Showing posts with label plumín. Show all posts
Showing posts with label plumín. Show all posts

23 December 2020

More Custom 74

In essence, the Pilot Custom 74 is a torpedo-shaped pen, with golden accents, and a 14 karat gold nib. Its current price is JPY 12000 (JPY 14000 for two of its nibs), and that makes it to become the basic gold-nib pen of the brand.

But here were some variations on that model. As I described some time ago, in 1993 Pilot issued a special edition of a flat-top Custom 74 for the share holders of Pilot Corporation. That edition implemented a coarse (a BB or BBB) point in the usual size 5 nib.

At the time of publishing that text some commentators mentioned that there had been some other editions of flat-top Custom 74 with other nibs, but not many details were finally offered.

The pen I am showing today belongs to one such edition. In this occasion, the pen sports a three-tined music nib (size 5). Its manufacturing date is December of 1992. The pen came also with a label stating the nib point and the price—JPY 15000.

A flat-top Custom 74 with a music nib.

These data make the pen all the more interesting. First, the manufacturing date is very close to that of the share-holder edition (February of 1993), Therefore, both pens were manufactured with different purposes in similar dates.

Two flat tops; one for sale, another for share holders.

Two Custom 74 with music nibs, both available at the shops at some point.

Second, the label shows that this pen was for sale. Its price –JPY 15000- was higher than that of the torpedo version with music nib--JPY 12000 at the time.

So, all these pens raise more questions than they answer. Was this flat-top with music nib part of a limited edition? Was it ever included in the regular catalog? What other nib points were available?

And the search continues.


Parker 61 — Unknown blue-black

Bruno Taut
December 22th 2020
etiquetas: Pilot, plumín, plumín musical

25 August 2020

The Father, the Son, and the Anonymous Ghost

The father was, obviously, Nobuyoshi Nagahara. He created the Naginata Togi nib—a variable nib with longer tines. And he also set the basis for a number of successful experiments.


Nobuyoshi Nagahara, the father. (Chuo, Tokyo; October 2011).


An old Naginata Togi by Nobuyoshi Nagahara.

Nobuyoshi Nagahara retired in 2012, but his legacy was preserved in the hands of the son, Yukio Nagahara, and well inside the walls of Sailor. Therefore, the production of Naginata Togi nibs remained basically untouched.


The son, Yukio Nagahara. (Chuo, Tokyo; March 2013).


Naginata Togi nibs by Yukio Nagahara.

Nevertheless, the distribution of said nibs was interrupted in Winter of 2016. The reason, as explained by Sailor, was to meet the increasing demand and to train new hands to manufacture them. And, in fact, Yukio Nagahara formed a couple (at least) of apprentices during that time.

The general distribution resumed in October of 2018 together with the unpleasant detail of a dramatic price hike. But despite that this new generation of Naginata Togi nibs seems to be a market success.

Then, Yukio Nagahara left Sailor in February of 2020, and the current Naginata nibs simply cannot be made by him but by some anonymous nibmeisters in Kure.


The last generation of Naginata Togi nibs by anonymous ghosts.

Consequently, we have three generations of Naginata nibs. Those made by Nobuyoshi Nagahara, the father, enjoy a recent boom in demand and in price, much to the joy of those willing to part with them.

I wonder, then, whether the son, Yukio Nagahara, might reach a similar status at any moment as he no longer makes those special nibs.

And all we really have in the market are those made by some anonymous ghosts working for Sailor.


Sailor Mini, 18 K – Noodler's Beaver

Bruno Taut
Nakano, August 24th 2020
Etiquetas: Sailor, plumín, nibmeister Nobuyoshi Nagahara, nibmeister Yukio Nagahara

16 January 2020

2-Fold Nibs. Writing Samples

Some readers of my previous text demanded writing samples those unusual nibs. The problem –or the first of them-- is that I do not own all of those nibs.

As is often the case on these texts, I borrowed some of those nibs and pens from fellow stylophiles in Tokyo, I took pics and handed them back to their owners. This is, in fact, my primary occupation at any meeting with pen people.

