View Full Version : Spencerian Namiki Falcon VS Serwex MB Flex: review

February 25th, 2014, 01:46 PM
I just received my Namiki Falcon with the John Mottishaw Spencerian customization. I thought I would share my initial thoughts and how this FP compares to my Serwex MB with flex nib that I've had for a few weeks.

Right out of the box both pens worked very well, but have very different feels in relation to flex pressure. Both have comparable line variations, but the Falcon goes a little further each way.

Line Variation
The biggest difference is the Falcon has much better thin line definition. The Falcon can produce thinner lines that are crisper that allow for extremely small loops or counter forms without lines bleeding into each other. The Serwex looks very close in the picture, but in reality the Falcon is much better at line definition - note the smallest loops and how the Falcon stays tight and clear. Another difference worth mentioning is how much sooner the Falcon can produce the thick lines. Because the nib on the Falcon flexes so easily and fast you can transition quicker and smoother. The Serwex requires a little "getting up to speed" stroke meaning the thicker lines don't always happen at the top of a stroke whereas the the Falcon can produce thick as soon as you turn on a dime. I also noticed how much easier it is to create wedge shapes with the Flacon. Because the nib snaps back faster you can sit at the start or end of a thick line for a split second and that will create the crisp wedge shape rather than tapered strokes like the Serwex.

Ink Flow
The second biggest difference is ink flow. The Spencerian customization includes an increase in ink flow to the feed. This REALLY shows. The Falcon just won't railroad for me. The increased ink coupled with the thinner line definition just screams quality. How John Mottishaw is able to achieve both is a mystery - I'd think one would counter the other, but they work together perfectly. Even the thinnest lines from the Falcon can produce some shading if you look closely. The Serwex railroads constantly and typically the fix is to unscrew the barrel and push a little ink up the converter into the feed.

The Serwex is definitely smoother because it feels like a nail compared to the Falcon. The Falcon Spencerian tip is scratchy, but not nearly as scratchy as I anticipated, and if you have a VERY light touch it will glide. People seem to freak out in some threads about the nib grind. I find it requires a soft touch, but it's not difficult if you have experience with a fine paint brush or creating small details. The Falcon's tip is so fine that the thinnest lines require a soft yet confident quick stroke. Basically you need to know where you are going and be confident with that stroke - you can't move slowly, plotting your way around or the thin lines of the Falcon will look shaky because the nib will hit every bump in the paper grain. Move fast and soft like a ninja! If you want to move slower you need a steady and VERY light hand for the thinnest of lines or you can add a tiny amount of flex to lubricate the line a little more. You get OPTIONS!! The sound is sort of cool. Just like in the famous youtube Falcon video. SWOOSH, scraaaaaaaatch, SWOOSH, scraaaaaaatch... It's a very artsy sound. The nib bounce/rebound is very different. It surprised me just how easily the Falcon flexes. I'm use to the Serwex which requires IMO double the force. The Falcon also rebounds faster and stays right on top of the feed immediately ready to flex again. The Serwex requires a slower hand or the nib railroads. Also, because the Serwex requires more pressure and a slower hand it is a little more tiring to use, and creating smooth transitions from thin curves to thick curves is actually pretty hard compared to the Namiki. The Serwex requires so much pressure that thin to thick transitions can be abrupt and lack a smooth form. Transitions with the Falcon are easier to produce and look more natural.

Customer service

I'd also like to add both companies that sold me the pens were very good to deal with.
I purchased the Serwex MB with a flex nib from Fountain Pen Revolution. There was no contact, and none was needed. They did included an additional Serwex eyedropper pen listed for $5 and an additional non flex nib for free. Delivery time was around 5 business days.

I purchased the Namiki Falcon with the famous John Mottishaw custom Spencerian grind from Nibs.com. I asked them a few questions via email and they replied within minutes. I was actually shocked with their speed. Once I was ready to order they answered a few more questions, sent the invoice with detailed descriptions of the pen and grind and ink flow work to be done. John worked on the pen either that day or the next morning as it was ready to go in about 24 hours. I asked if they had this grind already done and in stock as the turn around time was so fast. They said no that John grinds them as the order for this pen comes in. The pen was in the mail that day (Thursday) and I received the pen on Monday! THEY ARE FAST! The pen shipped with the new redesigned Pilot box which looks a little smaller from front to back and it has a really cool, solid window in the lid. They also included an extra blue cartridge of ink and blotter paper along with the standard cartridge and standard converter.

Other Thoughts
When the Serwex cap is posted it spins freely which feels sort of cheap. It locks on very well, but I wish it didn't spin. That would improve the overall experience IMO. Also, the FPR flex nib could use some visual enhancements. It would be great if it was high polished and a different FPR font and orientation imprint was used. Add some scroll work and it would be a huge improvement.
The Falcon's gold furniture is MUCH richer looking in person. I've looked at every picture and video on the internet of the Falcon, and the gold clip and band look even better in person - darker, richer in color.

Having both pens I love the Falcon w/Spencerian much better, but for $20 the Serwex MB flex probably can't be beat. I recommend both and would suggest to decide based on budget. The Serwex makes a better everyday writer because the nib is harder, less scratchy and cost makes this pen a tool and not an heirloom. The Falcon is more enjoyable to use IMO and screams quality. If what you desire is a great Spencerian style or thick and thin line variation then the Namiki is by far better.

Fabriano paper with Noodler's Eel Turquoise and Apache Sunset.


February 25th, 2014, 04:55 PM
EDIT: I added a few more details to the review above.

February 28th, 2014, 12:52 AM

Three days of practice with my Namiki "won'tleavemyhand" Falcon Mottishaw magic.

The bounce is addicting.

February 28th, 2014, 12:54 AM

Swoooosh, scratch, swoooooosh, scratch... Pull and flick cursive!

February 28th, 2014, 01:48 PM
I really like the FPR "flex" nibs. They greatly soften up with use and are miles more user-friendly than similar Noodler's flex pens. I've given away a few (not with MB bodies though) and everyone seems to have great fun with them. Especially the younger recipients.

February 28th, 2014, 02:03 PM
I really like the FPR "flex" nibs. They greatly soften up with use and are miles more user-friendly than similar Noodler's flex pens. I've given away a few (not with MB bodies though) and everyone seems to have great fun with them. Especially the younger recipients.

They work, but I didn't realize how stiff they are until I tried the Namiki custom job.I have an old vintage flex pen, but it can't produce the thin lines and it doesn't pop back as fast as the Namiki. There's a LOT the FPR MB/flex could improve on, but for $20 versus $250? ..I'd take the Naimiki everyday over the Serwex, but spending more than $5 for a pen sounds crazy to 99.9% of the world.

March 1st, 2014, 09:59 AM
I agree that the Serwex nibs are very stiff. At least when I compared to vintage flex. I know that is not exactly an even comparison. My SF nibbed Namiki Falcon is also stiff. The Serwex is very similar to Noodlers flex pens. The softest flex nib I have used is the Toledo nib on the Conklin Crescent that Gclef lent me. My Conway Stewart 226 that, as far as I know, is not a flex pen, is softer than the Namiki and Serwex.

Thank you for your review.