Review and Giveaway – Manu Propria fountain pen



I haven’t been blogging for a month now! The start of InCoWriMo coincided with the Chinese New Year festive season, and for me, it was followed by a week-long business trip, countless meetings, piled up work which I needed to clear even during my evenings (even nights), the extraction of 4 teeth to prepare for braces, and a lot of accumulated fatigue. And I thought I was busy enough during the second half of last year! Seems like life is going to get more and more hectic from now…

When life gets busy and you need time out, no better time-out can arrive in the form of awesome fountain pens. I received 2 fountain pens sponsored by Manu Propria ~ Angular Momentum of Switzerland upon returning from my business trip, and oh did I spend a long time admiring them!


I intend to make a review of these pens as well as put one of them up for a giveaway, for my website has reached a milestone of 100,000 views! In fact, it has exceeded 100K and now it stands at around 105K views, which is making me exhilarated. Watch out for details on how you can win one of these pens at the bottom of this post. By the way, even though the pens have been sponsored by Manu Propria, all views expressed in this post are entirely my own (just a disclaimer, so that we all know my post is as unbiased as it can be).


For the record, these are the biggest pens I have ever had. Measuring around 17cm long when capped, these cigar-like pens are all handmade, so you will never get the exact same ones anywhere else. “Manu Propria” is Latin for “with one’s own hand”, and it cannot be a more fitting name to this company, where all its fountain pens are made by the artist’s own hands (with a lathe too, of course).

This copper-coloured pen is made for me, as I have selected the “Chado-Nuri” Urushi lacquer technique for my pen. The pen itself is made of black ebonite treated with a layer of black lacquer, followed by an application of transparent Urushi and then fine copper powder. Polishing of a final coat of transparent urushi gives the pen a shiny look with the light reflecting from the peaks and contrasts from the duller crevices of the pen surface. I probably am not doing the fine Japanese lacquer art much justice with my attempted layman’s description of the process, but it does seem like a very complex technique in order to create a pretty piece like this pen.

20140223_170232Taking this pen apart you can see it takes a straightforward barrel-section-cap form. The barrel feels sturdy while the cap feels a little more fragile. Well, you can’t expect a pen cap to be as sturdy as the barrel, unless you add some reinforcements to it. I will have to take care NEVER to drop any part of the pen or hit it anywhere by accident. The section fits a regular international cartridge or the converter which you can fill up with ink.


At the last possible moment, I asked Martin (penmaker and owner of Manu Propria/Angular Momentum) if he could engrave my name on the pen, or put a seashell on it, as I have seen some of his pens embellished with these cute little seashells in the cap. Turns out he put one at the side of the cap, and it’s so adorable! In my ignorance, I had thought it was a real piece of shell, but as Martin described:

The shell is built up with “kokusô” a mixture of urushi, tonoko (clay powder) and rice glue in a technique called “takamaki-e.

Makes it all the more awesome! It looks exactly like a real seashell, who would have thought otherwise? As the pen doesn’t come with a clip, this shell embellishment acts as a stopper preventing the pen from rolling all over the place. A creative, cute, and useful ornament.



To accompany this beautiful pen, Martin has included a pen rest and a pen pouch. The pen rest is nothing I’ve seen before – it resembles very much a branch off a grape vine plane but coated with lacquer. It looks so natural that once again, I was almost fooled into thinking it’s real wood! It’s heavy and sturdy, and there is even a little groove on it where you can rest your pen. According to Martin’s description, it is made of ceramic and also urushi lacquered!

20140223_170339The pen pouch is simple in design but the cloth is soft and velvety, reminding me of upholstery in expensive hotel suites. What it lacks is a clasp or ribbon to hole the opening shut and prevent the pen from slipping out, since there isn’t anything inside to secure the pen in place. It is very big like the accompanying pen, but the space inside is enough to fit two of the pens inside! Of course it is not advisable to put many pens inside a pouch with no dividers, as they may scratch one another while moving around.


You may wonder how this pen writes, but unfortunately I decided not to ink this precious pen for now. For me, this pen is going to be aThe Bock nib that comes with the pen is gold-toned stainless steel, and has some nice engravings on it. I think the pen could do better with a little bit of branding, maybe a logo or an engraving of the Manu Propria brand, as it is not present on the pen, pen rest, or pouch.

Now for the exciting part: THE GIVEAWAY!