The second point is my skepticism about what a writing sample can offer. Writing, or writing with a fountain pen is a lot more than the final line on the paper: is the nib smooth? How is the flow? Is the feed up to the challenge? Does the nib write on contact? How flexible is it? … None of those questions can be answered with a still picture of a writing sample.

Anyway, here I am publishing writing samples of some 2-fold nibs:

– Sailor Cross-music.



– Daiso's 100-yen pen with a 2-fold nib by Mr. Mochizuki.



– Ralph Reyes' 2-fold “concord” nib on a Kasama Una. Concord nibs, in Sailor terms, are nibs whose reverse writing is bold and juicy, and whose regular writing is lot more restrained.




So here they are. Interesting nibs? Certainly. Fun? Of course. Usable on a daily basis? Not all of them.


My thanks to Inky.Rocks.

Penbbs 352 with Kanwrite nib – Noodler's Beaver

Bruno Taut
Shinjuku, January 15th 2020
etiquetas: Plumín, Sailor, Mochizuki, nibmeister Ralph Reyes, nibmeister Nagahara

10 January 2020

2-Fold Nibs

I cannot say for sure that it was Nibmeister Nobuyoshi Nagahara's idea on the first place, but certainly it was him who popularized the idea of two- and three-folded nibs with the support of Sailor.

Some early examples by him date back to the 1990s, as were reported on these pages.


An early Cross nib by Nobuyoshi Nagahara.

Those initial nibs later evolved into what we know today—open nibs with or without overfeed that made their way to the catalog of the brand and to commercial success.


Three generations of Cross nibs.

Then some nibmeisters copied this idea. Wagner-resident Yamada used Pelikan M800 as the base for his version.


Yamada's approach to a 2-fold nib-two overlapping Pelikan M800 nibs.

Wagner member Mr. Mochizuki, on his side, used a much more affordable canvas—a Chinese pen available at the 100-yen chain shop Daiso.


Mochizuki's approach based on a Daiso pen. A steel 2-fold nib.

Only recently, in the last couple of years, non-Japanese nibmeisters have attempted these two-fold nibs. The most brilliant of them, dare I say, is nib wizard Ralph Reyes of Regalia Writing Labs with his continuous development of old and new ideas. The nib here shows is a nice example of this—it is a cross-concord nib, in Sailor terms, with an overfeed; but the overfeed is made out of a third nib and is nicely integrated on the unit.


A 2-foold nib by Ralph Reyes based on JoWo #6 nibs.


My thanks to Inky.Rocks.


NOTE (16/January/2020): Writng samples of some of those nibs can be seen on the following Chronicle: https://estilofilos.blogspot.com/2020/01/2-fold-nibs-writing-samples.html


Opus 88 Koloro #6 – De Atramentis Beethoven

Bruno Taut
Shinjuku, January 10th, 2020
etiquetas: Sailor, nibmeister Nobuyoshi Nagahara, Nibmeister Yamada, nibmeister Ralph Reyes, plumín, Mr. Mochizuki

05 August 2019

A Pen Is A Pen

A pen must write well in any country. That should be a given, but not all pens perform correctly.

When a Japanese pen is at fault, the different writing scripts –Kanji and kana in Japan, alphabet in the West— have been used by some to explain why it did not work properly, and even to justify how suitable a pen is for certain market.

These are some examples:

Some years ago, it became well known that the size #10 Falcon nib by Pilot (present on the models Custom 742 and Custom Heritage 912) did not always behave properly (::1::, ::2::). Many units tended to railroad under almost any pressure. But to this obvious fault some in the West invoked the special way of writing (Japanese, that is) to explain and justify that failure.


Pilot Custom 742 with a Falcon nib.

More recently, Davidoff argued –at least in Japan-- that their nibs were perfectly suited for Japan because their nibs were Sailor's... Like if Pelikan and Montblanc pens were so bad at that and had a hard time in the Japanese market.


Davidoff pens.

The case of Naginata Togi nibs has already been discussed on these pages. In the Japanese market, Sailor brags about how suitable those nibs are to write Japanse (::3::, ::4::), but that does not prevent Sailor from selling them in the West...


