Platinum Ginga Maki-e Fountain Pen


Three companies dominate Japanese fountain pen making, all established in the 1910's and 1920’s, and all motivated by their common desire to develop a superior Japanese counterpart to their Western competitors such as Waterman and Parker. Ironically, the latter companies have lost their once top dog positions in the 'fountain pen world', while Sailor, Pilot and Platinum today represent the Holy Trinity of excellence in writing utensils. The main and defining reason for this accolade is the fact that all three companies supervise their production from beginning to end within their very own factories. No subcontracting ensures total quality control, and private ownership protects their original vision and enthusiasm for pen making. 

Urushi (or maki-e) lacquer first used in Japan around 300BC, is a symbol for status, prosperity and discerning taste. It is therefore unsurprising that Sailor, Platinum and Pilot/ Namiki sought to apply this quintessentially Japanese technique to pen-making early on during the 1920s. Beyond its aesthetic merit, the urushi lacquer acts as a protective casing as it is acid free, alkaline free and resistant to both heat and water. Maki-e comprises a broad range of techniques but translates essentially to 'sprinkled picture’.

The technique here presented is specifically known as So-Raden and involves the use of a pearl inlay, collected from prized abalone shells in this instance, but also from rare pearls found in the southern seas. Near identical designs can be traced back to the 1940s, and we interpret the pens name - Ginga meaning 'Galaxy' or more precisely 'Milky Way' - as design subtext for the era's interest in futurism.

A lot of sparkle and fantastic craftsmanship for what is a stand out pen as a gift or for any pen lover. 

Nib profile
Medium: The nib is a fairly accurate medium which if anything runs a little fine. It has a bit of a bite with not much line variation. It goes without saying it is extremely smooth with a reliable ink flow. Beautiful nib engraving with typical Platinum heart. 

Body material: Urushi lacquer with abalone inlay also known as Raden.
Nib size: Medium
Nib material: 18k gold
Cap type: Threaded screw-on cap
Cartridge type: 
Takes Platinum cartridges which can be found here; supplied with a converter cartridge.
Dimensions: 14cm capped, 12cm uncapped
Included: presentation box and converter cartridge (in the barrel)

Made in Japan