Jump to content

The Fountain Pen Network uses (functional) cookies. Read the FPN Privacy Policy for more info.  To remove this message, please click here to accept the use of cookies


Registration on the Fountain Pen Network

Dearest Visitor of the little Fountain Pen Nut house on the digital prairie,

Due to the enormous influx of spammers, it is no longer possible to handle valditions in the traditional way. For registrations we therefore kindly and respectfully request you to send an email with your request to our especially created email address. This email address is register at fountainpennetwork dot com. Please include your desired user name, and after validation we will send you a return email containing the validation key, normally wiithin a week.

Thank you very much in advance!
The FPN Admin Team






Photo

Onoto Magna 261 Centenary Edition


  • Please log in to reply
31 replies to this topic

#1 DanielCoffey

DanielCoffey

    Collectors Item

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,214 posts
  • Location:South Ayrshire, UK
  • Flag:

Posted 06 July 2011 - 13:37

This is my review of the Onoto Magna 261 Centenary Edition fountain pen which I have just received from David and Alastair at Onoto (www.onoto.com). John Sorowka (Oxonian) recommended that I look at their pens and gave some excellent tips on what to choose.

The Magna 261 is made from polished black acrylic patterned with the wavy chased markings that Onoto use. While the standard nib is stainless steel, I ordered this pen with the 18K gold nib. The bands and trim on the pen are hallmarked sterling silver under gold plate. The pen fills via the included premium converter but will take International Long cartridges.

One thing I learned reviewing this pen is that it is damned hard to photograph a black pen without studio equipment! Careful use of the Levels adjustment in Photoshop was needed to bring out the detail.


PACKAGING

The pen was very well packaged when I received it. There was a single-wall cardboard shipping box which contained an Onoto-branded outer card box. Inside the card box were all the little extras that you expect with a premium pen these days... cleaning cloths, care instructions, company history, hallmark datasheet and advertising. Under all this lot was the Onoto-branded main pen box which appears to be made of soft wood or wood-effect material.

Posted Image

The base of the pen box is a lined with a velvet material and there is satin in the lid along with the Certificate of Authenticity showing the pen’s Edition Number and the registration card and lifetime guarantee. In my case, the pen was 189 of 261.

Posted Image


PEN APPEARANCE

As stated on the Onoto website, the pen is polished black acrylic which has a pleasantly warm feel to the touch. The “snakes head” chasing pattern gives a little more grip and is comfortable when holding the pen. The step down from barrel to section is very slight and does not impede the grip in any way. Capped, the 261 is very close to the Pelikan M800 in size and uncapped it is a little shorter and lighter.

The included converter holds about the same amount of ink as you get in an International Short cartridge so does not affect the weight or balance much. I did not feel the pen needed to be posted in order to balance or fit in my hands (which are medium but broad).

The cap takes 3 2/3 full turns to remove but locks nicely when fully closed.

Posted Image

Posted Image

The main reason I chose the Magna 261 rather than the Magna Classic was because of the trim. The 261 is black and gold with a single broad gold band on the cap whereas the Classics all have the three thinner bands. This pen was an anniversary present and I really liked the “wedding ring” look of the cap band.

At the time I placed this order the website only showed the chasing pattern as used on this pen but I understand that it will soon be available on the Magna Classic blue/gold, the havana brown/gold and the black/silver pen bodies.

Posted Image

The end of the barrel shows a clear rounded button with the “261” logo. I assume the logo is printed onto a gold-plated disc because it matches the colour of all the other trim. The button feels like it is made of some clear silicone material.

Posted Image

The cap is finished with the traditional deep relief ONOTO logo in gold plate (remember all this trim is gold over sterling silver) which I had difficulty photographing in my lighting conditions. The high portions are polished gold and the low portions are gold stippled.

Posted Image


NIB

By default the pen comes with a stainless steel nib but as I said, I ordered the 18k gold nib. I understand the nibs are made by Bock in Germany to Onoto’s specifications.

Posted Image

They are available in Fine, Medium (0.65mm) and Broad (around 1.0mm) round tipped without modification and can be sent to a Nib Technician for custom grinds. I know from our conversations that John Sorowka (Oxonian) is currently in their list of Nib Techs so I elected to have the nib assembly sent to him before shipping so he could adjust the flow for my preferred brand of ink and the fact that I am a left-handed underwriter. Since this was just a tune-up rather than a full re-grind, a price was agreed for this job according to John’s fee-scale.

