Platinum Poppy 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, both 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 insures total quality control, and private ownership protects their original vision and enthusiasm for pen making. 

Urushi lacquer (or maki-e) 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 as 'sprinkled picture'. The choice of subject matter, through symbolism and allegory, reveals the individual expression of the maki-e artist as well as hinting to a feeling, personality and individual circumstances of the pen owner.

In this instance the subject matter of both red and white poppies, keshi in Japanese, is seldom used. More unassuming and shy than the usual bold chrysanthemum, poppies, according to Hanakatoba the Japanese language of flowers, denote happiness, joy, success and love. 

Back to pens - aesthetics aside, Platinum maintains its poll position for nib quality and this pen is no exception. We wholly recommend this beautiful implement as a gift or for any pen lover's collection. 

Nib profile

Fine: Gives very fine, beautiful razor strokes with excellent flow and reactivity. The nib is smooth and firm with not much line variation or flexibility; extremely reactive and reliable. 

Gold 18k fine nib
Body material: Hand applied urushi lacquer with maki-e inlay and abelony accents
Refill Type: Takes Platinum cartridges which can be found here and is sold with a refillable converter cartridge in the barrel for use with bottled ink.
Dimensions: 14cm capped, 12cm uncapped