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OMAS Ogiva Alba, Factory Italic Nib
The OMAS Ogiva Alba was released this Fall in a limited edition of 327 pens in each of three colors - green, purple and red. The pen is a demonstrator with a longitudinal grooved guilloche pattern. I am not a huge fan of demonstrators, and none of the colors really inspired me. What prompted my purchase was the opportunity to acquire an OMAS FP with a factory Italic nib at a reasonable price, at least for an OMAS LE with an 18Kt gold nib.
It turned out that the italic nib was a special order, which delayed shipment of my pen. And the italic nib is “factory,” in that that is from where it comes to the dealer, but it is apparently a stock Broad nib that the factory circumcises. That is to say, they cut off the tip, including all the iridium tipping material, making it flat and chisel-like, and smooth the corners of the tip.
My first impression was positive. The Ogiva shape is a classic. The color I chose was the green. It’s a nice, dark green with a bit of blue, to my eye. The nib initially shocked me. The lack of tipping was obvious. The tines appeared widely separated, raising concerns about excessive ink flow. The tip had such rounded shoulders, I feared the line differentiation would be insufficient for my needs. But read on …
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1. Appearance & Design (9) - A nice looking pen, but no Paragon Arco Bronze
I have described the general appearance of the pen above. It is pleasing to look at. It has a nice shape, color and hardware, with the classic modern OMAS wheeled clip and Greek Key cap band. But, it doesn’t take my breath away like the OMAS Arcos or Blu Senape celluloids. It’s got stiff competition!
2. Construction & Quality (10) - Flawless
I can find no fault with the materials, fit or finish. In spite of it’s light weight and plastic body, it looks and feels like a high-quality writing instrument.
3. Weight & Dimensions (9) - Long length, comfortable diameter, lightweight
The Ogiva is slightly longer than a Paragon. Or a Pelikan M800! You don’t appleciate it’s size until you place it next to other pens. It sticks up quite a bit when put in a shirt breast pocket, and that’s a negative for me.For me, the section diameter is just about right. That is one of the most important pen parameters for me. I am not especially fussy about pen weights. I have both light pens, like this one, and much heavier ones, for example, my CS Bellivers, and I enjoy writing with them all.
4. Nib & Performance (8.5) - Good ink flow, very smooth, not very crisp.
As mentioned, the OMAS factory italic nib is cut from a B nib and is untipped. It has very round shoulders and writes more like a stub than a cursive italic. It is quite comparable to the Bock Italic/Stub nibs used by TWSBI, Franklin-Christoph and Edison. For a user who wants a broad stub to write in cursive or to use for signatures, this would be an excellent choice. I wanted to use it for italic script, and wish it were crisper.
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I had read old reports on FPN that the OMAS italic nibs were untipped, but it was still a bit of a shock to see. For the amount of use this pen will get, the lack of iridium tipping is probably not a practical issue, but why OMAS chose to make the nib this way is a mystery to me. I believe I have 11 OMAS pens, and all of them have custom-ground crisp cursive italic nibs that started as M, B or BB round nibs. All have abundant iridium left.
As mentioned, I feared excessive ink flow because the tines seemed wide-space, but ink flow is fine, even with moderately wet ink like the Diamine with which I loaded it. It does hesitate starting after a pause in writing but starts again after just a bit of a nudge.
5. Filling System & Maintenance (9) - Classic reliable piston filler
This pen uses the excellent OMAS Piston filling system. It operates smoothly. I am pretty sure the nib is friction fit. I much prefer easily changed nibs like those on Pelikans and Auroras. I cannot comment further regarding maintenance.
6. Cost & Value (8.5) - High cost. High value?
I have been testing a variety of low cost pens with italic nibs the last few weeks. All have steel nibs and plastic bodies. None have the stunning beauty of an OMAS Paragon Arco or of a Pelikan M620 or of an Aurora Mare. Some, but not all, look and feel cheap. But several of them write really, really well and cost a small fraction of the pretty pens I named. The Ogiva Alba is much less costly than those pretty pens too, although still way more costly than my budget italic pens. And it feels to have the quality expected of an OMAS pen.
7. Conclusion (Final score: 9) - A very good pen, but not my personal ideal.
The OMAS Ogiva Alba has many strengths, and most of it’s weaknesses are subjective or a matter of personal preference. I think the OMAS Ogiva Alba would be an excellent choice for some one who wanted to experience this without spending what a celluloid Vintage Paragon, Ogiva or 360 costs.
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