By now you should have heard of the Wancher Dream Pen Kickstarter project. If you haven’t, it’s either because you have not been prowling around the fountain pen world enough, or haven’t been paying attention to my blog! 😉 I have recently posted about their Kickstarter project, and it is not often, if at all, that I post about a Kickstarter. The reason I decided to write about this Kickstarter is that I liked the way Wancher carried out their product development process, and the message they gave in their promotional video. I also felt that it was a great opportunity for you beloved readers out there to be able to obtain an urushi pen at a more affordable price tag.
Lucky me, I have been contacted by Wancher to review their True Urushi fountain pen. What a privilege for me! They have sent me the black steel-nibbed version and I have been writing with it for a while. Read further for my breakdown of my thoughts of the pen.
I have never had an urushi pen before, so to be honest I had not known what really to expect. I had seen pictures of the pen when Wancher contacted me to tell me about it, but one really needs to have a feel of it before making any true judgement. When I received the pen in a little black cardboard box, I felt that it was quite… cute? Probably not the best word to describe a pen like the Wancher Dream Pen, but I couldn’t help but to fiddle a lot with it when I took it out of the box.
Reason? THE BODY IS SO SMOOTH, OH MY GOSH.
I almost sound like a pervert.
Now, don’t misunderstand my intentions: I am not overreacting here. I have seen urushi lacquered pens before, have been impressed by the technique, have fiddled with some before (for a few seconds each time). But there is something different about having an urushi pen on your table waiting for your appraisal. For days, I would take the pen out of its box just to give it some moments of caress, and really appreciate how it feels. Well, okay, I’m almost like a pervert here, maybe.
With ultra smoothness comes a common problem which I am sure many pen users, urushi or not, encounters. When you have a super-dusty table like I do, the dust just sticks all over the pen body. I let my Wancher Dream Pen roll around on my desk mat and then switched on my table lamp to take photos. Wow, all that dust!
Pardon my very dusty photo above. The dust is even more prominent as my pen is black in colour. Obviously, the dust can be easily wiped off with a cloth to keep your pen clean. What I did was to store it inside a pouch or in a pen tray (more on that to come in a future post), to keep it away from my dusty table. You’ll only see the specks of dust under very bright light, but not that obvious under normal room lighting. That’s assuming your room isn’t bright as a lightbox. And you can hardly fault the pen for this phenomenon, as it happens to all my smooth-bodied pens too! I thought I’d just raise this point in case there are those of you out there who have low tolerance for this.
A really nice thing about the pen body is that it is light. I put the whole pen on a digital weighing balance – cap, body, nib, converter all – and it weighs only 25 grams! That is light for pens of its size. It is larger than the typical black Pilot or Platinum pens and weighs about the same as one of them. Being light is good for me as it means I can keep using it for long periods of time without straining my hand too much.
The Filling System
The filling system of this pen uses an international converter. Nothing much to say here except that it’s a good choice – allows for more flexibility in case you happen to lose the original converter, as you can get another one easily. Some people might be disappointed that such a nicely-sized pen should allow for an eye-dropper mechanism. Personally it is not of priority for me as I like to change inks often, and I don’t write enough to need a full eye-dropper pen anyway. If you want it to become an eye dropper, I’m not sure if you’d be able to modify it (add an O-ring, or something) to keep it leak-proof or not. I’m not adept in this area, so I can’t really advise. Knowing the fountain pen community, though, someone else would probably be trying this out in no time!
There is something interesting I found about the cap of the Wancher Dream Pen, which is that there is a spring mechanism plus an inner cap inside the main cap. From prior experience with pens like the Platinum Preppy and Plaisir, I believe that would be for the purpose of not allowing the nib to dry out.
Of the entire pen, I guess this is the only part I don’t really like. I would have been perfectly comfortable with it, were it a cap that is snap-to-shut, as opposed to a screw cap like this pen has. This mechanism means that when you cap your pen, you’ll need to push it a little until the threads meet, and then start to screw it shut. There were a couple of times when I did not pay much attention to capping of the pen, and the threads did not meet properly, so I had to try again to make sure it is capped. I think the capping process of a pen is something people don’t usually pay a lot of attention to, and it should be something that feels instinctive and not deliberate. Having a mechanism like that to make this process more deliberate, translates to a bit of an inconvenience for me personally.
One other feature that I wished this pen had is the roll stopper. It’s a very cylindrical/cigar-shaped pen and has no jutting or flat edge to stop it from rolling around, and potentially off your table. But this feature can be easily fixed! Wancher’s Kickstarter campaign allows you to select either a pen pillow to rest your pen, or a roll stopper to be attached on your pen. I saw the designs of the roll stoppers and they’re really pretty and elegant! A friend of mine likes the pen pillow much more, due to the beautiful raden design (YES, RADEN). If you’re concerned about pen rolling, don’t forget to purchase a roll stopper or a pillow together with your dream pen.
The Nib and Writing
The Wancher Dream Pen uses Jowo nibs in a variety of options. The one I have received is a stainless steel nib in fine. I’m alright with stainless steel or gold, as long as the writing performance is acceptable. A seasoned Japanese fountain pen user might find that the F nib, being an European F, is too broad for a Japanese pen. It didn’t matter to me as this F nib seemed like the right size for my writing anyway.
I filled the pen with Private Reserve Electric DC Blue and wrote with it. The Electric DC Blue itself is a very saturated blue, and it flows well in this nib. The writing experience was positive – generally smooth on both up and downstrokes, and has a little bit of papery feedback. Regular readers of my blog would know that I love a bit of feedback while writing, so I’m happy with the nib! Here’s a small writing sample in my Life Notebook.
The pink colours in the photo are not due to poor ink flow, nor are they due to the pen. Rather, they are the sheen from the Electric DC Blue ink! May I take a moment to show off to you the wonderful sheen on the Electric DC Blue on my Life Notebook…
It’s so shimmery!!! Totally in love with this ink. I might keep my Wancher Dream Pen forever inked with DC Electric Blue, since it is so delightful…
Overall, the Wancher Dream Pen did not disappoint me. I love it for its size and shape, the way it fits well to my hand, and most of all, the writing experience. One minor annoyance for me is the spring-loaded inner cap, but I may be able to get used to that eventually. If you’re looking to finally own a well-made urushi pen at a more affordable price, go for this one! The Kickstarter campaign that Wancher has put up has already almost achieved 2000% funding within a couple of weeks. Very impressive results! You have a little more than 2 weeks left to participate in the Kickstarter – so hurry and make your decision already!
(Also, that purple urushi pen looks totally swell – vote for that, please! Not yellow! Personal preference!)
Many thanks to Wancher for being so kind as to provide me this pen for an honest review – my dream of owning an urushi pen has finally come true! This review is 100% personal opinion and I tried to be as unbiased as I possibly could (although I admit it is difficult to be unbiased, with such a nice pen).