Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Four New Pens

Chinkin technique consists, basically, in sprinkling some gold powder on an lacquered surface, previously carved with the pattern to be revealed after the whole process was completed. Chinkin is not considered as maki-e—chinkin is not so much painted as it is carved.

A number of pen makers offer this decorative technique on their pens, and those pens are always expensive. A case in point is the Namiki Chinkin Series—a collection of five pens with nibs in sizes 20 and 50, and pen shapes balance and vest (flat ends). Their prices range from JPY 300000 to JPY 700000.

This past January, Pilot –again under the luxury brand Namiki— has made a more affordable series of chinkin-decorated pens. These new four units are flat tops, cartridge-converters and implement size 10 nibs made of 18 K gold. In actual terms, these pens are like those of the Yukari Collection, but with a different body shape. They are not signed with any name in particular, but as made by the “kokkokai”, the guild of maki-e and chinkin craftsmen of Pilot founded by the much respected figure of Gonroku Matsuda.


The four new chinkin pens by Pilot, branded as Namiki.


This is not the signature of any artist. It just says "kokkokai", the group of maki-e and chinkin artisans working for Pilot.

The price of these new arrivals is JPY 100000, plus tax—one third of the cheaper of the older Chinkin Series sized as the Yukari Royale Collection (size 20 nibs). Affordable? Only in relative terms.


One of the pens, uncapped. The length of these pens, when capped, is about 138 mm.

In the meantime, I am writing with a very similar nib (size 10, albeit in 14 K gold) for less than one-fifth of those “affordable” and beautiful chinkin Namiki. The Custom Heritage 912 and the Custom 942 implement 14 K, size 10 nib with 15 different points—a stark contrast with the just three available points of the Namiki Chinkin shown today: F, M and B. In fact, this might simply mean that these overly decorated pen are mostly a jewel with a nib.


A newly-released Namiki Chinkin on the left, together with two other maki-e decorated pen that will be covered on another Chronicle.


Pilot Custom Heritage 912, music nib – Sailor Yama-dori

Bruno Taut
Chuo ward, February 27th, 2015
etiquetas: Pilot, maki-e, mercado

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