The Ixion is a love-hate pen. I don’t mean you either love it or hate it; I mean there are plenty of points on both sides of the argument.
Let’s start with the positive.
Design-wise, it’s handsome. The size and proportions are spot-on for most people, similar to a Lamy 2000 when capped. The decagonal cap stands out in a sea of cylindrical (or indeed hexagonal) models, and is well executed.
The Namisu branding is classy and unobtrusive. The machining, polishing, anodising, and other processes have been executed consistently well, with no sharp edges or visible flaws.
I paid £30 for the base pen on Kickstarter in the Early Bird tier, and the Ixion is available now for £33. This is pretty good value; even at its discontinued price, the clipless Karas Kustoms Ink (a very near competitor) starts at $60. With clip it’s $100.
As well as a choice of various aluminium finishes, plus brass and titanium bodies (I chose dark blue anodised aluminium), you can choose different materials for the Ixion’s section and finials — and with a quick twist of a screwdriver you can swap them over at home, too.
I have both brass and stainless steel, and paired with the blue barrel and cap they create a surprisingly different aesthetic. The extra set cost me £15.
Functionally, there’s a lot to like about the Ixion. The section is long and comfortable, with a pronounced step to stop fingers slipping on to the nib. The faceted cap means the pen won’t roll away, without the interruption of a clip. The nibs are Bock units that screw in in a second. The square-cut cap threads spin off the cap quickly, and snugged down, hold it on securely.
The Ixion is just the right weight, and that weight is biased towards the nib so it feels agile on the page. If you want the pen longer or more back-weighted, the cap posts deeply and securely.
Namisu also includes a neoprene pen sleeve in the box, which is a nice touch.
Let’s move to the negatives.
I had some pretty big functional issues. Both the supplied steel and titanium nibs wrote very badly out of the box — I had to swap in my own Ti nib to get a satisfactory experience. This is not unusual with Bock nibs in my experience, but it suggests the QC at the Namisu assembly stage was poor or absent. Anyway, now you know why I’m not bothering to review the writing experience… it’s the same nib as I used in my Gist.
The brass section, as you’d expect, tarnishes and smells; the steel section I found really slippery. The threads are sharp, and within days the anodising was wearing off, noticeably.
This all makes the Ixion a bit tiring to write with.
If you’ve checked the Ixion out on Kickstarter, you’ll have found a lot of comments about the project delays and Namisu’s communications throughout the manufacture, shipping and support phases. The project was funded in August 2017, delivery was due in October, and the pen actually only arrived in February 2018. A four-month delay is hardly huge by Kickstarter standards, but the communication from Namisu was pretty dire. Deadlines went by with no update.
I messaged Namisu on Instagram about my problem nibs, but got no reply. That seems pretty standard from what I’m hearing, and I’m writing off the £35 cost of the extra titanium nib rather than waste my time chasing a replacement.
So what’s the verdict? If you like metal pens, there’s a lot to like about the Ixion, particularly given that it starts at £33. It’s good for those who want to customise, both thanks to the easy-swap Bock nib units and the swappable section and finial. And the design is really strong. Unfortunately for me, I don’t get on well with the Ixion on the page, and the whole experience has been soured a little bit for me by the dodgy nibs I received and the poor project communication. With 20+ other pens in my collection to choose from, I rarely find myself reaching for the Ixion.