Showing posts with label Madrid. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Madrid. Show all posts

21 November 2019

Madrid Pen Show 2019

The 16th edition of the Madrid Pen Show finished last Sunday and I want to offer some personal reflections on the event.

The bare numbers are not very different to those of the 2018 edition: about 1650 visitors, 65 traders (2 more than in 2018) on 73 tables. The estimates speak of a business volume in the area of EUR 500,000 with an average of EUR 7000 per trader.

The good news is the cntinuous success of this event. Being the biggest pen show in Europe is not an easy accomplishment before countries with a powerful pen industry and a very rich pen tradition.

The less positive news is the relative old age of most visitors. Fountain pens seem to attract people of certain age... in the Old World. But that is not the case in East Asia, where there is a big body of young aficionados. Then, the question is whether there was anything that could be done to expand the hobby among younger generations in Spain and in Europe in general.

But so far, the current formula works very well, and the Madrid Pen Show is the annual festival of the Spanish pen community. A party where everybody is welcome, as the increasing number of foreign visitors shows.

Romillo Eo – Pilot Iroshizuku Yama-budo

Bruno Taut
Madrid, November 21th, 2019
etiquetas: Madrid, evento

29 October 2019

November Shows. I

November comes and I start my migration.

As was the case in the last 11 years, I will attend the Madrid Pen Show. It will be celebrated –or we will all celebrate it— at the Hotel Miguel Ángel from Friday Nov 15th to Sunday Nov 17th. And on Thursday 14th, as a starter, there will be an auction at Durán Subastas (Calle Goya 19, 28001 Madrid. Auction catalog, here) at 18:00.

The Madrid Pen Show is the biggest in Europe. Last year it attracted nearly 70 traders and about 1600 visitors.

I will be there this year too. Feel free to say hi if you happened to be there.

Lucky 9159 – Kingdom Note Futukoshin Blue

Bruno Taut
Nakano, October 29th 2019
etiquetas: Madrid, evento

07 January 2019

Madrid 2018

The XV edition of the Madrid Pen Show is long over –it happened in November--, but it is still time to reflect on the outcome.

Number-wise, the results of this edition were not essentially different than those of the previous year—between 1500 and 1600 visitors along the three days of the event, 63 traders on 67 tables. Therefore, the results cannot be very different to those of 2017: about EUR 500,000 total business volume, with about EUR 6,000/vendor on average.

Some sources say, however, that on this occasion (2018), visitors were more willing to buy than in previous years. Another interesting detail was the presence of  pen aficionados from neighboring countries, thus making this event more international.

The novelties this year came in the form of auctions –on the day prior to the beginning of the show, and on the last day--, and a couple of seminars –on calligraphy and on urushi and maki-e techniques. Therefore, for the first time in the Madrid Pen Show, the event was supported on three legs—the commercial, the social, and the academic.

Finally, the new venue —Hotel Miguel Ángel— provided all of us with more room for enjoying it. The lack of room had been a historical inconvenient on the Madrid event. The only trouble was the irregular illumination in the lounge. This problem should not be difficult to solve, and many hope this was the case, as the Hotel Miguel Ángel will host the event for several years to come.

Ray Walter's in black ebonite, Franklin-Christoph music nib – Montblanc Irish Green

Bruno Taut
Nakano, November 23th 2018
labels: evento, Madrid

29 December 2017

Madrid 2017 (II)

The Madrid Pen Show of 2017 –its 14th edition—took place over a month ago, on November 17th to 19th. As I had announced, I attended it and these are some of my reflections and conclusions.

The event is, according to numerous sources, the leader of its class in Europe. 63 dealers, some of them with more than one table, offered their products to about 1500 visitors along the three days of the show. The typical expense can be traced between EUR 200 and EUR 300 per visitor, which makes a total business in the order of EUR 400,000. The average business per dealer is, therefore, around EUR 6000. Of course, these numbers are just approximate—save that of the number of dealers!

The Madrid Pen Show is also the major celebration of the very active Spanish pen community. The community provides most of the social aspect of the party, as the following video shows.

My thanks to Mr. José Riofrío, author of the video.

Some new people could be seen on the floor during those days. On one hand, some younger dealers offering both new and vintage pens as well as some paper products and other accessories. On the other, I could also see some foreign visitors, adding an additional layer to the international expansion of the event. This should not be a surprise—after all, American shows attract visitors across state lines...

On their side, locals seem to have understood the value of having such an event at their footsteps: knowledge, pens, better prices through competition… The contrast with the very parochial Japanese pen scene –a country where the pen industry is still strong and the community is very active— is startling.

