Review: Platinum Izumo (Soratame, Broad Nib)

We would like to thank Pen Chalet for lending us this Platinum Izumo fountain pen for review. Pen Chalet is based in Mesa, Arizona and has been a company that sells pens and stationery items at competitive prices. They also frequently run promos for specially priced items as well as provide discount coupons. Check them out if you haven’t yet.

That being said, the opinions below are our own and we were not compensated (monetarily, or otherwise) for this review.

 

Hand Over That Pen, please!

Katherine: The shape of the Izumo isn’t my jam… but I have a general bias against bulbous caps. Tapered? Maybe that’s a less graphic word. Anyway, general shape aside, the Izumo comes in many beautiful finishes (ugh I really wish I liked their base shape more!) this one is soratame, a green and black tamenuri, pretty subtle, but quite nice when you look closely. The pen also comes in a variety of other finishes, some of which are really quite breathtaking.

Pam:  Whoa!  This is a big pen!  The urushi finish is flawless on a classic cigar shaped pen.  At first glance, pen is really intimidating based on it’s size and finish. It’s not my aesthetic.  To my untrained eye, I wouldn’t know that this pen had urushi on it because it’s just a boring black cigar shaped pen.  The nib is a very business like nib.  The design is either really retro or modern.

Franz: The Platinum Izumo is quite large, curvy and seems to create a grand stature. It’s like the pen says, “Hey look at me!” whilst flexing its muscles. I believe in the closed position, the pen is just a little over 6 inches. I’m one to appreciate urushi lacquered pens and this Soratame is beautiful and simple. I love the hints of color in the seams of the pen.

A close up of the Soratame finish

 

In the Hand: Platinum Izumo — from left to right: Franz, Katherine, and Pam

 

The Business End

Katherine: The Izumo nib feels much more “western” to me than the 3776 nib, but that’s a sample size of one. It’s smooth, wet and stiff — a great nib to get things done with, but not one I’m excited to write with.

Pam: I am going to enter a “expectations management” disclaimer. Given that this is a Platinum nib and my only experience with Platinum is through the 3776 nibs so my expectations included a characteristic and unique Platinum nib.  I am biased.  That being said, the Izumo nib is… serviceable.  It’s just not memorable and lacks any characteristic that makes me want to pick it up again.  It’s really really smooth which is fantastic for those looking that kind of writing experience.  However, that’s not what I was expecting.

Franz: It was my first time to write with a President nib from Platinum and I echo the ladies’ comments above. It wrote smoothly, a good flow, and did not skip like any good nib should. I always love the heart-shaped breather holes of Platinum nibs.

The Platinum President nib

 

Write It Up

Katherine: The section of the Izumo is very comfortable (though that gold ring at the very front bugs me, especially on the dark and subtle soratame finish) — though it doesn’t have the “flare” at the very end that I prefer. It’s a heavier pen than I expected (a little heavier than the m800?) but very manageable, I’m just used to urushi pens being super light. All in all a comfortable and usable pen, but not outstandingly so.

Pam:  The nib is fantastically smooth.  Almost too smooth.  There is no feedback and it lays down a nice saturated line without being overly wet.

Franz: Being an ebonite pen, the Izumo was very pleasant to write with and was balanced. The cap is “post-able” however we did not attempt to do that since it is a loaner and posting generally mars the urushi finish. One thing though, my index finger naturally lands on the threads in the middle of the section and they’re kinda sharp. It doesn’t hurt at all but you can definitely feel them. But I’ll live with it because the urushi’s green underlayer shows very nicely. Needless to say, I did not experience any fatigue while writing in my journal.

 

EDC-ness

Katherine: Super fast uncap (1 turn) and a strong clip — it’s a little big for me, but definitely EDC-able if you like the size.

Pam:  Given the size of the pen and the finish, I didn’t take this pen to work.  The clip works well and keeps it secure in a case.

Franz: The Izumo was a very lovely pen to use at work for jotting down notes as well as for signatures. The pen just stayed on my desk for most of the the day, but I did clip it onto my shirt pocket for safekeeping as well.

Like other Platinum pens, the Izumo is cartridge/converter filled and the supplied Platinum converter was very sufficient. If I were to use this pen every day at work, I’d probably refill it with ink every 3 days or so.

The cap and clip have interesting curves in them.

