Category Archives: Fountain Pens

Fountain Pen Reviews – Comprehensive reviews of fountain pens from beginner class to high-end. Each review includes sections for Appearance and Packaging, Nib and Performance, the Feel, Pros and Cons, and a Wrap-up. Each image is clickable, and you are able to enlarge it to see all the small details.

Kaweco Skyline Sport Fountain Pen Review

Kaweco Sport Skyline
Fountain Pen

 

  • Review Paper: Doane Paper Flap Jotter

Kaweco Skyline Sport Fountain Pen Review-6Specs:

  • Description: A great pocket pen with updated colors
  • Refills: International short cartridges / Kaweco Converter
  • Body: Grey Plastic
  • Measurements: 5.270″ long, 0.360″ diameter
  • Color Options: Several! Check them out at JetPens!

Handwritten Review Scans:
Kaweco Skyline Sport Fountain Pen Review-4

Intro/About:

I’ve reviewed a few incarnations of the Kaweco Sport in the past, but when I saw the new grey model with silver trim I had to jump at it. This review is on the shorter side, as it is more of an update than anything. Huge thanks again JetPens for sending over the pen for review!

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Check out JetPens for tons of awesome Japanese pens and stationery. Free shipping on orders over $25, and hitting that is pretty easy with all the great stuff they have. Stop by!

Kaweco Skyline Sport Fountain Pen Review-7

Notes:

The Skyline Sport series is a refresh of the regular Sport line, but with new colors and a silver trim. It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed a Sport. Since then, Kaweco has improved their nibs. My original burgundy Sport needed some tweaking to write well, but the silver nib on this Sport is smooth and has great flow right out of the box. I’m not huge on gold trim in general, so the silver was a welcomed site. Top that off with a dark grey body, and you have a great looking pen.

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The Sport is a smaller pen, shockingly small even. I remember when I took my first one out of the box I was very surprised. Since I knew what to expect, there were no surprises when I unboxed the Sport. I opted to use a Kaweco Aubergine cartridge and I really like the dark purple ink coming out of a grey pen body. I usually have at least one Sport inked up, they are the perfect pocket pen and they’re always reliable and work great.

Pros:

  • Small, pocketable pen
  • Smooth and inky right out of the box
  • New silver trim looks great

Cons:

  • Kaweco converter leaves something to be desired

Conclusion:

I’m a fan of the Sport series, and especially this new color-way. At $23.75, it’s a great entrance to fountain pens and also not too expensive to get one to devote to living in a pocket or with a small notebook. Thanks for reading!

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Thanks again to JetPens for sending this over to review, check out their site for more info on the pen!

Gallery:

Disclaimer: This pen was provided to me as a review unit, free of charge, by JetPens. I was not compensated for this review, and this did not have any effect on my thoughts and opinions about the pen. Thank you for reading!

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Omas Ogiva Alba Fountain Pen Review

Omas Ogiva Alba
Fountain Pen

- Handwritten Review -

  • Review Inks: J. Herbin Blue Pervenche, Orange Indien, Sailor Miruai

Omas Alba Fountain Pen Review-1

Specs:

Writing Samples:

Omas Ogiva Alba Writing Sample

Intro/About:

 

Omas Alba Fountain Pen Review-19Since hearing about the Omas Ogiva Alba, I was very interested in checking them out. Omas pens typically tend to cost a bit more than the $495 entry fee for these. There are plenty of reasons justifying the price tag, and I’m a huge fan of the brand. The pens are made in Italy, hand finished, and assembled with love. The nibs are some of the best I have written with as well. Huge thanks to my friends over at Kenro Industries (the US distributor of Omas, Aurora, Sheaffer and Montegrappa) for letting me borrow these beautiful pens for review. Full disclosure – I no longer work for Kenro Industries, but don’t worry, we’re still friends. Read on to find out how the Omas Ogiva Alba was and head over to Goulet Pens if you want to pick one up!

