INTRODUCTION: Absolutely stunning. This is the second Italian pen I have owned, and I am glad it is an Omas. It comes in a large, hefty but understated square box. On the exterior I see the Limited Edition number written by hand on a sticker - "298/360". I'm liking the personal touch already. It shows that the pen was paid attention by a person rather than a machine.
Inside, the pen rests in a velvety sheath and beside a bottle of Omas Turquoise ink. The sheath also works as a pen case. Removing the top piece reveals the instruction manual / history of Omas and also the guarantee. Again, the pen is wrapped in a piece of plastic, sealed and signed on by hand. "QC, before shipment", the little sticker says.
I've long been an advocate of Japanese pens. I started out with my first pen, a Lamy Vista, many years ago. And eventually I progressed to the Lamy 2000 and a Sailor Professional Gear which I still write with daily today.
1. Appearance & Design (10/10) – This thing is truly a work of art. I have always been a fan of the 360 design since I first saw the pen in the Hi-tech silver trim some years ago. Unfortunately I was never able to afford it until today. It has been on my Grail Pens list for quite some time now, and I guess it's never too late!
The first thing that stands out about this pen is the beautiful triangular shape. The three-faceted design is ergonomic and teaches people the right way to hold a fountain pen. (You could also say it forces people to hold the pen the right way.) The triangular shape is very useful because it makes the 360 probably the last pen in the world to roll off a table.
The second thing that really attracted my attention about the pen was the really nice turquoise colour - credit to Omas for just the right amount of transparency that revealed the inner workings of the piston system.
The triangular shape accentuates the interplay of light and shadow. One part appears a dark translucent hue, another appears an almost bright turquoise. A few other reviewers have also noted that the pen appears a different shade under different temperatures of light.
I also love the clip. It is absolutely marvelous. The clip of the Omas 360 is both functional and eye catching. At the end it curves upwards making it easy to slip into any pocket, but it is secure and reliable. As you can see in the picture above, the pen does rest quite nicely on the clip, though I would not recommend doing that!
Turquoise, if you do not already know, is my favourite colour. I love my Caran d'Ache Caribbean Sea and Herbin Bleu Pervenche so I must say I am glad I now have a turquoise pen. Ironically, the Omas 360 Vintage Turquoise LE is a pretty modern and sophisticated looking pen despite the "Vintage" label by Omas. Nevertheless, the trademark Omas greek keys can be seen above the nib and on the cap lip. I really love this touch of timeless art deco styling. I'm a big fan of art deco!
Finally, the details of the pen are etched onto the cap in a very discreet, understated way. If you weren’t looking closely you may not notice this, but one facet proudly contains the words "Omas Italy" while another says "360" and the last indicates the piece number - "298/360 FP". This is a great touch for me because real LE pens should be labelled.
2. Construction & Quality (9/10) – The Omas 360 Vintage Turquoise is a really well made pen. It is constructed from the typical (and really thick) “Cotton Resin”. You can see that the pen is made up quite a bit of the resin material - the piston knob is really thick and easy to hold onto, and the walls of the body are pretty thick.
Looking at the pen under a loupe, I could tell that the greatest efforts were taken to create the pen. It is free from imperfections and the translucent colour exposes the innards and piston mechanism. Apart from that, there were also no remnants from the factory and manufacturing line processes, something that reflects the price tag of this pen.
I could see micro scratches on the nib from the polishing process and some on the pen body as well, leading me to believe that this is inherent in the production. Or maybe I was looking too closely! It’s hard to resist, given how beautiful this specimen is.
The snap on cap is also really convenient and at the same time very secure. It closes with a nice secure click and does the job really well. Omas has also taken the trouble of integrating a ribbed panel on the surfaces of the cap, making it easier to grip onto. As some have noted, this panel is not seen on newer 360 models.
On a whole, I could find no flaw with the construction and quality, and I do believe that the pen will see many many years of use. I’m looking at putting it in my collection though, so I will not be able to report further on this aspect. It’s just too beautiful to use.
3. Weight & Dimensions (8/10) – Considering the fact that it is made of Cotton Resin, the Omas 360 Vintage Turquoise is a fairly light weight pen. The pen can be top heavy for those who post it, thus I would recommend not posting the cap.
Not being too heavy is a good thing, I guess - the pen will probably see you through hours of use before your hand becomes tired or it runs out of ink. The 360 is also fairly large sized - great for people with larger hands and those who like something really solid!
Here are some of the very technical specifications for people who’d like to know:
Weight : 28 grams
Length with cap closed : 15 cm
Length with cap posted : 17.4 cm
Diameter : 1.5 cm
4. Nib & Performance (9/10) – As a great advocate of Japanese nibs, I have been spoilt by their exacting smoothness and consistency. I like Japanese nibs because they are smooth and also fine enough to suit my rather small writing. One characteristic of Japanese nibs is that they are really hard, so the Omas 360 Vintage Turquoise was a real pleasure to write with, for a change.
My introduction to Omas was the Arte Italiana Art Deco Certified Edition in yellow. What really impressed me with Omas was that their nibs write really well. I mean, like... really. The Arte Italiana's Titanium nib is really soft and responsive, but that should be left to another review.
