Black Horseman – Namisu Nova Studio Ebonite
Few days ago, as a part of collaborative group called UnitedInkdom I have received for reviewing an interesting pen called Namisu Nova Studio Ebonite.
Namisu is a small and independent designer’s studio based in the UK close to Edinburgh who successfully run few kickstarter projects including Nova. Nova is currently available with several barrel options including titanium, aluminum and ebonite which is especially interesting. I spent few days using it and testing with different nib options Namisu offers.
I really like the Namisu Nova Studio pen design, which is very minimalistic. The pen adopts a ‘classic’ torpedo shape, which to some extent reminiscences some Japanese-like pens like Nakaya (Piccolo) for instance. Nothing wrong with that. I like it. It looks modern and is well refined. I already have hand made fountain pen from Twiss Pen which has very similar shape (obviously material is different). Namisu Nova fountain pen I was lucky to test is made from ebonite, which gives not only matte ‘stealthy’ look but more importantly worm , pleasant feel, which is very unique and different from other acrylic, resin or plastic pens. The ebonite is light material. It also does not feel slippery at all and to some extend it reminds Lamy 2000. It can catch some fingerprints, but then is very easy to get rid of them using any soft cloth.
The threaded cap is clipless, which some people my complain about, however in my opinion clip would only affect unnecessarily the minimalistic look it has. It looks gorgeous without clip – full stop! However, because this is a calipless pen, then left untended may roll off the table and hit the floor.
Both finials are made from brushed titanium which i beautifully incorporated and gives very classic prestige contemporary look. The cap finial has circularly engraved Namisu Studio logo, whereas finial at the top of the barrel is plain.
The threads incorporated into the ebonite barrel are metal. However they are flattened and obviously don’t feel sharp. I usually holding my pens high, having fingers on threaded section, so this is quite important aspect of design and finish I consider. Similarly to metal finials, the metal threaded section also contrasts beautifully with matte, black ebonite when pen is uncapped. When capped, metal part is completely hidden under the cap with tiny grove between the body and the cap itself. The slightly conical grip section is completely ebonite and also very pleasant to hold.
Namisu Nova Studio Ebonite accepts standard international cartridge converters. In theory pen could be used as an eye-dropper, but because it has metal threads I would not recommend to do that. I did not try.
Namisu Nova pen I got was originally fitted with medium stainless steel nib from Bock. The stainless steel nicely matches with other metal parts on this pen and enhances its contemporary look. However, because this is an ‘out of the box’ Bock nib, I think Namisu Nova loosing it’s personality a little. It would be great if Namisu designers purchase a plain nibs instead and then eventually etch or engrave something unique themselves, similarly to other pens manufacturers like Edison or Twiss Pens do with Jowo nibs. …but this is cosmetics and does not bother me too much. I am more interested in how pen and nibs performs.
The really cool thing about Namisu pen is that Bock nib sections can be swapped. You can choose between ( No 6) stainless steel EF, M and B size as well as those slightly ,ore expensive made from titanium in EF and M size. The pen I received for testing came with stainless steel M (fitted originally) and spare steel broad and extra fine as well as titanium M. Titanium nibs are matt and slightly darker which gives an interesting look to the pen. I really like Bock’s titanium nibs for their springiness and durability ant the same time, so one of the first things I did I exchanged steel nib for titanium M.
Exchangeable Bock nib units are threaded and very easy to swap.
In my personal opinion, Bock nibs are very good . They have great reputation and similarly to another German nib company Jowo, Bock nibs are commonly used by many pen turners and manufacturers. They are simply convenient. However they are not the same. I do not have much experience with gold nibs produced by both companies, but in case of steel nibs, Jowo are definitely firmer but smoother. Bock steel nibs have more ‘bounce’ and actually with some pressure can deliver reasonably line variation. They also have a bit more feedback or tooth to the paper, but nothing what would effect writing experience. In fact, they feel smooth too…just different than Jowo.
Interestingly, steel broad was the most firm in the set I tested and it skipped a little. It may be only this particular unit which was tested by few other people before me. Hard to say, but I was not that impresed. Other size were very good, especially EF which was springy, gave a bit of line variation and performs exceptionally well. Because I had my own Bock steel F (bicoloured) and titanium EF I tried them with Namisu pen as well. Here is some quick comparison between them.
Bock stainless steel EF
Bock stainless steel F (bi-colour)
Bock stainless steel M
Bock stainless steel B
I am especially huge fan of the titanium nibs. These are very springy and can squeeze quite a bit f line variation. You may think that titanium is very hard and durable metal, but in fact titanium nibs are quite soft and springy. However, please remember they are not a ‘flex’ nibs and to avoid accidental spring, I would not push it too much. With moderate pressure they perform very well. EF obviously gives more feedback, but it is not scratchy. The medium one which came with the actual Namisu Nova pen was very wet and felt satin smooth. I really like it. The M size nib was a bit too broad for my taste, so If I would buy this pen, I will probably go with titanium F, which would be midway through between M and EF. Namisu do not offer it yet, but I hope they will do. If not I can always get it from other retailers. They are not that expensive comparing to gold nibs (ca. £ 53.0). However, medium nib would fit most customers.
Bock titanium EF
Bock titanium M
Pen comes in simple ‘slide-in’ black velour-like cardboard box with minimalistic Namisu logotype, and gray V-shaped insert where pen sits. Unfortunately pen sits loose in there (no additional strap) and may rattle unnecessarily when in transit. Other than that, packaging looks nice and follows simplistic but at the same time elegant design.
Capped = 13.8 cm, unposted = 12.8 cm
Namisu Nova Studio Ebonite is not designed to be posted. In fact this is unnecessary since the pen it self has good substantial size (not oversized).
capped (no converter) =aprox 20.0 g, unposted =14.0 g
I had it together with my another pens which have very unique feel because the material they are made of (Visconti HomoSapiens and Lamy 2000). Namisu Nova Ebonite fits beautifully to this company of ‘Black Horsemens‘.
Overall, I really enjoyed this Namisu fountain pen. I like it simplistic but also modern look and definitely the way how the ebonite feels in hands. There is enough customization options with Bock exchangeable nibs which make this pen a good looking writer. Ebonite pens usually are not cheap. Again, this is not a ‘mainsteream’ product. According to Namisu website the price tag for the version with stainless steel nib is £ 105.0, whereas with titanium nib it costs £ 140.0. It may not feel very chap, but considering material is made from, the design and finish where everything is well fitted and in place + Bock titanium nib (£ 53.0 just nib) it makes Namisu Nova Ebonite a good value for money.
Do I recommend it ? If you can afford it – yes definitely. This is a lovely pen. In fact, because I have to return it, I feel a little sad. But anyway, I am considering obtaining one in the nearest future myself.
(*) Disclaimer. I have no affiliation with any company brand I mentioned in this review. Review reflects my personal views and opinion only. For review purposes, pen has been borrowed. This review is a part of the of larger collaborative metareview on UnitedInkdom.
Please check also other reviews of Namisu Nova:
and also video review by The Pen and Inkwell