Appearance & Packaging:

 

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The first thing that stands out about the Albas is their vibrant colors. I think the teal, orange and purple work together quite well. They’re definitely fun and will no doubt breathe some fresh air into a pen collection full of black and grey pens. When you look at (and feel) the pen after being blinded by the translucent cotton resin, you will notice that the body and cap are ribbed. Not only does this add some nice tactile feel, but it definitely makes the pen more interesting to look at and bounces light off very nicely. The Ogiva is a classic cigar shaped pen with very classy furnishings. The clip is sturdy and has a built in roller to ease the pen in and out of shirt or pants pockets. I really like how the step from the barrel to the grip is very gradual. There’s no sharp drop off and the pen looks just as sleek uncapped as it does when sealed up. The Albas come in Omas’ standard packaging, which is minimalist and nice. It’s a sturdy box lined with grey felt in a dark grey metallic sleeve. With the holidays coming up, it would make a great gift presentation.

Nib Performance & Filling System:

 

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In my opinion, Omas has some of the best nibs in the business. They’re all tested and tweaked before leaving the factory and it’s not hard to tell that they really care about the overall writing experience. Omas nibs are definitely wetter than the standard pen, but this adds to the silky smooth experience. I was lent an extra-flexible 14k fine nib, a standard 18k medium nib, and an 18k stub. Out of the bunch, the medium is my favorite. But first, a little about each nib.

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The 14k nib is extremely soft. When writing in cursive, you can get some incredible line variation when pushing the nib. However, be careful as the softer gold can easily be sprung. Admittedly, the extra flex was much better suited for cursive than it was with my standard small caps writing.

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The medium nib is pretty much perfect for me. It’s got a nice huge sweet spot, it’s silky smooth, and has just a bit of spring to it, making for a nicely cushioned writing experience. The flow runs on the wet side, so make sure you load it up with an ink that will behave.

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I’m not much of a stub guy, but this one is quite nice. It’s buttery smooth and it’s not too sharp at the edges. The pen lays down a nice line and there’s noticeable variance between the cross and down strokes. Overall, I’m extremely happy with the nib performance. They definitely hold up to my Nakaya and my all-time favorite Lamy 2000.

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The Ogivas fill via piston, which is smooth to turn and holds a ton of ink. The translucent resin allows you to see your writing fluid of choice sloshing around inside the pen body. No complaints here and the large ink capacity is a good thing, especially when the pens tend to run wet.

Feel:

 

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The Ogiva is a classic cigar shaped pen. The cap is capable of posting, but I prefer the length and balance without doing so. It’s very close in size and shape to my Pilot Custom 823, which I really like. It’s not an oversized pen, but it’s not small. Definitely right in the middle of the road. I’d say my hands are average size just to give you some scale. The fit and finish are both superb, there are no seams, no marks – just nicely polished and textured cotton resin. The pen is nicely weighted and balanced as well. My only issue with the entire pen is that I wish the grip had a taper at the end. I’ve found myself subject to inky fingers because of the straight grip. It’s definitely not an issue, but a personal preference.

Omas Alba Fountain Pen Review-18

Pros:

  • Great build quality
  • Great nibs
  • Bright colors
  • Fit and finish are great
  • Priced right for an Omas

Cons:

  • $495 is still expensive
  • I wish the grip was tapered at the end

Conclusion:

 

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The Omas Ogiva Alba is a great pen. There are a ton of different nib options and the three colors are fun and refreshing. The fit and finish are on point and you can really tell that the people who make these pens care. At $495 it’s not a no-brainer, but if you’ve been interested in the brand and would like to see what the fuss is about with a relatively low barrier to entry for an Omas pen. You will not be disappointed by the writing experience. Pick one (in each color?!) up at Goulet Pens – the exclusive retailer until the end of the year today!

Gallery:

 

Disclaimer: This pen was provided to me as a loaner for review purposes by Kenro Industries. All opinions are my own.

