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New Omas Paragon


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29 replies to this topic

#1 Mike S.

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 19:40

"I can't believe I just spent this much money for a pen."

That's what I kept thinking as I walked back to my office from the new pen store, Ink, that just opened up in my building in downtown Minneapolis.

But when I got to my desk and opened the (huge) box and pulled out the pen -- and, more importantly, when I filled it with ink and began writing with it -- all doubts went away. The new Omas Paragon is, without a doubt, the finest writing pen I own. Period. It is expensive, and there's no use denying it. The retail price for the pen is $650, and with a 20% discount, the cost is still an astounding $520. However, after living with the pen for a while now, I can say I think the build quality of the pen and, most importantly, its fantastic writing characteristics, make it well worth the cost.

Build Quality

The new Paragon is an absolutely huge pen -- the biggest pen I own. It is larger, in both weight and girth, than the Pelikan 1000 or the MB 149, my other big pens. Mine is the black resin version with high tech trim. The pen has a silver metal section stamped "925," which I assume means it's made of sterling silver. It has a simple trim ring at the back end, near the blind cap, and a larger engraved band at the lip of the cap engraved "Omas" on the front and "The Paragon Italy" on the back. Finally, there is a silver "O" inlaid into the top of the cap. The part of the pen that you either love or hate is the huge bow-shaped clip with the wheel at the end. (There was a post on the Writing Instruments page a few days ago in which our friend Richard Binder shared his very negative opinion about the look of the new Paragon.) Here are some pictures of the pen with my old-style Paragon for comparison:





Frankly, the size is what kept me from even considering the new Paragon when I first read about it late last year. (There was also apparently a problem with leaking at the section joint in the first version of the pen. All pens shipped after January of this year have the reengineered inner sleeve that has eliminated this problem. See the article on the new Paragon at www.nibs.com for more information and a description of the technical issues.) I just couldn't imagine a pen that large being comfortable to write with.

When I saw the pen in person at Ink and actually held it in my hand, I found, to my suprise, that the pen feels nearly perfect in my hand. It is comfortable to grip, and the length is just right in my hand without the cap posted. The weight is not a problem for me, like I imagined it would be. The nib is so smooth and the flow so perfect (more on this below) that the pen glides across the paper under its own weight, making the writing experience almost effortless. The additional mass makes the pen strangely easier to control, even if you write with a light touch.

The biggest technical improvement in the new Paragon versus the previous (smaller) version is the piston filling system. If you have ever owned or used the previous version of the Paragon, you know that its filling mechanism is notoriously sticky. The piston is difficult to turn, which makes filling the pen a less-than-satisfying experience. The new Paragon has none of these problems. The internal parts of the filling mechanism are made of metal (not plastic) and, as a result, the knob now turns quite easily. In addition, because the diameter of the knob is larger, it is easier to rotate while holding the pen in the bottle. For that reason alone, the new Paragon can be viewed as a real improvement, as opposed to a mere visual redesign, of the previous version.

The only complaint I have with the pen is that the silver section always shows fingerprints. If you can't learn to live with the smudges, you'll find yourself wiping the section a lot.

The Writing Experience

The build quality and size of the pen -- the feel of the pen in my hand -- certainly play a role in the exemplary writing performance of this pen. However, it is the fantastic nib and feed combination that, for me, make this pen such a wonder. I have the medium nib, and it writes a nice, rather fat, medium line. The nib is quite firm, which I prefer, and as smooth as smooth can be. I am a sucker for smoothness and write with a very light touch. That's one of the reasons I love writing with fountain pens: I love the feeling of the nib effortlessly gliding across the paper. This pen just begs to be written with. I find myself drafting letters longhand and coming up with excuses to write memos and notes to my secretary just so I can write with the pen. I even look forward to long meetings.





The nib is fairly large-sized and has a two-tone mask. In my opinion, the new look of the nibs is not quite as elegant as the old ones. The nib is also mounted on the same hand-cut ebonite (hard rubber) feed as is found on other Omas pens I own. The flow of ink to the nib and the smoothness of the tipping is, quite simply, perfect. Looking at the tipping with a 10X loupe reveals perfectly balanced tines and a perfectly round ball at the end. That is one reason for this nib's exemplary performance, which starts up immediately and exhibits no skipping with my favorite ink, Aurora Blue.

