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Posts Tagged ‘Platinum Century Fountain Pen’
Comments and email queries often suggest subjects worthy of further exploration. Such was the case when a recent email cast my collection in the light of pens that hold up well and are worthy of recommendation. After restricting choices to pens that can be purchased online and whose nibs have not been modified, here are the models that made my list of
Really Good Fountain Pens
- Platinum #3776 and #3776 Century – These pens rank at the top of my list. The build is slightly lighter than the Sailor pens I own, but that is good for my hand. No flow issues and the nibs are excellent. Someday I hope to get a medium for a real workhorse. It may not replace the #3776 music nib as my most used pen, but I would love to give it a shot at the top slot.
- Lamy Safari and AL-Star – An entry-level pen that is one of my most durable and reliable writers. The extra-fine has been a staple here for years. I haven’t tried a fine or medium, but the broad might be a tad too wide and free-flowing for most people. The 1.1 mm can have an erratic flow, but the nibs are usually smooth. The nibs run a bit wider than most and they are quite stiff, but they are also easy to swap. Nibs come in stainless steel and black. The latter looks particularly sharp on a model with a black clip. Put one on a charcoal Safari to make a stealth model. Two of my Lamys have been so modified. The build is very good at the price which won’t matter if the oddly shaped section doesn’t fit your grip. My daughter and I found it to be comfortable after the initial sessions. The control afforded by the section shape is excellent and prevents slipping. That is a decided plus for me.
- Pelikan M400 and M215 – These are very different pens, but equally well built. Both wrote well from the beginning. The M215 feels more sturdy, but it is a metal pen. I am extra careful with piston-fillers and run Noodler’s Eel ink through them from time to time to lubricate the plungers. The M400 was adjusted for extra flow several years ago and is now a terrific pen for long sessions.
- Pilot Namiki Falcon – I have three of the resin model and that says a lot. The build is good and the section very comfortable for me. The nibs can be a tad scratchy, but a little use fixed that in one of mine. The other two were smooth from first use. The design is understated and puts the focus on what the nib can do. No flow issues with the supplied converter so the nib and feed are well matched.
- Sailor 1911 and Sapporo – These pens have outstanding build quality. No flow issues and the converters are very well-suited to the nibs and feeds. My Sapporo is a fine nib and a nail. The 1911 is an extra-fine that is a bit soft. They are very different nibs, but both are very smooth.
- Baoer Eight Horses – Not everyone has had the good luck I have had with a Baoer. However, I do have two that write remarkably well. This is a heavy pen, but well balanced. The build quality is excellent for the price. The converter even has a plastic ball to keep the ink flowing. I am not as thrilled with the Jinhao 750 which is made by the same company, but one of these days I’ll purchase a silver Eight Horses with a B nib if I can find one. That will make a full set.
- Pilot Custom 742 – This one is a bit harder to recommend given my 742FA can be flow challenged. However, the build is excellent and the size perfect for me. I think it would be a terrific pen sporting a different nib. The FA is very smooth and does flex, but no ink so far has conquered the feed. There are five on my desk ready to take up the challenge so more testing is ahead. When I advance ink into the feed, it writes well enough with virtually no pressure. The slit is always inky, but this pen arrived used if not abused. Giving it the benefit of the doubt, I think it has an imperfect nib on an otherwise very nice pen.
The price range for these pens purchased new is $6 to over $300. Message boards are the best place to buy used, but eBay can be good for inexpensive pens like Lamy and Baoer depending on your risk tolerance level. If you want perfection, buy from a seller who tests the nib and who has a good reputation for standing by his wares. As careful as I am, one in four pens arrives in need of assistance. That really isn’t surprising considering how a tiny mistake in the nib can make a pen write poorly. Basically, don’t get your knickers in a twist if you get a stinker. It happens to all of us. Get help from the seller immediately. Most will make it right one way or another.
So that’s my list. Is there a pen you would recommend without reservation?
Can you believe it? Inkophile is five years old today. You thought it was older? Yeah, it seems like it has been around forever. The number of page views per month has more than doubled in the past year and I hope that indicates a sizable increase in the number of people who have grown to love fountain pens as much as it represents repeat visits from my steady followers. A larger community will expand the marketplace and in turn increase the available products. That would be a very good thing.
Looking back at new acquisitions this past year, the Platinum Century B nib and the Platinum #3776 music nib were very welcome additions to my collection and handily won slots on my top five pens list. Noodler’s Purple Martin was a surprise addition to my favorite inks while Stillman & Birn moved onto my favorite journals list. The Epsilon and Zeta Series are good with pens while the other journals are lovely with watercolors, not that you can’t mix them up any way you want. For lined paper that works well with fountain pens, the Miguelrius notebook is getting a lot of use. Two inexpensive finds at Staples were the Arc Collection and the filler paper from Brazil. Both made fast friends with a variety of inks.
None of this discounts some of my continuing favorites like Rhodia and Clairefontaine paper, Levenger True Writers, Namiki Falcon soft fine nibs, my Waterman Carene stub from Leigh Reyes, Noodler’s Black Swan in Australian Roses, Diamine Mediterranean Blue, J. Herbin Lie de Thé, or Montblanc Racing Green plus so many others.
