Posts Tagged ‘Luxury Brands USA’

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My Short List Of Favorite Fountain Pens

08/12/2014

Few new pens have landed on the Inkophile desk in recent years resulting in a scarcity of pen reviews. So a bit of pen praise will have to suffice.

Much as I enjoy a wide variety of fountain pens, certain ones stand out. The frequency with which they find slots in my rotation is the proof, but the ease with which I use them is just as telling. For stock nibs, Platinum is the clear winner especially the Century broad nib and the #3776 Music nib models.

My Platinum pens came from Dick Egolf of Luxury Brands a year and a half ago. Best gift ever!

The Century has never found its perfect ink companion. The #3776 has never met an ink it didn’t make look good. Funny how some pens struggle to find the perfect mate while others will mate with any ink perfectly.

The Pelikans took many years to collect and came from auctions and private parties. The M250 has a fine italic nib that might or might not have been modified. The M215 was ground to an italic as was the nib on the blue M200. The gray M200 has an oblique broad nib that was not original to the pen. The M400 has a stock fine nib that is amazingly smooth.

The Pelikans are a bit more finicky though work well with Waterman, Diamine and J. Herbin. Not that any brand won’t do, but I like less saturated inks in the Pels, especially those with ink windows.

Efforts 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 pens.

So that’s the core of my rotation. Other pens come and go especially the Namiki (Pilot) Falcons, a couple of custom Lamy Safaris and an assortment of single pens. I’m not a brand snob though I would gladly become one with enough of the right pens. Or at least I would like to try.

Just for fun, drool over these Pelikan and Platinum maki-e fountain pens. Are they not gorgeous?

 

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G’bye 2013 – Hello 2014

01/01/2014

Pens, inks and paper make a terrific hobby, but you already know that. Writing about them is my way of sharing the fun of using these tools. You make it worth the effort and for that I thank you.

Some names and numbers…

Thank you for the generous donations that helped keep Inkophile going last fall. My hobby has become a financial challenge. Really. Who wouldn’t want the newest colors of ink and several pricey pens every year? Sometimes retailers or manufacturers offer their newest creations or items they want to move off the shelf for review and that’s very much appreciated. When that doesn’t happen, I would like to purchase new items. Sponsorships and other sources of funding would allow me to do that. So moving forward, there will be some changes at Inkophile. Hopefully, that won’t estrange too many readers, but if you fancy an unsupported pen blog, there are plenty in the sidebar from which to choose.

As my interests have evolved, so has the content of my blog. Watercolor painting plays third fiddle to writing and using fountain pens, but painting in my journal has made it an integrated hobby. If nothing else, the addition of lively color to my wordy journal entries is a creative embellishment that is both intriguing and satisfying. More to come.

This is my favorite doodle of the year. It started as two comma shaped lines at the top and the rest was pure luck.

Copyright © 2013 Margana Maurer. All Rights Reserved.

Gene Kelly in Rose Ink

May your new year be filled with joyful dancing and colorful friends. Hello 2014!

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Fountain Pen Experts And Their Favorite Pens

12/31/2013

Well, five experts and an inkophile of much more limited experience get quoted at Best Fountain Pen. It just so happens that my list of Really Good Fountain Pens will post on New Year’s Day. No vintage pens in the lot, but a number of models that are currently available.

Oh, and thank you Jennifer for including me in your post and Dick Egolf of Luxury Brands for the pen gift last year. My Platinum #3776 Music Nib is blushing at the notoriety.

Platinum #3776 Music Nib

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Warming Up To Red

10/12/2013

After years of resistance, I am finally warming up to the color red. Call me biased, but red is not in my color wardrobe. However, last night I painted a birch tree and felt compelled to add a few red dots to the branches, leaves and a blush of it to the sky. Am I a convert? Not exactly, but I am open to possibilities beyond apples and stop signs.

It started about six years ago when I was introduced to Diamine Monaco Red, a dark, brooding color, that has good properties for drawing. Then Ann Finley sent a small bottle of Diamine Vermilion, a lovely orange-red. Eventually I purchased a bottle of Rohrer & Klingner Morinda, a more saturated slightly pink-red. With those three my red range was serviceable. Noodler’s Cayenne, a spicy, orange-red, sent for review by Jet Pens fit in nicely. Last year Dick Egolf of Luxury Brands sent Noodler’s Tiananmen, a saturated dark red, and my red rotation was set. Even so, red rarely got used.

Red Ink

Once a doodle journal became part of my routine, it was evident that I could go through a large quantity of ink in a very short period of time. Using paint was the logical next step. I could lay down a lot of color with a brush, but reserve ink for my pens. With the addition of watercolor to my casual sketches, closely matching some of my inks was the next step and promised to add more dimension to my doodles. I started with red.

Red Watercolors

These are similar enough to work together in a monochromatic drawing.

