Platinum 3776 (B) Celluloid

I have reviewed a lot of versions of the Platinum 3776 model. My reviews have been mostly pretty good for this model. However, this particular pen differs from the others in two respects. First, the others were the Platinum 3776 Century. This means that they had the slip and seal mechanism in the cap to prevent drying out. This pen does not have that. The second is that this pen has a celluloid finish, which the rest were a more common sort of plastic.

The finish is what caught my eye. I was considering several pens, but I wanted a broad Platinum nib. There are several finishes which interest me, and are affordable. This celluloid finish is not affordable. It is out of my range. I was fortunate in getting a one-time deal or I still wouldn’t own this pen. I got it at a price comparable to the regular models, and that just doesn’t happen with celluloid.

The celluloid is the Kin-gyo finish (Koi). It looks like goldfish. I’m too nervous about posting a copyrighted picture, but I suggest an internet search. The color pattern is a match. The celluloid itself is a more difficult material and explains the price. It also explains the seam found on the barrel and the cap. Due to the way celluloid works, it had to have a seam. This is truly a gorgeous material.

The finish actually contains one of my criticisms: the metal ring at the bottom of the barrel comes off too easily. It comes off so easily that I’m afraid to take this pen out of the hosue. I’m looking at a few options for fixing it, but the celluloid means I need to be careful. I’ve read a few reviews that suggest I’m not the only one with this problem.

The broad nib has some feedback, a trait of the Platinum pens. I should be clear that this is feedback in a good way: you feel the paper much like a sports car lets you feel the road. It is not the annoying, dragging, catching kind of feedback. And the broad nib also gives a nice, wet line. I used Montegrappa Bourdeaux ink in this review, and the pen showed the shading in that ink beautifully.

The pen is also nicely weighted, a nice size, and a good nib. There is line variation, but no flex in this nib. This model, no matter the finish, is a classic with good reason.

I do wish that the pen had the slip and seal mechanism like the Platinum 3776 Century. Celluloid allows more evaporation and, when the pen sits, I can see its effects. Nevertheless, the pen does a decent job starting up even if it sits a few days. With most pens, that would be good, it’s just that I know Platinum can do better.

At full price, which I didn’t pay, I would not buy this pen. At my income level, it just would be too expensive. It’s a gorgeous finish, but the finish would be what you’re paying for. But, at the price I paid, I’m insanely happy with it. Every time I see this pen and pick it up, it makes me smile.

 

Kaweco Dia2

Kaweco used to be one of those brands that just didn’t appeal to me. I owned a Kaweco Sport, but rarely inked it because I hated the aerometric converter. It wrote nicely and did its job as a pocket pen, but that was it. So, over the past year, I got into vintage pens and one of the pens I picked up was a Kaweco Dia 803/07,  a pen which was produced in the 1930s.

Now, the Dia was a spectacular pen with a piston filler, a very flexible oblique nib, and a quiet appearance. A few months later, I discovered that it had a modern relative, the Kaweco Dia2. Naturally I had to buy one.

The modern pen is larger. It’s a metal pen with a lacquered body. It has the same knurling that the older pen had, though it is no longer functional.  Many design elements are similar, though now it is a cartridge-converter pen, and the gold nib only came along recently. It is not flexible like its older brother. But, in its own way, this is a worthy successor.

I love the quality feel of this pen. The design is plain, but with a metal body and a lacquered finish, it just feels good. The slightly concave grip section adds to the quality feel. Additionally, the spring in the barrel keeps any cartridges from jiggling around, adding to the quality feel. (I’ll come back to that spring in a moment.) Finally, capping the pen just creates a nice, quality sound.

The pen shares design cues with its 1930s brother. The black and gold body, the knurling, the clip, and the finials are similar. Of course, the older pen has a more interesting nib, is quite a bit smaller, is made of a different material, and has a built in filling mechanism. Nevertheless, the family resemblance is there.

