Rainy day finds

Some pens follow you home. This one dropped me off and got invited to stay for a while.

After a rainy August pen meet, Leigh and I hitched a ride with Peter to avoid getting drenched. Leigh saw a box in the back seat and asked Peter if she could peruse the merch that had just arrived from Ohio. She found a nice looking Bexley that wore an orange barrel mated to a black cap.

Peter mentioned that it was the 20th Anniversary model and Leigh clearly liked it.  I queried Peter if it came in other colors and he said there was a black version or two in the pile. I asked almost rhetorically if it was a C/C feeder.

“It’s a piston, ” he replied.

One block later,  Peter’s car was two passengers and two pens lighter. After our grocery run, we parked our butts at a nearby café to scrutinize out impulse buys. I inked my copy with Diamine Twilight and gave her a spin.


As a Bexley piston filler, it is inevitably compared to its elder sibling, the Corona. They share the same long section that accommodates a host of hands and grips. The XX lacks an ink window but unlike its straight-walled predecessor, the Anniversary model has a contoured shape that I find more comfortable to use. Its silhouette reminds me a lot of an Aurora Optima.

If you like posting, the barrel sits deep enough into the cap to keep length and weight on an even keel. And unlike Bexley’s first piston model, fiddling with a posted cap does not unexpectedly actuate the piston knob.

The jet black resin betrays no hint of thinness or translucency. The rhodium plating appears to be evenly applied. I would have preferred a ball end clip but that would have painted too busy a picture, given the wide, stamped cap band. I also would have appreciated a white monotone nib to match the trim but that’s asking a lot from a pen in this price range.

Bexley’s steel nibs are decent. The ones on the BX802 and America the Beautiful that I once had were trouble-free, and the Fine on this pen is no different. Nothing dramatic about the lines, just smooth and steady scripts. The line is about as wide as a Japanese Medium, which makes it a usable daily driver.

Plain black flattops may look so ordinary but I’ll take one that works over a high-dollar tortoise reissue that required lengthy fiddling before it penned a single line.


August mail

Some weeks ago, a friend sent word that a special gift was heading my way. He never shared what it was, only that it was…special. When the parcel finally arrived, its wrapper only heightened my excitement.

Who needs brown paper packages tied up in string?

I was a good boy and did no damage to the packaging. But all semblance of restraint vanished when I found an exquisite silver pen cradled in a blue velvet box. I had seen a similar pen before in Shinichi Yoshida’s personal wrap. I remembered him explaining that Platinum launched this model several years before I was born. More importantly, I recalled him saying that it was a really good pen. Strong words coming from a typically soft-spoken man and I longed to figure out why he liked this old model a lot.

Platinum PPN-10000, introduced in 1967. It carried a retail tag of 10,000 yen back then.

This expression of chiseled silver is elegant. Its crosshatching follows a Prince of Wales pattern that is playful but not garish. Polished ends and a deeply grooved clip serve as subtle accents. At no time do the varied textures detract from the purity of the pen’s material. It is a masterful weaving of simple and complex within the same canvas.

These are the only markings on the pen. What a relief from the cramped bands you sometimes find today.
Any wider and a Cessna could land on it

Even the business end sticks to the white metal theme, with an inlaid nib rendered in 18-karat white gold. It is a Fine that is as wispy as a modern Japanese EF. Flow is typical of nibs wrought in 1970s Japan, but it never taunted me with skipping, hard starts or quick dry outs. Decades separate this nib from those on my more recent Century and President, but its feel is undeniably Platinum. There is a hint of spring, a whisper of feedback and a copious dose of smoothness. Just the way I like my nibs.

Maybe it’s actually semi-inlaid? I don’t care. It looks slick!

This is not a dainty pen either. It is very much a full-sized offering, defying the Virginia Slims designs of its era. Each component is hefty and even the section threads look like they were machined for a deep-sea oil rig. Nothing seems frail or hastily cobbled. Yet while it is robust enough to serve as a daily driver, its provenance demands that I refrain from placing it in harm’s way too often. It is one of the very few that I can never risk losing or damaging despite its sterling performance.


You see, many of the pens I own evoke treasured memories and this one is no different. This Platinum recalls two travellers exchanging ideas by an Orchard Road-side and parting ways with a deeper respect for each other’s heritage, calling and shared humanity.


And they say good will to all men is just a Hallmark construct.