Glenn's Pens

Pens of Note

Namiki Mt Fuji and Wave

For the past years, I have always enjoyed my visits with Brigitte Courson at Plume et Bille in Paris. Her store, the presentation, the focus on a limited number of pen lines and her enthusiasm for pens make this my favourite pen store to visit in Paris. Over the course of the past years both my wife and I make specific time to visit with Brigitte each time we are in Paris.

From my very first visit to the store, I have admired the Namiki line of pens. In 2015 Brigitte handed me her own Namiki pen and I sat down at the writing table and wrote with her pen in the book she keeps for customers to record their comments about the store and their pens. I was taken with how smooth the pen wrote.

In June 2016 when I visited with Brigitte I did more than write with a Namiki, I have now joined the group of owners of Namiki pens. What an experience that is! I now proudly own the Limited Edition Namiki Mt Fuji Wave fountain pen No 1160. This is part of the Nippon Art Collection of which there are 17 designs.

Namiki pens are expensive as they are not mass produced. Each of the pens involve extensive hand work with the application of layers of lacquer, the etching of the design, the painting and dusting with silver, gold and paint. I stepped into the experience acquiring a pen in the Nippon Art Collection - Tradition Line. This can referred to as the entry line, but to say that does not give credit to the workmanship of the pen. The artistian of this pen is Kokkokai.

The Tradition line uses the Hira Maki-e, flat method. It does not have the build-up of multiple layers of paintings and it is the time to create that art that contributes to the price point rather than being considered a cheaper version of the Namiki pens itself. I found using the 14 kt nib to be extremely smooth. The higher prices lines use an 18kt nib.

Yes some of the Namiki pens sell at the $14,000+ level. The higher the line the more detailed the art work, the more layers of lacquer, the more extensive the dusting with gold and silver. As I wrote with the pen in my travel journal for the week that I was in Paris, the Mt Fuji and Wave writes at the same level as most expensive Italian or German pens. So do not be led to believe because this is the foundational price line that you are acquiring a lesser experience.

Pilot, a Japanese company, had roots that go back to 1918. The company was part of the movement from brush to pen. The nibs must be soft, smooth and flexible to be able to write the detailed Japanese characters. Ryosuke Namiki, a professor at the Tokoyo Merchant Navy College and Maaso Wada established the Namiki Manufacturing Company near Tokyo to create and market the fountain pen.

In 1925 Namiki patented a process for applying lacquer to protect them from scratching and discoloration. The lacquer from from the Urushi Tree in Japan. From 1926 Namiki opened branches in London, New York, Shanghai and Sinapore. The Galerie du Louve in Paris and Harrod's in London became early and important successes. Alfred Dunhill bought the rights to sell the Namiki pens in France. Then, in Europe and the United States, a line of "Dunhill-Namiki Made in Japan" pens were marketed.

The higher end pens take almost four months to make a single pen, because a single artist work on each pen. My pen, the Mt Fuji and Wave is part of the Tradition Line. The patterns are drawn on the pen with pencil, to shorten the production time, and then pens can be made by a group of artists, versus a single artist for each pen. The hand painting, sprinking with gold and silver powers, additional layers of lacquer, the repeating polishing bring out a shine the emphasize the detail of the pens.

Namiki Mt Fuji and Wave

 

Delta Chatterley Fusion Star, Satin Green

Glenn with Brigitte Courson at Plume et Bille in Paris discussion and selecting a Namiki pen.

 

Mount Fuji and Wave

 

© 2021 Glenn's Pens • pens, ink, stores, companies and the pleasure of writing with a fountain pen of choice • Glenn Marcus