(writing)culture history

NAKAYA Hand Made Fountain Pens – The excellence is not enough

It happened to everyone of us at least once in our lives. You sit down with couple of friends for a drink or a dinner and you come up with a great idea that you want to realize all together. Do you recognize the scene? And after a lot of discussion and probably a lot of alcohol, depending on your age, you agree that this is something to follow up on. Well this is more or less what happened to some artisans in Japan once the were retired from their Job at Platinum Pen Company.

I have to say, the story of Nakaya is fascinating like only very few writing instruments manufacturer have. Their approach to the production of Fountain Pens reminds me a little bit to the approach of the early coachbuilders back in the first half of the 20th century, when you were buying a car based on exactly your taste and needs. Coachbuilders like Touring Superleggera, Ghia, H. J. Mulliner and many others across Europe. Admittedly, their creations were reserved to the upper classes of society but the heritage they left until this day is absolutely incredible. Some of the major pieces of art of automobile history have been created by them following the requirements of their customers and we are admiring them in the museums or at “Concours d’Elegance” around the world.

Quality without compromises

The individualism behind every creation of is an expression of the taste of the client and the ability of the artisan to realize her or his wish without without ever losing sight of the characteristics that would distinguish its style in the eyes of the public, who would immediately recognize its imprint in the car produced. And this brings us to today’s brand that follows exactly these principles. Nakaya Fountain Pens are hard, very hard, to classify in a scheme together with other manufacturer. In fact, their slogan is: “For your hand only”. And this says it all.

NAKAYA is the original name given to Platinum Pen Company when it was founded in 1919. and their mission, as they state, “is to design a perfect pen for your hand and for your hand only”. The fact that each person writes differently has encouraged them to approach a particular niche in the market. Basically, the idea behind Nakaya Fountain Pens is to have a range of different models, some of them already iconic, such as the Dorsal Fin 2 or the Piccolo, that you can see in the pictures and basically prepare them for the single customers. A made-to-order brand if you want. Absolutely stunning. Actually, the artisans at Nakaya are masters of different disciplines, such as Maki-e, Urushi, Tamenuri, Abalone application and many more.

Individualism at its best

In addition to the regular and special editions produced with the numerous finishes, Nakaya offers a broad range of bespoke options as well for the Nib, Clip, Stoppers, inlays and naming on the barrel. For the “eagle-eyed” among you, you have for sure noticed that I have listed the clips and the stoppers separately just a few words ago. Indeed, the majority of Nakaya Fountain Pens, are so clean and elegant, also because they don’t have a clip nor anything else altering the elegant forms of their creations. But, the big disadvantage of not having a clip is, that the pen will roll away and suddenly fall down and brake if you don’t take care. In order to avoid this, the artisans at Nakaya came up with the one or other cool idea. One of those is, to customize the clip or, even better, the stopper.

Tradition and experience

A sentence that captured my attention in the description of the brand is: “Each one of our craftsmen worked for Platinum Pen Company for more than 40 years and is now retired. All are masters of the fountain pen manufacturing process.” That basically means, that all the Fountain that are produced at Nakaya are made by quite “old” people. Quite similar to the coachbuilders mentioned in the beginning. And this means that the production is very limited and that, unfortunately, these products will not be available anymore, sooner or later. Which means that, just like a customized Alfa Romeo or Ferrari made by Touring Superleggera or Scaglietti, the Nakaya Fountain Pens will become even more collectible than they are today. We take the chance to encourage young people to learn some of the procedures behind the marvelous creations made by the experienced artisans at Nakaya. This is the only way to preserve and continue the beautiful tradition of Urushi, Maki-e and all the other arts that characterize Nakaya’s creations.

Image credits: @attilasultis, pensinasia.com

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