Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Fountain pen items that are out of this world!

 Fountain pen items that are out of this world!

   
    Hello to all you pen friends, wherever you may be in the world, I hope you are doing well! Recently we got some exciting news that the Perseverance rover landed safely on Mars and was even able to send back video and audio recordings of the mysterious "Red Planet". This really is groundbreaking milestone in the history of space exploration and should be celebrated correctly, and what other way to celebrate than with some space themed stationery items? Let's take a look at perhaps the most obviously themed items that actually are not fountain pens, I speak of none other than the Fisher Space Pen!

Fisher Space Pen

    I think that even if you or a loved one doesn't know a lot about pens or stationary, you've heard of Fisher. The brand was born to solve the issue of the unreliable ballpoint pen refill and the final product ended up being almost indestructible. The unique feature of being able to write over grease, underwater and other harsh conditions are what landed the pens debut on the Apollo 7 mission in 1968. The brand now makes a bunch of different pens in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors making them perfect for anyone. I particularly like Fisher pens because they are relatively compact and extremely durable making them a good option to throw in a purse or bag and not have to worry about if it will write or not. Perhaps the most popular of the models is called the Bullet and is the perfect size for a pocket and even has an adjustable clip. The Bullet comes in at around $21.25-$34.00 but I encourage to take a look at the full selection of Fisher products so you can make an informed decision for your own needs!

Colorverse Inks

    Arguably the stationary brand with the largest commitment to science themes, they have a massive line of inks sure to capture the area of study you're most interested in. The ink brand was started in South Korea with the idea of the universe being boundless and unexplored thus acting as a sort of muse for the brand. The brand makes both shimmer and standard inks which is always a nice thing to see, they also make the same colors (some) in both shimmer and standard which is something pretty unique and to my knowledge is specific to Colorverse. I think my personal favorite would be Hayabusa which is a spectacular purple color that is available in both shimmer and standard. The other nice thing about Colorverse is that they have quite a variety of sizes which means you don't have to commit to a whole bottle of a color you may not like. Colorverse inks are available at a reasonable price range between $6.50-$40 for the bigger box sets. 

Pelikan Moonstone

    Pelikan is no stranger to releasing some pretty fantastic special edition pens and their M200 special editions are no different. Last year the Special edition color was called Moonstone and was a gray, I'd describe it as a bluish grey ink but the pen is what really shines here. I must admit the initial promotion pictures made the pen look just like a translucent grey pen but it was actually a deeper and shinier pen with flecks of reflective glitter which really makes it more dynamic and colorful. The M200 is a fantastic steel nib pen as well and has a rather bouncy nib which can feel really nice and offer a little line variation, the piston also is very smooth and ink capacity isn't bad either. The moonstone pen comes in at around $192 and $26.25 for the ink but the two can be purchased together as a box set for $216. 

For the high rollers

    This is a pen that I've long lusted over and is one with impeccable attention to detail which is the standard when it comes to the higher price pens that they produce. This pen also placed the universe as its muse and has a portrayal of Adam from the famous Creation of Adam painting. The pen has Sterling detail throughout which adds a satisfying weight but the real prize of this pen is the enamel work. The planets and stars really have an understated beauty as if you were seeing them in the sky. The oversized nib with ebonite feed is buttery smooth and gives a commanding feeling when writing with it, I find that they also get the length of oversized pen right and the weight is also balanced nicely. I believe a small sapphire is also embedded in the clip of the pen which is a nice little detail especially when nestled in a breast pocket. The box for this pen is rather stunning and holds the pen up right in the air almost as a reference to the monolith from Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. When I said this pen was for the high rollers I wasn't joking, this pen can be yours for the price of $3,505 so come by and check it out!
さようなら、Kyle
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Wednesday, February 17, 2021

10 Tips to Help your Fountain Pens Last a Lifetime

 A Few Tips to Help your Fountain Pens Last a Lifetime:

    Hello all you wonderful pen friends, this is Kyle and I'm hoping that this quick list of ten points will help you maintain your pens while also maintaining your interest in your pens so that they will last a lifetime. Keep in mind that all of these points will be in accordance with my own opinion and you may have differing beliefs when it comes to something like inks or paper, and that's totally fine! This list is just to spark ideas or give direction to people wondering if they are using and maintaining their pens correctly. One more thing before we get into the first bullet point is that I won't be putting these in any particular order because everyone's priorities with pens may be different. Ok, enough intro, let's get into the first point!

