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Can A Platinum Pen Satisfy A Chunky Nib Fan?

01/25/2013

Japanese pens are known for extremely fine nibs and rightfully so. For those who write very small or need the perfect pen for margin notes, nothing beats the delicate markings produced by an extra-fine nib. But what about writers who prefer a little chunkiness in line width? Are we closed out of Japanese pen offerings? Dick Egolf of Luxury Brands USA was very generous and sent a couple of Platinum models to see whether a wide nib lover could fall in love with a Platinum wide nib.

Not that first impressions are always sufficient but why not give these pens the best opportunity to show what they can do right from the start. So out came the bottle of Diamine Sepia for the #3776 Music Nib. Sepia can shade, even outline under best circumstances, making it an interesting prospect for a wide nib. The Century Chartres Blue B Nib arrived with a cartridge of Platinum Pigment Blue so that was an easy choice to test the new “Slip & Seal” cap and redesigned nib and feed.

The nibs on both pens are 14K, high quality, and perfect right out of the box. Other than a rinse to remove any residual manufacturing debris, they went straight to work.

Platinum Broad and Music Nibs

Platinum #3776 Broad and Music Nibs

First to hit paper was the #3776 Music Nib and it was so much fun I couldn’t bring myself to ink the Century for several days. Initial impression: smoooooth. Next impression: super light-weight. Then the big nib and good flow seduced me. Using Diamine Sepia, I’d found the Golden Retriever of pendom, a big, yellow-orange, tail-wagging, slightly sloppy kisser. If you aren’t a dog person, that might sound gross but believe me the #3776 isn’t mushy like a Labrador Retriever. It is more refined in design and more controlled in performance as is the Golden over the Lab. (No slight to Labs intended.) I don’t know yet if I’ve met my match but I certainly have made a friend for life.

The Century Chartres Blue with the B nib is an excellent all-purpose pen at least for my needs. It has a very smooth flow but is more crisp than the music nib. It starts with no hesitation even after weeks of disuse and with pigment ink at that! If my rotation was winnowed down to just a single pen, the Century would be keen competition to my favorite of the last two years, the Levenger Kyoto True Writer Masuyama stub.

Platinum Nib Comparisons

Platinum #3776 Nibs Compared to a Namiki and a True Writer

How do the nibs compare? The broad nib has more definition than my Western equivalents though certainly not as much as a stub. The music nib is chunkier and deposits more ink than the broad nib. The music nib vertical line ratio is two or three to one depending on the angle at which the pen is held. This nib is particularly well-suited to pale colors with its luscious swath of ink. Both are as quiet as any pen I own matching the Namiki Falcon SB for soft voice. Neither skates though both are absent feedback or drag. Not that I mind wrestling the occasional pen but my daily writers should be tame and obedient to earn such frequent use. Both the broad and the music nibs qualify for my daily rotation and handily at that.

My experience with Platinum pens was very limited until now but I must say this company has figured out how to make ink flow in good proportion to the nib size. This is an attention to detail one might expect at the price point but one that is not often so well executed.

Note that thread placement on both models encourages a gentle grip but it might be awkwardly placed for some writers who don’t like to snuggle up close to the nib. Both pens enjoy good balance so writing is effortless. The Century body (139.5mm × 15.4mm maximum diameter) is slightly larger and longer than the #3776 (136.5mm x 14.5mm). Not significant but a point of comparison for those who already own one of these models.

So can writers who prefer chunky nibs find mates in Japanese pens? At least in the Platinum line, it’s possible. The broad nib is more narrow than a Western broad but not all Western nibs are created equal anyway. Many flow too freely for my taste but the Platinum nails that aspect well with its pigment ink. I might have to invest in bottles of Brun Sepia and Carbon Black just to test it further.

For those who like even wider nibs, the music will do. The volume of ink, though right for the nib, might be a little slow to dry or feather on low quality paper but on the good stuff, it is delightful. Some inks may offer better control as could the angle of the nib to the paper. Black would produce a very bold line suitable for sketching. The more narrow horizontal line could be used in contrast to make line work even more expressive. Expect to spend a little time getting acquainted. Pages of doodles should make the two of you an able team or a fun duo, whichever describes you and your new friend best.

More about Platinum #3776 pens at And All Other Tasks and some thoughts on using the MU nib for drawing from Leigh Reyes.

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11 comments

  1. Very nice. You were lucky (or I was unlucky more likely) with your Platinum Music nib and ink flow, mine was such a dry writer until I did some ‘adjusting’ now it flows well. I might have to add a Platinum Broad to my long wants list your writing sample makes it look quite attractive.

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    • Thanks for the kind words. It seems every pen maker has its misses and the big three Japanese companies are not immune. However, the three Platinum #3776 pens in my rotation started with good flow though the fine flex (FF) took a few pages to loosen up. More on that pen in a future review.

      You have so many nice pens that it’s hard to imagine how a Platinum B would add something new to your rotation. Not that you shouldn’t buy one… ;)

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      • I just want to complete my set of Japanese broad nibbed pens having alread a Sailor Sapporo with a H-B and a Pilot Custom 742 with a broad nib. Yes I know I have too many pens, we just did our house and contents insurance and the premium has climbed due to the added value of my pen collection. You know you have too many pens when the value of pens exceeds the replacement value of your Canon SLR camera gear…

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        • Said like a true collector, Dave.

          I like the build of the 742 though the FA in my collection lacks sufficient flow. I have tried the Sapporo Ef, F, and M but never the B. All were nails so a B nib should suit that model well. The 1911 (standard) is a more comfortable size for my hand. Maybe I should trade my EF for a B. Have you one of the larger pens? The build is good quality but I don’t know how the nibs compare. The most significant difference is the remodeled design of the Century and the length of time it can go with no use. That places the Platinum above the other Japanese pens in my opinion.

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  2. Nice review. I’ve a 3776 Broad and love it, but you should try to get your hands on a Sailor Naginata Togi nib. Almost like a brush – sensational.

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    • If it were in my budget, Simon, I would in a heartbeat. :)

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  3. […] Margana over at Inkophile did a great comparo between a Chartres Blue in Broad and a #3776 Music. You can find her post here.  […]

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  4. […] Screen And The Platinum Century Chartres Blue Pen Are Modern Japanese Flex Nibs Created Equal? Can A Platinum Pen Satisfy A Chunky Nib Fan? Lots Of Goodies In My Review Queue Want the Platinum Chartres Blue Fountain Pen? Here’s […]

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  5. #3776 Music nib is my standard pen, love it for letter writing and scribbling notes during meetings.

    I only really change away from it when I need to write a little smaller.

    Really does show off, the shading in inks

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    • In the year and a half I’ve had the #3776, it’s been empty a matter of days at most. It is always at the ready with a colorful load of either Diamine Mediterranean Blue or whatever needs testing. This week it’s J. Herbin Rose Cyclamen, a very pink ink. What do you like best in your music nib?

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  6. […] to enable aside, both pen manufacturers make well-constructed pens of very different styles. The nibs from Platinum are more narrow than those from Pelikan, but that is typical of Japanese and western […]

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