho alguna aproximación muy interesante. Para explicarla hay que retroceder bastantes años.

La figura de Sakai Eisuke tiene algo de mito en Japón. Nació en 1916 y desde su adolescencia estuvo dedicado a aprender los secretos del rokuro”, el torno tradicional japonés. Alrededor de los años 70 dirigió un pequeño grupo de artesanos –Tsuchida, Ginjiro, Nakamura, Takahashi— en la producción de unas plumas de gran calidad, pero sin nombre. Son las denominadas “Ban-ei” (挽栄), que era el nombre de trabajo de Sakai Eisuke, o “Tsuchida” (Tsuchida Shuichi), que era el encargado del montaje final de las piezas. En muchas de ellas, la única marca que permite su identificación es el grabado de las letras GK en el plumín. GK era Kabutogi Ginjiro, pero no era el único proveedor de plumines para estas plumas, por lo que hay otras plumas con el mismo origen, pero sin grabado identificador alguno.


Varios ejemplos de plumas Ban-ei.

Casi todas estas viejas Ban-ei eran plumas de cuentagotas con válvula de cierre (sistema de cuentagotas japonés), aunque hay ejemplos de llenado por “plunger filler”. Casi todas ellas están decoradas con laca urushi, o con motivos maki-e muy discretos. Pero hay un reducido número de plumas con decoraciones muy lujosas, habitualmente producto de encargos especiales.

Las fechas de esta operación son inciertas y nunca está claro cuáles son los artesanos que intervienen en cada una de esas plumas. Las plumas más recientes de este grupo son de 2004. Y Sakai Eisuke falleció en 2011.


Tres Ban-ei. La primera desde arriba lleva el grabado el nombre Ban-ei en la banda del capuchón. Las otras dos, no.



Dos de los plumines (en el centro y a la derecha) llevan grabadas las iniciales GK, de Kabutogi Ginjiro. El tercero (a la izquierda), perteneciente a la encargada por Danitrio, no. Este plumín fue fabricado por Sailor.

El anonimato de este grupo se rompió brevemente a mediados de los años 90. Bernard Lyn les propuso hacer una serie de plumas para Danitrio. Llevarían grabado el nombre Ban-ei, en japonés y en caracteres latinos (挽栄 - Ban-ei), y serían unas ediciones limitadas de pocos cientos de unidades. Y Danitrio no las firmaba.


Tres Danitrio japonesas.


En los capuchones, a la izquierda, se pueden ver los grabados "Ban-ei". El más cercano de los plumines fue hecho por Kabuitogi Ginjiro. Los otros dos son Sailor.

Estas son las Danitrio Ban-ei, las Danitrio japonesas: plumas hechas en Japón, por un grupo de venerables artesanos japoneses para una empresa estadounidense dirigida por un taiwanés. Todas ellas son plumas de cuentagotas japonés y con decoración de laca urushi o maki-e muy discreto. Los plumines son, en su gran mayoría, Sailor, aunque hay un reducido número de ellos hechos por el mencionado Kabutogi Ginjiro. Estos llevan una inscripción en japonés: 復刻手造万年筆, réplica hecha a mano. ¡Réplica hecha por el propio Kabutogi!


Una Danitrio Ban-ei con decoración "shu-urushi".

Al contrario que las Ban-ei quasi-anónimas, estas Danitrio japonesas se encuentran más fácilmente fuera de Japón. Al fin y al cabo, Danitrio tiene su mercado, sobre todo, en Estados Unidos.


Ban-ei con plumín Henckel – Pilot azul

Bruno Taut
Nakano, octubre de 2016
etiquetas: Ban-ei, Danitrio, Kabutogi Ginjiro, Japón, Estados Unidos, maki-e

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Sailor Profit Slim Mini (II)

This pen, the Sailor Profit Slim Mini is not new in the market. In fact, I spoke about it last year—Sailor made a small batch (120 units) to be sold at some Sailor Friendly Shops located in West Tokyo. They came in different colors and implemented medium-sized nibs made of 14 K and 21 K gold of both the regular H (hard) and Naginata lines of nibs. And not much more was known.




This pen comes without box, but with a pouch.

120 units are not that many even if concentrated in such a localized area. After all, the Kanto region, where Tokyo and Yokohama and Kawasaki are located, hosts about 34 million people. However, there are still some units left at some of those Sailor-favored shops.



On the front, a small Profit (1911 in some markets) in black. This particular unit implements a 21 K gold nib. The Slim Mini is significantly shorter albeit their caps are of the same size.


A characteristic of the Mini series of modern Sailors (flat tops and balance models) is the possibility to screw the cap on the barrel by means of some ad-hoc threads.

And right now (on issue 39, October 2016), the Japanese publication Shumi-no Bungubako (趣味の文具箱, by EI Publications; ISBN: 978-4-7779-4230-5) offers this same pen to its customers. This is a regular policy of this publisher: special editions that can only be bought through them. These special pens usually are variations on well-known Japanese pens. Sailor is a regular provider of these pens, but by no means the only one.

The Shumi-no Bungubako versions of the Profit Slim Mini share the price with the older models offered by the Sailor Friendly Shops: JPY 18,000, plus tax. The colors are completely different and unique: blue –which is labeled as “limited”– and pearl white.


The Profit Slim Mini on the page 110 of the magazine Shumi-no Bungubako (issue 39, October 2016) offering this model in two different variations. Only the blue (on top) is said to be "limited" (限定).

And the question posed last year remains open: is this a pen to test the market, a prototype of future models of Sailor’s? So far, we only know that this model, the Sailor Profit Slim Mini, is still alive.


