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Review: Platinum 3776 Century Sf (Soft-Fine) Versus A Field Of Flex Comparison

platinum review comparison flex soft-fine

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#1 terminal

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 20:20

Platinum 3776 Century Black with a Soft-Fine nib

Is the Platinum soft-fine a 'real' flex nib? I seek to answer that question...

 

I can trace my purchase of this pen to a seed planted by Leigh Reyes and her enthusiasm for the Platinum SF.  She named it one of her 2012 pens of the year, and then posted this writing sample, which really impressed me (of course, she has good handwriting...).  

 

There are no shortage of reviews of Platinum pens.  There's even a great review of this exact pen by APHK.  Not only that, but I think APHK's review is spot-on and really well done (in fact the pens were even purchased from the same ebay seller, kendo-karate).  

 

The information I'm trying to add here is how this nib fairs against a variety of 'flex' pens.  I'm also going to add my own photographs (since APHK's review doesn't have macro shots... and macro is how I roll).  Therefore, this is a review with my perspective of this Platinum followed by a comparison between this pen and a bunch of other pens.

 

I will be comparing the Platinum Soft-Fine nib to these pens:

intro-1.jpg

From left to right: Stipula Duetto Lemoncello, Parker Victory, Noodler's Ahab, Waterman 52, Pendleton Brown bad boy with angel wings, Pilot/Namiki Falcon, Eversharp Symphony 713, Pyralin, Non-stop, Ambassador.  

 

 

intro-2.jpg

 

For these tests, I used a Rhodia #18 pad and Iroshizuku Syo-ro

 

intro-3.jpg

 

I used these supplies because I think they are fairly mainstream and well behaved.  The ink also does a good job of showing how thick it is on the paper with both sheen and shading.  Plus it's one of my favorite inks (at the moment).  

 

I've decided to break this up in to multiple posts to function as a table of contents.

 

 

Review: Platinum 3776 Century SF

Stipula Duetto Lemoncello

Parker Victory

Noodler's Ahab

Waterman 52

TWSBI 540 with a Pendleton Brown bad boy with angel wings

Pilot/Namiki Falcon

Eversharp Symphony 713

Pyralin ball flex

Non-stop extra fine

Ambassador extra fine

Conclusion


Edited by terminal, 18 July 2013 - 20:35.

"One always looking for flaws leaves too little time for construction" ...

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#2 terminal

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 20:21

Main review for Platinum 3776 SF:


  • Fit & Finish: 7/10 It's not up to the standards of the Sailor pens I've reviewed recently (herehere and here).  This part of the review is about nit-picking, and nit-pick I shall.  The seams don't match on either the top of the cap or the barrel end.  The cap has a mechanism that seems like it's supposed to function the same way Sailor's does, but somehow it feels cheap and like I can't quite tell if it's screwed down all the way.  I mean, it's not like there's anything shocking, but these are the things that keep it from being a ten.  On the upside, the way the barrel screws down on to the nib section is very secure and feels well machined.  There aren't anything on the level of mold marks or sharp edges or anything like that.  The 'gold' is even and without blemish.  
  • Style: 6/10 In between the manufacturing quality and style there is the issue of the quality of the plastic.  I can't say I think this plastic isn't finished well, nor do I see signs it will break easily or anything like that.  However, there is something about the plastic that feels cheap.  I remember saying something similar in my review of the Parker Victory.  I think APHK does a good job of summarizing this in his review too.  It just feels cheap.  I also think the gold-plating... which is already a sore spot with me, is especially cheap looking on this pen.  It's just so thin and hardly manages to even look 'gold-like'.  As with Sailor, I don't like the big cap band.  On the up side, it has a classic shape, and I actually think it's a nice weight.  I like holding it and it certainly is mostly non-offensive.  I like the way the nib looks a lot, and it's really large and shaped differently.  The nib is the high point of the pen, in almost every sense, including design.
  • C/C / Design / Filling: 7/10 Better than average C/C... why? Because the actual Platinum C/C is quite nice.  I like it.  It really feels secure and looks nice.  Oh, and my normal disclaimer (I should just make a thread I can reference here) about how I like C/Cs for some things but pistons feel more luxurious etc etc... you can see one of my other reviews for details.
  • Nib: 7/10 I'm having a harder time than usual evaluating this nib.  It did not blow me away.  It does not have that glassy feel of a Pilot or a Sailor or even the smooth feel of my Omas Cruze.  I wouldn't go so far as to say it feels scratchy, but it's kinda on the edge of feeling scratchy.  One definite positive is the flow, which is really good.  The feed keeps up, and one remarkable thing, in comparison to the other pens, is that it doesn't railroad or skip.  It's also not super-wet (it could be wetter, really) but it certainly keeps up.  It's right on the edge of being a flexible nib, but really, I'm sorry to say, it's not a flex nib.  Like other modern "flex" pens, it takes a lot more pressure to get the full range of flex out of it, but of course, it also doesn't spring easily.  The line starts out quite fine, like .3mm and flexes to about .9mm.  
  • Price: 6/10 Retail is $168, and I paid $87.  I certainly think there are better pens to be had for the retail price, although I don't think it's a rip-off either.  Even for the price I paid, I'd probably choose a Pilot first.  However, I do feel like I got a good deal.