 

Final Grip-ping Impressions

Katherine: The Izumo has all the pieces — a beautiful finish, a solid nib and solidly built. At the end of it all though, half of this hobby is about the aesthetics and the Izumo just ain’t my thing. If you love the aesthetic, it won’t disappoint!

Pam:  This a great pen for those who can appreciate the classic look, the nuances of the urushi and a very smooth writing experience.  That being said, this is not the urushi pen for me.  Perhaps I have been ruined by Nakaya, just maybe.

Franz: Overall, the Izumo is a great pen to use. Ebonite pens have always been a favorite of mine and this seems to be one of them. I do love the stealthy tamenuri finish of the Soratame. As I said in the beginning of this review, the Izumo’s size and shape makes a statement. And something that’s true with every pen one holds, does that pen speak to you?

 

Pen Comparisons

Closed pens from left to right: TWSBI Eco, Franklin-Christoph Model 02, Sailor Professional Gear, Platinum 3776, *Platinum Izumo*, Nakaya Dorsal Fin, Pelikan M1000, and Lamy Safari
Posted pens from left to right: TWSBI Eco, Franklin-Christoph Model 02, Sailor Professional Gear, Platinum 3776, *Platinum Izumo* (unposted), Nakaya Dorsal Fin (unposted), Pelikan M1000, and Lamy Safari
Unposted pens from left to right: TWSBI Eco, Franklin-Christoph Model 02, Sailor Professional Gear, Platinum 3776, *Platinum Izumo*, Nakaya Dorsal Fin, Pelikan M1000, and Lamy Safari

Pen Photos (click to enlarge)

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May 2018 Pen & Ink Pairing

Katherine: I’m another year older and (supposedly) another year wiser this year… so I’ve chosen to celebrate with a Platinum 3776 Yamanaka, paired with Edelstein Olivine. I’ve loved the texture on the Yamanaka for a while, and was finally lucky enough to pick one up last month. It sat uninked for a couple weeks while I wanted to find it a wonderful partner (pretty uncommon for me, I usually ink things up immediately!). Franz brought over a bottle of Olivine and it seemed like a perfect match. The deep green reminds me of plants, and the textured transparent body of a terrarium — a perfect pairing for the middle of spring.

Here’s to another year of friendship, adventure and pens. (And maybe a few more plants)

Pam: I had struggled to find the perfect ink color for Pelikan’s Ocean Swirl. The teals were either too blue or too green. I originally attempted Organic Studio’s Walden but found the flow of the Ink to be too wet for an already broad EF.

My last attempt with Pilot Iroshizuku Ku-Jaku was a serendipitous hit. The Pelikan nib is wet enough that the ink color shines though and the line width is within the expected range of an EF. Also, like all well behaved inks, it is much faster drying with little concern for smearing in my Midori’s travelers notebook.

I am glad to return to my first inky loves in the last couple of months. Can’t wait to try more of the “oldies but goodies.” Are there any new ink brands that are comparable to the staples like Pilot and Sailor?

Franz: This month, I finally inked up my Franklin-Christoph Model 45 XLV Vanness Exclusive pen. The mint color of this pen really just appeals to me even if I know that it’s a small pen for my hand. But for the past couple of weeks, I’ve used the pen in conjunction with my Starbucks Philippines Weekly Planner and so far it’s a nice complement to it. I’m “trying” to be a bit more organized in scheduling tasks and events and by using this combo, it’s been enjoyable for me.

Since this is a Vanness Exclusive pen, I figured to ink with one of Lisa Vanness’ favorite colors, turquoise. The Sheaffer Skrip Peacock Blue is a nice vintage ink to complement this pen. I know for a fact that there are inks out there that would match the color of the pen however, this is a more personal ink to me for various personal reasons. Let’s just say that this ink is a homage to a couple people. One of those people used to say, “An italic gives you traction…”. And come on, who doesn’t like turquoise ink? Hmm? Hmm? ;-P

Writing Samples

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Pen & Ink Pairing: June ’17

Katherine: This month my pairing is a Platinum 3776 in the red “Bourgogne” color, with Sailor Okuyama. I picked up the 3776 (I previously rated it one of my top pens) because of the C nib. C stands for “coarse” and is Platinum’s BB nib. It’s quite broad, but, out of the box, not a gusher — which I like. Additionally it writes smoothly when upside down, so I can use it at work too! Overall I’m really enjoying the sheen of Okuyama, laid down by a nib that gets the sheen going, but isn’t gratuitous.

