Posts Tagged ‘Luxury Brands USA’

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Fountain Pens Are Cool

11/02/2018

Last week, HisNibs.com shared a link to a Bloomberg article about fountain pen ink that stated, “Worldwide, fountain pen sales are forecast to total $1.15 billion this year, up 3 percent from 2017 and almost 31 percent from a decade ago, according to market-research company Euromonitor International.” Yes, fountain pens are cool and so is ink.

An inkophile needs a stable of pens to test and compare several colors at the same time. A five-pen rotation works well for me and for a reasonable investment, these are some of my favorite models.

  • Pilot Metropolitan – My three are good writers, but might seem slender in a large hand.
  • Pilot Kakuno – Mine has a good nib and adds virtually no weight to my kit.
  • Platinum Plaisir – Good nibs and attractive colors. Slightly larger than the Metropolitan.
  • Kaweco Sport – Modern pocket pen works well in small spaces. Nibs can be swapped.
  • TWSBI Eco – Small nib and simple design, but folks swear by the Eco. The Diamond 580 is my preferred model.
  • Lamy Safari – Sturdy build, but the grip is awkward for some users. Nibs can be good if finicky about ink. The Studio is my preferred model for an everyday pen.
  • Nemosine Singularity – Good build for the price. My italics work best with well-lubricated inks.
  • Conklin Duragraph – The stub nibs are smooth and juicy. I liked the design and performance well enough to purchase two.

Although I have owned a few inexpensive Chinese pens that wrote well enough, most brands have been too inconsistent to recommend. However, for the modest investment, they could be worth the gamble. Amazon and eBay offer quite a few, but you might have better luck at His Nibs.

The Pilot Metropolitan has emerged as my favorite fountain pen for ink testing because it cleans easily and flows well with every ink. The Duragraph with its wide nib is good for general writing so it will often get filled with an ink I would use for a journal or correspondence. The Kakuno or the Singularity come out to play when aqua ink is on the menu. The Nova Orange Plaisir is happy with orange ink or sometimes a fill of Noodler’s Lexington Gray. Either way, it makes my desk look cheerful.

My current pen rotation for testing ink includes

  • Silver Pilot Metropolitan – green ink
  • Aqua Pilot Metropolitan, Kakuno, or Nemosine Singularity – blue/aqua ink
  • Plaisir – red/orange ink
  • TWSBI – purple/burgundy ink
  • Duragraph – black/brown ink

That makes five pens for under $150. Or a mix of Metropolitans and Plasirs could be put together for less than $75. Add a selection of ink samples and you are on your way to being a collector. Now wasn’t that easy!

Though I have never needed to make a return, do purchase where that would be easy. Low-end pens can be imperfect by some accounts though I suspect that is less common with the pens on my list.

Most of the links are to Amazon from which Inkophile receives a tiny commission when you buy within 24 hours of clicking the link. Thank you for your support.

 

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Spring Ink Selection for 2018

04/25/2018

Have you selected your rotation for Spring? Some years the inks select themselves. This year there were no volunteers. However, there are inks on my desk that have been pining for use and so they shall be obliged along with a few more seasonally suggestive entries.

  • Colorverse Crystal Planet (sent by Pen Chalet)
  • Colorverse Andromeda (sent by Pen Chalet)
  • Rohrer & Klingner Blu Mare
  • Noodler’s Lexington Grey
  • Platinum Classic Lavender Black (sent by Luxury Brands)
  • Diamine Vermilion
  • Pilot Blue-Black
  • Sailor Tokiwa-Matsu
  • Papier Plume Caramel (sent by Anderson Pens)

This Spring list is darker than in the past and lacks a pink or orange. Those colors are in storage while my office gets reorganized. If they were accessible, Sailor Peach Pink and J. Herbin Orange Indien would have been included.

Colorverse Crystal Planet and Andromeda were sent by Pen Chalet while Papier Plume Caramel came from Anderson Pens. All are new to my collection and proving to be worthy additions.