GLAMAH SHOTS (we bring out your best... then we take your picture):

platinum_3776_SF-01.jpg

platinum_3776_SF-02.jpg

platinum_3776_SF-06.jpg

 

The nib is quite pretty, and very large:

platinum_3776_SF-03.jpg

platinum_3776_SF-05.jpg

The feed really keeps up:

platinum_3776_SF-04.jpg

 

Compared to a Pilot Limited Edition Custom Heritage 91 (read Custom 74 with flat ends), my Sailor 1911 Pro Emperor and my Omas Milord Cruise:

platinum_3776_SF-07.jpg

platinum_3776_SF-08.jpg

 

Writing samples... for what it's worth... this is on Clairfontaine:

platinum_3776_SF-09.jpg

 

And the Rhodia for the test:

platinum_3776_SF-10.jpg

 

Close-ups for comparison:

platinum_3776_SF-11.jpg

platinum_3776_SF-12.jpg


Edited by terminal, 18 July 2013 - 20:30.

"One always looking for flaws leaves too little time for construction" ...

#3 terminal

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 20:21

Stipula Duetto Lemoncello (I already reviewed this here).

 

This is one of the three wettest nibs -- it might be the wettest nib in that it puts down the most ink.  Only the Waterman 52 and the Falcon come close.  The Ti nib has weird dynamics, and this specimen is a bold.  It flexes from about .6mm to 1.3mm.  It's about the same level of flex as the SF under review.

 

stipula-1.jpg

stipula-2.jpg

stipula-3.jpgstipula-4.jpg


Edited by terminal, 18 July 2013 - 22:24.

"One always looking for flaws leaves too little time for construction" ...

#4 terminal

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 20:21

Parker Victory (I reviewed this here although the one I chose for these pictures is my black one):

 

To most people's surprise, this pen holds its own.  It goes from about .5mm to 1.1mm with pressure that is closer to 'vintage' than modern.  It will railroad when pushed.  It's on the edge of being a "flex" pen but is easier to get flex out of than modern.

 

victory-1.jpg

victory-2.jpg

 

victory-3.jpg

victory-4.jpg

victory-5.jpg


Edited by terminal, 18 July 2013 - 20:48.

"One always looking for flaws leaves too little time for construction" ...

#5 terminal

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 20:21

Noodler's Ahab

 

Probably the most difficult of all the pens.  You have to move pretty slowly, but you can achieve more flex with it than some others (about .6mm to 1.4mm).  Of course with the scratchy skipping and railroading, it's hard to endorse.

 

ahab-2.jpg

ahab-1.jpg

ahab-5.jpg

ahab-3.jpg

ahab-4.jpg


Edited by terminal, 18 July 2013 - 20:52.

"One always looking for flaws leaves too little time for construction" ...

#6 terminal

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 20:21

1900's Waterman 52

 

I guess I'll save the 'big shocker' until the conclusion... but.. well, nothing can compete... about .2mm to 1.4mm...

 

waterman-1.jpg

waterman-2.jpg

waterman-3.jpgwaterman-4.jpg

waterman-5.jpg


Edited by terminal, 18 July 2013 - 20:55.

"One always looking for flaws leaves too little time for construction" ...

#7 terminal

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 20:21

TWSBI 540 with Pendleton Brown "Bad Boy With Angel Wings" modification.

 

You can get more flex out of this nib than you can from most modern flex pens, but it's fragile and it also takes a disconcerting amount of pressure.  About .4mm to 1.2mm.

 

twsbi-1.jpg

twsbi-2.jpg

twsbi-3.jpg

twsbi-4.jpg

twsbi-5.jpg


Edited by terminal, 18 July 2013 - 20:59.

"One always looking for flaws leaves too little time for construction" ...

#8 terminal

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 20:21

Pilot / Namiki Falcon

 

Meh.  Stil don't "get it".  I think part of the problem is that this one is the bold... and it's not modified (doctored) by a nibmeister.  Basically, it's just not a flex pen really.  It's wet and it has to be primed a lot.  About .6mm to .8mm.

 

falcon-1.jpg

falcon-2.jpg

falcon-3.jpg

falcon-4.jpg

falcon-5.jpg


Edited by terminal, 18 July 2013 - 21:02.

"One always looking for flaws leaves too little time for construction" ...

#9 terminal

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 20:21

Eversharp Symphony 713 medium

 

Uhg, stay away from this stinker.  Scratchy.  Takes as much pressure as the Ahab, and railroads a lot.  Seems like the feed just isn't up to the task.  Tiny and light in the hand.  Not a contender.  .4mm to 1.2mm

 

eversharp-1.jpg

eversharp-2.jpg

eversharp-3.jpg

eversharp-4.jpgeversharp-5.jpg


Edited by terminal, 18 July 2013 - 21:05.