Visconti Homo Sapiens Bronze Age Fountain Pen Review

Visconti Homo Sapiens Bronze Age

- Handwritten Review -

  • Review Ink: Iroshizuku Shin-Kai
  • Review Paper: Rhodia No. 18

Visconti Homo Sapiens Bronze Age Fountain Pen Review

 

Specs:

  • Description: A full size pen, crafted from lava rock and bronze
  • Nib: Medium, 23kt Palladium Dreamtouch Nib
  • Filling Mechanism: Powerfiller (vacuum plunger)

Handwritten Review Scans:

Visconti Homo Sapiens Bronze Age Fountain Pen Review

Intro/About:

Ever since I saw the Visconti Homo Sapiens, I knew I needed to add one to my collection. It was during the beginning of my fountain pen journey and a $650 pen seemed insane…fast forward a few years later and it didn’t seem TOO hard to swallow. I got a great deal on the pen at the DC Pen Show and I absolutely love it.It’s perfectly weighted and balanced and the lava rock exterior is awesome to hold. The 23kt palladium Dreamtouch nib is definitely living up to its name. Enjoy the review!

Visconti Homo Sapiens Bronze Age Fountain Pen Review

 

Appearance & Packaging:

The H.S. is an amazing looking pen. The lava finish is as stunning as it is unique. Bronze accents beautifully contrast the dark grey-black body of the pen. The nib is nicely sized for the proportions of the pen. I really love the imprint on the nib. It’s impossible for me to find anything about the pen’s appearance that I don’t like.

Visconti Homo Sapiens Bronze Age Fountain Pen Review

The packaging is as expected for a $650 pen. It comes in a black leatherette box with a cream interior. I’ll be putting the pen to good use, so the box will be filed away. It’s a great looking pen that is presented nicely. I’ll let the pictures do the talking here…

Visconti Homo Sapiens Bronze Age Fountain Pen Review

Nib Performance & Filling System:

The 23kt palladium “Dreamtouch” nib is SO close to being perfect. It’s buttery smooth, super inky and has the slightest bit of spring to it. However, I have noticed that it sometimes has a hard start on a downstroke. This can be quite annoying, especially with my small caps writing style that has a lot of straight up and down lines. When writing in cursive, the pen doesn’t have the problem, I’m guessing because of all of the loops and curves.

Visconti Homo Sapiens Bronze Age Fountain Pen Review

Maybe the nib needs some breaking in, and I will be trying other inks in it as well. The nib lays down a very wet line with zero pressure needed. The filling system is essentially an over-marketed (POWERFILLER!) vacuum plunger system that can be seen in the TWSBI Vac 700 and Pilot Custom 823. It easily pulls in a lot of ink, which is needed to keep up with the wet flow. The pen was easily flushed out. The filling system is a nice departure from the piston fillers that are commonly seen in this price range.

Feel:

Visconti Homo Sapiens Bronze Age Fountain Pen Review

I absolutely love the size, weight, and diameter of the Homo Sapiens. It’s substantial, but not overly heavy. Posting the cap is not recommended, as it throws the balance way off and adds a considerable amount of length to the pen.

Visconti Homo Sapiens Bronze Age Fountain Pen Review

The lava finish is what initially drew me towards the pen. It feels great. Not too much more I can say about it. It has the perfect amount of texture to it and it feels unlike anything else currently in my pen collection. The size is perfect for me as well.

Pros:

 

  • Lava is so cool.
  • Great looks
  • Buttery smooth nib

Cons:

  • Skipping on downstrokes

Conclusion:

Visconti Homo Sapiens Bronze Age Fountain Pen Review

The Homo Sapiens Bronze Age Maxi is my first Visconti and I love it. Awesome looks and unique materials, paired with the smooth nib and great balance make it a near-perfect pen for me. I’m going to have the nib checked over at my next pen show, but it wouldn’t stop me from recommending the pen. Thanks for reading!

Gallery:

[Guest Post] Sailor 1911 Matte Black Full Size with a Naginata Togi MF Nib

[Guest Post] The Sailor 1911 Matte Black Full Size with a Naginata Togi MF Nib

Another awesome guest post by Susan Pigott! You may know her from her own blog, Scribalishess! Her photography, handwriting, and reviewing skills are top notch. If you like what you see here, make sure to go check out more on her site! Here’s Susan’s review of the The Sailor 1911 Large Matte Black Fountain Pen with an incredible Naginata Togi MF nib. Enjoy!

