Before we dig into this review, I should mention that I have owned quite a few Indian fountain pens in the past and have always been left feeling a smidgen indifferent towards them. The price is generally excellent and the fit & finish is usually… okay, but they were never particularly exciting. Just polished ebonite with average nibs.
I try to fight against my own biases, hence my eclectic collection. Thus, here we are with the ASA Nauka, which is probably one of the few bad ass Indian fountain pens on the market. Sadly, whilst I am utterly smitten with the aesthetics, I do have to point out that it is eerily similar to an Olwin by MoraStylo, at a 20th of the price.
So yep, originality is questionable, but the superb aesthetics and crazy cool “Bakul” brushed finish isn’t.
ASA Nauka Brushed Ebonite Fountain Pen – ASAPens.in
Super tapered cigar pens are my favourite. Coupled with the unusual finish and general oversized build – I can’t help but love the ASA Nauka. It’s just too damn cool for sub $30. As you can see below, it’s a pretty large pen, but thanks to its all ebonite construction, it feels pretty light & agile in the hand. The brushed finish is reminiscent (to me) of the Danitrio Kuro-Keshi finish, but instead of having a satin finish, the Nauka is pretty heavily textured and quite beautiful in its own way.
The finish runs in one direction only, which helps to mask any machining marks & not look as if all you are doing is masking machining marks. I have zero problems with this. Frankly, for a durable every day pen, this finish looks sexy as sin – I don’t know if you can do any better. The ebonite itself looks to be of good quality with no inclusions or bubbles.
Honestly, the only fit and finish issue I saw was the misalignment with the top cap (needed to fit the clip on). Even then, it’s only noticeable using my macro lens. In the flesh, it looks very uniform.
The best part of the pen are the threads being on the top of the section. What this means in practice is that you can wield the Nauka any damn way you please – no restriction on where to grip as you essentially have free reign of the entire body. Magnifico, and I wish companies besides than pseudo-custom makers like Oldwin would do this. It just makes sense.
I have always been hesitant with Indian made pens due to a lacklustre performance, and generally speaking, awful branding. I don’t know why they can’t seem to have a sexy logo/congruent aesthetic, but somehow they always manage to create a decent pen and then slap some garish text all along the side of the barrel. Eugh.
Thankfully, the ASA Nauka has a super discreet and very nicely styled engraving on the side of the cap. Beyond that, it’s as neutral as Switzerland.
Which is a good thing. If you don’t believe me, look at the branding monstrosity that is “Gama” pens.
As for the nib, ASA offers a wide range of European nibs, but I don’t like that and wanted to have something a bit more unique. Interestingly, the ASA branded nib is also the cheapest, and frankly, it performs fantastically. Maybe it’s because ASA will adjust the nib before shipping it out or because they are just amazing out of the box, but whatever the reason – it’s a win.
I ordered the F nib, I’ll talk about the writing sample later but for now I haven’t got much to add due to not knowing much about it. I have zero clue as to who makes this nib, but whoever it is, they did a good job.
(sidenote: I would personally forgo the scrollwork and just have that nice, clean ASA logo by itself).
Writing performance was flawless. Nice and smooth, but not glassy, with generous ink flow. I literally don’t have a bad thing to say about it and I am extremely glad I went with it as opposed to the boring JoWo.
Its a smidgen springy, but not to the point that I could consider it soft. As a side note, beyond doubling up the width – the feed won’t keep up. I can go from F to a wide M, maybe a B, but that’s about it. No complaints though, it’s not advertised as a fun nib, and consequently, I am just happy it has some character.
This is officially one of my favourite pens. I love everything about it because, honestly, I love everything about Oldwin pens. I know, I know – imitation is the sincerest form of flattery or whatever, but it still does rub me the wrong way. I did snap up another ASA (also with that sexy Bakul finish) and I imagine I will get a few more in the future.
Folks, this is the Indian pen that should be used as the standard for all other Indian pens. The ASA Nauka is sexy, has great branding and features a unique finish that is both functional and straight up gorgeous. Ignore all other options (mottled/swirly ebonite), and get this one instead.
First time with an Indian pen where I have zero regrets.