All is not roses with this pen. The spring inside the barrel is wonderful for keeping errant cartridges from rattling around. However, it also grabs the top of a converter and turns it every time I open the pen to check ink level. This is more than a little inconvenient, and I got two messes before I figured out the problem. Luckily, the spring is easily removed.

The other problem is that the steel nib does not play well with all inks. Originally, I thought that the steel nib had a skipping problem. However, for this review I tried an ink that worked, Pilot Iroshizuku Yama-budo. My suggestion would be that with the broad nibs, you stick to more “watery” inks. Noodler’s Mata Hari’s Cordial was a total failure with this nib.

Of course, if you are willing to spring for it, there is also a gold nib available for this pen. I tried it as well. The gold nib has a more stub-like character. It also plays well with any ink I’ve put in the pen so far. In fact, this is now the nib that is on this pen at all times.

Overall, look for a less than thrilling design, but a good writer in a quality body. This pen is a bit of a “sleeper.”

 

 

 

The Baoer 79

Some may criticize the lower cost Chinese pens, but I’ll confess to a soft spot for these pens. Some of them have quite unique design elements or turn out to be good writers. Of course, others are knock-offs of more established pens or have a lot of problems. It’s a shame that this pen writes wonderfully, is attractive, but has some issues with filling that make me afraid to take it out of the house.

The appearance is one of the good points. I like the glass-like finial on the pen. It has some nifty optic effects as it moves around or is in different kinds of light. It’s reminiscent of the Montblanc StarWalker, a pen I’ve only seen in pictures but find attractive. The grid pattern is attractive, and I appreciate that the pen screws to post. More impressive, when posted this way, the clip lines up with the nib. That’s detail!

The pen is a nice writer with a good flow. The nib may not flex, but the pen has a lot of good line variation. I liked writing with this pen. In fact, it could easily become a permanent part of my collection except I’m scared to take it out of the house.

The reason I’m afraid to take it out of the house is that there have been some issues with filling this pen. I cannot get a fill the traditional way. I put the nib in the ink, turn the converter, and nothing. I tried using plumbers tape to improve the seal. Nothing. I cannot get the nib out of the pen to see if there is an issue there. So, I’m still looking for ideas.

What I do instead is to fill the converter directly and put it in the pen. But, then I’m nervous that the pen may erupt ink at an inconvenient moment. A proper seal is not being made, or else it would fill. This alone makes me nervous about taking the pen around.

So, I may have a dud. I’ve never owned a Baoer pen before, and the more pens a person owns, the more likely one is to run into one that doesn’t work. I may have found that pen. Fortunately, at this price, that’s not a huge deal.

 

Esterbrook J Pen

YouTuber chrisrap 52 offered me the chance to use an Esterbrook J pen. This was once a very common pen and is apparently easy to find even today.

This one was a sac filler with a lever on the side. I’m not a fan of this filling mechanism, especially since the bar inside which presses against the ink sac does not seem to work in this pen. However the pen can be filled as an eyedropper.

The writing experience was all right. It has a decent enough flow. Interestingly, one nib unit is easily removed by unscrewing it. Another one is easily installed by screwing it in. There was apparently a selection of nibs available. In the video, I briefly show you that I own two different nibs. The pen writes smoothly, but it’s not particularly exciting. However, I can see how this pen could become a daily writer for the right person.

The material of this pen is gorgeous. I don’t usually care for the color brown. My house was brown when I bought it: brown exterior, brown rooms, and even brown ceilings. All of that brown has all been painted over with bright, happy colors. I’m not a fan of brown. Nevertheless, this finish has a nice depth and chattoyance. It lends spectacular character to an otherwise boring color.

The pen is a nice size, though it doesn’t post well. It is also apparently an easy pen to work with and repair. I hope this is the case because I need to replace the j-bar.

Overall, it’s a nice pen, and I’m grateful to chrisrap52 for allowing me to try it out.

