Showing posts with label Muji. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Muji. Show all posts

13 June 2013

Belage

In 1979 Platinum released two interesting pens. The better known was the original 3776 model designed by Mr. Fountain Pen Haruo Umeda which is still on production. The second model was not so successful—the Platinum Belage.


A Platinum Belage from 1979 with a steel nib.

The Belage was intended as a popular pen. Its price range started at JPY 3000 for the basic model with steel nib. The model with a white gold nib (14 K) cost JPY 7000. In contrast, the 3776 started at JPY 10000.


This second unit implements a white gold nib (14 K), and was made in 1981.

The original Belage won the Good Design Award given by the almighty Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry, and it was indeed an interesting design: It is made of very simple and clean lines to create a very cylindrical pen. The tail and the section are made of plastic of a smaller diameter than the body, which allows for a perfect fit and alignment of cap and barrel both when closed and posted. In fact, the cap snaps loudly and securely on both configurations. These features, save the reassuring sounding snap, remind of the Muji fountain pen in aluminum—a simple cylindrical pen designed for a perfect adjustment both closed and posted.


Later Belage models, though, had this narrower tail removed, and, paradoxically, that created a less clean design. The clip, on its side, showed a number of variations in its size and shape, not always matching the looks of the pen. On that same year of 1979, it might be worth to note, Platinum signed an agreement with Play Boy Enterprises and the Play Boy bunny showed up on some pens, including the Belage. Finally, some other Platinum labeled as Belage used a different type of nib.


The Honest-66 cartridge, ink capacity of 1.7 ml, attached to the Belage.

In short, the Belage on display today is a cartridge-converter pen, that uses a wing-flow nib in either steel or white gold. These are very rigid, but very reliable in their writing. It is a fairly large pen, and the unusually long Honest-66 cartridge (1.7 ml of ink capacity) could fit perfectly inside the barrel. However, these cartridges were long gone by the year 1979 when this pen was initially released.


A stainless steel nib of a Belage. A wing-flow nib.

These are the dimensions of the pen:
Length closed: 138 mm
Length open: 126 mm
Length posted: 155 mm
Diameter: 11 mm
Weight (dry): 21.5 g

In summary, this is an attractive and modern looking pen, well made and very reliable. I have no information on when it was discontinued.


Sailor white pocket pen (F, 14 K) – Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Brown

Bruno Taut
Yokohama, June 12th 2013
etiquetas: Platinum, Muji

25 February 2012

No Logo

On a previous chronicle, I tried to analyze the role of Montblanc in the market of fountain pens. Montblanc, I concluded, sells a brand and a symbol of status devoid of mostly any content. The only detail that really matters on a Montblanc pen is the white star on display.


Japanese company Muji (Mujirushi Ryôhin), on the contrary, uses the opposite strategy. Mujirushi Ryôhin means “no brand, quality goods”, and indeed no brand name and no logotype can be seen on any of this company’s products.

On the left hand side of the cap a lip can be seen. It fits perfectly on the grooves on both section and barrel.

Regarding fountain pens, Muji has marketed a number of models. Many of them are remarkably similar to some made by Ohto. Currently (February 2012), there seems to be only one model available. It is a cartridge-converter pen made of aluminum. Its nib is, most likely, made by Bock in stainless steel. Its design, basically a perfect cylinder, is attractive and functional. The section is knurled for a good grip. Barrel and cap fit very tightly and elegantly both when the pen is closed and when is posted—the cap lip slides inside an ad-hoc groove in the section and in the barrel end.

On this picture, the groove on the barrel can be seen. The lip of the cap fits perfectly inside.

The cap, perfectly attached to the barrel on the posted configuration.

Performance-wise, this pen simply does its job. The nib is rigid and uncharacteristic; on the dry side, but without missing a stroke. It lays what looks like an M point, although there is an F engraved on the nib.


All in all, this is an average pen that honors the selling point of Muji: no brand, good quality. This is not a symbol of status. It is just a pen that writes correctly.

These are its dimensions:
Diameter: 10 mm.
Length closed: 13.8 mm.
Length open: 12.6 mm.
Length posted: 16.2 mm.
Weigth (inked): 20.0 g.

It costs JPY 1100 (tax excluded) in Japan.

(Muji pen in aluminum – Diamine Teal)

Bruno Taut
February 26, 2012
[labels: Muji, Ohto, mercado, Montblanc]