Store your pens nib up

    This is arguably the phrase uttered the most throughout pen stores and pen clubs alike but is it really necessary? Yes and no. I say this because technically it is the best way to store fountain pens because they work on capillary action which means ink will eventually leak if they are left nib down for long enough. The no part comes from my own personal experience in which I used to have a big 40 pen case that stood on my bookshelf but the pens were stored sideways. In my experience with using this orientation to store my pens none of my pens have leaked and perform as expected, granted sideways isn't the same as face down but don't get bent out of shape when someone says nib up. Basically as long as your pens aren't nib down you should be good!

Clean your pens regularly

    If this list were in order of importance this would be close to the top and is the key to making your pens last a long time. As fun as it is to switch inks and try new ones out in the same pen, it is CRUCIAL that you clean your pen sufficiently before you do this. This helps to prevent internal staining which can be important with demonstrator pens and it also ensures that ink will not crust up in the pen which can be very hard to resolve especially in pens with tough or older filling mechanisms. Cleaning your pens is really simple and is almost a mindless activity that can be done while listening to music or watching something. The way I clean my pens is I have two cups, one with cold water and one empty, I expel excess ink into the empty cup then proceed to fill and empty my pen with the clean cold water until it runs clear. After that I leave it nib down on a towel to dry, come back after leaving it like that overnight and you should have a spotless pen! *Don't use hot water, it can pose a problem with glues, seals and solvents that may weaken or break with the hot temperature!

Choose your inks carefully

    The many colors, brands and varieties of inks may be overwhelming at first glance but there are a few crucial things to know before you ink your pen with the new ultra glitter sparkle ink. There are three basic types of fountain pen friendly inks: Regular ink, shimmer ink and water proof/pigmented ink. The first one is going to be the most common and generally speaking is the easiest to clean out of pens. The other two have actually particulate in the ink that makes them waterproof or glittery which is all good and fun but this means that they are more likely to clog your pens. My suggestion when it comes to using these tricky inks is to dedicate them to a pen that is easily cleaned, the pen I use my shimmer inks with is a TWSBI Eco because the nib and feed come out making cleaning really easy! *NEVER EVER USE INDIA INK (it will do nothing but clog and destroy)*

Use your pens everyday

    This step may seem daunting at first, especially if you have more than 5 pens inked at any given time which I have definitely been guilty of. My reasoning behind this is that it can prevent drying and hard starts because you are getting ink flowing through the nib every 24 hours. This is also just to take time out of your day to use these wonderful writing instruments that should hopefully bring you joy every time you use them. It is important to take time for yourself during the day and writing can be a very therapeutic way to use this time so try to do it everyday!

Invest in a nice case

    Whether you take your pens to school, work or maybe you just leave them at home, it is very important to have a safe place to keep and transport your pens. I don't take my pens out of my apartment very much but I have a leather wallet that has three pen sleeves inside so that my pens will be nib up and in a smooth, tight environment to minimize damage while traveling. I've recently downsized my collection to only 15 and those all stay in my rickshaw pen rolls which can also be stood up when wrapped up keeping my nibs from leaking. Please please please don't keep your pens in a drawer, I don't really like keeping them in a stand on my desk either, I think keeping them in a nice covered soft environment is best to minimize scratching. Also, don't put the case in a backpack or bag loose, try to put them in a pocket that's tight (in the bag) to minimize movement or you may find an inky mess when you go to write something.

Get fountain pen friendly paper

    There seems to be some misconception that using non-fountain pen friendly paper will damage or harm your fountain pen, THIS IS FALSE. Pen friendly paper does not really have any effect on the condition of the pen itself. It does affect the experience you will have during writing with your pen though. Tomoe River paper is my all time favorite fountain pen friendly paper because it minimizes bleed through and enhances the deeper quality of the inks I use. If you opt for non-fountain pen friendly paper which is less expensive, it tends to bleed quite a bit due to the watery nature of FP ink, feathering is also a very annoying problem that makes your writing look clumsy and messy when it really isn't, not great for business or legibility. With that being said, sometimes in a school or work environment we are forced to use lower quality paper and a way to circumvent some problems this poses is to use a thin nib size like F or EF because they putout less ink.

