The 2019 Pen of the Year from Graf von Faber-Castell takes inspiration from the precious materials and meticulous processes used by traditional Japanese sword makers. The Magnolia wood and Black Edition variations both feature an engraving in in 24-carat gold varnish along the barrel of a quote by Miyamoto Musashi, considered to be the greatest swordsman of all time; "Today I win against myself of yesterday".
Miyamoto Musashi (1584-1645) wrote The Book of Five Rings (Gorin no Sho), which serves as a source of worldly wisdoms to this day. Earth, water, fire, wind and void - based on the five Zen rings, were used to describe strategies for the perfect samurai. The decisive factor is not his technique but his inner attitude characterised by relaxation, openness and wisdom of the heart.
The Magnolia wood Pen of the Year is limited to 400 fountain pens and 120 rollerball pens worldwide, whilst the Black edition is limited to 330 fountains and 100 rollers. Each pen is uniquely numbered and is presented in a high gloss wooden box containing a certificate of authenticity signed by Count Charles von Faber-Castell.
The Black Edition Samurai pen of the year features a painted black metal shaft, said to resemble the highly embellished armour plating used by samurais. The 24-carat gold plating make the engraved quote along the length of the barrel appear slightly embossed. The cap end of the pen is crowned with a Tamahagane steel inlay bearing the Japanese character for samurai, whilst the barrel end is emblazoned with the symbol for "tsuba" (hand guard), designed by Miyamoto Musahi himself. The end cap of the barrel is textured with a wave-like pattern, whilst the cast metal of the grip section resembles the leather woven handle of a samurai sword. The attention to detail and exceptional craftsmanship make this a truly unique piece.
Metal accents are finished with an anthracite-grey PVD coating made from titanium whilst the 18-carat gold nib of the fountain pen is coated with ruthenium.