I love ordering things online from Japan because they always pack everything so well and give you cute little handmade extras that remind you that ‘yes, we are a company staffed with real people who care about our products.’ Or something to that effect, anyways.
In any case, I was browsing engeika’s storefront on eBay one afternoon when I saw a pen that was love at first sight: the limited edition Wancher Sakura: River of Time. A streamlined, all black pen with a pleasing form, gold clip, flower-imprint nib and pretty little raden details on the cap and body. The perfect combination of simplicity and grace, as you can see here.
So I tried my hand at an auction, lost the first one, rejected the offer from the seller to buy it at my losing price, waited a few days for another auction to show up, and got it for $50 cheaper than my first auction price. Sweet.
And then the pen shipped like lightning across the stormy seas to reach me in a nice fat, bubble-wrap-lined EMS package in under two weeks. Impressive!
Of course, then I opened it up and saw it, sitting all snug in its own origami kimono sleeve in a cute little box and went: “squeee! Kawaii-ne!
Would you look at that? Even the ink cartridge comes in its own handmade origami sleeve! And the crane in the corner, perfectly positioned, is just too precious!
In the sunlight, you can see how the raden sakura flowers glitter with opalescent light, even with my iPhone camera.
Approximate size comparison (note how tiny the ink cartridge is! I might need to find something bigger so I don’t write dry in a scribbling session):
L to R: Pilot Metropolitan, Wancher Sakura, Pelikan M400, Montblanc 146.
The pen itself also comes with a cartridge converter (with ink-shaking bead conveniently inside), a really cute nib (think I’ve seen this style on some Chinese pens and a Diplomat pen, maybe?), and the overwhelming smell of burnt plastic. (But only if you hold it up to your nose and sniff new pens, like I do.) There was even some stray black dust on the converter when I first unscrewed the pen, from what I assume are remnants of the manufacturing process.
The style of the nib and converter make me suspect that they are Chinese made. The body of the pen is lightweight and most likely made of plastic as well. The seams on the cap that holds the clip in place aren’t the cleanest, and the engraved zogan strips on the body show a tiny gap, indicating that this was probably mass-manufactured rather than handmade—but! It looks pretty enough, and there’s a nicely distracting texture when you run your fingers over the engraved details. (Hopefully I won’t rub them off, haha.) Let’s test how it writes next.
Before we start, did I mention that the nib is huge? Not gargantuan, but mini-giant proportions, surely?
L to R: Montblanc 146, Wancher Sakura, Pilot Metropolitan.
Wancher sells these pens with a default M nib. I used the included ink cartridge that came with the pen for convenience’s sakes.
Conclusion: It’s a cute
little long pen that does the job well. Since it’s practically weightless in your hands, writing with it posted or unposted is equally manageable. Nib is very smooth with a hint of whispering when you write with it. At $70.99, I consider my price for it a little bit pricey, especially since the zogan work isn’t as delicate as I expected, but if you can get it cheaper, grab it because it’s a pretty pen to have around! (And as Wancher said, it’s a limited edition of sorts, so they won’t be here forever.)