Romillo Nervión – Sailor Blue Iron

Bruno Taut
Nakano, December 29th 2017
labels: evento, Madrid

28 September 2017

Madrid 2017

Autumn is here and that also means that the biggest pen event in Europe is coming.

The Madrid Pen Show will take place between November 17th and 19th –this is a three day event—at the NH Collection Madrid Eurobuilding Hotel, and is sponsored by retailer Iguana Sell.

The nominal access fee is EUR 3 per day or EUR 5 for the three days. However, as it was the case on previous years, the sponsor will offer free tickets on its website. It might also be worth to check some of the fountain pen fora in Spanish (::1::, ::2::), where those invitations were also published.

In 2016, about 1300 visitors and 65 dealers, plus some illustrious guests (::1::, ::2::), contributed to create a truly exciting experience. It is also the major celebration –the “fiesta mayor”— of the very active Spanish pen community.

I will be there.

Romillo Nervión – Sailor Iron Blue

Bruno Taut
Nakano, September 27th 2017
etiquetas: Mdrid, evento

22 December 2016

Madrid in November (2016)

It is over a month now since the 2016 Madrid Pen Show and a review is long overdue.

This was the 13th edition of the Madrid event, and my personal 7th. About 1300 visitors, 65 traders, and three days of gathering together made it the most important in Europe nowadays. Traders came from all over Europe –France, UK, Italy, Germany, Croatia…– and from North America. And on this occasion also there were also visitors, potential buyers, from outside of Spain. This represents a quantum leap forward in the natural evolution of this pen show.

Personally speaking, this was a most interesting event. The Madrid Pen Show is the major celebration of the Spanish fountain pen community, and therefore this is both a commercial event and a social meeting. Both aspects can be seen on one of the classic features of the show—the video made by Mr. José Riofrío.

Now, is there anything really special in this event with respect to other pen shows? What does it make any pen show different from the rest? Guest visitors SBRE Brown and Azizah Asgarali (Gourmet Pens) have some ideas, and some experience on other pen shows (::1::, ::2::, ::3::, ::4::).

Ethernautrix on FPN also attended the show.

Organizer Alfonso Mur, one of the owners of sponsor Iguana Sell, and two illustrious visitors.

Clavijo Velasco Ro-iro – Pilot Iroshizuku Ku-jaku

Bruno Taut
Nakano, December 22th, 2016
etiquetas: Madrid, evento

27 September 2016

Madrid Pen Show 2016

The XIII Madrid Pen Show will be celebrated at the usual venue –the NH Eurobuilding Hotel— between 18th and 20th of November.

It is just short of two months ahead of us, but it might not be that long in order to plan a visit to Madrid and attend this major event. Let us remember that the Madrid Pen Show is currently the biggest pen show in Europe.

There is an entry fee to the show (EUR 3/day), but it can easily be waived by printing an invitation usually published on the organizer's website -- -- or on that of the sponsor's-- .

I will attend the show this year as well (2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011).

Pilot Capless, stub nib by Shimizu Seisakusho – Private Reserve, American Blue

Bruno Taut
Nakano, September 12th, 2016
labels: evento, Madrid

30 August 2016

Madrid News

The life of brick and mortar shops is hazardous these times. In the last months, the Madrid pen scene has seen a couple of significant changes.

The first was the disappearance of a very traditional shop, Jomar, in the Barrio de Salamanca area of town.

On the other hand, Papelería Debod has become very active in the area of fountain pens. Interestingly enough, this shop is selling Twsbi products in Spain. Papelería Debod is located near Plaza de España, in front of the Egyptian temple of Debod:

Papelería Debod
Ferraz 24
28008 Madrid
Tel: 915 591 049

These changes remind us some of the big questions in the pen business today: Is the fountain pen market profitable? Are traditional shops a viable business model in the world of Internet and online shopping? I do not have any real answer, but I tend to be pessimistic.

These two changes in the Madrid pen scene will soon be reflected on the page dedicated to this city in this blog.

Pilot desk pen DPN-200 – Private Reserve American Blue

Bruno Taut
Nakano, August 29, 2016
labels: Madrid, mercado

24 November 2015

Madrid Pen Show 2015

I wonder whether it is worth to write about yet another pen show. In a sense, all of them are one and the same: people gathering around fountain pens. But I attended the 2015 Madrid Pen Show (November 13th to 15th, 2015) and I feel compelled to speak about it.

Photo courtesy of Foro de Estilográficas member Antolín.

The Madrid Pen Show is currently the biggest event of this kind in Europe—70 tables, 62 traders from 13 different countries, and over 1200 visitors in the two and a half days of the event.

