Monday, August 17, 2015

A Review of the Platinum Izumo Tagayasan with Matte Finish

The Izumo series was launched in 2010 to celebrate the birthplace of Platinum’s founder Shunichi Nakata. The Nakata surname of course reflects in all Nakaya nibs. Coming to Izumo, the Izumo province is located in the eastern coast of Japan and is famous for its political history as well as making traditional Japanese paper out of vegetable fibres (a sample of which is also included in a paper roll). The two variants of Izumo pens are Urushi-on-ebonite and Wooden versions. I am reviewing one of the wooden versions here. Some of the other versions have been rather marvellously reviewed by Hari1(had got mine on his recommendation), Hari2, & atomic_doug at FPN. 

This Izumo is called Tagayasan which literally translates into Iron Sword Wood (鉄:Iron 刀:Sword 木: Wood). More on this later.

PRESENTATION


The pen comes in a wooden box (IZU4000061) made of up Paulownia wood encased inside a handmade paper box. The box will itself feel very light which is characteristic of this wood along with high resistance to deformation, and it’s also used to make chests and boxes in Japan. This box also used for Nakayas and a few other premium pens of Platinum (Urushi Maki-e) with an RRP of JPY 50000 or greater. 

Once you open the satin lined top cover, you will find a green kimono encasing your Izumo, resting along with a standard platinum converter, a cartridge (though a complementary box was included by the seller), a paper roll made of traditional Japanese paper (Kiku) and a few other cards for maintenance & use. The one important out of them warns you against posting the cap. You will see later that there is a metallic insert for threading the cap and it might chip off the barrel wood, if posted. 


DESIGN - THE WOODEN CIGAR (6/6)


The Izumo Tagayasan comes in two finishes : Matte (PIZ-50000T #20) and Gloss (PIZ-50000T #21). The word Tagayasan in Japanese refers to a wood which is as hard as iron, and to my delight, I found that it was produced in India. The scientific name is Dalbergia latifolia and it’s more commonly known in India is Shisham or Bombay Black Wood. As the wood is hard, durable and resistant to termites, it’s used in India to make premium furniture. 

The build is remarkably sturdy and for a wooden pen it’s heavy and quite comfortably so. You will find this to be a large pen and initially I was concerned about its dimensions. The wood has a dark brown appearance with still deeper streaks running horizontally across the length of the pen. The golden gleam coming solely from the clip supplies the pen with a simply amazing contrast. 

Doesn’t the pen look like a marvellous piece of art? I salute the Japanese craftsmanship behind this handmade pen.

The cap feels substantial and unscrews with one and a half turns, revealing a stunning two-tone nib. The threads of golden glitter mark start of the grip section. The tapering of the section in someway ensures that your grip remains least affected by the metallic threads. Towards the nib a golden trim ensures the aesthetics remain singularly complete from top to bottom.

The finial is in the shape of an elliptical dome and quite deftly conceals the clip-joint. The dazzling tension-fit clip is plated with gold and has some resemblance with a traditional Japanese double edged sword called Tsurgi or Ken. It sports the brand name of PLATINUM within a dome of etched squares. There is a smaller sculpted impression below mirroring the sword in the green kimono. The metallic thread insert inside the cap render the pen unsuitable for posting.


FILLING SYSTEM (5/6)


As a cartridge converter filler, the supplied convertor is limited by a volume of 0.6 mL although platinum cartridges have an advantage with capacity of 1 mL or more. The Izumo also takes in proprietary converters and like other Platinum pens and there is an adapter available for international cartridges/converters, whose production is currently stopped. 

The proprietary converter does look good with its golden trims, but again you can see it only when you are filling up ink. 

The barrel unscrews from the grip section with four turns revealing the gold accented metallic thread section. The wooden barrel carries the opposite threads with a similar metallic insert, eliminating any chance of internal chipping of wood. The feed does draw ink even when the nib is not fully immersed inside ink.


NIB - ALL THAT MATTERS (5/6)


The nib/feed section is friction-fit and comes in a 18k two-tone design across three stock widths of F, M & B. I like the simple design of these nibs.

Above the tail lies the brand imprint of PLATINUM specified with nib type i.e PRESIDENT (or 3776) along with nib-composition (18 K) and width (B). A hearty breather hole lies above the imprint. Three bands of rhodium decor run amidst the body and shoulders as an enhancement. These bands are limited to the tines. The nib lays a moderately wet and smooth line with a characteristic stiffness. I would have personally preferred a bigger nib given the price point of this pen. 

The black plastic feed for the President nib has closely spaced fins and even with the cap open for a while, it does not take any effort to lay a nice and wet line.


PHYSICS OF IT (6/6) – RELATIVELY SPEAKING


A comfortable length and weight ensures that the cap doesn't need to be posted while writing. With a cosy girth of around 1 cm, it poses absolutely no problems with extended writing times.

  • Capped Length ~ 16.5
  • Uncapped Length ~ 14 cm
  • Nib Leverage ~ 2.4 cm
  • Overall Weight ~ 38 g
Capped and uncapped comparisons with a pelikan m805 run below for your reference. You might be already noticing the giant cap with an elliptical dome finial, which contributes rather lavishly to the length of the pen.

Uncapped the Tagayasan is about 1 cm longer than a m8xx, making it a comfortable wooden companion. The threads at the section are located necessarily at an upper region of the section, which does not interfere with my grip, given the section taper. 

ECONOMIC VALUE (3/6)


The Izumo wooden versions - Tagayasan retail around US$ 600, though they are available at much lower prices around US$ 400 with known Japanese shops like Engeika or Rakuten. I bought it from Engeika's Indian arm Pensindia, since their service has been phenomenally good. I expected a bigger nib at this price point and I do have a sinking feeling that the usual President nib does not do complete justice either to this pen or its price point.

OVERALL (5/6)


This stunning 18k nib is smooth but not buttery, with kind of a controlled glide. It’s blessed with a moderately wet ink flow. There is a subtle bit of line variation, the horizontals being a tad thinner than the verticals. The nib is as stiff as a nail. Though, there is a hint of softness with this nib. 

Even being a wet writer out of the box, this Broad nib puts a line which takes around 30 seconds to dry on MD Paper. Ink used was Platinum Blue Black cartridge.

My other wooden pen is the GvFC Elemento reviewed here.


REFERENCES


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