Sailor Naginata Togi nibs.

All those examples are nothing but bland excuses and cheap marketing. A pen is a pen and must write well in any script. And Pilot claimed this long time ago:

A Namiki ad from 1927 in the UK explained that the Japanese writing was the perfect benchmark to ensure the correct performance of their pens under any circumstance... such as writing in alphabet!


The Bookseller & the Stationery Trades Journal, July 1927. Page 27. As seen at the Pen Station, Tokyo, in April of 2013. Japanese as the perfect test for any pen!

Japanese are not from another planet. Neither are Westerners when seen from Japan.


Sailor Profit Naginata Togi – Pilot Iroshizuku Ku-jaku

Bruno Taut
Nakano, July - August 2019
etiquetas: mercado, Japón, japonés, Pilot, Sailor, Davidoff, plumín

28 April 2019

Pilot's Small Inset Nibs

The Pilot Elite 95s was marketed on the year 95 of the Pilot era—that is, in 2013.

This pen, apparently quite successful, recuperated the design of the pocket pens on the 1960s and 1970s in Japan. But it went further on reviving the very interesting inset nibs of the 1970s, which at the time of release in 2013 was limited to a steel variation on a desk pen. So, with the Elite 95s, the inset nib recovered some of its past glory through the 14K gold of its composition.


Pilot's desk pen DPN-200.

However, in the 1970s, these inset nibs were made of 18 K gold in two different compositions—yellow gold and white gold, and the yellow variation was also rhodiated.


From left to right, three Elite 95s in all three colors, the cross-hatch Elite (1978), black Elite (1977), non-Elite Sterling silver pocket pen (1975).



Six nibs and four possibilities. The three nibs on the right belong to the Elite 95s--14 k gold. The nibs of the left, from top to bottom: 18 K gold, 18 K gold rhodiated, 18 K white gold.

These older pens were always on demand among pen aficionados, and the existence of the modern Elite 95s made that appeal even bigger.

(As a final note, I should add that the larger inset nib of the Silvern series has been continuously on production since the late 1960s. Just to prevent misreadings of my words.)


Platinum 3776 Century Chartres Blue – Rohrer & Klingner Blu Mare

Bruno Taut
Nakano, April 28th 2019
etiquetas: plumín, Pilot, mercado

23 April 2019

Japanese Parochialism

A number of stylophiles outside of Japan complain about how Japanese pen companies keep some of their products limited to the domestic market. Some even go to the extent to say that Japanese companies keep their best products for themselves—for the domestic market.

I am the first to admit that Japanese companies seem, in general, quite reluctant to accept the reality of the globalized market.


However, those limitations do not always favor the Japanese customer. An obvious example is the stub nib Pilot manufactures... for other markets. Those stub nibs are not available in Japan, and should the Japanese stylophile wanted them, online shopping seems the only option.


This stub nib for the Pilot Capless is not available in Japan.

Just like Western buyers do when craving for any Japan-only pen.

Japanese parochialism works both ways...


My thanks to Mr. Fukucho.


Sailor Profit Naginata Togi – Pilot Iroshizuku Ku-jaku

Bruno Taut
Bunkyo, March 26th 2019
etiquetas: plumín, Pilot, Capless, mercado

08 April 2019

The Case of Naginata. V. Results

On the previous Chronicle, I wondered whether the alleged virtues of the Naginata Togi nebs were real and detectable. To do so, I published a picture with seven sets of ideograms --焼肉定食, yakiniku teishoku--, all of them written by the same Japanese hand using seven different pens. Then I asked if we could find out which one had been written with a Naginata.

From top to bottom, the pens were as follows:

- Kubo Kohei nib. Unlabeled point, but it is about an MF.
- Montblanc 149 (F?)
- Henckel nib, architect grind.
- Sailor Naginata Togi, NMF.
- Pilot #5, music nib.
- Pelikan M200, F.
- Pilot Vpen, F.


The solutions to the question of last Chronicle.

The most popular answer –both on comments to my text and on Instagram-- was number 5; that is, the music nib by Pilot.

