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 repoussÃ© 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 listÂ four years ago.Â 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?