20140223_170557Martin from Manu Propria has kindly sponsored another pen for a giveaway, to celebrate my 100K view milestone. This red pen is a handmade “Tamenuri” type fountain pen.

Measuring a length of 16.6 cm when capped, this huge oversized is made of black ebonite as well, and the body is decorated with a technique called “Shudame Sukashi Nuri”. At the bottom is a layer of black lacquer, and then red lacquer is applied on top, giving the pen this red colour. The red lacquer is ground to let the black undercoat show through, then nashiji urushi is applied and polished.

Unlike my Chado Nuri, this red pen is glossy and smooth. However it has the same Bock stainless steel nib which is of a golden tone. There is no clip nor any seashell, though.

If you want a chance to be the proud owner of this pen, take part in the raffle below! Get 5 chances to win this pen by doing the following:

1. Visit the Manu Propria website and browse the collection of fountain pens that are on the site (they have very pretty timepieces too!).

2. Come back to this post and leave a comment telling me which pen you liked best and why. Remember to indicate in the Rafflecopter widget below or your points will not be recorded!

3. There are also optional tasks to increase your chances such as tweeting once a day (for an extra entry per day), liking the Manu Propria Facebook page, and following me on Twitter.

Raffle ends 15 April, after which one lucky winner will be selected and announced!

Disclaimer: Although the 2 fountain pens have been sponsored by Manu Propria, all opinion on this post are mine.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

79 Responses

  1. Lim Siah Gim 18 March 2015 / 1:24 PM

    The size itself is unique plus the fact that it combined Japanese materials & technique with Swiss precision and innovation make them one of a kind. A true cross culture product.

    I like the no 1 and 6 types in Kuro Negoro and Akadama Ishi-Hada.

  2. Jurgen Holvoet 14 April 2014 / 7:48 PM

    Super give-away, gorgeous pens. The Kiseru Water Buffalo looks stunning and is my Chinese sign, great combo if you ask me 🙂

  3. Tanya 14 April 2014 / 10:49 AM

    My favorite is definitely the Namban Roiro Kawarinuri the one with all the rings of different colors and metals. Its just so gorgeous. (number 1) But I also like number 5, number 6, number 16 and number17

  4. femto((Joseph)) 14 April 2014 / 8:55 AM

    thank you for this chance
    No.7-Type Fountain Pen

  5. Sarah Jau 14 April 2014 / 7:43 AM

    I love all pens all of them are amazing and high quality
    like this one most No.2-Type Fountain Pen

  6. 14 April 2014 / 6:48 AM

    I’m surprised to see such pens created outside Japan. My favorite on the Manu Propri website is No. 15. The look of old bamboo is quintessentially Japanese.

  7. Roxy Meto 14 April 2014 / 5:36 AM

    No.10-Type Fountain Pen
    Hand Made Fountain Pens with Urushi Lacquer Finish

  8. lovely jasmin 14 April 2014 / 3:46 AM

    The No.5-Type with Urushi Lacquer Finish

  9. Nicole Robert 14 April 2014 / 1:20 AM

    No.3-Type Fountain Pen
    Hand Made Fountain Pens with Urushi Lacquer Finish

  10. Emmie Victor 13 April 2014 / 11:02 PM

    Love the No.16-Type Fountain Pen

  11. Julia Frank 13 April 2014 / 7:38 AM

    I love all the pens I can’t choose one sorry all pens are so amazing !!!!

  12. Allison Stevie 13 April 2014 / 6:20 AM

    Love the No.8-Type Fountain Pen

  13. Nancy Brett 13 April 2014 / 4:41 AM

    Thank you. I love the No.0-Type Classic Fountain Pens

  14. Jonathan 7 April 2014 / 11:19 PM

    Wow. Gorgeous work, I was sucked in by the watch designs too. I love the No.11 Roiro Kazari Kiseru “Yamimaki” pen.

  15. Tim G 7 April 2014 / 8:15 PM

    Love the #10 type Shibui Nuri with the stripe look to it. Thanks for the giveaway chance!

  16. Andy Barnett 1 April 2014 / 2:24 AM

    What gorgeous pens. I like the number 17 but would be proud to own any one of them.

  17. cwood826 31 March 2014 / 9:09 AM

    Custom Made Fountain Pens with Urushi Lacquer Finish.

    The design is named No.8-Type but shape, length and diameter of barrel and cap can vary slightly or be made on demand – I like this one due to it’s elegant simplicity.

