A few months ago, I shared my first impression of the commemorative Tokyo 2020 Olympics Fountain Pen. Usually, event memorabilia like this are left unused to be displayed or kept. But I inked mine and tried it out. have no regrets.
The unknown maker
For a big event such as the Olympics, big brands are expected to feature in official merch. That’s why it is no surprise to have Asics cover apparel, Bandai create plastic model kits, and Tomika produces car replicas.
For the Tokyo 2020 Olympics fountain pen, however, none from the big three seems to have been tapped. The maker is unknown up front, but a quick search of product code OL-FP001-G would lead to a listing under Nakabayashi, maker of Taccia fountain pens. The design seems unique for the games, as it doesn’t match any of its existing models. It also turns out that the company also produced other Tokyo 2020 stationery merch.
The boxed version of the Tokyo 2020 fountain pen is the only one confirmed to be from Taccia, however, with a Made in Taiwan tag and traceable product code. There are blister pack versions that have two-tone nibs but suffer from quality issues (like misaligned tines, logo placement), and are marked as Made in China. Be careful if someone passes them off as the same pens.
Let us start with the most important part, the nib performance. It writes so smoothly that I don’t think I’ll have it ground to a cursive italic anymore. Ink might be a factor since I initially used Waterman Serenity Blue before switching to Waterman Mysterious Blue. But I’d rather use these safe inks than risk any stain.
But so far, so I haven’t seen any stray ink drop on the cap, where they usually end up in other pens. The section is also in brass instead of acrylic, and this part is usually the first to stain in demonstrators. It might be possible to use the pen as an eyedropper since the section already has an o-ring, but I wouldn’t do it on mine.
Design-wise, logos of the Tokyo 2020 games and the iconic rings of the Olympics look like it’s printed pretty well unless you scratch it up really bad. The etched Tokyo 2020 line on the cap band is my favorite part.
One minor thing but a big factor for some: the nib aligns with the clip when capped. Not sure if I got lucky with that or all demos in this line are made that way.
Since the section and the barrel screw are made of brass, there were weight issues that took me a while to get over with. I love light pens, but the brass is positioned deep into the barrel that the balance is quite off. Then again, that might be because I grip close to the nib. This might not be an issue for those who hold their pens a good inch away from the nib.
If you’re also expecting the Japanese kind of fine nib, it writes more like a Western fine or a Japanese medium. Good thing it is a smooth writer.
As mentioned in the unboxing post, the nib is boring. Putting the Tokyo 2020 Olympic logo would have made it look much better. Or maybe they could have played with the iconic rings.
In an alternate universe where the pandemic never spread globally, I would have gone to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics’ opening ceremonies with my sister. But COVID-19 happened and its mishandling by authorities brought us to a global game where local and overseas fans are banned and infection scare is real within the Olympic village with under a week to go before it starts.
So buying merch is the next best thing. The Tokyo 2020 Olympics fountain pen was hard to find in the website (it had no search function), but I’m glad they made this. I’m also grateful that a got this as an advanced graduation gift, which reminds me that I have a thesis to finish.
But even if I had to buy it, this demonstrator is still worth it. I think it is also the best-looking fountain pen version. Don’t mind that it’s almost a thousand yen more expensive than the others. Its gold color fits a top podium finish.
When it comes to using, I found that I’d reach for it most of the time for quick jots. It is that smooth! Writing with it for a long time, however, used to be quite a pain. But I figured out a sweet spot on how to grip it, so all good.
If you have a Japanese address and can wait for a while, and if you love most things Japanese (like me), you won’t regret getting this. Even if the nib design could use a bit more life.
The Tokyo 2020 fountain pen’s demonstrator version is ¥11,000 on the official website. Another version comes in Navy with silver for ¥9,900, while a set of five following the Olympic ring colors costs ¥49,500. This is different from the blister pack variant, which sells for ¥980.