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Review Ink: Diamine Ancient Copper

Specs:

Description:  A Sailor 1911 Full Size in Matte Black with rhodium accents fitted with a Naginata Togi MF Nib

Nib:  21K Gold Naginata Togi MF

Filling Mechanism:  Cartridge/Converter

Weight: 23.7 grams

Measurements:  5.5 inches in length, capped; 4 and 3/4 inches uncapped; and 6 inches posted

Color Options: Black with gold trim; Black with rhodium trim, Burgundy with gold trim, Black luster, Matte Black with gold trim, Matte Black with rhodium trim and metal section, Naginata-Togi Gin-sensuji with Rhodium Trim, Naginata-Togi Ribbed Black with Gold Trim,Naginata-Togi Ribbed Black with Rhodium Trim, Naginata-Togi Ribbed Burgundy with Rhodium Trim, Black Realo with gold trim, Burgundy Realo with gold trim.

Handwritten Review Scans:

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Intro/About: 

I’ve been eyeing Naginata Togi nibs for quite some time now. I’ve always been fascinated with Sailor specialty nibs, and the Togi is the most basic (and least expensive) of the specialty nibs. I bought this pen from a seller on FPN for about $100 off the price listed at Classic Pens ($416). The seller had bought it from Classic Pens, so the nib was tuned by John Mottishaw. I was thrilled because I almost bought this very pen at the full price.

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Ed already reviewed a Sailor Professional Gear 1911, so I’m not going to focus much on the pen itself, though my model is a bit different. This review is all about the nib.

Appearance and Packaging: 

My Sailor 1911 came in a blue, rectangular clamshell box with literature about the pen and Sailor’s specialty nibs. Included were one ink cartridge and a converter.

The matte black version with rhodium trim is subtle and beautiful. I usually like gold-trimmed pens, but the rhodium matches the matte black perfectly. I honestly have too many black, cigar-shaped pens in my collection, but the matte black makes this pen stand out from the crowd. It’s classy, like Bond, James Bond.

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Nib Performance and Filling System:

The nib is what truly makes this pen something special.

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The Naginata Togi nib allows for a great deal of line variation depending on the angle of the pen to the paper. It is an unusually-shaped nib (see photos), and it has a longer than usual tip. It’s a 21K nib and is pretty rigid. You’re not going to get any flex while writing with this nib. The line variation comes from how you hold the pen. In the written review, I held the nib in my normal writing position, which is about 45 degrees, and I found the nib wrote beautifully. You can see differences in line width when I held the pen at a 90 degree angle, a 45 degree angle, and a super low angle (as close to the paper as I could hold it).

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Most of the Sailor specialty nibs are made for Japanese-styles of writing and calligraphy. But I wanted one for writing Hebrew since the horizontal strokes need to be thicker than the vertical strokes. (In real life I’m a professor of Old Testament and Hebrew). Even though I have a Hebrew nib from Richard Binder, it’s got a very narrow width and, unless I write tiny, I can’t see much variation between the horizontal and vertical strokes. The Naginata Togi does quite well, though I still need to practice making the Hebrew look good. I sure wish I could do Hebrew calligraphy.

P8230927

I admit I was nervous about buying a Sailor specialty nib. When you go the page on Classic Pens, the specialty nibs are almost overwhelming. They are amazingly intricate, and I was afraid I would find the Naginata Togi to be ridiculously broad. I even called and asked about the nibs and was told they are not for everyone. But I am a believer in this nib. I’m amazed at how smoothly it writes. I love the versatility it has depending on the angle you’re writing.

One concern I had is that the Naginata Togi nib puts down lots of ink when you’re writing broad. I was afraid the feed and the converter wouldn’t be able to keep up. So far, everything has been perfect, though I expect to refill this pen more often than most.

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Feel:

The Sailor 1911 full size feels great in the hand. It’s not a heavy pen. It is smooth as silk but not slippery. I don’t post my pens, but I tried writing with it posted and, for me at least, posting ruins the balance. If you want line variation, you have to hold the pen at different angles. Some angles are quite uncomfortable (such as trying to write super fine at 90 degrees). Other angles are easier on the wrist, but the lower you go, the slower you have to write.

