16 October 2017

Masahiro Again

Past July, I wrote a text –“From Shizuoka”— about the small pen maker by the name of Masahiro Seisakusho. Its website, I said at the time, was only written in Japanese and was also very confusing. That, together with some questions asked on the Fountain Pen Network made that Chronicle of mine extremely popular. I wonder now if that new information translated into more sales…

A thick Masahiro. The engraving on the nib is the only brand sign.

Anyway, another Masahiro pen became available for me to inspect, and writing about it was only natural.

On this occasion we have one of the bigger models, and therefore it implements a Pilot size 15 nib. The body, as usual on this brand, is made of (probably) German ebonite.

The nib is a typical Pilot unit: "PILOT / 14K-585 / 15 / < F > ". Closer to the section, the manufacturing date: 314.

However, despite the size of the nib –similar to a Bock size 6, or a Pelikan M800—, it seems too small for the very wide pen body. Sure enough, its girth allows for a big amount of ink thanks also to the old fashioned and efficient A-shiki filling system. This system, let’s remember, was briefly used by Pilot in the 1950s, although it is very common nowadays in the form of the Pilot’s CON-70 converter.

As was the case with the other Masahiro pen here analyzed, the feed is made of ebonite, which is a significant change with respect to Pilot pens implementing these nibs, whose feed are made of plastic.

The very beautiful ebonite feed, custom made by Narihiro Uchino.

These are the dimensions of this Masahiro pen made in Shizuoka:

Length closed: 143mm
Length open: 133 mm
Length posted: 170 mm
Diameter: 17 mm
Weight: 43.9 g (inked)

The tail of the pen is the handle of the pulsated piston (A-shiki system).

Pens like this go over JPY 100000 (actually, almost JPY 110000), according to Masahiro’s website. Now, it is up to us to decide whether this pen is a good value and how it compared to Pilot pens with the same nib.

My thanks to Mr. Minagawa.

Romillo Nervión – Sailor Blue Iron

Bruno Taut
Shinjuku, October 11th 2017
labels: Masahiro, Pilot


Nikos said...

Thank you for discussing this pen. It's nice looking with a good nib , an ebonite feed and a very interesting filling system. In my opinion the filling system is worth extra mentioning simply cause as far as modern Japanese pens go there's no escape from the cartridge/converter systems (with the exceptions of few eyedropper models). At JPY100k+, it's not cheap, but seems to be similarly priced to most small(er) independent pen maker offerings. Compared to Pilot pens with size 15 nibs, probably the pen will seem like not a great value (you can get the Custom urushi with the size 30 nib for less), but I think the pen maker is aiming at a different kind of buyer.

Bruno Taut said...

Thanks, Nikos, for insight.

If speaking about filling systems, as much as I like this A-shiki, the plunger Pilot offers in the Custom 823 with the same size 15 nib is a very good alternative for about 1/4 of the price of the Masahiro.

Your point on the different kind of buyer is interesting. That is a topic I am very naïve about--I still do not know who is the typical buyer of fountain pens nowadays.

Thanks again for your comments.


Nikos said...

You're very right ! The 823 offers a really nice filling system and the same nib for a fraction of the price. The 845 offers a urushi pen with an ebonite base and same nib for a bit more than the 823.

I think the emergence of several small modern pen manufacturers along with the survival of some of the older ones, is a clear sign of this growing niche market of pen aficionados who are not after just a great writing experience, but want pens that are almost "custom made" for them and are willing to pay the extra premium as well as wait for months upon months for the pen to be made. I think the whole point has to do with the overall experience of getting such a pen: selecting, discussing the process, waiting, and finally using it.

I am sure this is not the typical fountain pen user you have in mind, however, there's a growing number of users and collectors seeking such pens.


Leo said...

Thanks for the write-up! I was definitely interested when I first saw these, but I'm only so-so on the size compared to the nib. Also, the blue black ebonite reminds me of the Sailor 105th.

Bruno Taut said...

Thanks, Leo, for your comments.

The color of the ebonite is nothing that could not be changed. About the relative sizes of nib to pen body... that is a different mater. But being these pens made almost to order, it is not hard to guess that the maker would adapt to your demands.


Thanks again for your insight. You might be right and, in fact, I also suggested at some point that the community of stylophiles might be gaining some leverage on the market. This would justify the apparition of all this small scale pen manufacturers (Eboya, Clavijo, Gimena, Edison, etc.), and a new life for some old ones (Hakase, Ohashido).

Thanks again, Nikos, for your continuous moral support.


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