Sailor Urushi King of Pens Fountain pen, Tamenuri Midoridami
Something of a pen urban myth, The King of Pens or KOP as it's called by pen people, is more than just an expensive pen; it is the ultimate writing experience. While top-end pens are usually garish and overloaded with detail - urushi is very much the understated and quiet luxury one can expect from Japanese minimalism.
Urushi lacquer, first used in Japan around 300BC, has traditionally been as a symbol for status and prosperity used in furniture and decorative objects by court nobles and the upper-classes to demonstrate their discerning taste. Japanese pen makers sought to apply this domestic specialty finish to fountain pens since the 1920s and it has remained a marker for quality ever since. Beyond its aesthetic merit, urushi lacquer acts as a protective casing because it is acid-free, alkaline-free, and resistant to both heat and water. The process to layer the Urushi lacquer is time-consuming, and each pen crafted by named urushi artists can take up to 1 year to produce.
Here presented, a very special limited edition by Urishi artist Mr. Koushu Nishihara, limited to 88 pieces worldwide, each individually signed and numbered. Broadly speaking Tamenuri is a lacquering technique wherein the urushi is layered over time creating a glossy ‘pool’ effect. Only slightly visible when new, these coloured undercoatings shine through the lacquer, and will reveal themselves more over time and with use. More specifically here Suki Urushi is used, this is a clear lacquer tapped from rare centenary trees, adding yet another layer of meaning and rarity to this very special item.
If we have not convinced you of how special and extraordinary this pen is, perhaps some notes about the writing performant can convince you:
While Sailor already produces top of the range fountain pens as a baseline - KOP does represent another level of writing performance. The nib, in 21k gold, almost paintbrush-like, possesses natural, organic flexibility and softness under hand. It offers a generous amount of line variation - an almost fude-like brush effect feel making it an excellent pairing for use with coloured inks where 'shading effect' is desired. Exceptional writing quality with amazing smoothness; no pressure needed for a very generous and reliable ink flow.
While this pen is undeniably a opulent, possibly decadent pen, no one could accuse its owner of being un-tasteful. Like so many things in Japan, the craftsmanship and splendour of this writing instrument is so private and sober, it is the embodiment of refinement and speaks to time, nature and art. Forget MontBlanc, this is Luxury.
Body material: Urushi lacquer resin over hard ebonite (a hard rubber)
Nib size: Medium (a generous Medium)
Nib material: 21k gold
Cap type: Threaded screw-on cap
Cartridge type: Takes Sailor cartridges which can be found here; supplied with a converter cartridge.
Dimensions: 15.3cm closed, 13cm without the cap, 16.5cm posted (please use posted with care as this may leave a ring mark where regular contact is made, this is not recommended) Urushi is sensitive to light and should be carefully stored.
Included: an attractive wooden presentation box, refillable converter cartridge, and a bottle of ink, here pictured.
Made in Japan