 

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Pros:

  • The 1911 in Matte Black is a gorgeous pen. It is sleek and elegant and the rhodium trim complements it perfectly.
  • The pen feels good in the hand and is neither too heavy nor too light.
  • The Naginata Togi nib is a useful departure from a typical nib. I can see artists using this nib for sketching since you can get such wonderful line variation. For me, it works great as a general writer and it enhances my Hebrew printing.

Cons:

  • I prefer piston filler pens. The Sailor converter only holds .5ml of ink. You can get the Sailor Realo instead, but it only holds .9ml. Currently the Realo only comes in Black and Burgundy with gold trim. So, if you want the matte black, you have to go with the 1911 or Pro Gear.
  • The pen looks rather ordinary and plain. I like colorful pens. But the matte black makes it stand out from other black, cigar-shaped pens and the rhodium trim is different from my other pens, all of which have gold accents.
  • The Naginata Togi nib may not suit everyone’s tastes. If you can try one before you buy, that’s the best thing to do. I definitely wouldn’t go larger than the MF Togi. I’ve read that the medium and broad versions are like writing with Magic Markers.

 

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Conclusion:

All in all, I am very pleased with my Sailor 1911 Naginata Togi. My fears about the nib were unwarranted and, in fact, I am crazy about it. I love how it looks, how it writes, and that it is versatile enough that I can write in my journal or write Hebrew or both (because I totally write in Hebrew in my journal . . . not).

Gallery:

 

 

[Guest Post] The Platinum 3776 Century Nice Limited Edition Fountain Pen Review

Today we have another guest post by Susan Pigott. You may know her from her own blog, Scribalishess! Her photography, handwriting, and reviewing skills are top notch. If you like what you see here, make sure to go check out more on her site! Here’s Susan’s review of the The Platinum 3776 Century Nice Limited Edition Fountain Pen. Enjoy!

Review Ink: Caran d’Ache Delicate Green and Pilot Iroshizuku Asa-Gao

 

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Specs:

Description:  The Platinum 3776 Century Nice Limited Edition fountain pen is a frosted, translucent, faceted demonstrator pen with a rose gold plated nib and accents.

Nib:  Fine,14K, rose gold plated

Filling Mechanism:  Cartridge/Converter

Weight: .7 oz. (19.9 grams)

Measurements:  5.5 inches in length, capped; 4 and 3/4 inches uncapped; and 6 inches posted

Color Options: None

 

Handwritten Review Photos:

 

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Intro/About:

 

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I am not usually one who is interested in clear demonstrator pens. I’ve always felt they were plasticky-looking and sort of silly. Why get a clear pen (and even pay more for it) when you can get a pretty color? But when I saw pictures of the Platinum 3776 Century Nice, I loved it. Somehow the rose gold plated nib and accents on the pen won me over. So, I ordered one from Classic Pens and it arrived yesterday. My Platinum Nice is one of the first 2,000 produced, so it comes with a limited edition number etched on the cap. Mine is 121 out of 2,000.

Appearance & Packaging:

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The packaging is nothing spectacular, but it suits the pen. It comes in a cream-colored oval box with a satin-like interior. It’s understated, like the pen. One cartridge of ink and a Platinum converter are included with the pen, along with a registration form, instruction booklet, and information about the Nice.

I was surprised to discover that the pen isn’t clear. It is faceted and has a frosted appearance. I really love this look. The facets give the pen more character than a smooth-bodied pen has, and they add a wonderful elegant shimmer to what might otherwise be a dull finish. The rose gold is simply gorgeous on the pen. I’ve seen it on other pens, such as the 90th anniversary MB. Personally, I don’t like rose gold with a black pen. It just doesn’t work for me. But because the Nice is a neutral color, the rose gold really stands out.

