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Platinum 3776 Steel Ef Review


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22 replies to this topic

#1 imadeadend

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 02:58

This will mark, probably, the first of many reviews. I am an absolutely avid pen collector, and indulge in Japanese pens probably more than I should. Being a fine nib addict, the reasoning behind this should be apparent: Japanese fine nibs are unlike no others on the market.

I recently acquired a Pilot Custom 74 with a fine nib that's just dreamy to use. Previous to that my Sailor Sapporo F was my first foray into the world of super fine Japanese nibs. These two pens are what prompted me to take a look at Platinum.

Platinum is, what most would consider, the bottom brand of the big three Japanese pen makers alongside Sailor and Pilot. My infatuation with these other two caused me to wonder if Platinum could possibly stack up against them. I often forget that my first Platinum pens are my plethora of preppy's sitting in a box above my desk, but I simply forgot that I even owned them before taking the plunge into Platinum's higher end.

Platinum, from what I understand, is a small company, probably better known by their spin-off Nakaya brand. Nakaya's are pens much praised on these forums, and I think I see several of them coming into my collection in the years ahead (but not just yet). I say small in comparison to Sailor and Pilot (which I will from here on refer to as "the other two") because they sport about two ranges of pens versus the plethora of different models from the other two. The first is the Platinum President series, which is, naturally, their flagship. The second is the (rather) lowly #3776 series, named after the height of Mt. Fuji in Japan.

Before I bought this pen, I had no idea that there were several different types of #3776 models. Different colours and nib sizes, yes, but not different "sub-models" of the #3776 series. Hence my disappointment when i bid on this pen thinking it was the usual 14k gold nibbed variety and finding it actually had a gold plated stainless steel nib. I immediately flocked to FPN to see if these steel nibbed versions were worth the 60 odd dollars I paid. Turns out quite a few people really enjoyed their steel nibs after accidentally purchasing them in the same way that I did. This calmed me down a little and I just simply had to wait for the pen to arrive before I passed judgement. And here it is, the Platinum #3776 Maestro Black w/ Extra-Fine Steel Nib:

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Presentation and Included Accessories [10/10]

It comes in a really nice box, not dissimilar in quality to the higher end Pilot pens and Sailors. The actual box slides out of the cardboard cover and opens to reveal the pen, an instruction booklet, converter, cartridge, and international cartridge conversion kit. I really appreciate how Platinum goes all out on the accessories even for a lower end pen like this.

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The converter is a slide type, which I actually rather like because it makes cleaning and filling a breeze. It works well enough, but the ink capacity seems a touch small. However, this being an EF nib, this shouldn't translate to much of a problem.

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The cartridge is proprietary (the same found of Platinum Preppys) and is shut off by a metal ball that also acts as a surface-tension breaker when inserted into the pen. This helps with ink flow as the ink is prevented from "sticking" to the wall of the cartridge because the ball breaks up the surface tension. The converter also contains a small bearing. This attention to finer details really impresses me.

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They also included a standard international cartridge and a little adapter so that you can use them with this pen. This opens the doors to any converter you can think of that is standard international spec. Really extensive and impressive list of accessories inside some great looking packaging.


The Pen: First Impressions [8.5/10]

The pen is a glossy black, with a yellow gold coloured clip, cap ring, and gold ring around the neck of the nib section. Apart from this, there's no other trim to the pen. I was initially impressed by the very high-end look to such a cheap pen, but was a little less impressed by the feeling of the pen in the hand. It has a sort of "hollow" feel to it. Not as hefty and "thick" feeling like my Sailors and Pilots, but it doesn't detract from the experience at all. There are no visible machine marks or seams the the plastic, and the hollower feeling does translate to a lighter pen, which I like.

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The nib is very, very attractive in my opinion. It looks very... professional? I don't know, but I love how the profile is really vertically thin. The nib is perfectly flat on the top and the shoulders curve around to a 90 degree angle. The feed also tapers towards the point. It has a kind of "spade" look and feel to it, and I actually love it. It has the usual Platinum design with two parallel lines tracing the perimeter of the nib, zig-zagging at the tines. The "P" platinum logo is dead centre, underneath the "#3776", and below that is the kanji characters for nib size (Extra Fine in my case). What is different is the usual heart shaped breather hole found on gold Platinum nibs. Maybe this is a way of telling the steel from the gold, but I am indifferent towards the shape of the breather hole in the end.

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The pen has a screw off cap that posts extremely well. I love how far it posts down the pen, making it feel more substantial. The cap is quite wide compared to the body of the pen, which tapers towards the back end. I find the pen comfortable to use unposted (my hands are around 7" from wrist to tip of middle finger), but as I said, I love it posted too. Two full turns and the cap comes off.

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The cap band ring is inscribed "Platinum #3776 Japan" and looks rather nice (contrary to some peoples' opinion). It's not too flashy, but isn't gaudy either.