One problem I have found with many modern pens is something John Mottishaw refers to as "baby's bottom" -- when you look at the tipping straight-on under magnification, there is a slight valley or indentation where the slit runs through the ball tip, making the tipping look like a baby's butt. This gap leads to a problem called "railroading" on the downstroke of letters like "l" -- there are narrow lines on the left and right and a gap in the middle, making straight up-and-down lines look like railroad tracks. I hate this. It can be cured by polishing the tipping by drawing large cursive L's, using light pressure, on a piece of mylar polishing paper (I bought mine from Richard Binder's website, and I believe he sources it from Tryhpon). I say light pressure because if you push hard enough to splay the tines, you will only make the problem worse. The point is to wear down the tipping just enough to eliminate the baby's bottom shape and make the ball tip perfectly round. You don't want to wear a smooth, flat spot into the ball (making the nib "flat-footed" and therefore very position-sensitive), so be careful to polish in such a way that you keep the ball round. If you don't feel comfortable doing this, send your pen to John Mottishaw or Richard Binder (or another nibmeister) and ask them to remove the baby's bottom. If you are interested in learning more about this, you might want to read the excellent article on John Mottishaw's website on this topic: Nib Smoothing.

Conclusion

I love Omas pens. I have five of them, and they are among my absolute favorites, both for looks and for the overall writing experience. When everything is working right, they are absolute magic. The nib and feed combination and the wonderful piston filling system justify Omas's reputation as one of the finest fountain pen manufacturers today. The pride of ownership and pleasure I get from using these wonderful pens justifies the price of admission.

For me, however, the new Omas Paragon has set a new standard for performance. I find this pen mysteriously making its way to the front of the rotation and can (almost) imagine being happy with this one pen for the rest of my life. Almost, I said.

Edited by Mike S., 22 October 2006 - 21:12.


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#2 southpaw

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 20:01

Hi Mike, and thanks for that excellent review of the new Paragon. The nice thing about FPs is that there are so many out there, everyone is bound to find a few they like. Personally, I prefer the styling of the older Paragon and metal sections are a turn off, but, again, each to his own. I'm glad you like it and are enjoying it. Thanks for the wonderful review!
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#3 theking

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 06:37

I have an old paragon and a ogiva. The new paragon's band on the cap looks the same as the one on ogiva. I still like the styling of the old paragon much better. On the other hand, the new pen is great to write with.

Congratulations on your purchase.

#4 Bill H.

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 20:31

Thanks for your post. Like other folks, I'm more a fan of the old design, but I think if the nib characteristics and (especially) the hard rubber feeds are retained in the new pens, then that's what will really sell them.

Interesting about the nib's apparent stiffness. I have an 18K EF in the older Paragon, and it has an almost vintage flex to it, though not quite as much as the 14k one in a Scarlet Celluloide model I own. But both are wonderful writers that lay down ink flawlessly. My favorite pens of the modern age.

#5 chainwhip

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 20:43

Thanks for the review Mike - I too am an OMAS fan, but I just don't like metal sections. Perhaps I'll take a test drive of the Milord. As Bill said, I'm encouraged they retained the ebonite feed - you can't really go too wrong w/ Bock nibs.

Edited: spelling error... see saintsimon's post below smile.gif

Edited by chainwhip, 27 October 2006 - 22:14.

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#6 saintsimon

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 21:46

QUOTE(chainwhip @ Oct 27 2006, 10:43 PM)
... Milford...

It is called 'Milord', just like the discontinued smaller model. The 'Milford' naming just originates in someone's misreading wink.gif

The discontued versions were called Paragon, Milord, 1930, Dama and Princess.

Edited by saintsimon, 27 October 2006 - 21:48.


#7 chainwhip

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 22:13

QUOTE(saintsimon @ Oct 27 2006, 01:46 PM)
QUOTE(chainwhip @ Oct 27 2006, 10:43 PM)
... Milford...

It is called 'Milord', just like the discontinued smaller model. The 'Milford' naming just originates in someone's misreading wink.gif

The discontued versions were called Paragon, Milord, 1930, Dama and Princess.

Thanks saintsimon - probably watching Simpsons when I crafted that response... I should've said Milhouse. wink.gif
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#8 petra

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 22:58

Thanks for the review!!! Woe is me, it's really wearing down my resistance....

I think the new Paragon is absolutely stunning. I like the clip -- and I prefer metal sections because of how they balance a pen.

I saw the new paragon in arco brown on nibs.com site. How are mortals supposed to resist???

Enjoy that pen, I'm soooo envious!


Petra /:)

#9 MarkVA1968

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 20:01

I recently purchased the new Paragon (black resin/gold trim) from John Mottishaw at Nibs.com. As a left-hander, I was intrigued by the thought of having an experienced nibmeister tune a nib to my specific writing needs. The end result? An absolutely fantastic pen.