Minimize the amount of pens you travel with

    This one sort of goes back to the case point but what I mean is that you should really only carry a few pens when you are out on the town. I limit myself to three and usually end up bringing one fountain pen, one ballpoint and a pencil. This is because traveling with pens can cause them to leak and you are also risking something happening to them while you are out of the safe space of your desk or home. You could drop your case and damage it, someone could drop it while looking at it, you could drop it while signing something, Maybe I'm just a nervous person but I really really don't like taking my pens out of the house, maybe a safari or an eco at the most but my more expensive pens will be snuggling up in their cozy pen case while I'm out.

Know the limits of your pen and don't push them (careful when letting someone try a pen)

    This applies more to gold nib pens but I suppose could also be said for steel nibs, please don't push your nib too hard when trying to flex. Steel nibs, with a couple exceptions, don't really flex at all so just try not to put much pressure on the nib when writing and you should be fine since steel is a pretty firm metal it takes more to bend it. Gold is a completely different story and is very easy to bend. I tend to only flex or push my pens that have nibs that are advertised as being flex nibs because I don't really write with flex anyway but if I do I want to be careful about it. I will say that as you own and use your pens more and more you will learn how each nib and feed reacts to different amounts of pressure and you will become acquainted with the thresholds pretty quickly so its not something to worry about too much. If you ever find yourself wondering if you are putting too much pressure on a nib you probably are and should back off a bit. Also, please be careful when lending pens to people, make sure they are knowledgeable about how to effectively use a fountain pen to avoid innocent nib injuries!

Have fun with your pens and try new things

    This is obviously not a point to increase the longevity of your pens but more to increase your interest in the hobby itself and writing as a whole. You should always try new things with your pens whether its trying a new journaling style like Bullet Journaling or maybe learning how to write in cursive. These small changes in your writing norms will really spice up your writing even if it is just for you in a journal or maybe you'll impress someone at school or work. Go out and join your local pen crew and make friends, talk with people about pens, learn and grow your knowledge to keep up your interest in this fantastic community. Oh, and please please please remember to always Enjoy & Keep Writing!
さようなら、Kyle
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Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Cupid's Favorite Pens & Ink!

Valentine's Gifts for your Special Pen Friend!

    Hey everyone, it's Kyle and in this Valentine's Day themed blog I'm going to be going over some of my favorite items that fall into the lovely Valentine's day color scheme. There isn't necessarily one direction or price range I want to go with but I'll try my best to include something for every price range to get you in the giving spirit. I always liked Valentine's Day and the colors, hearts, decorations and now that I have a hobby in which I can express that through creative writing, colorful inks and fun things that I can theme, I find I enjoy holidays even more. Also, every good Valentine's day has a Valentine's card to go with it so without further ado, lets take a look at how to give a spectacular V-day gift or maybe take those Valentine's cards to the next level!

Inks Worth Adoring!

Graf von Faber-Castell, Yozakura, 75ml- This wonderful pink was released last year and is a very well behaved ink from GVFC. The pink is fairly light but not overly so which makes it nice and legible, great for everyday writing or writing cards. Since this is a lighter shade of pink I would suggest a broader nib size but that's just what I prefer, you do you!
Diamine, Electric Pink, 50ml- This is part of Diamine's wonderful line of shimmer inks and this particular color has a silver sheen in it as opposed to a gold. This pink is very bold and legible which makes it a good option for any nib size however, since it is a shimmer ink you want to be careful about putting it in smaller sizes because of clogging but if you use and clean regularly you shouldn't have a problem. The shimmer also adds an extra festive touch if you are going to use this to write or sign some fun Valentine's day cards, I think actually that I am going to award this ink the most festive because the pink shimmer really does scream valentines day, cupid, love vibes!
Sailor, Ink Studio #131, 20ml- This is a true, popping, vibrant, pink and it is extra nice because it is part of the ink studio line. This means two things, you are getting a smaller bottle but I find I don't use pinks crazy often so I can stretch the 20ml a long way, the second thing it means is that is a delight to write with and is perfectly behaved as well as having spectacular shading. This is what I would describe as unapologetically pink and will really set your Valentine's cards aside, I really recommend any ink studio ink and this is NO exception!
Diamine, Candy Cane, 50ml- Surprisingly enough I think more of pink than red when it comes to Valentine's Day, which I feel is maybe the opposite of most people, but either way this is my obligatory red ink choice. It is a nice, mid-tone red that is not eye-shatteringly bright but also not too dark for V-day, the perfect cartoon heart colored red which in my eyes makes it the only correct shade to commemorate the day of love!

