Namiki Chinkin Sakura
Posted by Lois Ho on
Namiki is the higher end, more expensive sister brand to Pilot and typically specialises in Maki-e and Urushi pens. Unlike Nakaya, which seems to make pens to order, Namiki makes their pens in advance and so their products can (sometimes and depending on the model) be purchased more readily and without a long wait. Having said that, there are downsides to this arrangement. While there is no wait time on the items that are available, once they are gone, they are gone. The production periods seem to be quite extensive however, I purchased this pen about 4 years ago and its still available for purchase.
Namiki also produces some screen printed urushi models that are a bit more cost effective and the styles they have in this price range (about half to a third of the price of their hand painted models) are stunning. For those who are inclined, they also have models that cost as much as a car, which are works of art.
In terms of writing experience, this Namiki sports a larger nib than the Pilot Custom 74, but I suspect it’s the same size as the 823 (which I don’t own). Its soft, wet and springy like the other Pilot gold nibs I’ve used in the past, the writing experience is very similar. This pen also takes a Pilot Con-70 converter (although this one is finished in black and gold, unlike the metal ones in Pilot pens). The performance is the same though.
The finish is stunning. Chinkin is a gold inlaid pen where the designs are carved into the lacquered surface and gold leaf or gold powder is inlaid into the carving. The Namiki is then finished with a layer of urushi so that the pen is smooth after. The result is a subtly elegant pen, the gold inlay is bright on some angles and more subtle in others. I absolutely love it.
Another plus to the Namiki is that the cap only goes on one way. If you’ve ever owned a Nakaya and tried to match up on the pattern on the clip and the body you’ll know why this is a plus. The Nakaya can be recapped in 4 ways so it’s a pain in the bum trying to recap it properly so that your dorsal fins match up. No such problem with the Namiki. (I know – little things make me happy)
This series of Chinkin pens all come with a clip and I find that with all Namiki Urushi pens I own the urushi finish is tarnished in the area near the clip. A small patch on the pen body and cap have a slightly marred finish compared to the rest of the pen which is shiney with a mirror like finish. This only appears near the clip, nowhere else and I don’t see this on any of my Nakaya Urushi finishes, so I’m guessing it has something to do with clip? It’s a real shame on something that is this expensive.
All in all, if you prefer a wetter or springier nib, then I would suggest the Namiki. If you prefer customisation or a firmer nib, go with Nakaya. If you like Urushi, you can’t go wrong with either.
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