  • Diamine Vermilion – Winsor & Newton Scarlet Lake
  • Rohrer & Klingner Fernambuk – Daniel Smith Quinacridone Coral
  • Noodler’s Cayenne – Daniel Smith Transparent Pyrrol Orange
  • Rohrer & Klingner Morinda – American Journey Alizarin Crimson
  • Noodler’s Tiananmen – Daniel Smith Anthraquinold Red
  • Diamine Oxblood – Daniel Smith Perylene Maroon

So far I haven’t found a companion for Diamine Monaco Red. Neither have I found an ink that is comparable to Winsor & Newton Winsor Red, my favorite red watercolor. If you are a Cadmium Red fan, I tried to match the paint from Schmincke, M. Graham, and American Journey. They look like entirely different colors in my paint swatches book though they have the same name. Diamine Vermilion comes close to AJ Cadmium Red Medium. Nothing on hand matches the other two.

No one needs as many red inks and watercolors as I have. But if you have a favorite red ink, try a watercolor substitute in your journal. Anything from pink puppies to red skies goes. Make it reflect your imagination. After all, it’s your journal.

Watercolor and Fountain Pen Ink DuosTake these as relative – not accurate colors.

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Noodler’s Ahab’s Pearl Fountain Pen

03/21/2013

Noodler’s hit the mark with the Ahab model. It’s attractive, chunky, and sports a stainless flexible nib for around $20. What’s not to love about that?

Noodler's Ahab's Pearl and Noodler's Konrad Fountain Pens

Dick Egolf of Luxury Brands USA sent an Ahab’s Pearl for review. Its silvery, pearlescent white color and stainless appointments make an attractive and neutral pen. Headed into spring it’s a great match for seasonal colors but it’s just as good with the rest of the spectrum. Absolutely every color works well with it.

According to Peyton Street Pens the Ahab “is made of a celluloid derivative and is technically biodegradable and formed from a “renewable resource.” Given the material, care in cleaning is recommended. However, if you don’t let ink dry out in the feed, a rinse with cool to lukewarm water is all it takes to make the Ahab ready for a new ink.

Noodler's Ahab and Konrad Fountain Pens

The Ahab is larger than the Konrad but has the same slightly flexible nib. Previous remarks about it apply. The upside is that employing a light touch, the nib is stiff enough to be used like a normal fine nib. Put a bit more pressure on the nib and the line turns broad. That makes it versatile.

The downside is that the nib is too stiff to make supple lines easily. It improves with use and, for writers new to soft nibs, this is probably a benefit. It is easy to bend a really flexible nib too far and either release a flood of ink or overextend a nib causing damage. The Ahab nib should stand up to that learning curve quite well. Another benefit is that the Noodler’s nib will adapt to your hand as you grow accustomed to it. Use it enough and you will become a team. Use it rarely and you may enjoy the outings less. Reaching full potential will take a little effort.

Noodler's Ahab Filler

The Ahab’s pump filler is simple and easy to use. The instruction sheet explains the process. The pen has a significant flow of ink which indicates the filler is a good type for the nib. No restrictions, skips or railroad tracks which is not something all flexible nib pens can boast.

Noodler's Ahab's Pearl and Kiowa Pecan on Rhodia paper

On the Rhodia Bloc No 16 tablet, it deposited so much ink that I had to leave it for a bit to dry but I’ve experienced longer drying times. However, unlike some inks that dry slowly, I couldn’t feel a layer of ink when I ran my finger over it.

Noodler's Ahab's Pearl and Kiowa Pecan on Apica

Noodler's Ahab Pearl with Kiowa Pecan on Apica - closeup view

Without flexing, the amount of ink on Apica 6A10 is just right but it is very free flowing when flexed. Too much ink resulted in some fuzzy edges but that’s happened with other combinations on Apica in the past. Anticipate some trial and error when looking for a good combination. If your Ahab doesn’t flow as freely as you would like, the ebonite feed can be adjusted according to the included instructions.

Initially, my daughter thought the Ahab’s Pearl smelled like cheese and the Konrad Tortoise like baby powder. A couple of weeks on my desk and the Ahab is now fragrance free. The Konrad is less aromatic but still mildly scented.

The Ahab comes in a variety of colors so it’s easy to find one that suits your favorite Noodler’s ink. Not that an Ahab won’t match well with another brand but the degree of lubrication with the Noodler’s inks I tested was a pleasure.

At around $40 for the Ahab, a bottle of ink, tax, and shipping, this is one sweet deal.

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A Wishlist And The Platinum #3776 Music Nib

02/26/2013

Sometimes wishes do come true. For years I’ve wanted a traditional pen to replace the modernistic Lamy Vista 1.1 mm. Nothing wrong with the Vista but sometimes a more upscale-looking pen fits the circumstances. My wish list for attributes included a light weight resin body, classical styling with a 14K nib that has good flow and is very smooth. Oh, and make it in black with rhodium trim if you please. Too much to ask? That’s what I thought until I met the Platinum #3776 Music Model (PTMB-15000).

