Today Namisu launched their next fountain pen on Kickstarter – the N1 Pocket Pen. And after my initial excitement at receiving the email and clicking though? “Meh”- reeally not feeling it”.
The design is… simple? A little cylinder of aluminium (or titanium), a bolted on clip (that reminds me a bit of Karas Kustoms?), a Bock nib. The only flourish – and maybe a nod to the Naos from Spring 2020 – is the grip detail on the section.
I can’t not feel this is a shame. After (in my opinion) a shaky start with the Orion, Namisu’s next 3 pens – the Studio, Horizon and Ixion were really great. They had enough similarities in their small details to feel like they were pens that had a united design ethos. You could sense Namisu had a plan – Bauhaus meets the waves and curves of perhaps the mid century modern? All 4 of their pens were Bauhaus simple: all clipless, beautiful sleek metals, and some overlap in design details in the sections or barrel shapes or finial details, colour schemes etc). I own 2 Ixions, the black aluminium and a stonewash titanium, and previously owned a Horizon – which I regret bitterly losing and keep meaning to replace.
But in the last year, I have really fallen out of love wit Namisu. I blame the Naos. I was excited and invested in the Kickstarter fairly early on. When my 2 pens (brass and titanium) arrived, I could see the idea: the inverse of the Ixion design – cylindrical cap, meet octagonal barrel… but the dead straight sides didn’t feel right, the design felt… lacking or compromised. The clip was not good either, and the weird grippy finial pattern – necessary to unscrew the cap if you spurned the clip – ruined the look. And personally I didn’t like the 2 tone approach to the materials of barrel and cap. So in spite of my hopes of liking the Naos, I didn’t feel like it was a sibling to the Ixion nor a particularly well designed pen. (Unlike the Ixion which still draws admiring glances from colleagues at work!) I sold both, at a loss within weeks. Bitter disappointment.
And now the N1 has launched… and again I feel… “Meh… The design, which is clearly meant to be phenotypically from the same family as the Naos (note the grippy strip on the section) looks disappointingly basic rather than Bauhaus. No design link back to any other pen Namisu have done prior to the Naos that I can see.
Where are the beautiful deign features we loved in the good old days – tapered octagons, or flared section, or smooth alluring curves and cone ends?
But, maybe thats the point: a simple, robust tcylinder is basically indestructible. A Bock nib (which aren’t as good or reliable as they once were but are usually solid enough and Namisu do seem to get the best of Bocks nibs in my experience) and needing cartridges only (the Kaweco min-converter is useless, I promise you)… you could maybe take a riskeye droppering it, but I’m not sure I’m that brave!) I don’t think I’m going to like it.
But here’s the thing… like an old flame from one’s childhood, I can’t ignore the feeling I once I had – my fondness for the Ixion and Horizon, the wonderful feel of titanium with its cool clinical grip, and no one can deny the convenience of a pocket pen with a bomb proof clip and so in spite of my reservations, I’ve backed it… and now I am hoping, against hope that all my assumptions are wrong and that this little pocket pen shines!
Namisu are hoping to fulfil orders in April; once I receive mine, I’ll of course review it and hope that the reality dashes all my reservations and revives my love for this fantastic Scottish penmaker!
To find out more, visit the Namisu Kickstarter here
Namisu’s homepage can be visited here