Ladies and gentlemen, enthusiasts and collectors, fasten your seatbelt as we fly to the Land of the Rising Sun to explore the sequel to the first Sailor King of Pens Urushi. Retaining the same exquisite lustre, the new edition carries on the ancestral art of lacquering capturing our imagination with its rich colours and impeccable finish.
One can easily lose track of the time while admiring the mirror-like finish of the Urushi lacquer, which, I must admit, is simply mesmerising. What’s even more fascinating is the origin of this lacquer and how it is applied to each individual pen.
With a rich ancient history dating back to Japan’s Jomon period, the Urushi lacquer was previously used as an antiseptic or adhesive. Later, people became fascinated by its brilliance and durability and began to use it as a decorative varnish on various objects.
Long before it becomes a decorative varnish, the material undergoes a very long process of extraction and refining. It is obtained from the sap of the lacquer trees growing in East Asian countries, which must be at least ten years old when the sap is collected, meaning this lacquer cannot be produced every year.
Although it may not seem complicated, the whole extraction process is laborious and time-consuming. The sap is collected in containers before being filtered several times through a special paper. Then, before being applied, the lacquer is gently heated, thus removing all toxicity and excess moisture.
Not everyone knows how to work with Urushi lacquer, as it requires special skills, attention to detail and patience, and Sailor is one of the few manufacturers who have mastered the art of lacquering to perfection. For each pen, skilled craftsmen spend hundreds of hours applying each coat of varnish by hand. The Urushi lacquer is applied in up to 12 separate coatings, and craftsmen must wait for each coat to fully harden and dry before applying the next layer. The whole process could take up to two months until each pen is ready to be packed.
The lacquer surface thus formed not only protects the pen in the most effective manner possible, but also gives it a mirror-like gloss of unparalleled beauty.
Sailor has made no compromises with this second edition, as you can see the colours are richer than ever and the lacquer finish is second to none. I’d just mention that the 21k gold nibs available in medium and broad will sport the new Sailor logo providing the same unique writing experience as before.