This nib sizes as a true Medium, unlike the Pelikan Souverän nibs which can come across as a fat Medium/Broad.

In terms of stiffness, I would rate this nib as a 2 out of 10 on the “Nail to Noodle” scale. There is a little line variation if you press firmly but this is a modern nib with no flex as standard.

As expected from a premium nib that has passed through the hands of a Nib Tech, the nib is extremely smooth. There is just a little feedback but absolutely no toothiness, even on rougher papers such as G Lalo Vergé de France.

John adjusted the flow for Diamine ink and the nib has been set fairly wet at about 8 out of 10. Even under fast writing, this nib does not skip and starts first time on all downstrokes. With this flow rate, I will have to be careful on cheaper papers about feathering but it was my choice to have the nib set this way.

The Magna 261 (and the Classic) caps have no breather hole so the nib should not dry out when capped.


FILLING

At the moment all Onotos ship with a premium converter (I believe it is a Schmidt K5 piston converter) with clear sides. The piston operated very smoothly and holds the same amount of ink as an International Short cartridge. The converter fits very snugly on the nipple and there is no risk of the converter loosening when carried. The rubber seal on the end of the piston has a double o-ring and with care can have a tiny amount of pure silicone placed inside to keep it running smoothly.

The converter is accessed by twisting the section and barrel. There is a near-invisible join part way along the section which takes 6 2/3 turns to undo.

If you wanted to use cartridges then the 261 will take standard International cartridges so you are not limited by colour or proprietary shapes. You could also refill your own International Longs if you were so inclined.


CLEANING

Cleaning the Magna 261 is trivial. Simply remove the barrel, pull off the converter and the back of the section is exposed for easy cleaning. The ubiquitous rubber bulb syringe can be used if the pen is seriously clogged but a straightforward soak and flush in cool, slightly soaped (fairy) water or 10% ammonia would be enough for routine cleaning.


PRICE

According to the website, the standard steel nibbed Magna 261 is currently priced at £325 plus £10 insured shipping plus £50 for the 18k nib if you want it. Sending the nib to someone like John Sorowka for tuning or a regrind is of course extra. Remember that these prices include UK VAT at 20% which can be waived for overseas customers. Some folks will exclaim that £325 is a heck of a lot for a steel-nibbed plastic pen but remember... the trim is gold over sterling silver, not brass.

Now here is the good bit... Onoto are willing to negotiate on the price of the Magna Classic and Magna 261 for members of the Writing Equipment Society and also the Fountain Pen Network. The fact that they must support their retail partners mean that any discount cannot be openly discussed but just ask. You will be pleasantly surprised about how flexible they can be!


WRITING SAMPLE

Here is a writing sample of the Onoto Magna 261 (medium) against the Pelikan M800 (medium) on G Lalo Vergé de France Ivory Laid paper using Diamine Umber in both pens. You can see that the Pelikan M800 nib is tending towards the Broad. Both nibs have been adjusted by John Sorowka for high flow so both are writing wet as intended.

NOTE : I have used one application of Photoshop Smart Sharpen on these two images as the paper had curled slightly and one edge was a little out of focus on the Pelikan M800 shot.

Posted Image
Posted Image


COMPARISON

The Magna 261 is 140mm capped, 123mm uncapped, 163mm posted (but I do not feel it needs posting) and weighs 25 grammes empty.

The pen is practically the same length capped as a Pelikan M800, about 5mm shorter when uncapped and a little lighter but I understand that there is a brass insert available when ordering which will give the pen a little more heft. The diameter of the pen very closely matches the Pelikan M800 too.

Posted Image
Posted Image

Sponsored Content

#2 DanielCoffey

DanielCoffey

    Collectors Item

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,214 posts
  • Location:South Ayrshire, UK
  • Flag:

Posted 06 July 2011 - 13:38

Remember folks - if posting a reply to this thread, PLEASE do not just Quote the entire review with all the images. Just quote the section you need to.

Thanks,

Daniel.

#3 lewis

lewis

    Extremely Rare

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 284 posts
  • Location:Maidstone, UK
  • Flag:

Posted 06 July 2011 - 13:49

Hi Daniel, thanks for your review. I really like this pen and came close to buying it recently. It's a real classy looking pen and your review describes it wonderfully.
Fountain pens aren't a collection, it's an insatiable obsession!