Pens Sweeter than Candy!

Aurora, Optima, Pink Kaleidoscope, $715.50- I've said it before and I'll say it again, this is a pen that packs a big punch in a smaller package, Aurora's in-house nibs are a big part of this. The piston mechanism combined with the wonderfully clear ink window making it a great option for being so practical. The brand new pink color way is one that's perfect for Valentine's Day but it's very limited so grab it at retail price while you still can!
Graf von Faber-Castell, Guilloche, Yozakura, $385- This is the pen that was released in conjunction with the earlier mentioned Yozakura ink and is a lighter, more understated look than the Aurora. This pen gives me sleek, professional, elegant vibes and is really in the high caliber of gift giving whether you buy for a loved one or yourself. The pen also has a very nice weight to it and the guilloche texture is very interesting to the touch when compared to a regular smooth pen, overall a very strong and elegant pen to add to any collection!
Visconti, Van Gogh, Souvenir de Mauve, $239- This pen is what I believe to be the perfect V-day color way and mixes pinks from dark to light along with the whites which make a delightful pink mist effect. The color is based on a famous painting by the Dutch post-impressionist but the pen reminds me of a delectable raspberry ice cream with white chocolate which is what I imagine is the perfect Valentine's Day dessert. The price point also puts it in a fair gift price range and its not surprise that this pen writes beautifully, especially with thicker nib sizes the steel nib feels like butter. 
Esterbrook, Estie, Maraschino, $156 Regular or $200 Oversized- Again, here we have my obligatory red pen and is one that came out pretty recently, I chose this because I think its quite a good match to the candy cane color of the ink mentioned earlier. The Estie is a great pen and I prefer the oversize but both sizes take the same Jowo #6 sized nib which can make it a very versatile option if you have a lot of custom grinds. The Estie is also a very solid feeling pen that, despite being the least expensive pen on this list, holds up and maybe even surpasses a lot of pens in its price range!

I hope this list is helpful or can give you ideas on how to get festive this holiday season, Remember to Enjoy & Keep writing! 
さようなら、Kyle

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Wednesday, February 3, 2021

My favorite Budget Friendly FP!!!

TWSBI Eco

Available in 13 Colors

Specs:

  • Description: One of the most affordable and well built piston filling pens that comes in a myriad of fun colors, perfect to start a collection with!
  • Nib: Stainless Steel
  • Material: Clear Resin
  • Filling Mechanism: Piston Filler
  • Weight: 21g Empty
  • Measurements: 5.46in Capped, 6.59in Posted
  • Ink Capacity: 1.75ml

History & Origin:

    TWSBI was not always known as TWSBI and in fact, they were not always making the fun, colorful pens that they've become known for. Originally named Ta Shin Precision, the brand was what is known as an OEM manufacturer. This means that they would make parts and equipment for other brands, now I know you're asking how this relates to them making pens today. In short, they were doing this for 50 years which means they are veterans in the manufacturing field and one day they decided to start selling solely under their own name, thus TWSBI was born. The name is an interesting one and is not without meaning, according to TWSBI's own website the name stands for the phrase "Hall of Three Cultures" which is San Wen Tong in Chinese. When reversed the initials becoming TWS and then BI was added which literally means writing instruments which is a really cool name. Enough of the brand's history, lets get to the looks of one of the best fountain pens I've written with (yes I mean every word of that!).