This result is surprising—either people love the results of writing with a stub nib or most of us do not really know how a Naginata nib is actually cut.

On second position came number 3 –a Henckel nib with an architect grind--, and on third, the actual Naginata Togi. This is more reasonable, as the Naginata nib can be seen as a smooth architect's nib.


The architect's grind on a Henckel nib.


A Naginata Togi nib.

The conclusion is that the alleged beautifying effects on the writing come only through practice with the Naginata Togi nib itself. But if so, many people, in Japan and overseas-- buy Naginata pens without really knowing how to use them and take no benefit of their supposed advantages.

But Naginata Togi nibs are excellent writers for whatever script, Eastern or Western. And christening a nib with an exotic name is an excellent marketing strategy.


Sailor Profit Naginata Togi – Pilot Iroshizuku Ku-jaku

Bruno Taut
Bunkyo, April 2nd 2019
etiquetas: plumín, Sailor, japonés (idioma), mercado

27 March 2019

The Case of Naginata. IV. Writing

On the previous text I tried to deconstruct what a Naginata Togi nib was. I concluded that in essence, a Naginata Togi nib is a variable nib. My friend and fellow blogger Fudefan reminded me how Sailor marketed these nibs as optimized to write beautifully in Japanese.


A Naginata Togi nib.

Now, how true is that?

The following picture shows the same text (焼肉定食, yakiniku teishoku) with seven different pens. Only one of them is a Naginata Togi.


焼肉定食 with seven different pens. Some were Japanese, some Western.

Can anyone figure out which one was written with a Naginata Togi?

Which one do you think is more beautiful?

Finally, does this matter?


My thanks to Fudefan and to Poplicola-san.


Iwase Seisakusho prototype – Hôgadô Doroai (Sailor)

Bruno Taut
Bunkyo, March 26th, 2019
etiquetas: Sailor, plumín, japonés, mercado

23 March 2019

The Case of Naginata. III. The Brand

After the two year hiatus in the production of Naginata Togi nibs we have them back in the market at a significant overprice. With this price hike, Sailor tries to cash the very good name of this nib.

But what is, in actual terms, a Naginata Togi nib? Is it worth the price Sailor is asking for them?

First and foremost, a Naginata Togi nib is a variable nib―a nib whose line width changes with the angle between pen and paper. Then, a Naginata Togi is a longer than usual nib, and this allows for some experiments to create new points―bending the nib, duplicating and triplicating the nibs, etc.


Three Naginata Togi nibs in three different sizes.

The question now is whether these features were so unique in the market as to justify Sailor in its bold move.

Variable nibs are not new at all―they have existed for more than a century. Nowadays, though, they are not that common, but they are not exclusive to Sailor. The paradox is that Sailor offers a much cheaper alternative―the zoom point available on various models including the very affordable Young Profit (JPY 5000, plus tax), also known as Somiko.


Sailor's Zoom nib in medium size. Photo courtesy of Zeynep Firtina (Write to me Often).

Then, what about the experiments nibmeister Nobuyoshi Nagahara performed on these nibs? Brilliant as they are, facts show that they do not need a Naginata Togi as a base. And nowadays there are a number of nibmeisters out there, in Japan and overseas, recreating those two- and three-fold nibs.


Nibmeister Nagahara Nobuyoshi in October of 2011.


Three Sailor Cross nibs (2-fold nibs). Note how the nib on the lower right side is made over an old nail type nib.


Two cross nibs: the one on top was made by nibmeister Yamada over a Pelikan M800; the other is a Sailor nib made for the 90th anniversary of the company in 2001.

What is left, then?

What might be left are some of the cuts Sailor offers or used to offer on these specialty nibs―the King Cobra, the King Eagle... But mostly, what is left seem the name Naginata Togi as a brand in itself. And time will tell is Sailor's strategy to cash it is correct or not.


The new and expensive Naginata Togi nib.


My thanks to Zeynep Firtina.


Iwase Seisakusho prototype – Hôgadô Doroai (Sailor)

Bruno Taut
Chiyoda, March 20th, 2019
etiquetas: Sailor, plumín, mercado, nibmeister Nagahara Nobuyoshi