2018年5月16日 星期三

PILOT x SOMÈS Pen porch Review


These photos were taken with my mobile phone in order to save time and make blog-writing easier. Hope the downgraded image quality won't spoil my identity as a professional photographer as well as digital image specialist.

I always carry a few pens with me so I have the need to find some good pen porches for them. The pen porch shown in my previous Pelikan M800 Review (Here) caught some friend's attention and asked me about it, so I decided to write this review.

This Porch is a "PILOT x SOMÈS" 3-slot pen porch,  it's producd by SOMÈS SADDLE for Pilot, SOMÈS is the only and renown maker of leather horse saddles in Japan. http://www.somes.co.jp/

Telling from the exterior, this is an eye-catching, high quality leather article. The hardened leather seems almost bullet-proof, very promising in offering the best protection to our beloved pens, l was sold.

It is a good leather article, but it may not be the best all-rounded pen porch. Well, the material, craftsmanship and the eye-catching factor all worth the price, but my little problem with it mainly lies in the design department.

The porch has minimal branding, just a stamp at the back. The stitching is very nice, the light brown hard leather looks cool, feels very nice to the touch and sets this one apart from the majority of pen porches that are made of soft leather, but this hard leather may not be the best material for fountain pen porch - it is very absorbent to water, that means it can be easily stained by fountain pen ink. Perhaps the black version is more stain-resistant.

Here comes another little problem with the use of hard leather, the cover always bounce back to its closed position(to take this photo, I spent some effort to make it stay open...for merely 1 or 2 seconds). No big deal but if the cover can stay open or be flipped backwards when the pen porch is set on a desk, it'll be more convenient to switch between pens.

This pen porch is not a very large/long one. The pen in the left is a Pilot Custom 74, while that in the middle is a Pilot Custom 743. This is a PILOT pen porch but IMO is a bit too short for her own 742/743/823/845 or the Namiki pens, especially if you put these pens in the side slots - which are narrower and shorter because the bottoms are round. If you put a long pen in the side slots, a large portion of its cap will look quite exposed to air and not feel like being very well-protected. I feel much more comfortable to put the shorter Platinum 3776 or Sailor 1911s in the shorter side slots, rather than a Pilot pen.

The official photo of the pen porch was taken with some Custom74s clipping to the leather and stay put, however, in reality the leather is too thick for most (including the C74) pens to clip practically, pens with spring-loaded clips can clip easier but they look weird with the clips springing very wide, and the added thickness of the clips makes inserting the porch cover into the belt a lot more difficult. The clips will easily leave permanent marks to the leather too. I'd rather let the pen clips stay inside the slots.

While the exterior of this pen porch looks almost bullet proof, the internal partitions are way too short, they extent not more than half-way down the porch. As the leather is too thick for a pen to clip on it and stay put, there's a very high chance for many pens(depending on shape and girth) to wobble and hit/press on each other at both ends, one of my wooden pens had actually been damaged this way, there is a dent on its cap, very likely caused by the clip of the pen next to it. It's better to select short, girthy, rod shape penes which fit the slots perfectly to minimize wobble. I would never put metal pens together with plastic (or precious resin XD) pens in this pen porch.

Verdict
This pen porch is very eye-catching and very nice to the touch, the hardened leather seems to offer very good protection from external factors, but pens hitting each other within the porch can potentially cause damage, this is. disappointing especially as it is the most expensive pen porch Pilot offers, in which the price is more expensive than a lot of other luxury brands. It's still a good pen porch but you need to pay serious attention to select the suitable pens for it. I feel that the big problem can easily be solved if the overall length of the casing be extend by just 5mm, and the length of the internal partitions be increase to at least 3/4 of the entire internal length of the porch, this will then be a great pen porch for a lot of pens.

Ming Lau @ Trail Studio Photo Printing & Framing Service, Hong Kong.
http://www.trailstudio.com.hk/Services/Output/Photooutput.html