It is the smoothest writing pen I have ever owned. At this point, I've found that the perfect combination for the pen is Private Reserve ink on Clairefontaine pads. This combo absolutely blows me away. I'm so in love with this pen right now that I'm tempted to buy another one just like it from John so that I can alternate between inks on the fly. If my wife knew this, I would be a dead man walking....

Anyway, I agree wholeheartedly with the above review. The Paragon is a massive, comfortable, superbly-crafted writing instrument. It is far better than any other pen I own (and I own plenty).

One last note: The Paragon is so big that it makes my Pelikan 800s look (and feel) positively puny. blink.gif I'm not kidding. The Pelikan 800 seems like a tiny, insignificant little scribbler compared to the Paragon.

#10 Celticshaman

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 04:22

Great review!!! I have always wanted a Paragon.Now i have to save up!!

JD

#11 Dillo

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 05:16

Hi,

Wow! biggrin.gif

Too bad it's not something I can use. biggrin.gif I have the Scarlet Omas Princess I bought from Handlebar last yet. (Yes, it survived the cleaning up of my pen collection.) There were only two Omas sizes I could use comfortably. The Princess was the one I preferred, but then, if that wasn't available, I would have taken the Dama or 1930.

I probably could have used the older Milord to a certain extent.

Omas pens are quite nice. biggrin.gif I have two Omas Princesses and an Omas My First Omas Pen. I will be getting a full-size 360 vision with High-Tech trim (If they are not sold out or gone by the time I get to it). I am not sure if I am keeping it or not, but I need to find out about it.

Dillon

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#12 pankajwillis

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 19:11



Great Review! Thanks. It was very helpful. I have an omas paragon as well (new style), and so far I love it. I am having some skipping issues though, but hopefully they will go away as the pen breaks in.

Edited by pankajwillis, 10 September 2008 - 19:11.

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#13 alexanderino

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 21:57

QUOTE (pankajwillis @ Sep 10 2008, 07:11 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Great Review! Thanks. It was very helpful. I have an omas paragon as well (new style), and so far I love it. I am having some skipping issues though, but hopefully they will go away as the pen breaks in.

Uh-oh ... unsure.gif

Omas's reputation with regard to customer service and quality control has been spotty as of late. Good luck dealing with them, let alone getting it fixed.

#14 Brian

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 22:35

Congratulations on your beautiful new black pen. It is always fun to read reviews where you can tell the reviewer really likes their pen. I haven't seen this one yet in the flesh but have been trying to withhold judgement until I can see, handle, and actually write with one.

Thanks

#15 jmkeuning

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 03:24

I'd like to know what Mike S thinks of the pen now. Two years later.
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#16 Celticshaman

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 15:33

Almost two years after I posted my desire (above) to own a Paragon,i own 2 now and three Milords. All delightful pens and great writers,
I prefer the old style as well.

Jim

#17 lowks

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 18:13

Just wondering what ink do you use with your OMAS? Am I the only soul with the drying problem of other inks? I have used my OMAS with OMAS ink and sailor's nano black and both have instances where they dry in air cond rooms and under fans.

#18 Brian

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 19:07

Nice review of a big pen. I have a different observation than yours regarding the piston. On earlier paragons I've found the vegetal resin pens to have very smooth fillers while the celluloid models tended to be stickier. Both however are effective and work well. I've not tried the filler on this new pen but am encouraged by your experience. Hope you enjoy your new toy for many years.

#19 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 20:13

I own a new paragon in HT silver trim and it is my daily writer, it has a very smooth and flexible nib, the piston filler is easy to operate as good as my 149 and the ergonomics are fantastic.

Edited by georges zaslavsky, 06 June 2009 - 20:14.

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#20 horolographer

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 04:01

Enjoyed reading the review albeit several years late. :-)
I have a Paragon Arte Celluloid and in yellow gold trim (I actually prefer the white metal version - but thats a long story) for about a year now. Its on a fine nib that to my utter great surprise even today - is the smoothest fine nib ever. Its inexplicable so just a couple of weeks ago I brought it down to my fav pen shop to look for another fine nib pen to compare with so that what ever new pen I acquire needs to be just as good.

The shop owner told me that my Omas is a great find and that the reason its such a smooth fine nib is because it writes more like a fine/medium. More importantly, due the materials and weight of the pen, it dampers the scratchiness of the nib resulting in the hand not feeling any vibrations. Go figure!
By his description, it would mean that its going to be impossible to find a ultra smooth fine nib if its a light pen. I wonder if others had that experience.

Anyway, I have my Omas on a Pelikan Violet ink. It writes absolutely beautifully and flows with just the right amount of ink and darkness I like.

Cheers
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