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Cheap Icons
2023-08-04 11:39:56

I am fascinated by the idea that many icons in the world of watches, stationery, things like that, are among the very cheapest of their kind.

Utility and ubiquity over time can give products a truly iconic status, despite them being, in some cases, incredibly cheap.

The Rolex Oyster is a true icon, but equally so it the humble Casio F91w.

I bought one off Amazon the other day for less than £20. It's super thin, light and comfortable. It's accurate. It has features that can't be had on a mechanical watch. It also says absolutely nothing about you when you wear it, which can be useful in some situations.

Similarly the original design Swatch. But the disadvantage of that is that it ticks so loudly you have to leave it deep in your sock drawer at night.

The world of stationery is jam packed full of these sort of iconic designs. The Bic Cristal, the Pilot G2, So many iconic pencil designs.

You truly can surround yourself with good design without spending much money.


Buying Stationery from Amazon Japan
2023-07-19 14:17:36

For ages now, I have been eyeing up stationery on the Amazon.co.jp site. The prices are insane. For example, the Hobonichi plain A5 notebooks I mentioned in a previous post can be had for 1,320 yen. About £7.50, as compared with £20 if bought in the uk. Even after shipping they are an amazing price, especially if bought in bulk.

A Pilot Capless (Vanishing Point) is 14,500 yen. Around £80. They are nearly £200 in the UK.

Well, I already have a Capless, so I went for a Custom 74.

At £150-£200 in the UK, I'd always been hesitant. Especially as the only ones available seem to be the translucent colours. Mine from Japan is opaque, and a dark red / burgundy colour. It came in at just under £60. With shipping, more like £80.

It has a very fine 14k gold nib, writes beautifully, and arrived within a week! All in all, the experience couldn't be faulted.

Caveat emptor of course. I'm sure that the returns process would leave a little to be desired. Also, I got away without paying any taxes or customs fees. How often one would get away with that I don't know. But I'll certainly be trying again.


Perlon Watch Straps
2023-06-12 16:44:23

Perlon is a type of nylon invented in the 1930s. Perlon straps are single pass straps made from interwoven nylon cords. The look soft, but are slightly more robust than you might expect.

The real advantage of them is that you can put the buckle at any point along the strap as there aren't any predefined holes. This is massively advantageous to getting a comfortable fit.

They tend to come with a rather tacky stamped metal buckle. But it works well - the end of the strap is attached to it in such a way as to be adjustable. So the overall lenth of the strap will always exactly suit your wrist size.

Perlon straps also don't seem to have the issue of height that other single pass straps have - the material is so thin and pliable that the watch basically sits at the same height as it would with a standard strap.

All in all, a must have, especially for watches with fixed bars.


Parker 75
2023-06-09 08:56:00

I've always been fond of silver. Most silver pens are disproportionately expensive.

Montblanc do some pens with sterling silver caps that are particularly nice. Beaten up vintage ones are things of beauty.

I'd given up on the idea of one of those, but then came across the Parker 75...

The 75 has a full sterling silver barrel, a 14k gold nib, and a nifty mechanism for twisting the nib around, so that the triangular section is always exactly angled to your writing position.

They are relatively cheap (for a good vintage pen), and also relatively easy to get hold of. Anyone with a love for silver should really give them a look.


Hobonichi Plain Notebook - A5
2023-06-06 13:29:43

Could it be that scarcity and expense bends the mind? These are quite hard to find, and quite expensive. I bought mine from the Journal Shop. They don't always have them in stock: here

After I had used one for a while, I went back and bought 3 more for later. As each will last me at least a year, I'm good for a while.

The paper is Tomoe River in a 3.5mm grid pattern. Perfect for notes and to-do lists using a fine nib. Mostly I find myself using a Pilot Capless (Vanishing Point), and Pilot black ink. Even the wettest fountain pens will be happy. I think pencils are fine too, but some people say Tomoe River is no good for pencils.


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