Platinum #3776 Fountain Pen

Platinum #3776 Fountain Pen

Again, Dick Egolf of Luxury Brands USA gave me the opportunity to find out what Platinum Pens had to offer and I am so glad he did. The #3776MU is almost exactly the same size as the resin Namiki Falcon and the Levenger True Writer. It is 136.5mm in length and 14.5mm at its maximum diameter. Weight is a mere 18.8g. For this, my hand is ever so grateful. If you prefer large, heavy pens, the #3776 might seem like a light-as-a-feather toy but the nib could make you think otherwise. This model has been around for years so any kinks have been worked out as the fit and finish reflect.

Platinum #3776 Music Nib

Platinum #3776 Music Nib

The only quibble I have is the volume of the converter for such a wide nib. A smaller knob and larger tank would be a worthwhile improvements, but the available model is in line with most converters on the market.

This nib comparison chart shows how a line produced by the two-slit music nib differs from other Platinum nibs. How you hold the pen will affect that line if only slightly. When I write at my normal angle and speed, the line has less contrast than when I put attention on making thin horizontal strokes. It’s like having two pens in one which adds to the fun of using this nib.

Okay, so I’m smitten. If you like wide nibs, you will be, too. This baby has some serious width to it that makes pale ink really stand out. I foresee a summer of turquoise, aqua and swaths of color across my paper, overtaking my journal and correspondence. Pink and orange could be sunny alternatives. This palette is looking very promising indeed.

The moral of the story? Put really good stuff and a Platinum #3776 Music Model on your wishlist. Someone just might be listening…

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Platinum #3776 Century Fountain Pens

02/22/2013

The Platinum #3776 Century fountain pen has more going for it than just a pretty face. It comes in different colors, has terrific nibs, and is a very comfortable size. Given its build quality and the new design features, this is a pen suited to extensive use and lifelong companionship. Heh. Make of that what you will.

Platinum #3776 Century Chartres Blue Fountain Pen

Platinum #3776 Century Chartres Blue Fountain Pen

The pen is made of resin, has gold plated trim, and weighs a mere 20.5g. Posting isn’t required to get a good balance in the hand. The combination of smooth nib and minimal weight on quality paper is perfect for lengthy sessions. Even the maximum diameter of 15.4mm is in my best range so I can see at least one more Century in my future but next time with a medium nib. Will it be as smooth as the broad nib? That could make it a workhorse for any writer and a pen likes to be useful, yes?

Platinum #3776 Century Fountain Pen Black In Black

Platinum #3776 Century Fountain Pen Black In Black

Not a company to let tradition stand in the way of progress, Platinum has advanced the Century with its new Slip & Seal cap. The cap, nib, and feed have been redesigned to regulate flow and prevent ink from drying in the nib when the pen is closed. Pigment ink works in it as does carbon ink. I found it unusually tolerant of pauses between thoughts though some of that might have been aided by a cooperative ink. Diamine Royal Blue was particularly good at this.

When it comes to pen size, the Century fits me just like that pair of shoes right out of the box that make you want to dance. It isn’t the first pen to do so but it’s been a long time since a pen I’ve never used before has done so. If the Levenger True Writer, Sailor 1911, Pilot Custom 742, Waterman Carene, or Retro 51 Scriptmaster, fit your hand, the Century should, too.

Platinum #3776 Century B Writing Sample

Platinum #3776 Century B Writing Sample

Platinum #3776 Century FF Writing Sample

Platinum #3776 Century FF Writing Sample

So far I’ve used the broad (B) and the fine-flex/soft fine (FF) nibs but Platinum also offers ultra extra fine, extra fine, fine, medium and double broad 14k nibs. For general writing purposes, the B is sweet. The nib writes a somewhat narrow line for its grade with a soft, rounded look. This is a true broad nib without pretense of being a stub. The flow keeps up without a hitch so no speed limits on this one and no hesitation on start up. The fine-flex nib is very narrow and suitable for small lettering but can flex enough to produce wider lines. Not huge swells but subtle ones that are in keeping with modern writing and a memorable signature. With use, it will expand even further so keep using it if you want a wider line.

On my desk for comparison are a Pilot Custom 742 and a full-sized Sailor 1911. The Century weighs the least of the three. The resin of the 1911 might be slightly denser but that’s an opinion – not a measurement. The barrel material isn’t identical among these Japanese pens but it is thinner than the Western pens on my desk. Comparing closed pens, the 742 is longer that the other two. Uncapped, the Century is the shortest. The Century has a more pronounced step between the section (grip area) and the barrel than the other Japanese pens but it also has more threads to keep the cap secure.

I like different things about each of them, the rhodium trim on the 1911 and the slightly wider section on the 742 in particular. But I prefer the nib on the Century and that’s a deal maker. Pens are about writing and that nib just gets me every time I use it.

Until Dick Egolf at Luxury Brands USA sent these Platinum pens for review, my experience with the brand was limited. Now that I know the #3776 Century is such an excellent writer, I am ruined for many of my other pens. Time to refocus my collection…again.

More about my Platinum pens:

A Blue 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 The Deal!
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