June 25, 2014
By way of background: I have around 3 dozen fountain pens, from various
manufacturers, both new made and vintage. And to frame this review: there cannot
be one truly “perfect” pen for all users, since users have differing needs.
IE: one person needs a pen to use outdoors and in the field, so they will value
ruggedness. Another person needs a prestigious looking pen for use in a
corporate boardroom, and a third person is on a tight budget and values economy.
Typically, a pen will fit one category but not another—the cheap pen is not
impressive as a prestige item, and the expensive pen that writes very smoothly
was not made to knock about, and son. However, my gunmetal color Platinum
Plaisir (fine point) is the closest I’ve come to meeting all categories
adequately in one fountain pen.
Do note that the exact same nib and feed come in the Platinum Preppy, which
sells for an incredibly low price and for that price writes unbelievably well.
However, the Preppy is made of thin plastic covered with decals. Even if one
goes to the work of removing the decals, it does not look nice at all. It looks
disposable and…it is. Yes, the Preppy is refillable but the two I have owned
have both cracked in rapid order and I’ve heard the same from other owners.
For me, durability is a primary reason I use a fountain pen and not a throwaway
ballpoint, so the Preppy isn’t in the same category as the Plaisir.
The Plaisir is utterly reliable: I’ve never (in months of daily use and all
sorts of conditions, including flying) known the pen to fail. It starts right up
every time I grab it and writes smoothly from the get go. You cannot use it as
an ED, but the Platinum cartridges are twice the size of a standard
international and will last a long time. I’ve filled out an entire 6’ by
9’ notebook with one cartridge. And the pen is sturdy. I do some outdoor
adventuring and the Plaisir bumps around in a rucksack with hiking gear, has
been dropped in the dirt, dropped on rock, dropped on wooden floor (alright so
I’m a wee bit clumsy). I’ve yet to break or significantly dent the pen.
There’s also the possibility of losing a pen, and I’ve learned not to bring
expensive vintage pens into a workplace or outdoor setting where they could be
lost or taken. Fortunately, the Plaisir is only a fraction of the price of a
fine vintage pen, so if I did lose it I wouldn’t cry (and the gunmetal is
shiny like chrome so it’s easy to locate and I haven’t lost it). The finish
is scratch resistant. But here’s the amazing bit…despite its rugged
durability, the pen is elegant and rather expensive looking, and the funny thing
is that I get more compliments in business-type meetings than pens which are
actually of considerably greater value.
Now the final question, which any pen aficionado really wants to know…how
does it write? And to be honest, it writes good but not outstandingly so. It is
better than any Chinese pen I’ve used, better than a number of German nib
pens, but not as good as my vintage Parker or Esterbrook. However, as I said
before, it is much less valuable. My vintage pens stay on the desk at home
because I’d be mortified if I dropped or lost them, but the Plaisir writes
just fine and I don’t worry about it. There’s never any scratchiness or
frustration—I’ve written more with it than any other pen I own—but it just
doesn’t have that perfect gliding- on -air feel that a real expensive pen has.
So if you use fountain pens all the time everywhere you go, this is the one
tool I’d recommend for your writing arsenal.
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