The forgotten President

The clear favorite is sometimes less obvious.

Platinum’s flagship can’t seem to get enough respect. Meanwhile, Mont Blanc sells 149s faster than they can make them. Parker faithful still devoutly venerate the Duofold and Vacumatic. Sailor’s 1911 easily finds harbor in many shores outside Japan, while Pilot’s Custom 742 and 743 ranges enjoy grail status with pen people from all walks.

They may look alike but Big Brother is not just another pretty black pen. (Top to bottom: #3776 No. 1, #3776 Higo Zogan, President)

Yet, while the President is owed the throne, it is the #3776 that the masses and classes hail. This sentence is tragic as the President is not vestigial in any way, having earned its birthright through time and serious thought.

Some months ago, I had the good fortune to chat with Toshiya Nakata (the current CEO of both Platinum and Nakaya, and grandson of Platinum founder Shunichi Nakata.) Among the things he talked about excitedly was the President and its design origins.

Those stripes were earned the hard way.

Over the years, their company observed that many customers choose the wrong nibs for their writing pressure. Typically, these clients opt for something too fine. Even the best tines are inevitably stressed and increasingly scratchy writing feel ensues. Nakata also mentioned that there are Western writing strokes which do not exist in oriental styles. Since their nibs are cut primarily for Asian penmanship, some Western users may find the Platinum tips scratchy during certain upstrokes.

The chevronned nib looks more stately than the carefree 18k #3776.

In response, Platinum folks designed a nib that would better resist this punishment. It had to be firm and smooth, and based on my own time with the President, it is exactly that. While the #3776 nibs tend to hum, this one floats like a Geisha. Mine wears a stubbish Broad with wettish flow. The downstroke is about 0.6mm wide while the cross-strokes are about half that. (It’s making the trek to Peachtree City and I hope Mike It Work can coax a bit more variation out of it.)

The President’s trim is decidedly Deco. The stepped clip and the chevronned  duo-tone nib were plucked straight from the années folles. Like a pair of cuff links peeking from beneath a sober suit’s sleeves, the clever application of trim rings on section, barrel and cap, give the pen enough panache to hint at its storied pedigree. And if basic black seems a tad pedestrian, other choices like yellow, burgundy and even uroko-mon maki-e are available.

Which one do you prefer to ride the river with?
(Top to bottom: Pilot 742, Sailor 1911 Large Demonstrator, President)

Ergonomics are excellent. It feels as light as a Pilot Custom 742 and fills the hand better than a Sailor 1911 Large even though they are all about the same size. The section is an equal opportunity player, and friends with various hand sizes quickly found comfortable holds when they test drove the pen. Its neutral balance lends it the agility of Gondolin steel (minus the turning blue when orcs are about) and I reach for this Platinum first  for any extended writing tasks.

Many others look like the President, but it is unimpeachably its own man.


2 thoughts on “The forgotten President

  1. Julie

    Platinums! Someday I’ll try a President. Only #3776 nibs in my possession. They are among my favorite nibs. Hope Michael gets your nib to what you want. He’s always come through for me! He took a battered #3776 Fine, and brought it back to writing life.

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