Shotokan Karate: Respect, Etiquette, Discipline, Perseverance

#4 richardandtracy

richardandtracy

    Ancient Artifact

  • FPN Super Moderators

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 10,687 posts
  • Location:Kent, UK
  • Flag:

Posted 06 July 2011 - 14:19

Amazing photos & wonderful description. The pen is really quite something.

Regards,

Richard.

#5 hari317

hari317

    Classic

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 14,846 posts
  • Location:Mumbai, INDIA
  • Flag:

Posted 06 July 2011 - 14:34

Excellent review Daniel! A modern Onoto has been on my Radar for a very long time. I think I will have to renew my effort to get one. BTW are you a WIS? Bergeon...
In case you wish to write to me, pls use ONLY email by clicking here. I do not check PMs. Thank you.

#6 DanielCoffey

DanielCoffey

    Collectors Item

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,214 posts
  • Location:South Ayrshire, UK
  • Flag:

Posted 06 July 2011 - 14:40

The Bergeon box held my 12x loupe that I used to look at the watermarks and to check the nib. I used to dabble in watch restoration a few years ago but stopped and disposed of the tools. The loupes were kept, however.

I thought I would stick to the facts with this review and I hope folks find it useful. I have just had confirmation that the box is indeed real wood, not "wood effect" and that the technical name for the chasing is "guilloche" pattern.

#7 SHK

SHK

    Vintage

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 464 posts
  • Location:Global
  • Flag:

Posted 06 July 2011 - 14:46

Thanks for the review and images.
The Onoto Magna 261 is a very fine fountain pen.
Enjoy it.

Sascha

#8 jlepens

jlepens

    Humble Calligraphy Student

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,156 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 07 July 2011 - 05:08

Thank you for this review. I have been looking at the Magna Classic and 261 for a while now. Very nice!
Joi - The Way of the Japanese Pen
Posted Image

#9 Hetty

Hetty

    Extremely Rare

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 232 posts
  • Location:Bradford, West Yorkshire, UK

Posted 07 July 2011 - 09:00

Wonderful review, Daniel. I have been looking at Onotos for a while now, and they are on my 'wish' list but have so far not succumbed. John Sorowka also recommended them to me! The Umber ink looks fantastic with that pen on that paper.

Hetty

#10 DanielCoffey

DanielCoffey

    Collectors Item

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,214 posts
  • Location:South Ayrshire, UK
  • Flag:

Posted 13 July 2011 - 11:29

Just a quick followup to this review, a sort of one week in...

Weight-wise, the 261 in its standard configuration is lighter than the Pelikan M800. This is due to the fact that there are no brass piston parts and also because it holds less ink in the converter. I do not have any issues with the weight at all - it is light enough to be comfortable and the warm feel of the acrylic makes the pen a pleasure to hold. If you want a heavier pen, ask David to fit the brass insert on your order.

I am a frequent-changer when it comes to my inks - I love changing colours often. The design of the 261 with its premium converter means that cleaning the pen is very easy indeed. I bought one of the rubber bulb syringes from eBay and in a minute or two the pen was clean and ready to re-ink.

The nib is still behaving perfectly of course. I would expect nothing less from a modern premium nib that has been through John Sorowka. It is currently loaded with Diamine Rustic Brown. I heard that some of the Diamine browns can be a little on the dry side but I am not finding that with the way this nib is set up. Thanks John!

#11 DanielCoffey

DanielCoffey

    Collectors Item

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,214 posts
  • Location:South Ayrshire, UK
  • Flag:

Posted 19 July 2011 - 16:08

Apologies for the images being unavailable but my webhost is down at the moment (19 July).

Since I have been asked about the size of the section on the pen, I will add the following information...

At its widest point just in front of the threads of the barrel the section is 12.60mm diameter. At its narrowest just before where it flares to the nib it is 10.60mm.

