The Namisu Nexus Minimal fountain pen was a Kickstarter campaign launched during the last days of July 2014. I backed it at the early bird level which was the lowest pledge amount. I picked the Matt Black finish (that’s the way they spelled “Matt”, but I’ll use “Matte” from now on). I debated dropping out before the deadline because they had never done a pen before and a November 2014 delivery date was clearly too aggressive. As their stretch goals kicked in the project became even more complicated since the stretch goals were really just add-ons at additional cost requiring even more management and procurement of unique products. But it was less than $40 to get it to my door (23 GBP plus shipping) so I stayed in.
I’m glad I stayed in, although the pen was in fact several months late, arriving in late February. I’ve had it inked since arrival and it’s still on its first ink. (Well, technically that’s not true but it’s true in spirit. More on that later.) The ink has lasted over two months because I just keep reaching over this pen to pick up another. When I do use it I like it since there is a lot to like about this pen.
Why I Got It
It was a nice looking pen at a reasonable price. I wanted to support an original fountain pen on Kickstarter. It’s a simple design which I like and it’s available in black which I also like.
What I Got
A matte black fountain pen with an aluminum body and a Bock fine nib. There’s no clip or other furniture on the pen. The pen feels very comfortable in my hand. There’s no traditional gripping section but the grooves in the pen help provide a secure grip.
I’m not sure what the aluminum barrel is coated with but it doesn’t have the cold feel of aluminum. It’s not slippery like some metal pens either. It’s very comfortable to hold.
They say the cap doesn’t post, but it does. Although the threads may scratch the barrel with repeated posting. So while it may be able to post, they may say it doesn’t because it’s not recommended. Besides, posting adds very little to the length of the pen.
The nib is a mass produced Bock nib unit. Mine is a fine nib. This isn’t necessarily bad but for me it’s the weakest part of the fountain pen. More on this in the section on writing with the pen. I suspect there’s some variation between the nibs that were used. I think they took the nibs as delivered and didn’t tune them. This is a inexpensive pen after all.
The black matte finish has held up well. I’m neither overly protective or abusive to my fountain pens. I don’t put them in my pocket with coins or keys (except a couple pens that are enhanced by this) but it will roll around a desk or table. There’s a couple blemishes that are noticeable upon close inspection. There’s no noticeable wear from me gripping the pen or cap. (I fiddle with the cap in my left hand as I write with my right.)
- Length Capped: 5.5730″ (141.56 mm)
- Length Uncapped: 5.3345″ (135.49 mm)
- Cap Diameter: 0.5050″ (12.83 mm)
- Barrel Diameter (near nib): 0.5165″ (13.12 mm)
- Barrel Diameter (widest): 0.5530″ (14.04 mm)
- Weight (with ink): 26 g
- Weight (body only/with ink): 22 g
Writing With The Pen
I did not order a converter with the pen and the supplied cartridge broke during shipment. I did have to clean the pen before use to get the ink off so this would also have removed any manufacturing residue. I picked a Diamine Prussian Blue cartridge for this pen’s first ink. The ink flowed right through the pen, literally, and filled the cap. After cleaning this mess, and the pen, I picked a Pelikan Edelstein Sapphire long international ink cartridge. There weren’t any signs of leaking and the ink didn’t fill the cap.
The threads are sharp but I hold the pen well above the threads so this isn’t a problem. The pen isn’t designed to be held on the threads but if you typically hold the pen close to the nib this may bother you.
The Nexus is a wet writer. The Bock nib is a standard size for a western fine, which means it’s a bit wide for my tastes. The Edelstein ink is a little on the dry side so that helps.
I’ve had some annoying skipping with the pen. And by annoying I mean it’s frequent enough to affect the flow of my writing. A close inspection shows that the tines are slightly misaligned. Once I’m done with the review I may try aligning and smoothing the nib. I can limit the skipping if I concentrate on the pen angle and keep the nib’s very small sweet spot in contact with the paper. But I find this more fatiguing than regular writing so it doesn’t last long.
Speaking of fatigue I find the Nexus Minimal to be comfortable to write with and can go about 45 minutes before feeling any fatigue at all, but that means having to deal with the skipping.
Cleaning The Pen
The nib unit does unscrew if you want to remove it for cleaning. But I’d prefer not to and the pen is easily cleaned with just a converter or a bulb syringe to force water through.
As mentioned, the Diamine Prussian Blue flowed right through the pen. A second pen, my Sheaffer VFM, was loaded at the same time and didn’t have a problem. I haven’t heard of any similar problems and my second ink was fine, so this may be an isolated incident.
Pelikan Edelstein Sapphire in a long international cartridge was loaded next and is still in the pen. Flow is good, almost too good for my tastes. As I mentioned there’s a lot of skipping but I blame the nib and not the ink for this.
The Namisu Nexus Minimal fountain pen is a very nice pen. Its weakest piece is the nib, unfortunately that’s kind of crucial for a fountain pen. There’s only a couple of places to buy nibs in relatively small quantities and for a pen at this price point, so it’s hard to complain about the choice. Bock is a trusted manufacturer and I’ve no doubt many pens were delivered with aligned nibs and perform better than mine, but there’s always going to be variation in the mass produced nibs. Even a company such as TWSBI has had their own nib problems forcing them to change suppliers at one point1.
While aligning and smoothing a nib isn’t hard it isn’t something a first time fountain pen buyer wants to do with their one fountain pen. Eventually I’ll align the nib, but until then I’ll continue to pick up the pen next to the Nexus. At least until a rainy weekend when I decide to tune several pens.
With a little nib work the Namisu Nexus Minimal fountain pen is a keeper, but until the nib is fixed the Nexus Minimal won’t be inked again.
Kickstarter Campaign Page (now closed)
- If I remember correctly, they changed from Bock to JoWo nibs on their Vac 700. ↩