Pilot Myu 701 – Montblanc White Forest

Bruno Taut
Shinjuku, October 16th , 2016
labels: Sailor, mercado, Shumi-no Bungubako

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Changes in Eboya

Noritoshi Kanesaki, the master behind Eboya Pens stopped working for the company (Nikko Ebonite) this past August. The company has hired new personnel to continue with the pen business. However, the production might slow down due to the need of training.


An Eboya Hôga with the box signed by Mr. Kanesaki, the former pen master of Eboya pens.


Mr. Kanesaki, at work in 2011, when Eboya pens were still named Nebotek.

On his side, Mr. Kanesaki is starting his own business of pen repairs, and taking orders for special editions in the city Kawaguchi, very close to Tokyo in the province of Saitama.


Platinum Wagner 10th Anniversary – unknown ink

Bruno Taut
Nakano, September 11th , 2016
labels: Kanesaki Noritoshi, Eboya

Monday, October 3, 2016

Sizes 30 and KOP

This Chronicle is, in a sense, a natural continuation to the text in which I presented the newly released Pilot Custom Urushi. One of the goals of this new pen was to compete with the successful King of Pens (KOP) series of Sailor’s, and therefore, comparing them is only logical. That is what I am doing today.

The differences in size between these two pens are very clear in the body, and not so much in the nib. But in both cases, the Pilot is bigger than the Sailor. For the pictures I chose the ebonite version in balance shape (King Profit Ebonite) of the KOP series of pens.


Sailor King Profit in ebonite on top; Pilot Custom Urushi on bottom.

The differences in price are also noteworthy; The Pilot Custom Urushi costs JPY 88000, and the King Profit Ebonite, JPY 70000. There are cheaper and more expensive versions of the Sailor KOP: between JPY 60000 for the basic version in plastic to JPY 80000 for the Mozaique series. Versions coated with urushi start at around JPY 150000, but they are not usually included in the Japanese catalog (retrieved October 2016). All prices quoted without sales tax (8% in Japan).


The nibs, side by side. Sailor's is made of 21 K gold. Pilot's, 18 K.


The picture is out of focus, but it works to show the difference in size between the KOP and the size 30 nibs.

The writing feeling of the size 30 nib, in my limited experience, is a lot more pleasant than that of the Sailor’s unit—softer, smoother, richer… But that is only my appreciation.

The relevant question, however, is shared by many—is the Pilot Custom Urushi worth JPY 18000 than the Ebonite King Profit by Sailor? In exchange we would get some urushi coating, and a larger nib with a lower gold content (if that mattered to anyone: 18 K in Pilot’s, 21 K in Sailor’s).


Pilot Myu 701 – Montblanc White Forest

Bruno Taut
Nakano, October 3rd, 2016
labels: plumín, Pilot, mercado, Sailor, maki-e

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Madrid Pen Show 2016

The XIII Madrid Pen Show will be celebrated at the usual venue –the NH Eurobuilding Hotel— between 18th and 20th of November.

It is just short of two months ahead of us, but it might not be that long in order to plan a visit to Madrid and attend this major event. Let us remember that the Madrid Pen Show is currently the biggest pen show in Europe.


There is an entry fee to the show (EUR 3/day), but it can easily be waived by printing an invitation usually published on the organizer's website -- http://www.madridpenshow.com/?lang=en -- or on that of the sponsor's-- https://www.iguanasell.com/ .

I will attend the show this year as well (2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011).


Pilot Capless, stub nib by Shimizu Seisakusho – Private Reserve, American Blue

Bruno Taut
Nakano, September 12th, 2016
labels: evento, Madrid

Monday, September 19, 2016

Custom Urushi

A new pen in town, and what a pen!

Fountain Pen Network Tinjapan announced it last March—the new flagship of Pilot was in the making. It was going to be a lacquered pen with a brand new nib.

Now that pen, by the name of Custom Urushi (reference code FKV-88SR-B-x, where x is the nib point: FM, M or B) was released this past Saturday, September 17th.


The brand new Pilot Custom Urushi.

The result is a flat-top pen made of ebonite, coated with black urushi lacquer, and filling mechanism through cartridge and converter (CON-70). In fact, this pen can be seen as a scaled up Custom 845—same shape, same materials, same structure… but bigger, longer, thicker.


From top to bottom, Pilot Custom Urushi, Pilot Custom 845, and Namiki Urushi in size 20.

And then, the nib—also bigger. An all new size 30 made of 18 K gold, partially rhodiated. It comes in three nib points—FM, M, and B. It is a quite soft nib, albeit not truly flexible. But the remarkable feature is its sheer size—impressive. Much bigger than the well-known size 15 (Custom 845, 823, 743) or the size 20 (Namiki Yukari Royale). The Custom Urushi dwarfs these two well known pens.


The impressive nib in size 30. It is made of 18 K gold, and comes in three points: FM, M, and B.


From left to right: Namiki's size 20 nib, Pilot's 15, and Pilot's 30.


Written sample with size 30 nib of point M. It was made dipping the pen in an inkwell of Pilot Black ink. The printed square is 9x9 sq mm.

The price of the newcomer is not cheap—JPY 88000, plus tax. It is certainly more expensive than the Custom 845 (JPY 50000; i. e. 76% higher), but it is also much cheaper than the Namiki Urushi in size 20 (JPY 128000, 45% higher).

Is Pilot competing against Namiki? Will the Custom Urushi cannibalize the sales of the black Namiki in size 20? Right now, this size 30 nib is really appealing.


Detail of the decorative band on the cap.

More information and more pictures on the more recent Chronicle "Sizes 30 and KOP".


Pilot Capless, stub nib by Shimizu Seisakusho – Private Reserve, American Blue

Bruno Taut
Nakano, September 19th, 2016
labels: plumín, Pilot, mercado
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