  18. moietmoiaussi 30 March 2014 / 6:43 AM

    I love the IroIro Nahiji’s look! Fantastic!

  19. Lesley L (@caribbean_skye2) 29 March 2014 / 11:44 PM

    Wow, they have some spectacular pens to choose from. Thanks for offering a giveaway and bringing these pens to my attention. I quite like the Roiro kuro kinsoku mitateal (no 8)

  20. Brent Wooters (@dbwoo61) 28 March 2014 / 10:42 PM

    #1 Namban Roiro Kawarinuri is fave followed closely by #17 Sitan & #7 Mansuji Nuri. All are stunning pens with depth built up over ebonite by the urushi layers..

  21. Karen 28 March 2014 / 2:18 PM

    Wow what a fabulous giveaway! Such unique pens across the board, I love the no5 type in red lacquer!

  22. faeleia 27 March 2014 / 5:34 PM

    Oh man, I initially came here because I was looking for fountain pen / dip pen calligraphy lovers in Singapore but I stumbled onto this excellent opportunity! I’ve been learning calligraphy on my own for a while, but a fountain pen always seemed slightly out of my budget for now.., and I don’t want to get a cheap one only to have to discard it later. If I get this, it’ll be my first and well treasured FP. 🙂

    The Shibui Type III has got to be my favourite. I always liked the minimalist aesthetic, believing beauty comes from the simplest of things. The lean pen body plus the exquisite and understated shimmery finish aligns well with calligraphy, which I consider to be a well restrained but delicate art form.

    I hope my choice of pen hasn’t hurt my chances for this contest, but even if so, I gotta say Shibui III’s still my pen of choice!

  23. Paul Davidson 27 March 2014 / 7:03 AM

    I would be thrilled with anything from his website. If I had to pick one it would be a No. 1 I-Kazari Type Tetsumoyô Suzume.

  24. David 27 March 2014 / 3:00 AM

    It took me a while to navigate the website, but I finally managed to find my way to the pens and even all of the capped and uncapped views for each pen.

    My favourite is II-Type Roiro. I love its simplicity, the highly polished black ebonite, the understated design, and then the surprising contrast of the threads on the nib section. They are all unique pens, but for me this one is special.

  25. Steve 26 March 2014 / 4:07 AM

    I’d love the No.10 Shibui Nuri, with its quite distinctive ringed design… can I get it with a gold F nib?

  26. Elaine 26 March 2014 / 4:02 AM

    Couldn’t narrow it down to just one, but I managed to pick three in the following order:

    1) Aka Kinsoku-Mitateai, Model: Aka Tetsu Moyô. For the lovely subtle colour!

    2) Unique Piece “Kuramaishi-Hada-Nuri”, Model: Unique Piece Kuramaishi. For the colour and wonderful texture.

    3) Ibigawa-ishi hada-ai, Model: I-Type Ibigawa -Ishi-Ji. For the stone-like texture.

    Great pens!


  27. Jordan 25 March 2014 / 10:02 PM

    I love the faux-wood barrel and cap! Gorgeous!

  28. chaulincoln 25 March 2014 / 5:59 PM

    Namban Roiro Kawarinuri is my favorite, the design is very special which I think will catch the eyeballs of everyone =D

  29. Brian Renshaw 25 March 2014 / 5:12 PM

    Wow, awesome pens! Hope I win!

  30. quotidianlight (@quotidianlight) 25 March 2014 / 3:43 PM

    I absolutely adore the Number 6 in Kuro Nogoro Shiage. The colors are tranquil and like it’s lit from within and the shape looks like it would be a dream to write with.

  31. Norman Haase 25 March 2014 / 8:45 AM

    I really loved the look of the Namban Roiro Kawarinuri. Quite stunning!

  32. Seth Barber 25 March 2014 / 8:30 AM

    The XII-Type Shibui Nuri really caught my eye because of the shape and the texture. It looks simple yet refined.

  33. Erhan Kuyucu 25 March 2014 / 8:10 AM

    i love the unique pen Koboku Mozô. Because it s unique. 🙂 And the face figure on the cap is awesome.

  34. K Dunham (@kmmd_mossboss) 24 March 2014 / 10:54 PM

    What wonderful pens. I like No. 7 type… of can never pick just one… so I’ll drool over Mansuji Nuri and III-Type – Chadô Nuri. The shimmery texture begs being used.