 

Kaweco AL Sport (M)

I like my Kaweco Sport. It’s a pleasant pen that fits well in my pocket. It was also recently improved with a mini piston converter. All along, I’ve enjoyed the looks of the Kaweco AL Sport in the stonewashed denim finish, but couldn’t justify the price. When I found one at a better price, I bought it.

So, I never bought into the fad of buying my jeans with holes in them already. However, I keep my clothes long enough for that to happen to them naturally. So, that was somewhat appealing in a pen. This is supposedly the looks of a pen that had journeyed a long time in the pocket. Of course, if I wore a new pen out like this, I would be upset…

Finish aside, this pen does write well. It’s a medium and it seems wetter than the Kaweco Sport. I’m not sure how much is nib size and how much is the redesign of the feed. But, it is impressive.

The pen is small in the pocket, but posts to be a reasonable size. This is one of the few pens I post. It’s the right diameter for comfortable writing, and the rough finish gives it a comfortable feel in the hand.

The pen comes with no extras, not even a clip. I purchased a clip, but then decided I liked the pen better without it. There was also no converter. Now, I hoped that the new mini piston converter would fit, but it doesn’t. However, the older style aerometric converter does work. I discussed just how much I dislike it in my review of the Sport. I do use the converter more now, but I still don’t like it.

Now, even though I got a substantial discount, I’m still not convinced this pen is worth what I paid. But, I will admit that I really like it, so I suppose I paid a premium on aesthetics.

Yes, I would absolutely buy this pen again.

Aurora Style Gemstone Fountain Pen

I’ll confess: I bought this pen entirely on impulse. I had never owned or used an Aurora fountain pen before. I had tried out one or two of their ink samples, but they didn’t make much impression one way or the other. But, this pen called to me with its very retro appearance.

I purchased the broad nib because it seemed to me that this would be a “fun” pen. I was disappointed in my first two fills that it was not particularly broad. In fact, one pen pal suggested it was more like a fine or possibly a medium and wondered if I had been sent the wrong pen. But, it does now seem to be a lot more broad. Even so, it is not as broad as I would expect from a European pen.

Setting that aside, it is a cartridge converter pen with a snap cap. This is hardly exciting stuff, and the pen does not even come with a converter. At this price point, would it kill the company to include a converter? Fortunately, this is a standard size converter, so I was able to use one of the converters drifting around my house.

The pen has acceptable flow. I got shading with my more shading inks, but nothing exciting. In the end, it’s an attractive pen, but hardly one I’m excited about. It may stay in my collection, but it won’t be one I use daily. My feeling on it was a resounding “meh.”

 

The Markant m7720

I had the chance to review an East German pen. The Markant m7720 was manufactured in 1970s East Germany and is quite similar to the Montblanc Noblesse Oblige. Of course, the East German model has a steel nib and lacks the Montblanc “snowflake”. It is a cartridge-converter pen and has a lot of great features.

The nib is one of those great features. It’s a plain, steel nib, but surprisingly flexible. I’ve been very careful with this nib since it’s unlikely I’ll ever be able to replace it. Nevertheless, the feeling of writing with this pen is a lot like some of my softest nibs, though there is not a lot of line variation. The nib is easily one of my favorites, and it is quite smooth.

The pen body is made of aluminum and plated with silver. I’ve mentioned several times that I don’t care for metal bodied pens. But, this pen gets it right. The barrel and the grip are deeply brushed so that they have texture. This pen won’t show fingerprints and it won’t get slippery as I sweat in this hot summer weather.

It is a cartridge converter pen. I installed a spare converter I had laying around, and I’ve been pretty happy with it. It’s also a snap cap, and it even snaps to post.

My main complaint about this pen is that it is not suitable for long writing sessions. There is a very sharp step between the metal grip section and the body, and it slices at my fingers as I write.

But, overall, this pen is a nice piece of history.