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Platinum Classic Ink In Citrus And Lavender

07/09/2017

Luxury Brands sent a selection of Platinum Classic Inks and I am slowly working my way through the lot, two at a time in a pair of Platinum Plaisir fountain pens. Citrus Black and Lavender Black were the first to play with the pens in a Stifflexible journal, also from Luxury Brands. The results were very different.

Citrus Black went down yellow and so pale that it was only a guess where the writing landed. However, within a few seconds, the color darkened to a yellow green with lots of shading.

Lavender Black showed a less dramatic change though it did shift its shade of purple.

On a Staples lined pad, both inks dried incredibly fast even from a medium nib with good flow. On Rhodia paper, the ink dried a little more slowly. It’s coated versus uncoated paper though the Staples pad is very smooth. Lefties might love these inks on the right paper.

Wait. Did I just say “the right paper”? Yep, that’s the usual caveat, but it’s also a charming aspect of using fountain pens.

Platinum Classic inks are iron gall based so pen hygiene is important. In the past, iron gall inks reputedly damaged nibs and feeds though my experience with them has been without incident.

To push the limit with this new ink, I set aside the inked pens for over a month. Just now, I tried them on the back of a cheap envelope and they performed flawlessly. No hard starts, no skipping, good flow, and no pen damage. Credit Platinum’s Slip and Seal mechanism to some extent, but the lack of pen damage can only be attributed to the performance of the ink. It didn’t eat my pens. Yea!

Written words stayed in place under running water with less than a 10% loss of ink. It might be less than 5%, but it is too little to matter for most uses.

Plaisirs with Platinum Classic Lavender Black and Citrus Black are perfect together. Other pens might not be as well-suited, but these pens and inks were meant for each other.

Another take on Lavender Black from The Pen Addict.

All photos by Tessa Maurer.

 

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New Classic Inks From Platinum

02/17/2017

Today Luxury Brands announced a new iron-gall ink from Platinum called Classic Ink that will begin shipping the end of February. MSRP will be $25 for a 60 ml bottle.

To quote Platinum:

Fountain pen inks that are produced using traditional methods have many times been replaced with an ink that is made by mixing dye inks due to their time-consuming production techniques. Meanwhile, Platinum Pen is currently the only company in Japan that manufactures blue black ink in a classic way.   The ink color that is bright when you start writing becomes gradually black. It is also highly water resistant and suitable for permanent preservation. This time, we have paid close attention to the process of changes in color of the classic ink, and have released six new colors with the aim to enhance the joy of using fountain pens. Emphasis on the shading has been placed, offering a rich deep writing.

Kinda gives new meaning to “fade to black”.

The colors are attractive and shading is always an interesting property. My Platinum pens are excited to have a new mate or two. Not that they require special ink, but they have performed extremely well with Platinum inks and I anticipate no less with the Classic line. Whenever I get an opportunity to put one of them to the test, I will post the results.

Bruno Taut has the backstory if you would like to know more.

Caveat or not

A number of years ago, I wrote a post about iron-gall ink voicing mild uncertainty about whether it would be a high maintenance product. In the intervening years, it has proven to be on par with other inks. However, good pen hygiene is always the best policy to keep fountain pens happy and minimize cleaning time.

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Review: Platinum Plaisir Fountain Pen

11/22/2016

The Platinum Plaisir has so much going for it, that calling it an entry-level pen is too limited. It is a fountain pen that offers excellent functionality at a reasonable price with features anyone can appreciate.

The Plaisir is a well-constructed, anodized aluminum bodied model that comes in a variety of colors. It is a medium sized pen at 142.5 mm long and 15 mm in maximum diameter. The weight is 15.4 g and should be comfortable in most hands. The cap is friction fit, but does not pop off without a little effort perhaps due to the Slip & Seal mechanism that prevents ink from drying in the nib. It is a great feature, particularly for anyone who is lackadaisical about pen use or care.

The pen comes with the same much loved, stainless nib as the Platinum Preppy. My fine nib has good flow and a little definition. It isn’t an italic, but the shape does enhance line edges.