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The clip is secure, but doesn't readily slide on to thicker fabrics like a jeans pocket. Thinner shirt pockets and jackets do fine, though.

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The Nib and Feed [10/10]

Now seeing as this was a steel nib, I didn't have super high hopes for it. Boy was I impressed. More than impressed, I actually did a double take in disbelief of how this nib performs. I kid you not, this nib outperforms many, many other 14/18/21k gold nibs on the market. It is absolutely the best steel nib I have tried, and in the top five overall.
being an extra fine, you expect the nib to have a little feedback to it. It's there, but the consistency of the feeling when writing in any direction gives the nib an extraordinarily uniform, quality feel to it.
It's smooth, not buttery so, but smoother than a lot of my medium nibs even! In fact, a Medium Lamy Safari nib has more feedback than this extra fine Japanese nib.
Needless to say, I am incredibly impressed. So impressed that I would forgo a gold Platinum nib in the future and snatch up a steel one if the price difference was substantial (60 vs 80 dollars for example), every time. This is the finest nib I have ever used, and one of the smoothest too.

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A light hand is generally needed when dealing with nibs of this size, and I do have a pretty light hand due to my previous experience with super fine nibs, however it is not compulsory with this one. The nib has gold-like spring to it. Yes, spring in a steel nib. Pressing down slightly can double the width of the line, with no distortion in the nib (checked under 20x loupe) and barely any feedback increase. This is a viable alternative for those who press down a little more with their pens and who want a super thin line. You can see here that I was able to write legibly with letters around 2.5mm high or less.

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I must say, I am one extremely happy customer and this has given me enough faith to go after Platinum's Ultra Extra Fine nibs.

Not to mention the feed, which is just incredible. Ultra fast scribbling across a page produces a consistently saturated line the whole way through, a trait I normally give to Sailors. The flow is always constant (set at about medium with Diamine Steel Blue) and the line is well saturated with little shading and perfect drying time with even wetter inks. This nib and feed combo is a skip-free, fast dry, thin line paradise.

Conclusion [9.5/10]

To say that this is one of the greatest $60 pens ever is an understatement. What you get is a great looking pen that posts well, takes international cartridges and converters, has an awesome EF steel nib, and costs about as much as a TWSBI 540. This is one pen I'll be keeping, and also the one pen that has converted me to a Platinum fan and will be a benchmark for me in terms of steel nibs. Highly recommended.

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#2 Biber

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 03:42

Thanks for the review, I've had my eye on that pen for while now. Glad to hear it really is what I've hoped it would be.
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#3 NedC

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 04:32

I have one in a medium point, in burgundy, and it does indeed have an excellent nib, almost perfect out of the box, smooth, flexible and lively, the only steel nib I have that betters it is an old Esterbrook, I now want a fine or even an Ultra Fine.

Mine came with the same piston converter that my President did rather than the slide converter,

#4 imadeadend

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 04:34

I have one in a medium point, in burgundy, and it does indeed have an excellent nib, almost perfect out of the box, smooth, flexible and lively, the only steel nib I have that betters it is an old Esterbrook, I now want a fine or even an Ultra Fine.

Mine came with the same piston converter that my President did rather than the slide converter,


Ah did it? Well I guess it's just the luck of the draw when it comes to the converter. I cannot actually find the slide converter on sale separately at the moment... Maybe it's an old one? Works well regardless :)

I'm currently bidding on an ultra fine platinum 3776 century. Hope I get it!

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#5 hari317

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 11:34

Thanks for reviewing the pen. I agree, the steel nibs on the 3776 are one of the best steel nibs on the market.

Hari
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#6 VillersCotterets

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 11:51

Thanks for the review.

I only wished you didn't used special effects (HDR?) on your photographs. It's hard to judge the quality of the finish when the picture do not represent reality.

Edited by VillersCotterets, 03 May 2012 - 11:51.


#7 imadeadend

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 11:54

Thanks for the review.

I only wished you didn't used special effects (HDR?) on your photographs. It's hard to judge the quality of the finish when the picture do not represent reality.


Only one of those photos is HDRd because its off my instagram

Sorry actually its two. Its not hard to see the finish though

Edited by imadeadend, 03 May 2012 - 12:03.


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#8 jandrese

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 15:36

Good review of a great pen. I love all my Platinum pens as they are fantastic writers. Only quibble is that Platinum is far from a small pen company. They have a full lineup of pens and accessories much like Sailor does. Representation in USA is limited, but they are not rare either.

#9 imadeadend

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 23:46

Good review of a great pen. I love all my Platinum pens as they are fantastic writers. Only quibble is that Platinum is far from a small pen company. They have a full lineup of pens and accessories much like Sailor does. Representation in USA is limited, but they are not rare either.