 

Franz: A co-worker of mine once said that Purple is the color of royalty, and madness. I totally agree! So for the month of June, my royal pen and ink pairing is the Franklin-Christoph Model 31 Omnis in Purpurae finish, and the Pelikan Edelstein Amethyst special edition ink. The deep purple and black swirls of the “Purpurae” madly matches the dark purple of the Amethyst ink. The acrylic has chatoyance that just can’t be captured on camera that well especially on the lighter swirls of the pen.

A quick aside, I got the Model 31 at the 2017 LA Pen Show and it was (at that time) the initial color prototype. Scott Franklin of Franklin-Christoph commented that this was the first purple 31 out there. I initially called the color “Purple Soul” but Franklin-Christoph recently introduced it as a regular part of their Model 31 line up as “Purpurae”. The Amethyst ink was Pelikan’s 2015 special edition Ink of the Year and has become my top favorite purple ink due to it being a darker color, and its sheen when ink pools in the writing.

Will this pen and ink pairing become an OTP (One True Pairing) for me? We shall see!

 

Pam:  Summer is in full swing but I still miss the rainy season so this pen is a reflection of having the best of both worlds.  My choice for the June pairing is Sailor Pro Gear Blue Lagoon with Akkerman Hofvijver Gris (#29) ink.  This is probably one of my favorite OTP/pen and ink pairings since I started collecting pen.

The Sailor progear has a really unique and whimsical color pairing with the neon green and soft blue.  The gentle blue with such a vibrant hue reminds me of the “Unicorn Barf” colorway with the blue and bright pink.  I have been trying to get the term “Unicorn Snot” for this blue and green combination to stick…but alas.  The Sailor nib is perfectly wet enough to show off the wonderful gray ink, as usual.

Akkerman #29 is my first ink from Akkerman and I couldn’t be happier with this ink.  It’s practically my “gateway” gray, getting me more interested and more inclined to try out more gray inks.  I had thought that gray inks would be only dilute and dull blacks.  I am so glad to be have been mistaken! Originally obtained via ink sample from Vanness Pens, I quickly tried to obtain a full bottle of this wonderful gray.  The gray reminds me alot of pencil graphite and I really enjoy the shading available in this ink.  Not to mention, the bottle of Akkerman ink is always a treat in itself!

 

Writing Samples (click to enlarge)

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Review: Platinum 3776 Century (Bourgogne, SF nib)


Hand Over That Pen, please!

Katherine: The pen is made of some sort of dark red translucent plastic with gold trim, and I really like it. It’s translucent enough to have depth, but solid enough to have some mystery. Overall I’m not a big fan of gold trim, but the trim makes the red look really rich and warm. I’m a fan!

Franz: I have always admired the Platinum 3776 Century Bourgogne, and Chartres Blue’s translucent material. With the right lighting, the pen just seems to glow. The cigar shape is quite nice and gives it a balanced look that I find very pleasing.

Pamela:  I was unimpressed when I saw the picture of this pen on the internet since the color and the shape of the pen doesn’t appeal to me. However, upon handling the pen, the material feels substantial.  Although I am not a fan of the yellow gold, the red is deep and rich in color. As Katherine says, the yellow gold is the best compliment to the red.

The cigar shape and the gold trim provides the pen a classic and traditional aesthetic, which is not my cup of tea, but is worthy of consideration for anyone who enjoys the aesthetic.

Hands-On

Katherine: I’ve seen a couple reviews of this pen saying it’s a little small unposted — I think it’s perfect. I prefer it unposted, but do post it when I’m worried about losing the cap. It’s a solid and well-balanced pen.

Franz: Sorry Katherine, but in my hand, this pen needs to be posted to be comfortable for I grip it far back near the threads. The pen is still usable when unposted but I need to place my fingers closer to the nib and I have to be conscious in doing so.

The resin material is well made and sturdy. It’s probably just me, but the pen warms up in my hand almost like how an ebonite pen feels. I believe it takes one and a quarter turn to cap/uncap the pen. As you cap the pen, the final quarter turn gives a secure feeling as the inner cap actuates the Slip and Seal mechanism.

Pamela: I prefer my pens to be posted when I write with them.  Unposted, the length is perfect and is noticeably lighter. However, given my preference, the cap provides slightly additional heft to the pen that I typically prefer in the hand feel.  Please note, I am also the type of person who enjoys the heftier VP over the slimmer and lighter Decimo model.

