Japanese pens have spoiled me for artistry and reliability. I do look at other pens with lower expectations, as a result. Stipula skipping? That’s okay, it’s not Japanese, but the material sure is pretty. Pelikan not writing at all? That’s okay, it’s not Japanese, it’s a rare Pelikan nowadays that writes well out of the box.
The Romillo pen was a big leap for me, and I am glad I took it. It’s not Japanese, but it is very much itself. After three continents, it is a pen that holds a unique place in my collection.
Romillo Pens are bespoke, and come in different models like the Sil, Nervion, and Essential Writer. I ordered the Narcea, which is shorter than the Essential, and asked for a K nib to be fitted. The K nib is Romillo’s version of a flexible nib, meant to go from fine to broad. They had to adjust the section for me, as the Narcea is not originally sized for a K nib. Customer service was excellent all throughout the process, and I even had video of my pen being measured and tested.
It arrived with a wooden box, a felt case, a wrap in gold and black brocade, a wooden rest, and a bottle of sepia ink.
The pen has heft, thanks to the brass liner inside. The stud prevents rolling, with minimalist flair. The nib is gargantuan and I have seen people gasp when they twist open the cap. “It’s so big!” (Let the tiny pen/big nib jokes begin.)
So the big question is – how does it write? Well, when it first arrived, it wasn’t writing as well as I hoped it would. Call it a mismatch of expectations. The fine felt like a medium, and I kept pushing it beyond broad, so it would railroad. I sent it back for adjustment. When it came back, I realized that, to match the pen in my head, the Romillo Narcea had to go to John Mottishaw.
I was delighted when it returned. The nib is now a mutant, capable of delivering a Japanese fine and widening to a double or even triple broad. It likes Platinum Carbon Black. Its profile was beak-like to begin with but the reshaping has emphasized it.
Here’s the Narcea chumming with Japanese pens.
The nib is a work of art and the engraved wings gracefully lead the eye to the tip.
From Spain to the Philippines to Spain to the Philippines to the US and back, the Narcea has logged more travel time than I have this year. I hope we’ll have many stories to write and draw together.
Karlo now calls this pen the “Romottishaw.” It looks at home beside other red mottled hard rubber pens – that’s its lineage, after all. A thoroughly modern rendition of a century-old material, this pen is worth the effort.