Appearance & Packaging:

    The pen has some very interesting and incredibly efficient packaging that has come to grow on me as I accumulate more pens and start to see the un-necessary fluff and pomp that a lot of other brands add to maybe justify their higher price points. The TWSBI Eco comes in a translucent clear box that is rather slim, when opened the pen is in a precision cut piece of hard foam that keeps the pen from moving at all and is by far one of the most secure ways of packaging a pen. Along with the pen you get a piston wrench which allows you to take the piston mechanism out, this can also be used on a couple non-twsbi pens, and some piston grease to make sure the Piston stays in good working order. The box also has a cool fold out manual that is only one page so the packaging is incredibly consolidated while still keeping very good care of the pen when it's on its way to a new owner. The pen itself is pretty interesting looking and is mostly a clear demonstrator with the exception of the cap and piston knob which can be in a variety of vibrant clear resins, my personal favorite is the purple.
 The pen does look quite contemporary when compared to something like a classic cigar shaped pen but I find it can brighten up any collection and may even be better for getting children started with their first fountain pen, a bit like the Lamy Safari in this way. The fact that every bit of this pen is clear makes it a really nice version of a demonstrator because some just have a big ink window but with the eco you can actually watch the ink travel from the supply, down the section, through the feed and out of the tip! Anyways, lets take a look at how this cool looking pen actually writes!

Nib & Performance:

    The nib on the Eco is one made of stainless steel which makes it rather stiff, that being said, it provides a very reliable line and to this day I haven't had any skipping or dryness issues. Pair the previous fact with the fairly large ink capacity and you have an affordable, cool looking work horse pen! Something that is a little unfortunate when it comes to the nib is that, unlike the diamond 580, the nib unit is not available separately in other sizes which means that you are pretty much locked into the nib choice you initially go with. While this added convenience would be nice to see, it is tough to think how TWSBI could manage this with the fairly slim and streamlined form factor of the Eco. Another thing to note is that the Eco nibs are friction fit, this means that instead of a screw-in unit the nib and feed are just pushed into place. 
This makes removal for cleaning pretty easy because you just CAREFULLY pull both out and clean it normally but the fins on the feed are rather fragile and can bend or snap off if you aren't careful so please exercise caution when cleaning. Aside from that the pen writes very nicely for its price bracket and I find myself recommending this quite a bit when someone is looking for a new pen or maybe even their first pen! Let's take a look at some pros and cons, then I'll wrap it up and let you decide what color you want! ;)

Pros:

  • Great value
  • Fun color choices
  • Piston filler
  • Large ink capacity
  • Demonstrator may help with learning how to properly clean a fountain pen

Cons:

  • Replacement nib units are not available 
  • Fins on feed are a bit fragile
  • Section may be a little slim for bigger hands

Price & Conclusion:

    Earlier in this blog I said that the TWSBI Eco was one of the best pens I've written with and that is true, value alone makes that statement true not to mention that it is solidly built and perfect for taking notes (which is what I mainly use mine for). The Eco can be purchased from Pen Boutique at $30.99 for the demonstrator color versions with special rose-gold toned editions coming in at $49.99. This is an exceptional price, for this you can get a reliable piston filler and a bottle of ink for around $50 and in some cases less than $50 which just makes this a pen everyone should have in their collection. If anyone, including yourself either doesn't have one of these or has expressed interest in getting their first fountain pen, I can't recommend a better option than the TWSBI Eco, oh, and remember to enjoy & keep writing!
さようなら、Kyle

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Thursday, January 28, 2021

Best Everyday Carry Fountain Pen? A closer look at the Diplomat Aero.

Diplomat Aero

12 Colors to choose from

Specs:

  • Description: A very solid-feeling pen that can handle the challenges of everyday life while also providing a smooth writing experience.
  • Nib: Stainless steel or 14k Gold
  • Material: Anodized Aluminum
  • Filling Mechanism: Cartridge and/or Converter
  • Weight: 41g empty 
  • Measurements: 5.5 inches capped, 6.26 inches posted
  • Ink Capacity: 1.03ml cartridge, 1.12ml converter

History & Origin:

    Diplomat has been making pens since 1922 and pride themselves on all diplomat writing instruments being manufactured in Germany. The Diplomat brand has had an interesting journey to get to where it is now and is only just recently picking up more and more traction in the U.S. market. Originally a small German brand, diplomat was purchased by its French CEO and is now being distributed by Yafa brands. The design of the Aero is one that is instantly eye catching and is inspired by the shape of a Zeppelin with its thin ends and plump center. It also has a propellor logo on the finial which is a nice little touch to really evoke the inspiration of the aircraft. Diplomat is also a relatively mysterious brand with not much information on the brands history or origin so I apologize if this section is lacking but lets take a closer look at how the pen actually looks!

