This is a review of the Platinum fountain pen (Urushi maki-e) which I bought at Ito-ya in Tokyo (Ginza district) in October 2014. Platinum is one of the three top fountain pen makers in Japan (the other two are Sailor and Pilot). I bought the Urushi maki-e pen because of the beautiful design and writing quality. The Platinum fountain pen writes very smoothly as if it were skipping on air. The nib is not flexible like Pilot Namiki Falcon.
I decided on this pen because I have thin long fingers and the other pens I tried (Platinum 3776 and Pilot Custom 823) were too big. They seem to have been designed for men.
Details about the Platinum fountain pen Urushi maki-e #20 Shunju:
- Nib: 18 karat gold
- Point: Medium (they also have a fine nib)
- Body: Resin with Hira maki-e
- Size: 136mm (Full length) x 13mm (Max. diameter)
- Weight: 16.7 grams
- Price at Ito-ya at of the date of this writing: 20,000 yen
What is Urushi? According to the Platinum fountain pen insert, Urushi is a natural varnish with unique coating properties. It is featured in the art of Maki-e, an original Japanese technique for decorating lacquer-ware. Urushi was introduced in Japan in the Asuka Era (592-710) and inspired the art of Maki-e which is characterized by an Urushi coating high-lighted with touches of gold and silver powder. The Maki-e technique was first devised in the Tempyo Era (710-794) and further refined in the Heian Era (794-1194) when the method was perfected and several distinct styles emerged.
Below are photos of my unboxing of the pen and a writing sample using Iroshizuku Asa-gao ink on a Rhodia notebook with dotted lines.
The Ito-ya Ginza fountain pen store is a fountain pen lover’s paradise. It is in a separate building from the stationery and supplies store (which is one block away).
How to get there: Take the metro to the Ginza station and get out at the A13 exit. When you get out, you will see the large Matsuya department store on your right. Walk to the corner, turn right and then turn left on the first street that you hit. Make sure you bring your passport to qualify for the tax refund (if you buy 10,000 yen worth of goods in one day, you get the refund in the store). The tax refund desk is in the stationery store building, a treasure trove of agendas, notebooks, pen and pencil cases, office supplies, etc.
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