  35. Brad Haase 24 March 2014 / 10:09 PM

    I like the No. 6 – Kuro Negoro Shiage. I’m not a fan of eyedroppers but that color is amazing.

  36. lenaldo 24 March 2014 / 8:30 PM

    Really enjoyed Type 1 Namban Roiro Kawarinuri. It seems that I am looking Jupiter’s clouds.

  37. kaaaaaaat 24 March 2014 / 4:43 PM

    Love, love, love the No. 6 in either the Kuro Negoro Shiake or Iro Iro Nashiji finish. Very beautiful pens! It was hard to pick given that they’re all so pretty.

  38. David Maliniak (@DavidMaliniak) 21 March 2014 / 3:55 AM

    I like No. 11 in the Negoro Kiseru finish. It looks kind of weathered and retro somehow. Beautiful red urushi as well.

  39. Karen Raymond-Barron 20 March 2014 / 1:57 AM

    They’re both absolutely stunning! I would love to have a chance to experience one personally. I’ve only recently begun my FP collection & I am totally hooked. Thanks for introducing me to new pens!

  40. Angela Watson 19 March 2014 / 6:17 AM

    I can’t believe I can only pick one! My if have to, it’d be: IroIro Nashiji. Lovely understated elegance; I’m sure I could write some spectacular letters with this beauty.

  41. Randall Payne 19 March 2014 / 5:46 AM

    I love the #12…it looks so industrial, like a piece of steel.

  42. Alex 19 March 2014 / 3:00 AM

    What a fantastic IV-Type – Kin (Gold) !

  43. Jean Rossman 19 March 2014 / 1:41 AM

    Went back to Manu Propria and looked some more. I love the red ones. The best part of this pen is the size. Older writers with a touch of arthritis need more diameter on writing instruments.

  44. Jean Rossman 19 March 2014 / 1:33 AM

    I wanna one of these: IroIro Nashiji. The under shimmer of gold kissing the red is passionate!

  45. Becky Redfern 18 March 2014 / 10:41 PM

    I love the Sitan. It is so unique and beautiful

  46. Güngör Türk 18 March 2014 / 10:29 PM

    They are all lovely! I think the one that I really like is No.8 which has a beautiful unique colour. Thanks for this awesome giveaway 😉

  47. buntyw 18 March 2014 / 10:13 PM

    All the pens are so beautiful – so hard to choose!!
    I love the Negoro – the colour is fabulous!

  48. Daniel 18 March 2014 / 10:22 AM

    I’ve always wanted had one of these!

  49. Len 18 March 2014 / 2:35 AM

    Hi, Maybelline! The fountain pen that caught my eye the most would have to be No. 15 Hon Negoro. I usually go for simple neutral, minimalist designs (whenever I pick anything like cothes), but when I saw the edgy, fiery red with the rustic touch of black- I fell in love.

    Nevertheless, I would still definitely be proud to become the new, loving owner of the No. 6 Tamenuri fountain pen and then hopefully be able to purchase the No. 15 Hon Negoro to begin my collection of fountain pens in the near future. I’m currently a university student with extremely tight budget but I will definitely cherish the pen! \(^▽^)/

  50. Kathi Sharp 18 March 2014 / 2:04 AM

    The V-Type – Dô Ishimeji (Copper) has a lovely look. That copper is beautiful.

  51. UBockinMe 17 March 2014 / 9:28 PM

    Wow… Never seen these pens before, and now wish I never had. The finish looks so rich! I love getting lost in “swirly” acrylic pens that have some level of translucency. I really like the Nuri lacquer technique. Anyone know if it wears & ages with use? Really pretty pen. (sigh)!

    Thanks for posting! I dig the snail too! Makes me wish I was more creative with skill to pull something like that off.

    • UBockinMe 17 March 2014 / 9:36 PM

      Forgot to put in… I think my favorite is the IroIro Nashiji. Beautiful depths & iridescence from the metal powders. Can’t figure out how to buy it… 🙁

  52. Mel Martin 17 March 2014 / 4:14 PM

    I am most drawn to the Tamenuri, as I have many red/burgundy inks in my collection that I think will be very handsome with it. The craftsmanship of these pens is mind-blowing.

  53. Gerald 17 March 2014 / 3:07 PM

    I love No. 17 – Moku, because the ebonite/urushi combination makes it look like a piece of wood! Reminds me of the work that Sailor did to make an ebonite pen look like a piece of bamboo.