#12 drgoretex

drgoretex

    zookeeper of teenagers

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,398 posts
  • Location:Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Flag:

Posted 30 November 2011 - 19:03

Lovely pen....anxiously awaiting mine, which seems stuck in the postal service :crybaby:

Ken

#13 lbhajdu

lbhajdu

    Near Mint

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPip
  • 42 posts
  • Location:Long Island N.Y.
  • Flag:

Posted 05 December 2011 - 05:51

Excellent review! It's a very nice pen. I like sections that taper down to the nib. And being an Anglophile I like the idea of a British made pen. Binder has started carrying Onoto, here across the pond for $360.00USD(steel nib) and $450.00USD(18K nib).

However I don't see how they justify the price. Examples of black cast acrylic cartridge converter pens made in industrialized countries with gold nibs include:

Namiki Falcon - $144.00 (richardspens.com)
Pilot Custom 74 - $160.00 (richardspens.com)
Platinum Resin #3776 - $99.88 (isellpens.com)

The Pelikan M800 - $431.00USD (richardspens.com) can justify its price at least because it's a piston filler, not that I believe piston fillers are better, but I understand they cost more to make. Also the Pelikan has a celluloid body. I am not sure if the price of manufacturing is much higher in England or if it's just because of markup. The review did not specify but I assume the feed is molded plastic as well and not ebonite (a hallmark of high-end Italian pens).

One thing they could do to get prices more competitive is to get rib of that fancy box. From the picture I see on-line the original Onoto pens came in a plain cardboard box.

Leve

#14 saketb

saketb

    Vintage

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 472 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 05 December 2011 - 06:44

Great review and photos as well. Indeed the Onoto Magna 261 Centenary Edition looks stunning. The black acrylic looks beautiful and the pen has a statement.

Thanks for sharing the information.
Pilot Vanishing Point Royal Red
Sailor Professional Gear - Sailor Jentle Grenade
Kaweco AC Sport Red Limited Edition - Kaweco Red
Sheaffer Prelude Chrome - Private Reserve Sherwood Green
TWSBI Diamond 540 - Sheaffer Purple
Sheaffer 300 - Private Reserve Orange Crush

#15 DanielCoffey

DanielCoffey

    Collectors Item

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,214 posts
  • Location:South Ayrshire, UK
  • Flag:

Posted 05 December 2011 - 07:32

lbhajdu - I don't know much about the three pens you named but how many of those are sterling silver for their metal parts rather than brass or base metal? That does contribute to the cost.

#16 lbhajdu

lbhajdu

    Near Mint

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPip
  • 42 posts
  • Location:Long Island N.Y.
  • Flag:

Posted 05 December 2011 - 09:00

I own two of the 3 pens I named. It's not specified but I wouldn't suppose any of them are made of silver. It's possible it could be the factor quadrupling the price. If so, I hope they make one out of brass, it would be much more appealing to me if they could get the price down.

#17 PeterBeoworld

PeterBeoworld

    Extremely Rare

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 273 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 05 December 2011 - 10:25

Onoto pens do seem expensive - as do quite a few CC pens. I agree that a black plastic body with a Bock nib and feed does seem pretty standard. However the finish is extremely good and the embellishments above that seen on most of my other pens. I don't think they can really be said to be a value pen but everyone I have seen have had a wonderful nib and feel special.
There is of course the new plunger filler if you want a different filling system!

#18 encremental

encremental

    sprightly

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,331 posts
  • Location:Fulham, London UK
  • Flag:

Posted 05 December 2011 - 10:52

The price is, of course, to do with economies of scale. Namiki, Pilot, Platinum and Pelikan mass produce tens of thousands of pens. Onoto's sales are measured in the tens of dozens, but creating the dies, moulds and tools will cost big bucks no matter how many you make.

The pen bodies are made for Onoto by Carville, who also make the Parker Duofold (another cheap pen :) ), which explains the sumptuous glossy finish. There is plenty of room in the market for largely hand made items such as these, and it is great to see the enthusiasm for Onoto building in the way it has.

As a raw material, I would doubt if silver has a great deal to do with the cost of the finished pen; I expect it's more about the costs of working with it.

John

#19 SHK

SHK

    Vintage

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 464 posts
  • Location:Global
  • Flag:

Posted 05 December 2011 - 20:31

The size comparison is very helpful.
Thanks
Sascha

#20 drgoretex

drgoretex

    zookeeper of teenagers

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,398 posts
  • Location:Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Flag:

Posted 06 December 2011 - 01:06

Oop. Please ignore.

Edited by drgoretex, 06 December 2011 - 01:25.







Sponsored Content




|