06 October 2011

Empty Barrel

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the company, Sailor has released two limited edition fountain pens. One of them is the object of this Chronicle: the Shima Kuwa mulberry pen, of which 1000 units were crafted.

The Shima Kuwa mulberry fountain pen.

An anchor on the clip shows this is a Sailor pen. There is also a subtle design on gold powder maki-e on the lower area of the cap.

This pen, with a price in Japan of JPY 150,000 (plus taxes), is made of mulberry wood from the island of Mikurajima, located 200 km offshore of the city of Tôkyô to the South. The pen was treated with urushi lacquers and is subtly decorated with gold powder make-e. The nib, in 21 k gold, is imprinted with a special version of the company logo –an anchor and a draped chain— and a sign showing the 100th anniversary. And this seems to be the extent of this pen’s appeal. The rest is, indeed, rather boring.

The nicely engraved nib. It performs nicely.

But make no mistake--this nib is a hard medium. Against all odds in a commemorative pen like this given the impressive wealth of nibs this company enjoys!

Pen wise, this is a simple cartridge-converter pen equipped with a very uneventful medium nib. Quite the opposite, we must quickly add, of the pen released by Sailor five years ago to celebrate the 95th anniversary. That was the first Realo—a naginata togi nib in a piston filler King of Pen.

The anniversary pen with the converter...

...and with the cartridge. More than half of the barrel is empty.

The contrast between these two anniversary pens is even higher given the very large dimensions of this year’s Sailor: 163 mm long when closed, and 149 mm when open. A diameter of 20.5 mm, and a dry weight of 37 g. The cap cannot be posted. The result is a barrel that is mostly empty. So, what is the purpose of such a long pen? I guess it is only a matter of looks, because at the end, this pens holds exactly the same amount of ink as a regular Sailor Profit/1911 model. And their nibs are not any different, either.

The naginata togi nib on the original Realo from 2006.

It should come as no surprise that we stylophiles miss the 2006 Realo so much. And market prices do show it.

My thanks to Mr. Noguchi.

(Soennecken 105 – Sailor Tokiwa-matsu)

Bruno Taut
Yokohama, October 5th, 2011
[labels: Sailor]

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