Thursday, March 24, 2016

Review: Nakaya Heki-Tamenuri Writer Portable Fountain Pen

Thank you to the Sakura Fountain Pen Gallery for loaning me this pen for review! I've had my eye on this exact pen model and finish for years. When Ellie died in April, it got bumped up the list, but as Nakaya pens can take awhile to be made, I ended up not getting it. I wanted something Ellie-themed (brown fur, green eyes). Fast forward - now I get to review it. And send it back, which is less fun.
Review Nakaya Cigar Writer Heki-Tamenuri Fountain Pen (21)
Review Nakaya Cigar Writer Heki-Tamenuri Fountain Pen (8)

Body Material: Ebonite, Urushi Lacquer
Trim: Gold
Cap: Threaded
Posts: Yes, but loosely
Filling: Platinum cartridge/converter
Nibs: EF, F, M, B, BB, Music + Nakaya modifications
Nib Material: 14KT yellow gold
Length (capped): 148.7 mm/5.85"
Length (uncapped nib-end): 129.3 mm/5.09"
Length (posted): 171.7 mm/6.76"
Barrel Diameter: 15.2 mm/0.59"
Section Diameter: 10.8 - 11.6 mm/0.42"- 0.45"
Weight (all): 26 G
Weight (cap): 10 G
Weight (body): 16 G
Price: €590,00
Where to buy: Sakura Fountain Pen Gallery


Like the pen itself, Nakaya's packaging is interesting, functional, and classy. The pens are safe in a little fabric kimono on a soft, velvety blue bed. The box is a solid softwood box with a removable lid. Included in the box is a box of ten Platinum ink cartridges, and a Platinum converter. I really appreciate that you get a full box of ink cartridges - not just one or two, as well as a converter. The pen kimono is very useful, and it's attractive.
Review Nakaya Cigar Writer Heki-Tamenuri Fountain Pen (6)
I like the simple packaging. It's clean, tidy, and not excessive. Very useful! Good stuff, easy to store if you want to keep it.
Review Nakaya Cigar Writer Heki-Tamenuri Fountain Pen (7)
The pen also comes with some writing preference information and details:
Review Nakaya Cigar Writer Heki-Tamenuri Fountain Pen (3)
Review Nakaya Cigar Writer Heki-Tamenuri Fountain Pen (4)
Review Nakaya Cigar Writer Heki-Tamenuri Fountain Pen (5)

There are two things I love about this pen: the design, and the color. That's at first glance, anyway. This Cigar Writer has a round body, tapering slightly to the smoothly rounded-off ends. There is nothing on the finial, it's simply a brown-lacquered top, with light green peeking out from under the layers.
Review Nakaya Cigar Writer Heki-Tamenuri Fountain Pen (9)
The clip is attached internally, through a pretty snug, clean cut hole. It could be tighter, but oh well. A clip means a visible seam between the cap and the finial, and not only is the seam visible, the lacquer color changes, so it sort of draws attention to it. There is one tiny spot that already looks slightly chipped. The clip is very plain and simple, but it suits the pen - although you can get this model without a clip, too. Other than the clip, there are no other pieces of trim or markings.

The cap is round and smooth, ending in a fairly thin lip. The section is interesting and is probably one of the prettiest parts of the pen. It is slightly indented, and ends in a ridge before the nib. The threads are not too far away. There is a noticeable ridge from the section to the barrel. The green lacquer really shines here - having settled on the edges and points. It's very beautiful, but it doesn't look super flashy in the way that something like a Visconti might. There are other models that show off the colors more clearly, but I still think this looks really nice.
Review Nakaya Cigar Writer Heki-Tamenuri Fountain Pen (11)
The whole pen looks like a caramel or toffee brown, with the edges/ends glowing in green. I really like the effect of the two colors of lacquer, and the layering. I am amazed at how well done the lacquer is - it's so smooth, glossy, with no blobs or bubbles, and there's no stray pieces of hair, lint, or anything to disrupt the layering. It's quite remarkable.

Some spots of the pen look like they are darker brown, others have a bit more green, others are lighter brown, you get the pictures. I don't know how consistent the finish should be, but as it is hand made, I think that explains the variation. I don't know what consistency they strive for, but I can live with this. It doesn't look bad to me, and I think it's neat and unique.
Review Nakaya Cigar Writer Heki-Tamenuri Fountain Pen (15)
When capped, the light green edges from the section to the barrel ridge, and that of the cap lip, line up perfectly. This creates a light green glow in the middle of the pen. It looks awesome. I love it.
Review Nakaya Cigar Writer Heki-Tamenuri Fountain Pen (10)
I prefer the look of the clip on the pen, only because I feel like the pen is a little naked without it. It also means I must accept this fairly obvious seam from the finial to the cap. I guess I haven't decided. I'd need to see both versions - clipped and clipless - next to each other.
Review Nakaya Cigar Writer Heki-Tamenuri Fountain Pen (20)
I love the smooth shape of the pen. It's not too wide, it's not too angular at any point, and it's just the right size. It looks right to me - the right length, width, color, trim - just right to stay riiiiiight here.