  54. Shirley Furby 17 March 2014 / 8:43 AM

    The Sako Adamano, the type of pen I can only dream about

  55. Tan YS 17 March 2014 / 5:23 AM

    I like type 13. The clipless design is appealing, the size and weight of the pen falls into my sweet zone too. I would request a different urushi finishing on the pen if I order one.

  56. molossus, whose life imitates doodles 17 March 2014 / 5:07 AM

    There was no ‘like’ or link in the 2nd category to friend Manupropria on Facebook. I looked them up and liked Manupropria Timepieces. I hope that is the correct page.

    • Maybelline 22 March 2014 / 11:16 PM

      Yes, that was the correct page! Thanks!

  57. Sharon Abar 17 March 2014 / 3:44 AM

    I like the the number 11 Namban Roiro Kawarinuri. They’re all beautiful though. It’s hard to choose!

  58. lessherger (@lessherger) 17 March 2014 / 3:11 AM

    the #10 type Shibui Nuri was divine. Love the look of the ridges along the body of the pen/.

  59. Nguyễn Đình Quân 17 March 2014 / 1:26 AM

    I’ve fell in love with No.6-Type Fountain Pen – Custom Made Fountain Pens with Urushi Lacquer Finish. Beautiful.

  60. potter2 17 March 2014 / 1:13 AM

    Wow, what a stunning give-away, the one that is being offered up looks superb, hope I win!!

  61. Dan Goldman 17 March 2014 / 1:06 AM

    I like the “No. 6” style pens, particularly the “Picolo Fountain Pens – Roiro Kuro Kinsoku Mitateai.” The rounded, streamlined bullet shape is particularly appealing to me, and I can tell this pen would feel great in my hands. The unique silvery textured finish would be sure to attract envious glances from my colleagues!

  62. Richard Fong 16 March 2014 / 11:52 PM

    I like the Namban Roiro Kawarinuri. The contrast is nice, and the finish is shiny and classy. It looks like something that belongs in a museum.

  63. dothgrin 16 March 2014 / 11:51 PM

    The number 3 (Shibui) (favorite) and number 4 are quite nice…there is something future tech about the design yet regal and traditional as well.

  64. andreakirkby 16 March 2014 / 10:59 PM

    Number 10 is fascinating – a sort of ribbed flat top! All the pens seem very tactile…

  65. Joel Wong 16 March 2014 / 10:12 PM

    I like the number 15 for it’s cool red barrel, although the red and black barrel on the tamenuri looks nice too

  66. Cesar 16 March 2014 / 9:06 PM

    I like the X-type Shipping Nuri! The ribbed design looks awesome!

  67. Bryan 16 March 2014 / 6:54 PM

    Looks great! Very unique.

    • Maybelline 16 March 2014 / 8:37 PM

      Hi Bryan, thanks for the comment, but are you participating in the contest? If you are, please visit the Manu Propria collection and comment back here on which pen is your favourite, in order to qualify for the giveaway! If not, just ignore my comment. 🙂

  68. Kevin S. 16 March 2014 / 2:09 PM

    The No.5-Type with Urushi Lacquer Finish is amazing! Definitely my favorite.

  69. Azizah A. (@GourmetPens) 16 March 2014 / 9:52 AM

    Oddly enough, my favourite is actually the one you’re giving away! I would even pick the red colour! I have a Nakaya that is similar, but in a black-red (Kuro-tamenuri, I believe). Thank you for the review and for the change to win! So awesome.

  70. rdcalhoon 16 March 2014 / 9:50 AM

    It is so difficult to pick out one pen. These pens cry out to be handled. I am drawn to the Do Shibui, as well as Tamenuri. I thank you for a chance to own one of these beautiful pens.

  71. Janel 16 March 2014 / 3:19 AM

    I like the #6 in the Iro Iro Nashiji finish. Beautiful. So much depth to it. Kind of reminds me of coals in a campfire.

  72. Foolwithapen 16 March 2014 / 3:00 AM

    Very nice pens, my oersonal favourites would be either the tamenuri or the IroIro Nashiji, very sophisticated looking pens with great depth of colour and workmanship

  73. Matt A. 16 March 2014 / 2:30 AM

    Oh, man. What a fantastic contest. And what stunning pens! I particularly liked the Namban Roiro Kawarinuri. I’ve never seen a pen quite like it before. I would pretty much lose my mind if I won this giveaway, I think. 🙂

I would love to hear your thoughts!