Monday, April 11, 2022

Fountain Pen Review: Wancher Dream Pen True Ebonite Sand Red



I have been using fountain pens since 2008. I have used and owned many fountain pens, many of them made from acrylic, special resin, and ABS plastic — tough, durable, and made to last the tumble and stumble of daily use. Last February, an offer to review a fountain pen added a new material and pen to my collection and brought a new product to Rants of The Archer. Wancher Inc., the Oita-based company that Taizo Okagaki built in 1987 sent me one from their flagship fountain pen model, the Dream Pen in True Ebonite

The Dream Pen is Wancher's first flagship fountain pen model. I still remember the frenzy during Wancher's launch of their Kickstarter campaign for the Dream Pen in 2018. Back then, they offered three models: True Ebonite, True Urushi, and True Maki-e. The launch was a huge success, and now the Dream Pen has 14 models, including several types of urushi, a Titanium, and the highly-coveted Raden.

Wancher's traditional Japanese presentation box. 

Sand Red is my very first Wancher fountain pen, and I love its packaging in a traditional Japanese wooden box. The box has a nice monoprint of a fountain pen and sakura tied together by a deep red elastic band with tassels on both ends. Inside the box, the Sand Red fountain pen is safely tucked inside a pen kimono, together with ink cartridges, an instruction manual, a postcard, and a guarantee certificate. The Wancher box reminds me of the box that my father made for me when I was a young school kid, which I filled with stationery, bookmarks, stickers, clippings, and other ephemera.

The Wancher traditional wooden presentation box includes the Sand Red fountain pen and pen kimono, a Tsugaru Urushi pen pillow, ink cartridges, an instruction manual, a postcard, and a guarantee certificate.

This Wancher pen is also my first ebonite fountain pen. I am glad that Wancher recommended the Dream Pen because I like the traditional and minimalist cigar-shaped design of the pen. The Dream Pen's simple design speaks elegance and I had a hard time choosing one from the eight pens in the True Ebonite series because all the pens are beautiful! I chose Sand Red for its unique and uncommon red color, and I am happy with my pen choice. It is a large pen, measuring 6.05 inches while capped, and 5.24 inches uncapped, but it is well-balanced and comfortable to use for writing.

Sand Red is a very unique pen. Made from ebonite, an excellent material from natural rubber that is durable and has a warm feel for handwriting. Ebonite has been used in making fountain pens since the early 20th century, but its complex production process turned manufacturers to other materials that are easier to work with. Wancher is now using the finest ebonite from Japan as an homage to traditional fountain pen manufacturing, combining vintage materials and minimalist design.

Wancher Dream Pen True Ebonite Sand Red

I noticed that the color of Sand Red changes according to the intensity of light. In bright light, it appears almost like dark pink to pale red. However, in low light, Sand Red looks like a dark cherry red. 

The Wancher Dream Pen Sand Red fountain pen has a unique red color.

My Sand Red fountain pen has the following specifications:
  • Length, capped: 6.05 in | 15.36 cm
  • Length, uncapped (nib tip to barrel's end): 5.24 in | 13.30 cm
  • Full pen weight: 26 g | 0.92 oz
  • Body material: Ebonite
  • Trim: None
  • Cap: Ebonite, screw-on, cannot be posted
  • Clip: None, but Wancher offers a selection of roll stoppers
  • Nib: No. 6 Jowo stainless steel in Medium, also available in Extra Fine, Fine, Broad, Stub 1.1, or Stub 1.5. Wancher also offers other nibs, including Jowo gold plated stainless steel, Wancher 18k rhodium-plated, and Wancher 18k solid gold.
  • Filling mechanism: Cartridge or converter, both supplied with each pen purchase.
  • Color: Sand Red; also available in Marble Red, Marble Blue, Marble Purple Gray, Marble Green, Marble Brown, Matt Black, and Silk Black. 

Sand Red can be filled with ink using a converter or standard international ink cartridges, both are included in the box.  