Appearance & Packaging:

    The pen comes in a pretty interesting box that, at first looks relatively mundane, with a white slip cover that is protecting something pretty cool. When the cover is taken off you are left with a metal cover on a black box which gives a very sturdy and industrial feel to the product. When the metal cover is taken off you get the pen and a converter is included which is always a nice, convenient thing to see. The pen itself comes in multiple colors of anodized aluminum and some more special edition or exclusive colors that are really vibrant, making these modern pieces of design pop! 
The fluting of the cap and barrel has a double purpose, it helps the pen look like a Zeppelin but also removes some weight from the all metal pen which its good because this pen is quite hefty and I think it would've been too much had they not cut those pieces of metal out. I think out of all the colors my favorite is the flamed aluminum finish which was a raw piece of aluminum that they blow torched to give it a multi colored look. 
Now that we know how it looks lets take a look at how it writes!

Nib & Performance:

    This pen comes with the option of a Stainless Steel Nib and a 14k Gold nib that Diplomat makes in house. I've had the privilege of being able to write with both and I can say that you won't be disappointed with either nib option. I think I gravitate more towards the steel nib for this pen because it falls more into what I believe this pen is for, that is, a workhorse pen that I can throw around and not have to worry about it breaking. It is also a pen that I would give to someone who was interested in trying their first fountain pen and a gold nib would be too delicate and expensive for these purposes. Now don't get me wrong, I love gold nibs and this one is no exception so if you find yourself wanting a new gold nib pen I think that the minor price bump that it adds to the pen still makes it a reasonable and good option for a "step-up" pen. The steel nib is one of the smoothest I've tried and is tested in Diplomats factory before being sent out so it should write well out of the box and if it doesn't something is wrong. 
The one qualm I have with this pen is that the section can be pretty slippery because it is just flat anodized aluminum and while it has a nice weight to it, if you have sweaty or lotion-y hands it may prove a challenge to wield. Other than that I think this pen is quite literally a very solid choice for a fountain pen for people on the go or who don't want to have to worry about throwing their pen around. Lets take a look at my pros and cons and then discus price.

Pros:

  • Solid build quality
  • option for Steel or Gold nib
  • Converter included
  • Affordable "next-step" price
  • Unique design

Cons:

  • Section can feel slick at times

Price & Conclusion:

    The Diplomat Aero is quite possibly one of the most durable fountain pens you can buy, I've dropped it, put it in a bag with no case, even left it outside overnight, it still writes as well as when I first took it out of the box. The Aero can be purchased at Pen Boutique between $156-$280 depending on whether you want a steel or gold nib. The flame finish is a little more expensive due to the process of creating the unique finish and colors. As I said earlier, I really enjoy this pen and sometimes its nice to have something not so delicate that you can use into the ground every single day and I firmly believe this is one of the best choices for that. Hopefully the Aero will fly its way into your EDC (everyday carry) and whatever you decide to do please remember to enjoy & keep writing! 
さようなら、Kyle

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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Making Great Pens for Centuries to Come

Platinum #3776 Century

13 colors to choose from at Pen Boutique

Specs:

  • Description: A sleek and reliable gold nibbed pen that comes in at a reasonable price and comes in many colors from fun to professional.
  • Nib: 14k Gold
  • Material: Clear and Opaque Resin
  • Filling Mechanism: Cartridge and/or Converter
  • Weight: 20g unfilled
  • Measurements: 5.5 in capped, 6.3 in Posted
  • Ink Capacity: 1.27ml cartridge, .82ml Converter

History & Origin:

