This year was lopsidedly more Japanese than vintage.
From left to right:
Danitrio baby octagon in the kuro-keshi finish, reviewed in November. This now sports the flexible EEF nib that used to be in the Ninja.
A recent experiment from Nakaya, the classic Piccolo machined from titanium. This has a BB nib ground to a stub.
A Platinum 3776 in Black, with a soft fine nib.
Nakaya Piccolo in jidai nuri “Bamboo,” with a rose gold nib in soft fine.
Nakaya Long Piccolo with matte gold clip, araishu finish, sporting an EEF nib.
Nakaya Long Piccolo in aka-tamenuri, soft fine nib.
Nakaya Decapod in AO tamenuri, with a music nib ground to a sharp-ish stub.
Nakaya Piccolo in black string rolled, rhodium clip, two-tone elastic music nib.
Moore Fingertip Demi, fine nib.
Parker Duofold Junior, silver repoussé overlay, gushy medium nib.
Every year has themes. This year is the year of the Piccolo, it seems. Portable, petite, just right in my hand – in different striking finishes, each with its own charm. The jidai nuri Piccolo has an organic, uneven surface, calling to mind bark and wood textures. The black string rolled Piccolo displays a sharp contrast between shiny body and matte string, punctuated by a shiny rhodium clip. And the titanium Piccolo is a surprise – heavy metal married to Nakaya’s aesthetic, it is a delight to use. One of the only two vintage pens to make it to the list this year, the Moore Fingertip Demi feels as airy as a Piccolo when uncapped. Its unusual inlaid nib skates over paper. I cleaned and restored it myself. I highly recommend digging out sticky sac remnants as a form of meditation.
Another theme for the year is facets. They do work to keep your pen from rolling off the table. But mostly, they just make a pen look delicious.
Nakaya’s tagline, “for your hand only,” isn’t just a line. Each nib has its own way of interacting with the motion and pressure of the hand. Even a Nakaya EEF is nuanced.
I love the soft fine nib on this Platinum 3776. I’m sure its provenance has something to do with it. This is a pen worthy of the #dailycarry tag – unobtrusive, ready to write at a moment’s notice, with enough line variation to make dashing off quick notes a pleasure.
The last theme of the year is sometimes, you just can’t help it. This pen falls outside my usual collecting zones. It’s a Parker. And the nib isn’t flexy. But the one-of-a-kind jeweler’s ornamentation on this petite pen makes it a keeper.
No top ten pens list would be complete without writing samples, and here they are.
I last did a top ten list four years ago. Of those ten, only one has left me. (And it didn’t go too far away, right, Jenny?)
What were your top pens this year?