Franz’s hands make this pen look tiny!

 

The Business End

Katherine: I love this nib. It writes with a touch of feedback and quite a bit of springiness (since this is a Soft Fine). Writing with this pen makes me feel alive. However, if I want to keep writing with visible line variation, this pen isn’t by any means semi-flex and it can get pretty tiring.

Franz: Yep, the nib on this pen means business. It just… writes. For a Japanese Fine nib, it is smooth but lets me know that it is writing. I generally prefer to write with western medium/broad nibs but with this nib, I don’t mind it at all. As Katherine mentioned, there is just a little bit of spring to the nib and it feels nice.

And let’s not forget the nib’s awesome heart-shaped breather hole!

Pamela: This nib is out of this world and seems to defy the law of physics.  I can’t believe that this is a “stock nib” from Platinum.  It provides some bite when writing, particularly with my heavy hand, but nib still provides an acceptable fine line with regular writing.  If desired, the “softness” of the nib can be used to add a flourish with the added line variation.  The softness is best used with moderation since it actually takes quite a bit of concerted effort make a large line variation.

How did Platinum make a gold nib that is stiff enough to produce a wonderfully fine line yet perfectly springy enough to provide a great line variation?  Some nibs just have it all.

Write It Up

(20-minute writing experience)

Katherine: This pen is comfortable and I have no qualms writing with it for long periods of time. (I quite enjoy it, actually!)

Franz: For the first fifteen minutes of writing I posted the 3776 and it was fantastic! The pen seemed to meld into my hand and made my journaling an enjoyable experience. I was gripping the pen high up and the threads were resting on my middle finger. It did not bother me at all.

For the last five minutes of my journaling, I wrote with it unposted. My fingers slid down closer to the lip of the section. I felt a tighter grip and gave me a tense feeling. A total 180-degree experience from earlier. So, I will only use the pen unposted when I need to write a word or two.

Pamela: Writing with this pen is a joy. I find that the small amount of “bite” to be so satisfying because you can feel the words be put into the paper whether it is from a strong punctuation at the end of a sentence or the smooth sweep of cursive. If I am not mindful, I can start gripping the pen on the threads and tight enough to feel the step down bite into my hand.  Otherwise, I have little complaints to size of the pen.

EDC-ness

Katherine: I jot down a lot of notes at work — unscrewing the cap every time is okay, but not optimal. Additionally, this pen seems to like spitting ink into its cap while it’s in my backpack. The nib is huge and pretty — but almost always has a glob or two of ink on it. Not my favorite bring-to-work-pen.

Franz: I found this pen to be acceptable for use at my work setting. For signatures and quick notes, the screw cap did not bother me at all. I signed my name about 14 times in one day and I liked it (posted, of course!). Fortunately, I have not experienced any nib/feed issues unlike both of my colleagues.

Pamela: Ditto on all of Katherine’s points.  As much as I enjoy the nib, I didn’t find it particularly work friendly with the screw on cap. I, too, noticed spurts of ink after this pen was in my backpack.  And at one point, the flow of the ink seemed to be pretty inconsistent.  The pen would start writing just fine for about 3-5 words then it would appear that the feed was running out of ink despite an almost full converter.

Grip-ping Impressions

Katherine: I think this is one of my favorite pens for the value ($83 dollars?! That’s a steal!)– I love the way it writes and it doesn’t look bad. Actually, I like this pen so much I have two, the other being a limited edition Sai with a Fine nib. I really love the way it writes and it’s a very comfortable size unposted.

Franz: The Platinum 3776 Century is a great pen to have and I would recommend it for anyone looking for a medium sized pen. I most probably will own a Chartres Blue with rhodium trim in the near future. (Thanks Katherine!)

Pamela: Due to the aesthetics of the pen, I wouldn’t buy it for the listed price.  However, I am willing to pay for this pen just for the nib alone. Luckily, Nakaya uses Platinum nibs.  If (or when) I am fortunate enough to be able to afford my own Nakaya, I will definitely be choosing the soft fine nib.  It’s a unique and wonderful nib, worthy of a dream/grail pen.

Hand size comparison, left to right: Katherine, Pam and Franz. The version shown here is a 3776 “Sai” with a Fine nib. 
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