    Platinum was founded in 1919, just 8 years after Sailor and 1 year after Pilot, and has proven itself to be a strong contender with its competition. I am a fan of all three brands listed above and firmly believe that each one has something unique that they bring to the table so allow me to express what Platinum has captured with the #3776. Platinum's #3776 model has been around since 1978 and relatively recently, as the century marking anniversary of Platinum approached, the pen got a redesign. The aesthetics of the pen remain relatively unchanged however this is when Platinum first introduced their remarkable "Slip and Seal" cap mechanism which I will go over a little later, the nib and feed were re designed as well during this time. These modifications are no surprise when you take into account the tradition of technological innovation that Platinum prides themselves on. According to Platinum's website they say that the #3776 Century was designed with the following ideas for quality in mind: sleek design, comfortable writing balance, smooth flow and fast drying ink. Enough of me talking about it, let's see how it arrives and how it looks.

Appearance & Packaging:

    The packaging for all the standard colors is relatively simple, an outer branded slip cover is protecting a black clamshell box. Inside the box you will find the pen, a cartridge, use and care guide, and all of this is being protected with a nice silk-like lining. The pen has a decent length that is comparable to the TWSBI Eco when capped and comparable to the Lamy 2000 when uncapped so I'd call it a nice mid-sized pen. Most finishes will be see through but there are some less transparent options as well, and there are a few choices for material and finish. 
Platinum has found great success in this model and have dedicated a special collection of #3776's to Mount Fuji and its surrounding natural beauties. These editions tend to be textured and are very eye catching but be warned, they sell out fast. 
Another option is their Maki-e and gold leaf versions of this pen which can be quite striking, I'm partial to the Fujin and Raijin version pictured here. Another variant that is decidedly more rare is the celluloid versions of this pen however those aren't too widely available and are not carried by Pen Boutique. Lets check out the nib and how the pen actually writes!

Nib & Performance:

    This area was the most impacted, in a positive manner, by the "Century" redesign. Lets start things off with the nib and feed, nibs on the #3776c are made of 14k and are quite stiff in my experience, you can expect a standard run from EF-B and with some special colors you have the choice of a Music nib which can be quite nice. I don't find that #3776's have a heavy ink flow, in fact out of the medium and broad that I've tried, I'd say the ink flow is quite balanced, this will change a bit depending on the ink used but expect something right in the middle of dry and gushing. The nib and feed are incredibly reliable thanks to another innovation Platinum brought to this pen, I'm of course talking about the "Slip and Seal" mechanism inside of the cap. 
This is an inner cap sleeve that is spring loaded so that when the cap is screwed closed, the sleeve is pushed back and pressure is put on the spring which keeps the portion of the cap where the nib is stored, air tight. Platinum claims that this can keep a nib wet for 24 months when pens of theirs without the new mechanism only stay wet for about 6 months, again, I haven't tested this but after using the #3776 I could see 24 months in the realm of possibility. The pen fills with a cartridge or converter, both are proprietary so you must use Platinum brand cartridges or a platinum converter for this pen to fill correctly. The cartridges are quite nice and even have a metal ball to agitate the ink and keep things flowing, the converter holds a reasonable amount of ink as well. I believe that with these new additions to a classic design, Platinum has solidified the #3776 as a great option for someone wanting to get their first gold nib or a seasoned collector. 

Pros:

  • Sleek and classic design
  • Wide color variety
  • Fair Price
  • Interesting mechanics that work well
  • Various special edition and "step up" options

Cons:

  • May look plain to some
  • While the nibs are reliable they are fairly stiff
  • Stiff competition in this price range

Price & Conclusion:

     The #3776 Century is one that I find myself suggesting more and more, especially for those wanting to take the "next step" and get their first or maybe second gold nib. You get a reliable, good looking pen that would be appropriate in either a work environment or for just journaling at home. The ink capacity is fair for a cartridge converter pen and the nibs are nice despite being a bit on the stiffer side, it is a gold nib after all. The classic attention to detail and quality control that comes with buying a Japanese fountain is evident when you first take it out of the box, and if you are lucky enough to snag one of the limited edition versions, even better. The #3776c comes in between $176-$216 for the standard colors and special editions/music nibs will cost more, I hope this makes the choice for your next pen a little easier and remember to always Enjoy and Keep Writing! 
さようなら、Kyle  

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