Overall - I love the appearance. This is a pen I have wanted and (had I eventually purchased it without having seen it in person prior to having it on loan to review), I would have been very happy with it in the looks department. Urushi is a really neat thing.


This nib is a 14KT yellow gold in double-broad. YES. It has a single slit, a heart-shaped breather hole, and is decorated with quite a few engravings: some symmetrical decorations, the Nakata logo, 14K, 585, and characters, which I assume mean double-broad or something to that effect. The feed, as far as I can tell, looks like plastic. The tipping is glorious. It is perfectly shaped - round, bulbous on the bottom but perfectly tuned. It is a rounder double-broad, rather than a stub-like one (like Montblanc's and Visconti's BB nibs). Both tines are perfectly aligned. One isn't higher than the other, or longer, or anything wonky. It's just right.
Review Nakaya Cigar Writer Heki-Tamenuri Fountain Pen (16)
Review Nakaya Cigar Writer Heki-Tamenuri Fountain Pen (17)
I flushed the pen prior to use. I filled the pen with the provided converter, which really needed greasing. Performance? Really, really good. The nib does not hard start or skip as a result of the nib under performing. It also does well on pretty smooth paper. Ink flow is moderate but not gushing wet. It's more than enough to make me happy. As such, drying times are not excessive. The nib is rigid - this is not a soft gold nib. There is no real line variation possible, and although Nakaya can make your nib elastic to add some bounce, this does not have that.
Review Nakaya Cigar Writer Heki-Tamenuri Fountain Pen (1)
The writing experience is fairly smooth, because the tipping is nicely polished, but not over polished. Over polished tipping is a problem more frequently encountered with double-broad nibs. The nib offers a little bit of feedback, but I like it. It's not scratchy or unpleasant. For a BB, I am impressed with how well the ink flow was maintained. I found that after a longer writing sessions, the nib started to run a bit dry, but it was ok during fast writing. Long writing sessions though - not a few paragraphs - more like several pages. Kind of annoying, but it didn't dry out to the point where it stopped writing, it just ran a bit dry. Once I stopped writing for whatever reason, the feed was able to ink up.

I have now used a soft-fine, fine, and double-broad Nakaya nib, all of which had their own sensation to use, but all of which performed really well. So all in all, I am very pleased with the performance of this nib. It feels more like a broad than a BB, but as a Japanese nib, it runs a little finer than Western BB nibs.

If you buy this expecting a super smooth, soft, springy, gushing wet nib, you'll be disappointed. This nib is none of those things, but it wears its boots very well.


The clip has just the right amount of tension - it can be easily operated to slide on to and off of things. Don't let it go to snap it against the cap. It's fairly snug and springy, and that might damage the cap at some point.

I find the shape of the section comfortable - I like the indented grip. Unfortunately, I often end up gripping the ridge before the nib because I tend to grip too low. The ridge hurts to grip after awhile so I have to keep moving my fingers back. The threads are very smooth and do not hurt very much. You could even grip right on them for awhile. The ridge to the barrel is quite obvious, but far from where my fingers or hand touches.
Review Nakaya Cigar Writer Heki-Tamenuri Fountain Pen (12)
Review Nakaya Cigar Writer Heki-Tamenuri Fountain Pen (13)
Review Nakaya Cigar Writer Heki-Tamenuri Fountain Pen (14)
Unposted, I find the pen incredibly comfortable. It has a good, usable length, it is well balanced, and is a comfortable width in my grip. I love the shape, weight, and balance of this thing. The cap can sit on the back of the barrel, but it feels a little loose. It doesn't need posting, and I don't think it should be. It rattles around a bit because it doesn't secure in place, and you probably don't want it to either, with the material clashing. It isn't really comfortable to leave the cap posted/on the back.
Review Nakaya Cigar Writer Heki-Tamenuri Fountain Pen (19)
Review Nakaya Cigar Writer Heki-Tamenuri Fountain Pen (18)
Urushi feels really good in hand. It is smooth, warm, and so enjoyable to touch. It doesn't feel slick or slippery, so it makes for a great every day pen. It is a warm material to hold, lightweight, and it doesn't get greasy. 

Review Nakaya Cigar Writer Heki-Tamenuri Fountain Pen (2)

I think this is a beautiful pen. It's a superb, comfortable design and shape, the Urushi lacquer work is really pretty, but not excessive or flashy, the nib is exquisite (although I don't care much for the design on it) and all together it is a wonderful experience.

I wish they weren't so difficult to get. The waiting times can be long. I guess it's worth it in the end, but it would be nice to be able to see more of these before buying one. Not all Nakaya models appeal to me, but this fairly simple one is still at the top of my list.

I was loaned this pen for the purposes of this review. I was not compensated monetarily for my review. Everything you've read here is my own opinion. There are no affiliate links in this review.


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