28 October 2020

Le charme discret

What's the difference between the following pens?

A Platinum Izumo (top) and a President.

In essence, they are the same pen—a Platinum President with the very characteristic 18 K gold nib. The difference, beyond the factor 3 in price, is the outer layer, the decoration—plastic versus ebonite and urushi.

It is the same case of these other pens—a Platinum 3776 and a Nakaya.

A Nakaya Portable (top) and a Platinum (pre-Century) 3776.

Again, these pens share the essential parts of a pen—nib, feed, filling system. Their prices, however, are a factor 5 apart due solely to the decoration. And to marketing, of course.

Is urushi and its labor that expensive? In any event, we live in a free market and the price is marked by the seller and decided by the buyer. At least on commodities like pens.

Still life with natsume (棗).

And urushi has a subtle but undeniable charm. Paraphrasing maestro Buñuel, le charme discret de l'urushi.


Parker 61 Flighter – Unknown blue-black.

Bruno Taut
Nakano, October 28th, 2020
etiquetas: Platinum, mercado, maki-e

2 comments:

marc said...

So, I have had this same exact question, especially the difference between the Platinum 3776 and Nakaya, but then I saw a video of the Nakaya workshop. I don't know if the feed is ebonite, but I can see in the video that a craftsman heats the feed and shapes it to achieve the perfect gap between feed and nib. Then he flosses the nib, adjusts the gap between the tines, and polishes the nib with a stone. Surely, that doesn't happen with the 3776. Now, I sent my 3776 to Mike Masuyama and it came back solid gold, for $30.

Bruno Taut said...

Thanks for passing by and commenting, marc.

At the end it all depends on how much we value the performance over the decoration. As you pointed out, with the savings of not going urushi you can get an excellent performance out of those Platinum pens. And that without taking into consideration that buying a Nakaya online or through just those "writing style questionnaire" with no feedback is not very different to baying a plain 3776.

So it all comes down to the "charme discret"...

Thanks again.

BT

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