Another key feature of the Dream Pen series is its compact air-tight caps to prevent ink from drying out in the nib and avoid hard starts. The mechanism also ensures a secure cap closure. However, this cap doesn't have a finial, and the screw-on cap cannot be posted, but this is not a problem for me as I rarely post my pens.

Ebonite up close. Sand Red ebonite is smooth and polished to a high gloss.

I chose a medium steel nib for Sand Red, for my current writing preference. The stainless steel Jowo nib bears the Wancher logo and the nib width (M). It is wet and wrote smoothly the first time I inked it. It wrote so well out of the box and did not need any modification or priming prior to use. 

Wancher also offers other nibs for their fountain pens, including gold-plated stainless steel Jowo (Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, Broad, 1.1, and 1.5), rhodium-plated 18k gold (Medium or Broad), and 18k solid gold (Medium or Broad).

This western Medium nib on a Japanese fountain pen is a gusher! It's wet and writes smoothly.

The Sand Red is a large fountain pen, and it has almost the same length as the Esterbrook Oversize and Edison Collier. It is also longer than the Montegrappa Miya 450 and Leonardo Furore. The Sand Red's section (grip) is slender than most of the pens in this line-up, but it is very comfortable to hold when writing.

From the top: Esterbrook Estie Rocky Top Oversize, Montegrappa Miya 450, Wancher Sand Red, Leonardo Furore Zenzero (Ginger), and Edison Collier Antique Marble.
No. 6 nibs fit all these wonderful fountain pens.

To test how the Sand Red's nib writes, I filled it with new red ink from Robert Oster. RO Signature Direct Sun looks so good in Sand Red's wet medium nib. I'm pleased that the stainless steel nib wrote smoothly out of the box, without the need for any adjustments or tuning. I did not experience any hard starts or skipping. The pen wrote smoothly, and I had a fuss-free writing experience with a well-balanced fountain pen.

New red ink for my new red fountain pen. Robert Oster Signature Direct Sun is a perfect match for Sand Red.
Sand Red's Medium nib writes like a Broad! But I'm not complaining, as it writes so smoothly. I am rereading Haruki Murakami's Kafka on the Shore and I love this part of the book's first chapter.

Aside from watches and fountain pens, Wancher also offers different accessories, including leather cases, wooden cases, and pen pillows. Wancher has kindly offered to include a pen pillow for Sand Red and I chose the Tsugaru Urushi Pen Pillow. It is crafted with Kara-nuri, a high-quality Tsugaru-nuri technique that illustrates distinctive speckled patterns created by four to six different Urushi color lacquers. I have yet to save up for my first Urushi fountain pen, but the Tsugaru Urushi Pen Pillow will fill my Urushi wish for now. This Pen Pillow is a nice addition to a pen collector's set of accessories.

Wancher's Tsugaru Urushi Pen Pillow - Aka-age

In my time and experience as a fountain pen collector and reviewer, I did not imagine that I will try an ebonite pen from Japan, or even own one. I have always dreamed of getting an ebonite and an urushi fountain pen, and Sand Red came along. It's a wonderful and amazing pen and sometimes I spend minutes staring at it, just enjoying its beauty. I am very happy and pleased with the Wancher Dream Pen True Ebonite Sand Red fountain pen, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to explore the brand and its fountain pens. Wancher has been making unique fountain pens since 2011, with the commitment to use the finest materials and craftsmanship in their products. What are you waiting for? Get a Wancher fountain pen in your collection!

Wancher provides each pen with its own pen kimono. My pen's kimono is thick and protects my Sand Red fountain pen.


Rants of The Archer thanks Taizo Okagaki and Wancher Inc. for providing the Dream Pen True Ebonite Sand Red and Tsugaru Urushi Pen Pillow in this review. Sand Red is available at Wancher starting at US$200, while the pen pillow retails for US$80. 

To learn more about Wancher Inc. and its offerings, visit its website at https://www.wancherpen.com/. For updates, promos, and giveaways, follow Wancher on social:

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