I meant "small" not as in size necessarily, but more in where they stand in the pen world. Sailor and Pilot pretty much dominate the Japanese pen sector, and Platinum often gets pushed to a distant third (not counting Nakaya here). I agree they are a great company (just bought a 3776 Century UEF this morning, have high hopes for it!), but it's a real shame you rarely see reviews or news relating to Platinum pens in general on here (or at least I don't see them :rolleyes: )

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#10 VillersCotterets

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 00:22

I meant "small" not as in size necessarily, but more in where they stand in the pen world. Sailor and Pilot pretty much dominate the Japanese pen sector, and Platinum often gets pushed to a distant third (not counting Nakaya here).


Actually, out of the three main Japanese company, Sailor is the smallest.

#11 imadeadend

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 00:44

I meant "small" not as in size necessarily, but more in where they stand in the pen world. Sailor and Pilot pretty much dominate the Japanese pen sector, and Platinum often gets pushed to a distant third (not counting Nakaya here).


Actually, out of the three main Japanese company, Sailor is the smallest.


I said "not in terms of size"

ETA: Whilst many people would be well aware that there are many types of Sailors (1911 Large, standard, Sapporo mini, mini slim, slim, KOP etc.), many don't know that there's a difference between the 3776 models (as I did before this pen arrived). As I said, I compared the brands by awareness and popularity in general, not by square footage of the company. Sorry I didn't make this clearer in the review (it's my first one after all...)

Edited by imadeadend, 04 May 2012 - 00:50.


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#12 jandrese

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 01:57

I meant "small" not as in size necessarily, but more in where they stand in the pen world. Sailor and Pilot pretty much dominate the Japanese pen sector, and Platinum often gets pushed to a distant third (not counting Nakaya here).


Actually, out of the three main Japanese company, Sailor is the smallest.


I said "not in terms of size"

ETA: Whilst many people would be well aware that there are many types of Sailors (1911 Large, standard, Sapporo mini, mini slim, slim, KOP etc.), many don't know that there's a difference between the 3776 models (as I did before this pen arrived). As I said, I compared the brands by awareness and popularity in general, not by square footage of the company. Sorry I didn't make this clearer in the review (it's my first one after all...)



No worries, we look forward to future reviews of this quality from you! :thumbup:

#13 delphi303

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 23:03

Thanks for your review!

I love my Platinum #3776; I think I have the exact same one that NedC has (PTB-5000B burgundy, medium nib). I perhaps may have read somewhere that the gold-plated steel nibs on the #3776 were for the Korean market, but I could be mistaken.

Even though only gold-plated steel, the writing experience is wonderful, very smooth and expressive.

I also have a Platinum PGB-3000 in black, medium gold-plated nib. Writes very well, close to a western fine.

Fit/finish on both pens is excellent, though I wish Platinum would "beef-up" materials a bit. Threading/screwing a metal section into a plastic body can be tricky/worrisome, and the plastic body on my #3776 seems a bit thin.

I just have a feeling that I need to handle them more delicately than most other pens.

But I love my 2 Platinums, especially the classic, cigar-shape Mont Blanc look of the #3776.

Kind regards...

Edited by delphi303, 12 May 2012 - 11:09.


#14 breaker

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 11:15

very nice review and pics!
thanks!
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#15 kronos77

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 17:36

Are you able to compare the bit of flexibility you get with this nib to the Namiki Falcon? Would you consider this pen a competitor to the Falcon in that regard?

#16 bicfan

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 19:18

What is the length of this pen from tip of nib to end of barrel (unposted)?

Thanks.

#17 imadeadend

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 06:02

What is the length of this pen from tip of nib to end of barrel (unposted)?

Thanks.


5 1/4 inches capped (13cm)
4 5/8 inches uncapped and unposted (11.5cm)
5 3/4 inches posted (14cm)

These are just my measurements, so they will not be millimetre perfect ;)

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#18 bicfan

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 16:25

What is the length of this pen from tip of nib to end of barrel (unposted)?

Thanks.


5 1/4 inches capped (13cm)
4 5/8 inches uncapped and unposted (11.5cm)
5 3/4 inches posted (14cm)

These are just my measurements, so they will not be millimetre perfect ;)


Thanks.

#19 rcazador

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Posted 07 October 2014 - 16:17

Isn't this related to the Platinum Cool PGB 3000 series? Is there any give/flex in the nib (the Cool has a steel nib that flexes)?



#20 Water Ouzel

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Posted 07 October 2014 - 20:47

Isn't this related to the Platinum Cool PGB 3000 series? Is there any give/flex in the nib (the Cool has a steel nib that flexes)?

Nope. The PGB 3000's nib form looks to be from the same family as the Preppy/Plaisir, the 3776 nib is more similar in shape to a Pilot Custom 823, Sailor 1911, Pelikan M600 or Jowo #6 nib.

 

I've got a Platinum Balance PGB-3000 (steel nib) and Platinum Kanazawa Maki-e (18K nib) which share similar nib shapes, both are pleasant writing pens, the Kanazawa having a slightly softer/springier feel.








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