 

Nib Performance & Filling Mechanism:

 

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Initially, I was disappointed with my new Platinum fine nib–and that’s a first for a pen bought from Classic Pens. I filled the pen with Caran d’ Ache Delicate Green ink because I knew the green color of the ink would look outstanding with the rose gold (and it did). But when I started writing with the pen, I immediately thought, “I’m going to have to return this and get it tuned again or exchange the fine nib for a medium.” The ink flow was poor, the nib felt dry, and I could barely see the green on the paper. I know Classic Pens tunes their nibs before they ship them, but I thought maybe the nib had some factory oil or something that was making it write poorly. So, I dumped the ink, rinsed the nib, used some pen wash to flush the nib, and rinsed some more. I refilled: same thing–dry, scratchy, stuttering across the paper. I was not happy. This was not at all the experience I’ve had with my other Platinum Century pen. So, I decided to change the ink. I cleaned the pen again and put Iroshizuku Asa-Gao in the Nice. What a difference this made in the performance of the nib! I know that some inks work well with certain nibs and others don’t. Apparently Caran d’ Ache Delicate Green is not good for my Platinum Nice. With Asa-Gao, it writes like a dream. Of course, since a Japanese fine is like a Western extra-fine, the nib has some scratchiness to it. But this is to be expected, and for such a fine line, it writes beautifully. Plus, one thing I love about Platinum nibs is their springiness. They aren’t nails; they don’t flex; but they offer a nice, bouncy feedback as you write.

 

The filling mechanism on Platinum pens is a cartridge/converter system. I never use cartridges (except on my Kaweco), so I knew I would be using the converter. The converter is tiny, holding only .55 ml. But it has a solid feel to it. I find it easiest to fill the converter directly with ink (rather than trying to fill it through the nib). I get my fingers pretty inky this way, but I always get a better fill. I much prefer piston fillers, but Nakaya and Platinum nibs are so wonderful that I’m willing to put up with the dinky amount of ink the converter holds. One advantage to cartridge/converter pens: they are easy to clean.

 

Feel:

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The Platinum Nice is a light pen, weighing in at only .7 ounces (19.9 grams) unfilled. I enjoy writing with both light and heavy pens, but I’ve found that my hand tends to last longer with a lighter pen. The Nice writes well unposted, which is how I use my fountain pens. Posting gives it a little more heft, but the weight is on the back of the pen, so it might feel a bit unbalanced. It’s a good length unposted and fits comfortably in my hand. I wrote four pages in my handwritten review without any fatigue at all using this pen. Plus, I have a Platinum 3776 Century in Chartres blue that I’ve been using for a couple of years as my main grading pen (I’m a professor). It’s my main grading pen for a reason: excellent nib and comfortable writing. The Nice will make a nice companion grading pen with a different color of ink. Unfortunately, I won’t be using the Caran d’ Ache as I planned. Guess I’ll just have to get another bottle of Iroshizuku in green!

Pros:

 

  • Beautiful, understated, elegant pen. The rose gold complements the frosted body of the pen perfectly.
  • Excellent nib; bouncy, fairly smooth (with the right ink), and gorgeous.
  • Light and comfortable to write with.
  • Special cap with “slip and seal” technology allows you to keep the pen inked for long periods of time.
  • This is a wonderful daily carry pen. It’s pocketable with a clip; the cap is secure and air-tight; it writes beautifully.

 

Cons:

  • The converter does not hold much ink, so if you use this pen often, as I do, plan on refilling often. In fact, I now store bottle of inks at work so I always have refills available.
  • Fairly expensive for what amounts to a frosted plastic pen (with 14K accents and nib) ($250 retail; $200 at Classic Pens). Still, this is an affordable limited edition pen, especially if you get one of the first 2,000 that are numbered.
  • Plan on getting a medium or broad if you don’t like super narrow nibs. The Platinum fine nib is pretty smooth for what amounts to a Western EF, but you do get a little scratchiness simply because that’s the nature of EF nibs.

 

Conclusion:

 

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I am thrilled with my Platinum 3776 Century Nice fountain pen. It is more beautiful in person than I expected. I love the facets and frosted look of the pen body. And the rose gold is simply lovely. The pen feels solid in my hand, not plasticky. And, once I got the ink problem figured out, it writes like a charm. I realize some might think me crazy for using expensive fountain pens as grading pens. But fountain pens make me happy, and that makes the horrible chore of grading a little less loathsome. A little.

Gallery: