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Review: Omas 360 Vintage Turquoise Le

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8 replies to this topic

#1 Rubicon


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Posted 13 October 2012 - 22:06

I acquired this pen three months ago and wanted to take some time before I write a review. I’ve been coveting the OMAS 360 for a while now. And despite being new to the fountain pen world (thus I was introduced to the new 360 first), the new 360 paled significantly in comparison to the old, more classic design, but I suspect that’s fast becoming a cliché.

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.

Appearance 5/5

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.

Design/Size/Weight 4/5

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.

Nib 4/5

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.

Conclusion 4.3/5

*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.

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Edited by Rubicon, 13 October 2012 - 22:34.

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#2 AndyHayes


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Posted 13 October 2012 - 23:19

Great review. Thanks a lot for taking the time. The 360 has rather passed me by until recently when I saw one lined up with some others that I have. It's a lovely sized pen; a real whopper! You are right though about what you say about Italian nibs. i bought a Delta DVOS in broad. It is do wide that you can just about shovel snow with it. I should have taken up an offer for a medium nib, but I was sure that I would get used to the Delta. It still seves as a snow shovel. I usually think that demo pens look cheap too, but this seems to buck the trend. Thank you again.
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#3 PAC 1957

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 14:01

Great review of a great pen. The latest Limited Editions 360's ( this turquoise one, the red version and other previous LEs') are all based on the pre 2007 piston filled model, so Omas realized that the old model is much more appealing to FP collectors and users, not only because of its timeless design, but also because it's a piston filled and not a converter/cartridge pen like the current model. In Italy most pen collectors are positive on that.
As for the nibs, according to my longtime experience Omas is the brand with the most flexible nibs within the Italian past and current production. Their inks are specifically made for these nibs, that's the reason why , in my opinion , Omas inks sometimes don't perform as well with pens of other manufacturers.
I own and use as everyday writers 2 pre 2007 360s' a white and a yellow one. Together with Omas The Paragon, They share daily/weekly rotation with my MBs (149, 146, 144 and Bohème),my Parkers (Duofold Centennial. 75 and 100) and Pelikan's (M730 and M205 Duo). But I find myself using these 2 pens much more than the others.

#4 mongrelnomad



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Posted 14 October 2012 - 20:27

Great review of an already legendary pen. I have the red Vintage, and it consistently ranks amongst my top 3 pens...

Enjoy in good health!
Too many pens; too little writing.




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Posted 15 October 2012 - 05:11

Thanks for the detailed review. I have a red Vintage 360 in B. Indeed OMAS inks suit Omas pens best.
The red ink that came with mine writes a beautiful line in this pen only, not so in other pens, where
the color goes pale red. It takes other inks though-presently it is filled with PR Plum & doing just
as well, glass-smooth Omas, what else.
At the opposite end of nib-width I have a Sailor in H-F. What amazes me is the fact that after
using Omas 360 B I get to write in Sailor without any hitch whatsoever. Now, these are nibs in gold
by great pen Cos. The real surprise comes when I use my Lamy CP1- What a pen on the cheap!
Omas 360 is rather Soft to my taste.My perennial favorite nibs are Mont Blanc 144 M, Sailor H-F & an
unposted Sheaffer Legacy in M Nib. Strangely, I did not like Carene.
Thanks Internet, in the last 1 Year I have bought some 12 pens including above Omas 360 but it
has not supplanted any of my perennial favorites. Lamy has impressed me no end but it is the
Pilot Custom 845 that has bowled me over.
Oh! these Japanese.

#6 breaker



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Posted 15 October 2012 - 09:34

nice review!
Cogito ergo sum

#7 branodncooley92


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Posted 15 October 2012 - 22:00

nice review

#8 Dark_Severus



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Posted 29 October 2012 - 15:57

Excellent review. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I mostly favour paragons as my daily writers, but I have another 360 on the way -a demonstrator in blue resin-. Can't wait to play with it !

Enjoy your pen in good health


"Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life,

the whole aim and end of human existence" Aristotle

#9 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 22:10

I own several 360s but not this blue demonstrator. It is however a great pen and pen that litterally floats on paper and is made for high speed writing
Pens are like watches , once you start a collection, you can hardly go back. And pens like all fine luxury items do improve with time

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