First Impressions 5/5
As always, I don’t place a huge importance on first impressions because it doesn’t actually have any bearing on how you experience the pen later, but I am pleased to report that it came in a very nice silver box that is perhaps too large for the pen. The feel is luxurious, yet modern and clearly made for display, along with a bottle of OMAS Turquoise, which is, I suspect, fitting, and the only ink I’ll ever use with this pen. But again, I don’t care much for the box and now it’s on another continent. It does come in a nice little sleeve that saves me the trouble of getting a case for it.
Like many who have drooled over this pen, I couldn’t let go of it for the first week I had it. It’s a marvel to behold, I suspect, even more marvelous than normal demonstrators because its triangular shape bends light in, well, peculiar ways. I also like how it changes color depending on lighting, but I suspect that’s common with colored demonstrators. In bright, white light, it’s a clear cerulean that reminds me of Yellowstone's pools. In dim light, it is firmly dark turquoise, and even takes on an uncanny likeness to its gold-trimmed cousins in yellow light. If there’s one word to describe this pen, it’s “cool”. Thanks to its blend of traditional and modern elements, as well as its color, it does not shout to you like the red demo (which I saw in the store, that I’m sure some would prefer, but I’m quite low-key), but you can’t miss it either.
Before I bought it, I was afraid that it would look like a piece of cheap plastic, as is commonly a complaint of those who don’t like demonstrators. Even my mother said: “Demonstrators look like cheap plastic!” (think of all the plastic ballpoint pens we’re used to) This isn’t true for the pen, particularly because of how thick the plastic is (yes, I will call it plastic. I know it’s “resin”, but screw marketing slogans), perhaps, again, due to its shape. And it helps that it’s a piston filler instead of C/C, which made the piston snugly fitted into the thick plastic. I like how this gives the pen a more substantial, less flimsy look.
I don’t really like how the cap “snaps on”, but in hindsight I can’t imagine a screw-on cap either, so I’ll leave it at that. The pen is large- larger than most pictures would suggest. It’s about 15 cm capped, 13.4 cm uncapped, 1.4 cm in girth (one side of the triangle, anyway). I refuse to post my pen so I can’t give you a measurement there. It also has a triangular trip, which is a blessing or a curse depending on who you are. For myself, I struggled to get used to it at first but once it happened, I don’t care one way or another and have no real preference. It’s not a “love-or-hate” for me, merely “meh”. For what its worth, I think the pen is solidly constructed and betrays no quality control issues.
When it comes to weight (I don’t have a scale), it’s lighter than I would like and I would say by most standards it is “pretty light”. It sounds absurd coming from a 5’2” female, but I have large hands from years of piano practice and since my MB, became very accustomed to heavy pens and the weight was a little disappointing. Its size is just right for me. The balance is good (because it’s so light, probably), but when I lightly put the cap on the back of the pen, it becomes very unbalanced. For aesthetics and ease of use, I would suggest not posting the pen.
This 360 comes with an 18k gold nib, and I bought mine in EF with the expectation that Italian pens will be quite broad, though I’m starting to regret it. Writing without flexing the pen, a typical line measures 0.3 or 0.4mm, which is a true EF, and I had been looking for an F, which I define as 0.5mm. For an EF, it writes quite well. It’s not the smoothest nib I’ve ever used (I write on Clairefontaine and Rhodia), and it’s not bad. One feature you might like is that it “flexes”, a true soft nib. If I were to grade this nib, I would call it semi-flex, but take this very loosely (0.3 to 1mm, so EF to B ). It doesn’t need much pressure but after flexing it for a while you can tell it’s not made for such uses and doesn’t spring back in time. It doesn’t skip, and will be fun for those who are not serious about flex pens but want a feel of it, but I would not advocating flexing it too much. I dropped it on carpeted floor once (crucify me now), and it was slightly bent. Moral of the story is that the 18k nib is VERY soft- I even managed to bend it back! Flex it too much and it might need to make a trip to a nibmeister and you might not see it for a very long time. It is not wet, it is not dry, but I have only used the OMAS Turquoise with it, so take this with a grain of salt.
The great thing about the nib and feed is that it starts unfailingly, even if you leave it open for a while, and has never skipped on me. It's a daily writer and yes, I'm that crazy sort who uses LEs for daily writing, and have rarely regretted it.
Filling System 4/5
The pen sports a piston filling system that works by twisting the end of the pen. When I first bought it, the piston would not twist properly, hence the lower score- in my mind, it should work straight out of the box. But now it’s functioning smoothly and always manages to fill the pen to full capacity, and it is quite a large amount of ink indeed. The piston, I think, speaks of the quality of the construction- it aligns perfectly with the shape of the pen- imagine if it doesn't! That would be atrocious, and this is a HUGE issue for me, since my square-shaped MB Kafka's clip DOESN'T align perfectly with its shape.
Cost and Value 4/5
I paid $600 for this pen, from nibs.com. I’ve seen it go for cheaper, in the $500s, but I wanted to try out the famed retailer and the service was thoughtful and great- in particular, it was adjusted to my writing style and tested for free, which few retailers do. I got free shipping and my package arrived quite soon. Given it’s an OMAS limited edition, I would say it was a fairly good price, but my personal price elasticity for demonstrators is quite low. Make it $700, I would not have bought it. As always, I think it could be cheaper. If I could name the price as a customer, I would say $400-500.
*Calculated using my own formula- I didn’t simply average it, but weighted how strongly I feel about each category and produced this score. I would recommend this pen if you’re looking for something different. All in all, it’s a very good product and I would buy it again at this price point.
Bad pics taken with iPad 2.
Edited by Rubicon, 13 October 2012 - 22:34.