With the smooth and luscious Platinum Carbon Black, the medium nib puts down a substantial line that is comparable to some broad nibs. The bonus is that it can be used upside down for a fine line. It isn’t quite as smooth as a pen with a true fine nib, but with the right ink on quality paper, it is perfectly serviceable. This can be especially useful for sketching or doodling. A Stillman & Birn Epsilon Sketchbook  made fast proof of that.

The section is clear revealing the ink’s color and whether the nib is running dry. It can look a bit messy, but a brilliant ink turns this into a colorful feature rather than a liability.

Some people consider the Plaisir to be a beginner’s pen. Using one revealed one of the reasons: the medium has a very large sweet spot. It can be rotated and held upright or even at a low angle and will still write well. As a gift to a newbie, the fine is worth considering as it produces a line more comparable in width to the familiar rollerball or gel pen.

The Plaisir comes in many colors, an array recently expanded with the a new release called Nova Orange. Compared to orange inks in my collection, the colors that match the barrel best are Iroshizuku yu-yake and J. Herbin Orange Indien. The metal barrel reflects light producing a variety of tones adding to the appeal of what Platinum has christened the Color of the Year for 2017. The Frosty Blue pen is well-matched to Diamine China Blue, but that’s only to give you a sense of the color. Gunmetal is a welcome change from the ubiquitous black and a neutral home for any ink. The three pens look very inviting on my desk. For a color lover having only one of these jewels may not be enough.

The pen comes with a single cartridge. If bottled ink is on the menu, a converter will be needed. Since it’s a metal pen, staining won’t be an issue. Bring on those inks that are known to misbehave and let the Plaisir tame them.

With its quality fit and finish plus variety of colors, the Platinum Plaisir is a good choice for the budget conscious whether for personal use or as a gift. It makes an attractive travel pen and, if lost, easily replaced. If you fancy carrying a loaner, the firm nib should withstand a few minutes in the grip of a heavy-handed newbie and provide a good initiation into the world of fountain pens. The more the merrier, eh?

A big thank you to Carol at Luxury Brands for the Platinum pens and Carbon Ink. It was great fun getting acquainted. The Nova Orange is good for a smile every time I see it. Yeah, I am a sucker for orange and in that I am not alone. Bet you won’t be able to keep this one in stock.

More info at Platinum Pen Co.

Where to buy:

Fine nib at Amazon

Medium nib at Amazon

Platinum converter at Amazon

Platinum Carbon Ink at Amazon

Noodler’s Black Swan in English Roses

 

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My Fountain Pen Day Was Colored By Noodler’s

11/04/2016

Today was Fountain Pen Day and I opted for Noodler’s with a Neponset and Civilization’s Blue, a limited edition ink. You might not have heard of Civ Blue, but it is a terrific ink that shades, sheens and works beautifully on any grade of paper. Like a lot of saturated inks, it can dry slowly on paper like Clairefontaine but it’s worth the wait. Here is what Carol at Luxury Brands wrote about the ink when she offered me a bottle.

John and I are donating 100% of the proceeds to the ATO, (Assist the Officer Foundation). The foundation gives the money to injured law enforcement or to the families of officers killed in the line of duty. This is a very special ink. The brilliant coloration is representative of the thin blue line across the black ribbon that fellow officers wear after they have lost one of their own. The “thin blue line” is symbolic of the line between a civilized society with law enforcement or total anarchy without them. I wanted you to have a bottle. It will not be made again and it is almost gone. The ink is fraud proof, bulletproof, and eternal. I just noticed the other symbolic terms in reference to the ink properties and the law enforcement. Not intended but ironic.

As of a few days ago, Carol had a handful of bottles left. So if you want one, contact her directly at carol@luxurybrandsusa.com.

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That Platinum Music Nib Gets Noodled

10/27/2016

Sometimes I wonder why we use any pen and ink save the ones that make us the most happy. This duo is not only a joy to use, but the Platinum #3776 music nib has special memories as a gift from Dick Egolf of Luxury Brands. Noodler’s Kiowa Pecan was a lucky acquisition years earlier when I was looking for a saturated and shading brown ink. Kiowa Pecan ended my search. Years later, the duo remains a favorite at the Inkophile digs…

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