"One always looking for flaws leaves too little time for construction" ...

#10 terminal

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 20:21

Pyralin (not the material but the ... brand) ball flex.  

 

I don't know much about this pen.  I call it 'big orange'.  It happens to be the smoothest flex pen I've ever used.  It's very unusual .  Seems like the easiest of the pens to use.  Goes from about .5mm to 1.3mm.

 

pyralin-1.jpg

pyralin-2.jpg

pyralin-3.jpg

pyralin-4.jpg

pyralin-5.jpg


Edited by terminal, 18 July 2013 - 21:13.

"One always looking for flaws leaves too little time for construction" ...

#11 terminal

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 20:22

Non-Stop brand extra fine flex

 

Another pen I know nothing about.  It has the threads in a weird place.  It's a hard nib to use... scratchy.  .2mm to 1mm about.  

 

nonstop-1.jpg

nonstop-2.jpg

nonstop-3.jpg

nonstop-4.jpg

nonstop-5.jpg


Edited by terminal, 18 July 2013 - 21:18.

"One always looking for flaws leaves too little time for construction" ...

#12 terminal

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 20:22

Ambassador extra fine

 

I don't know much about this brand either.  This pen feels somewhat scratchy, though less than the Non-Stop.  The yield in terms of flex is quite good though.  It's pretty wet and doesn't take a lot of pressure.  .4mm - 1.3mm

 

amb-1.jpg

amb-2.jpg

amb-3.jpg

amb-4.jpg

amb-5.jpg


Edited by terminal, 18 July 2013 - 21:21.

"One always looking for flaws leaves too little time for construction" ...

#13 terminal

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 20:22

Conclusion

 

Wow

 

I. Am. Exhausted.

 

It's definitely hard going from flex pen to flex pen.  They behave differently, and to really get the maximum use out of each, you have to sink in to their personality.  Plus, I'm not very good at it.  However, the reverse of that is: I came to each pen with them each being pretty new.  I haven't been doing much flex writing lately.  

 

It's interesting, first of all, to have such a hands-down winner.  The Waterman 52 plays on a different field.  It almost doesn't belong in this comparison.  I know that's not a shock to most, but, I didn't come in expecting it to be so decisive.  

 

Runners up are the Ambassador and the Pyralin.  

 

But, but... that's not what this is about, is it.  This is about the Platinum Soft-Fine nib and how it compares to vintage flex.  Short answer: it really doesn't.  There are things it does better, and the feed is impressive, but basically, Pyralin, Non-Stop, Ambassador, Waterman, and probably the Parker, beat it (the Parker because it yields its flex more easily if nothing else).

 

A more complicated question is, how does the Platinum SF stack up against modern "flex nibs".  Quite well actually.  Everysharp and Noodler's are out because the Platinum beats them by miles with its friendly feed.  Stipula Ti and Falcon... well, both of mine are broad, so perhaps I should reserve judgement, but, with these: they are fun because they are such wet pens, but they aren't flex pens.  The Platinum SF is better at flex than these two pens.  Finally, my modified TWSBI.  The Platinum beats it because it's less finicky.

 

My conclusion is that the Platinum SF nib is the best modern flex pen in this comparison.  That's not to say it's the best modern pen...


Edited by terminal, 18 July 2013 - 21:33.

"One always looking for flaws leaves too little time for construction" ...

#14 Voormas

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 20:44

Brilliant review already!

Thank you very much!

 

I have benn looking for a nice fine-nibbed Japanese pen for some time. This review gave me more to think of  :D



#15 fphilipp

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 09:29

Wow, thanks a lot. 



#16 Scribblesoften

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 11:30

I enjoyed reading this/these review/s very much.  Thank you for taking the time to do this.



#17 picautomaton

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 12:08

Excellent work - I think I need a 3776 Century


"One Ink-drop on a solitary thought hath moved the minds of millions" - P R Spencer

#18 terminal

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 13:59

Brilliant review already!

Thank you very much!

 

I have benn looking for a nice fine-nibbed Japanese pen for some time. This review gave me more to think of  :D

Thank you!  Yeah, as I'm sure you noticed, it took a long time to assemble, with the multiple posts and all.  I'm not sure the multiple posts were the best way to structure it now, actually.

 

Well, think about Sailor and Pilot too.  You give up a little flex maybe, but you get a smoother pen.


"One always looking for flaws leaves too little time for construction" ...

#19 terminal

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 14:00

Wow, thanks a lot. 

I enjoyed reading this/these review/s very much.  Thank you for taking the time to do this.

 

Thanks for reading it!  I'm glad it was useful.  


"One always looking for flaws leaves too little time for construction" ...

#20 terminal

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 14:02

Excellent work - I think I need a 3776 Century

Thanks!

 

Well, from my perspective right now, it seems to be a pretty good purchase if you're looking for a modern 'almost-flex' pen.  I need to try a fine or extra-fine Falcon, but in my current frame of reference, I think it's the best all-around.


"One always looking for flaws leaves too little time for construction" ...





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: platinum, review, comparison, flex, soft-fine



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