TEMPTATION

nakaya-unpolished-shu

Nakaya Neo-standard in Unpolished Shu, from Nibs.com.

Today I found out that one of my friends is selling her Nakaya neo-standard in unpolished shu, with a rhodium-plated soft medium nib for just under USD500. Unpolished shu is a warm red, a very attractive color. And the nib is the size I’m interested in. It’s USD700 at Classic Fountain Pens (Nibs.com), brand new. What bothers me is that it’s still twice the price I’ve paid for my most expensive pen so far.  Nakaya pens are usually what a lot of people think of as grail pens. Sure, I can rustle up the money, but I don’t think it’s prudent to be spending so much.

There’s also a Montblanc 146 being sold with an EF bicolor nib, for a bit over USD300. It’s a good price, but I already have a 146 with a cursive italic M nib, which I got for lower, and on lay-away, too.

I remember the time I saw a Pelikan M800 brown tortoise being sold for a good price, but wasn’t fast enough to buy it. For a while I felt bad, but then again I already had a green-striped M800 that I was already enjoying.  I guess it was the thrill of the hunt that got to me.

For a year and a half I haven’t bought any new pens, thinking I’ve achieved a kind of inner peace. The two pens I mentioned above have almost seriously derailed that inner peace. Sometimes I think I have too many pens already. I really should enjoy what I already have, until a more reasonably-priced new pen comes along.

 

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KEEPING IT REAL

We’ve all seen those ads or eBay postings for suspiciously low-priced Montblanc pens. Lots of people ask on the Fountain Pen Network if they’re possibly buying fakes. If the price is too good to be true, it’s always better to think twice.

I’m writing about this today, because I help moderate the Fountain Pen Network-Philippines Facebook page, and we’ve had several discussions about how to treat posts that deal with product clones/replicas, especially as there is buying and trading of pens among members.

We’ve had posts showing Lamy Safari knock-offs (Hero 359, Jinhao 599), and the low price and color selections look mighty tempting. We’ve been joking that it’s taken so long for Lamy to produce a purple Safari that the Chinese have beaten them to it! I’ve handled the Hero in person at a pen meet, and while it writes well enough, the plastic does not look very robust, and the finishing cannot compare with the Safari’s. You get the quality you pay for, I guess. Lamy does not seem to be pursuing any copyright infringement cases against the Chinese knock-offs at present.

One of our members received a takedown notice from Richemont (Montblanc’s parent company) about an old For Sale ad he had in a popular online marketplace. He is contesting it, because his items were original, previously-owned Montblancs. We’ve also had posts of fake Montblancs. In one post, the poster tried to skirt the obvious fact that his pen was a Chinese replica of a Montblanc Starwalker, by referring to it as an “homage” pen. If he had called it by its proper name “Baoer Skywalker”, it would have flown under the radar. But no matter how you glamorize it, it still copies a Montblanc too closely for comfort. With Richemont assiduously guarding its intellectual property rights, we don’t want any of that reflecting on our group page or membership, so we came up with this rule:

“Fountain Pen Network-Philippines would like to foster respect for intellectual property. We recommend that posts on fake fountain pens be limited to how to identify the real from the fake.

Also, please properly identify the pen in your post as identified by the manufacturer to avoid confusion with registered trademarks and tradenames. (Eg. If you post a photo of a Lamy or Montblanc knock-off, please identify them by their manufacturer names like Hero 359 or Jinhao 159, instead of the original branding.)

Posts on fakes or replicas reflect only the opinion of the poster, and in no way reflect the position of the group. Posts that do not meet the moderators’ requirements may be removed at their discretion.”

As soon as we posted this rule, the one who posted about the Chinese-made “homage” pen voluntarily deleted his post. In reality we can’t prevent people from knowingly buying fake products, but we can steer members’ attention more towards original, attractive and affordable products. As for aspirational brands, one can always save up for the real thing.

BUYING FOUNTAIN PEN INKS IN MANILA

SAMSUNG

(Waterman inks photo by Cesar Salazar.)

More and more people are growing interested in using fountain pens here in Manila, as evidenced by the growing membership in our pen group Fountain Pen Network-Philippines.  For a long time Parker, Waterman, Cross and Montblanc were the only brands readily available in the local fountain pen market.  Now there are new brands available:  Lamy, Pelikan, Sailor, to name a few.  Waterman,Aurora, Cross and Rotring are now no longer being sold here, while Sheaffer recently reintroduced itself.  The local Pilot distributor sells only school pens, not the fine writing instruments, nor the ink.

I’ve compiled a list of stores that sell fountain pen inks, in bottles and cartridges as of 2013: (click on links to see directory info)

National Bookstore branches  – Parker, Lamy, Sheaffer, Inoxcrom (cartridges)

Montblanc branches – Makati (632) 813-3739, Powerplant Mall (632) 898-2347, Shangri-la Mall (632) 633-4636, Manila (632) 521-1140, Robinsons Place (632) 551-2095, Ayala Town Center (632) 850-5532

Scribe Writing Essentials – 3/F Eastwood Mall, QC.  (632) 900-0053, Shangrila (632) 654-5071, Glorietta 5 (632) 386-4826. – Herbin, Lamy, Sailor, Pelikan (4001 and Edelstein), Noodler’s

Cutting Edge (Greenbelt 5, Trinoma, Eastwood, Megamall, Mall of Asia) – Waterman

Times Trading– Lamy

Updated:  We now have a distributor for Diamine inks!  Since I don’t have permission to post the contact details here yet, please join the Fountain Pen Network-Philippines forum or on its Facebook page and make your order there, addressed to Peter.

Updated September 2013:  Scribe Writing Essentials now carries Noodler’s inks!  Contact Cindy Fulo at 0998-9983998 for which branches carry specific Noodler’s colors.

Updated August 2014: Scribe Writing Essentials now carries Platinum Mix Free and Carbon inks!

As of this time, there are no local distributors yet for Rohrer & Klingner, Aurora, Visconti, De Atramentis, Pilot (regular and Iroshizuku), and other popular brands of ink.  For these, we resort to buying from eBay or online stores based overseas.