Anyway, my experience with the 360 has really reinforced my perception that Omas is up there in the whole European pen scene. And no, there aren't that many great nibs out of the box nowadays. So this was a real pleasant surprise since it wrote really well and had some spring to it. It was also perfectly aligned out of the box, which is something you don’t always get.
The nib is a 18K solid gold M nib with a beautiful etching of the pen’s triangular cross-section. The nib is therefore very attractive. I like how Omas has added this more customised touch rather than simply plonking a normal nib onto the pen. The line width is almost true to size - I expected European nibs to run a size wide compared to Japanese nibs, but this one wrote like a real M nib. A typical line would vary from 0.3mm to 0.4mm depending on the kind of ink and paper you use.
The 18K nib writes pretty smoothly and is not too wide despite my initial reservations. I actually like the flexibility of the nib - FpGeeks describes it in this post. FpGeeks is one of my favourite sites! Back to the pen, the 360's nib also gives really nice shading when you flex it slightly, making it perfect for use with Omas Turquoise, which is a pretty rare but really nice ink. On the side, I am looking for more Omas Turquoise as a replacement to the now discontinued Caran d’Ache Caribbean Sea.
Back to the nib, again - it is still rather firm when writing, making it really comfortable to use especially for those who do not like soft nibs. Flow is great, not too wet and not too dry - very consistent. If you like you can even press down ever so slightly for a wider line and the ebonite feed has absolutely no problem keeping up the flow.
All in all, I would not recommend taking it too far with this nib, otherwise you should get a Extra Flessible model instead. On the whole, it seems that Omas has great nib quality and I would really recommend them since not many other pens write this well for me.
5. Filling System & Maintenance (8/10) - The filling system on the Omas 360 is a real treat, because you get to see it in action. The piston mechanism works by twisting the triangular knob on top of the pen. When the pen is fully filled, you can tell because the triangular knob snaps into place perfectly. What would frustrate me most as a little OCD creature is if it was slightly misaligned with the pen body! But it is absolutely flawless, keeping with the form of the pen.
The 360 Vintage piston fill seems rather inefficient for some people, since the pen is quite big. Nevertheless, it still holds a fair bit of ink. Don’t forget that some other models are C/C! Filling the pen will give you quite a bit more writing than any typical cartridge or converter.
The piston on the 360 is really secure, and it has two lips for extra security. On a whole it fills up very smoothly and is a great joy to see in action. I don’t really know how to take apart a piston filled 360 Vintage, so this is one of the first pens I own that I will not be stripping down. I don’t think the pen will need any stripping down though! It is really well constructed and will give years of use if taken care of properly.
6. Cost & Value (8/10) – I love demos, especially Japanese ones, but when I walked into Fook Hing Trading Co at Bras Basah Complex (Singapore) I spotted this beautiful Omas 360 Turquoise lying there and I knew I just had to have it. This was the last piece, and I'm glad it's now mine. Much thanks to Danny for saving me this beautiful specimen.
I’ll be honest, I was at the shop looking for other demos, and I didn’t intend to buy an Omas. I was looking for something else with a black nib, another with a mosquito fill. But hey, look - the mosquito fill pen isn’t that easy to fill as shown in some posts, and the nib isn’t even gold but chromium! And it doesn’t come in a beautiful transparent turquoise.
The 360 literally checks off all the boxes for me - demo, piston fill, numbered limited edition, Italian made and most importantly, turquoise! Considering the seriously detailed presentation of this pen and the fact that it is a numbered limited edition that won’t be that easy to find in the near future, I do not think that it could be a very bad investment. Yes, there are always going to be new models in future but the turquoise colour is particularly beautiful and will always be in demand unless an identical one is released.
The 2012 Omas 360 Vintage Turquoise is a great pen and really worth its price tag. On a whole I think that the presentation of the pen and great attention to detail by Omas in the construction of the pen as well as the luxurious presentation box and package really deserves a mention!
7.Conclusion (Final score, 8.66666666667/10) - I’m very glad that I was recommended the 360. I was spying the red version last year but I much prefer this version. I was also impressed that the nib wrote so well and I am also rather surprised that there is something to match my Japanese pens in terms of nib consistency! It is definitely eye catching, so prepare to be asked questions if you own one of these.
I’ll be looking out for more pens like these from Omas from now on, and someday I may just put the 360 Vintage Turquoise to use. I am currently spying one of those beautiful Paragon designs constructed with wood, and the Ogiva Vision. As discussed in my wood Chizusugi review, Omas is also the maker of one of the few wooden piston pens! Anyway, the meticulous construction and engineering of the 360 is a timeless engineering marvel, and is a testament to the technical superiority of Omas.
This pen sits at the top of my collection right now. It is definitely my favourite pen and will be for quite some time. In conclusion, I would definitely recommend a 360 Vintage for anyone who likes distinctive Italian design, excellent quality and impeccable presentation.
Till my next review, here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure!
Edited by nicholasyeo, 20 February 2013 - 11:07.