At the 29th edition of the penshow in Tilburg there were many desirable fountain pens as usual . But soon I noticed that Dennis of La Couronne du Comte, my regular dealer, made me an offer that I could not refuse. A beautiful Nakaya, red-brown in coloured with a black undertone, for a more than reasonable price. For a long time there has been a deep craving lurking around in me. A few years ago, when I first saw some of these Nakaya artworks, I knew I was sold. Luckily I have a rule of thumb that protects me somewhat, I never buy a fountain pen for the full price. This makes collecting pens somewhat affordable and the challenge a bit bigger.
The special pens of Nakaya
Nakaya’s fountain pens have something special. These fountain pens are made by the best Japanese pen makers. According to Nakaya, they are the best pen makers in the world and are called penmasters. These masters are former employees of the Platinum Pen Company, one of Japan’s best pen manufacturers. When these masters retire, the best of them are allowed to work at Nakaya. This is, of course, very special and (for me as a member of European society) hard to understand. Each fountain pen is made entirely by hand and therefore has its own character. The production of a Nakaya pen can be very time-consuming depending on the materials, shapes and techniques used.
Fountain pen with special lacquer
The Cigar long Aka-tamenuri has a beautiful sounding name, but in translation it means of course just long red lacquered cigar. “Tame” means pond and “nuri” indicates the lacquering process. This process takes place in several baths with lacquer. Because the lacquer is applied in different layers, the basic layer of red urushilak becomes visible in different places over time. Because the pen is polished by hand, a process that sometimes takes months to complete, the pen is given its own typical reddish-brown colour scheme and its own transparent black shine. By using the pen, the pen can discolour due to, among other things, exposure to light and the acids of your hands while holding it.
But how does this red devil write?
The question is, of course, how do I like this long, red lacquered cigar from Nakaya. In the coffee corner at the penshow I could no longer control myself. Soon after a few fountain pen lovers gathered around me. They were curiously looking at my latest acquisition. I couldn’t help feeling that some of them knew much more about fountain pens than I do. After putting the first streaks on paper, I couldn’t help but give a few of them the fountain pen to try. Together we quickly agreed this is a top of the line fountain pen that writes fantastic. The fountain pen is much lighter than you would expect and has an excellent balance with which you are expected to write without the cap. More than any other pen, Nakaya’s Cigar Long Aka-tamenuri gives a tactile sensational experience. It’s a nice fountain pen to look at and handle. The pen is very light and writes easily. All the curls and loops you make are directly on the paper. The pen knows no hitches nor resistance. I have a 14K nib and I suspect it is an M, but as you know, it writes like an F like most japanese medium nibs do. Because the inscription of the size is in Japanese i’m not 100% sure of the size.
Absence of the fountain pen clip
It is a little odd that there is no clip on this fountain pen, but with this little work of art it’s a good match. Like the small “kimono” you get from Nakaya at this pen to transport it in. A kimono that makes it look like I have a little Geisha in my pocket.