My other favorites are Inkophile visitors. Without you, this blog would have been put to rest a long time ago. You are the best!
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When it comes to writing in my journal and especially when writing to a friend, bold or stub nibs are my preference. But sometimes I just gotta flex and the Platinum Century Fine Flex is coming along nicely in that role. With Iroshizuku fuyu-syogun on Apica 6A10, the hairlines are fine and the down-strokes are wide in contrast. It still takes a bit more force than I would like but there is decided improvement with each use. It may not be vintage flex, but it’s plenty of fun regardless.
Blue is a perennial favorite when it comes to color and ink is no exception. With so many shades available from every corner of inkdom, how can you select a simple palette and still enjoy a range of color? Satisfying properties, ease of use and ongoing availability are important, too. Several companies can fill these requirements but Diamine has three colors that work just right for my basic blue palette.
The first three are terrific together and offer a pleasing palette of blue hues. For a swing towards green on the color wheel, Teal is a versatile color that works well for correspondence as well as in the business environment unless you have a stick-in-the-mud boss who restricts ink to black only. No doubt you can imagine what I think of that.
None of these four are super-saturated colors and they work especially well in pens that are fine or extra-fine. All are easy to clean and don’t dry in nibs and feeds when written with at least once a week.
Another plus to Diamine, at least for the ten years I’ve used their ink, is that none of the ones I use have been discontinued. Lots of new colors get released but the older, good ones don’t disappear as a result. That’s loyalty to the consumer that deserves loyalty in return.
While the tall, narrow bottle may not let your Montblanc 149 suck up to it, the 30 ml bottles straight from Diamine are the best deal around. The cost for four bottles + U. S. shipping is around $21 at the current exchange rate. Just decant to your favorite, empty ink container and enjoy it anyway. C’mon. You know you will.
The dynamic Diamine duos in the image are
- Mediterranean Blue + Platinum #3776 music nib
- Royal Blue + Platinum #3776 Century “Chartres Blue” broad nib
- China Blue + Pilot Custom 742 Falcon nib
- Teal + Sailor Sapporo fine nib
Note that the scan isn’t bad but China Blue and Teal are a bit darker than pictured and Royal Blue is a bit paler. Mediterranean Blue looks just right.
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.
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?
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.
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!
Not long ago Dick Egolf at Luxury Brands USA sent a Noodler’s Tahitian Tortoise Konrad (#14009) for review. My first impression was that the colors were dark, beautiful and in line with my favorite inks. It got a quick fill of Noodler’s Turquoise that was also in the shipment producing a very nice duo indeed.
The build quality of the Konrad is fine and the value for money better than one might expect. Everything is fitted together nicely and the low weight makes a pen that can be used for hours without strain. It does not require posting to achieve good balance and that’s a decided plus. The nib is stainless and engraved simply “Noodlers Ink Co”. There is a handy ink view window in this piston filler and both Noodler’s Turquoise and syo-ro added harmonious color to the caramel-teal-green barrel. Diamine Teal looked attractive in it and worked well, too.
Today Iroshizuku syo-ro was feeling neglected so why not shake things up by loading the Konrad with a luxury Japanese ink?
The flexible nib gets better with use as is true for most flex nibs. The line width range is greater than with my Namiki Falcon SF pens as well as the Pilot 742 Falcon and the Platinum Century FF. With more use, the Century may produce the greatest variation between thin and thick lines but that has yet to be proven. However, it costs ten times as much so there is that to consider. The ink flow from the Konrad is easily superior to the Pilot 742 but the nib isn’t as smooth. The Pilot costs more than the Century so if you are on a budget but interested in getting acquainted with a flexible nib, the Konrad is the best way to go. Even if you have the resources for the Pilot 742 FA, I don’t recommend it. The flow just can’t keep up. The Konrad has no such issue so it’s a lot more fun to use.
Just to be clear, the Pilot 742 FA, Namiki Falcon, and the Platinum Century are all well constructed pens and none will disappoint in that regard. It’s the nibs and flow that are different. If you just want a little flair to your signature, the Namiki Falcon and the Platinum Century will do. With lots of use both will soften and produce wider lines with little loss at the narrow end. The Konrad will reach that point faster and possibly with the widest variation of the three. None will be as soft as a vintage flex nib but they are easily controlled for everyday writing as well as the occasional flourish.
The Namiki, Century, and the Konrad all work nicely for drawing where expressive line work is especially welcome. Again, these pens need some breaking in to get as flexible as possible. Don’t overextend but do put them to use with very gentle pressure to awaken the artist’s tool in them.
The piston filler is stiff and can stick so it takes gentle, patient twisting to get a proper fill. If I had Noodler’s Eel Turquoise, I’d use that a time or two to see if it improves the filler’s ability to slide in the barrel. With use the stiffness may disappear so this issue isn’t a deterrent.
There is one caveat to the Konrad. It has a strong and distinctive odor. That fades somewhat with time but after two months, it is still quite evident. For someone who is sensitive to such things, this could be a deal-breaker. For anyone else, this is a fun and handsome pen that comes in a variety of colors. Whether you access its flexible nature or use it as a straight writing pen, at $24 it’s a very good deal.