30 July 2021

From Platinum to Lanbitou

Some time ago I made some comments about the current policy of Platinum focusing on the lower and middle ranges of the market. The recent models Procyon and Curidas, together with the well-known Preppy, do show that policy.

Platinum Curidas.

The problem is that Chinese pen companies are fighting hard for that market, and they do that with much better prices and the occasional shameless copy.

Lanbitou 3088.

The Lanbitou 3088 shows that last case very clearly. It is a blatant copy of the Platinum Curidas for a fraction of its price: about EUR 70 for the Platinum, and about EUR 5 for the Lanbitou. This, on top of the teething problems of the Curidas, are not good news for the Japanese brand.

Signed.

The weak slab in the PR China's production is the distribution of its products. This is based on online channels, but some brand are slowly opening other mechanisms. But in any event, online channels are here to stay, for both Chinese and non-Chinese products, and the business of these channels is only increasing.

Platinum of Lanbitou?

So, what is the future for Platinum and other traditional brands? I have predicted that low and middle priced pens –say up to about EUR 100-- will soon become Chinese. And should Western and Japanese brands survive, they are bound to offer products with a higher added value –exotic materials, lavish decoration, innovative nibs, ...--, and an impeccable quality control.

And all that is not what Platinum is doing now.


My thanks to my friend Antolín, whose pictures are greatly appreciated.


Parker Junior – Diamond Teal

Bruno Taut
July 29th, 2021
etiquetas: Platinum, Lanbitou, mercado, capless

07 July 2021

Madrid vs. Tokyo (2021)

On the weekend of June 26-27, two different pen events took place in two very different cities: Madrid and Tokyo. This alone are very good news in times of pandemic, but a lot more can be said.


Let's start with the contexts. Madrid is a city of about 3.5 million people with a metropolitan area of 6.7 million. Tokyo, on it side, is home to 14 million with a metropolitan area of 37 million.

Regarding the infection conditions, Spain is currently doing a lot better than Japan in terms of immunization. At the time of the event, over 30% of the Spanish population had been vaccinated. And Japan, at the time, was struggling to get 3% of the population in the same conditions, and that despite the incoming  Olympic Games...

Then, 10 traders gathered in Madrid on Saturday morning (June 26th), and attracted about 100 potential buyers.

Madrid, June 26th.

In Tokyo, the yearly Pen Trade event was composed by 10 traders and 100 visitors over two days –Saturday and Sunday.

Tokyo, June 26th.

The plain figures are not very different, and any variation could be associated to the different levels in the immunization rates in these two countries... Maybe. However, the differences run much deeper.

The most obvious contrast, and not limited to these events of this month of June, is the mere number of pen for sale on the tables. On just one table in Madrid there were as many pens –or even more-- that in the whole Pen Trade event in Tokyo. We have seen this effect in other, bigger, events celebrated in these two cities—namely, the Madrid Pen Show, and the Tokyo International Pen Show.

Tokyo, June 26th.

Madrid, June 26th.

The real paradox is that a population shy of 7 million –Madrid-- concentrates more pens and more traders than Greater Tokyo with a population five times bigger. That or the organizers of pen events in Tokyo fail to attract those traders. Something is done very well in Madrid, and not so well in Tokyo.

And that, among other things, is why I say that the Tokyo International Pen Show is not a pen show. But there is always something interesting to take home with you.

The spoils fo the Pen Trade 2021. Not too bad...

My thanks to Inktraveler, whose pictures are greatly appreciated.


Montblanc 146 celluloid – Diamine Teal

Bruno Taut
July 7th, 2021
etiquetas: evento, Madrid, Tokyo

03 July 2021

On Ban-ei Nibs (III). Family Portrait

If only for the sake of documenting Ban-ei (挽栄) pens at large, it might be worth to publish a family picture of nibs used on them.

Ban-ei implemented nibs primarily made by nibmeister Kabutogi Ginjiro (兜木銀次郎), but there were some other units of different origin on them. The following picture shows eight examples, but there might me more.

Starting at 1 and clockwise, there are the nibs:

Eight nibs present on Ban-ei pens.

At 1. Sailor nib. On this case, it is associated to a torpedo pen with maki-e decoration.


At 2. Parley nib, JIS no. 3231 registered by Ishikawa Kinpen Seisakusho. The pen is a torpedo with black urushi.


At 4. Steady nib, JIS no. 3233. This is one of the brands registered by Kabutogi. Its pen, an Onoto-type already reviewed, might not be a Ban-es strictly speaking—only Sakai and Kabutogi participated in the production.


At 5. Nib engraved with a Japanese text (復刻手造万年筆, fukkoku tezukuri mannenhitsu, reissue hand-made fountain pen). This text appears on nibs implemented on some Danitrio-commissioned pens, and in some other numbered editions. This nib is likely to be equivalent to those singed as GK (see nib at 7).


At 7. GK-signed nib. Present in a variety of pens, included the Visconti Urushi series.


At 8. Kabutogi's nib labeled as 50. This particular unit is engraved with JIS no. 4622, registered to Kabutogi's brand Seilon.

JIS 4622.

At 10. Kabutogi's nib labeled as 60. This unit is also engraved with JIN no. 4622.


At 11. Platinum nib. Present in many of the Danitrio-commissioned series, but not only on those.



The eight pens.


References:
Eizo FUJII. “酒井栄助の万年筆” (Sakai Eisuke no mannenhitsu; The fountain pens of Sakai Eisuke). Shumi-no Bungubaku, 34, p. 120-124 (2015).
A. Lambrou & M. Sunami. Fountain Pens of Japan. Andreas Lambrou Publishers Ltd., 2012.


Arenton no. 3 – unknown blue-black

Bruno Taut
July 3rd, 2021
etiquetas: Ban-ei, plumín, Sakai Eisuke, nibmeister Kabutogi Ginjiro, Platinum, Sailor, Ishikawa Kinpen Seisakusho, Steady