Slipping down Fuji’s slope

One ring to rule them all. (Almost.)

Platinum of Japan makes good pens. Very good pens, I think.

While the cigar shape they favor is hardly original, their pens just work. I mean straight out of the box. Each time, every time. And like the Japanese, they will keep working until granted leave to expire. Which isn’t very often.

What’s your flava?
(Top to Bottom: Black Soft Fine, Black Ringed Celluloid Medium, Koi Celluloid Music, Higo Zogan Gingko reissue Fine)

Within this shop’s stable, it is the #3776 that is perhaps best known. Named after the metric height of Mount Fuji, its DNA is imprinted across various guises to suit every need or whim. Black yeoman versions with springy steel nibs serve students well. Glossy celluloids in striking hues  couple vintage flair with modern-day reliability. Burled European briar and bright Japanese cedar flavors cast an impressive shadow, while a ribbed variant renders tribute to the original 1978 release of this keystone model.

This is how the Japanese do bling. (Photos taken from Engeika/Wancher)

Higher up the food chain are intricate works that stir your loins faster than Barry White. Maki-e artisans use the pen as a canvas for their centuries-old craft. Charcoal ink or sumi is used to capture the Water Dragon’s dance. Shell inlays, known as raden, place the stars of night in one’s hand. Nature’s wonders and even deities are enshrined in shimmering gold dust mosaics. No photograph captures the complete splendor of these masterpieces and only by actual touch and sight can their majesty be relished.

(Top) Ebonite feed on the left. Plastic on the right.
(Bottom) The more ornate 18k Medium is from a 90s vintage pen. The other is a recent production 14k Soft Fine that just plain rocks!
Zogan wears a firm Fine and a wasp-waisted section.
The brighter Koi sports a lush Music nib.

The nibs are impeccably wrought. They come in a wide array of sizes – from Ultra Extra Fines that shame a needle’s point to Music nibs wide enough to merit a zip code. (The Soft Fine is a real treat, by the way.) Ebonite feeds were standard until the early 90s but whether the nib rides on plastic or vulcanite rubber, the factory flow is Goldilocks perfect. Not too wet and not too dry but just enough to let the tipping glide on the page.

When this model was launched in 1978, Platinum declared it to be the perfect writer in terms of balance, size and writing feel. Time has yet to refute this bold claim. Personally, I like these pens a lot and I have two that see heavy use. My fave #3776s? A black ringed celluloid in Medium and a Higo Zogan reissue in Fine.

I still have room in the pouch for one more. Should I add a Century to the pile?

(Thanks to Leigh for lending her Koi and Black No. 1 for the photos.)


2 thoughts on “Slipping down Fuji’s slope

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