The following video by Mr. José Riofrío truly captures the pleasant atmosphere of the event. The commercial side is a given to any such show; the social part is also there, but is often limited to the local community of stylophiles. The Madrid Pen Show is, in this regard, the meeting event of most of the Spanish pen community, regularly connected through the Spanish pen fora, mostly the Foro de Estilográficas and Relojes Especiales – Grafos. Some of the members of this community can be seen at the dinner party, which by now is an integral part of the celebration.

The pixelated figure (min 3:05 and 3:12) corresponds to Mr. Tom Westerich, who after greeting the camera decided he was too important to appear on the video and filed a complaint before YouTube. This is, therefore, the "Westerich-correct" version.

A lot has been said and written on how to proceed in events like this, but I am afraid that even the most seasoned collector becomes overwhelmed by the sheer amount and variety of pens. It always becomes difficult to decide how to spend the always limited resources.

But if asked, I would advice in the following terms:

I. Keep focus on what you want. This might be either a model, a brand, a category of some sort, etc. Your eyes and your brain will quickly filter the signal from the noise.

II. But do not close your eyes totally to those pens not fitting your primary interest. A pen show is a magnificent opportunity to see and to touch extraordinary pens, which takes me to point III.

III. Ask, touch, try,… and ask again. Take the chance to learn about your beloved objects.

IV. Explore the show before buying, but also consider that some pens might be rare finds. Sometimes, what is left behind might be gone forever.

V. Assume you will not see every single pen in the show. There are just too many, and that is why rule I becomes even more important.

Enjoy the pen show near you, even if overwhelmed.

Special thanks to Mr. José Riofrío and to Antolín.

Parker 51 demi, vacumatic – Private Reserve DC Supershow Blue

Bruno Taut
Madrid, November 17th, 2015
Edited on December 16th, 2015 due to privacy complaints of Mr. Tom Westerich.
etiquetas: Madrid, mercado, estilofilia, evento

08 May 2015

Short Lived

News in the Madrid pen scene. The brick and mortar shop has closed. The online business seems to continue. On the website, the owners still mention the address of the physical shop (checked on May 8th, 2015).

Indeed a short lived shop.

Romillo Essential Black – Parker Quink Blue

Bruno Taut
Nakano, May 1st, 2015
etiquetas: Madrid, mercado

27 November 2014

Madrid Pen Show 2014

The 11th edition of the Madrid Pen Show was celebrated on the weekend of November 14th to 16th, and I am bound to report on it. But that is no easy task, as mostly all that there is to say had already been written on these Chronicles.

Year after year, the pen show is the big celebration of stylophiles in Spain, and even more than that, as some foreign residents also attended the event. Therefore, this is a major social gathering for many of us, a meeting point for people you only know by name or by alias on a number of pen fora or through email. And then, face to face, a lot more information is actually exchanged.

The conversation often moves onto the dining table, where pens and paper are spread our easily.

Sarj Minhas is well known in Madrid.

The commercial aspect is obviously important, but a pen show is rarely the place to find unexpected bargains. Pen traders do know their job and what they are selling, and they are also aware of the typical customer at those events—we are there because we value pens, and we would pay a lot more that the average person on the street. In fact, we know we are quite foolish when we pay more than, say, EUR 10 for a writing tool. And that is a common mistake among newcomers to a pen show—“pens are not cheap”, they say. Of course not, albeit there might be exceptions buried in the myriad of pens on display.

The space in between tables was scarce at times. That seems to be solved for the 2015 edition, when over 500 sq. meters will be available.

Gary Lehrer, David Nishimura and Carlos Sánchez-Álamo. Among others, of course.

A visitor and a trader. Rick Propas and Jim Marshall. Photo courtesy of Foro de Estilográficas member Antolín.

A third leg in a pen show is the didactic one. Some events do this very well by organizing seminars and workshops. Madrid Pen Show fails at that, but by no means the learning aspect is absent. Both traders and visitors are often well versed on pens and they are willing to share their knowledge. That comes very easily, and it is indeed a pity not to take benefit of this well-informed crowd.

Jonathan Steinberg, Darek Sot, David Nishimura--all of them trading pens.

Luiz Leite and Rick Propas.

Pens, pens, pens...

Figure-wise, the Madrid Pen Show congregated about 1200 visitors and 67 traders over thee days. For the next edition (November 13 to 15, 2015) there will be a maximum of 72 traders on a larger lounge of over 500 square meters. The Madrid Pen Show is now the largest event of its kind in Europe.

Jim Marshall attending some customers. Photo courtesy of Antolín.

My thanks to Foro de Estilograficas member and friend Antolin.

Romillo Nervión Terracota – Pilot Blue

Bruno Taut
Madrid, November 25th 2014
etiquetas: Madrid, mercado, evento, estilofilia