Platinum is one of our favourite pen brands - thanks to brilliant products such as the Preppy and #3776 fountain pens, and the waterproof Carbon ink. Based in Tokyo, Japan, Platinum is not well-known in the West, but has been a pioneering writing instrument company since 1919.
Toshiya Nakata, the current CEO of Platinum, is the grandson of Shunichi Nakata, the founder, and is the third generation of the Nakata family to manage Platinum. In an interview for Cult Pens, we asked him about his experiences since taking over and his vision for the company.
“After returning to my father’s company, I visited many dealers around Japan. Many owners and pen users told me about fountain pens that had sold so well in the 1960’s. Platinum Pen Co. also did TV commercials and had a big business, people used to be given a few fountain pens as gift when they entered junior high school and so on. Almost all of them told me the same story about fountain pens.
I asked them what their impression was about those pens now. They said the pens often did not work because they had just inserted a cartridge and left the pens. The ink had dried and blocked the feed. I felt that not many people bought and used fountain pens these days and the bad impression made with problems in fountain pens had shrunk the market.
This is why I renewed the #3776 to the new #3776 Century series [a fountain pen with an airtight seal that stops ink drying out for over a year]. Fountain pen makers thought it was unavoidable that ink would block fountain pen feeds, but it was their mistake. Thanks to this improvement, people can use pigment ink as well [waterproof ink which is normally a no-no in fountain pens] and enjoy the permanent nature of this ink. Our Mix Free ink (Mixable ink) also breaks ‘common sense’ about fountain pens - normally, the maker requires that their customer never mixes inks.
As we all know, fountain pens are traditional analogue tools, but analogue products still have many possibilities.
Thanks to the success of the #3776 Century series, not only sales people, but also our factory staff have started to notice and got back their passion - productivity has increased by three times compared to 2004.
We are going to publish a book about Platinum Co. within the next three years, so I’m now collecting our history. We will rebuild the Platinum brand towards 2019 (which marks our 100 years anniversary), we at Platinum Co., are going to launch some products which we would like to have by listening to customers’ opinions, and pursue improvements.
We always keep in mind:
‘Is customers' pleasure our pleasure?’ ‘Will customers think they would like to use Platinum pen again?’ ‘Do we really do our best for our customers all the time?’
Please know that we will always put forth our best efforts to please our customers.
This is my mission and life work – I am pleased to tell my passion to your customers through your website. Now I have to leave to go shopping for suits with a stylist because our marketers order Nakata-san to wear better clothes as there’s only one Nakata successor of quite few fountain pen makers around the world!"
Many thanks to Toshiya Nakata for speaking to us. We've had the pleasure and privilege of meeting Mr Nakata and he really is a man passionate about his company and about the quality of his products. We highly recommend Platinum as one of our favourite brands and to encourage you to try out their excellent products we're offering 20% off all Platinum Until 31 October 2014. The discount will automatically be added in the basket.