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Comparing Some Medium Nib Pens.

sailor pilot platinum medium nib

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26 replies to this topic

#1 jar

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Posted 01 January 2017 - 15:18

I'm Hidden I'm hidden
where nobody knows
Cause all you can see
are my nose and my toes.

Abbey Road died about a week before her first birthday from feline leukemia. She was an amazing kitty and loved putting on her vest and going for walks around the neighborhood and hiding in boxes.

A month or two after she died my vet called. One of their clients cats had kittens and they needed homes.They sent pictures of them taken when the kittens came in for their very first check up and they were tiny little fuzzy things. So my sister and I drove over to the vet's office to find six kittens in a pile, all climbing over each other, eyes open and amazed by the big world.

Suddenly two fuzzballs broke out of the pile and headed our way, one straight to me and then up my shirt to my shoulder, the second not far behind. The other four kittens simply went on with their game attacking those strange things that grew out of the end of the other kittens and was perfect to pounce on.

All the kittens were perfect, lovable, wonderful, cute, fascinating but two chose me.



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So far this comparison has been like that. All of the pens are perfect, lovable, wonderful, beautiful and fascinating but two ended up choosing me.

The comparison begins with six Japanese fountain pens with medium nibs. To keep things simple, each is filled using a cartridge from the manufacturer. Three are from Pilot, two from Sailor and one from Platinum. I don't remember where I bought them but all except two came with a converter; the two exceptions were the Pilot Custom 74 and the Sailor 1911L. Fortunately I am not converter poor so that was not an issue for me. All of the pens have a monotone gold nib in 14K except the Sailor 1911L which has a 21K nib. The largest nibs are on the Pilot Custom 743 and the Platinum #3776 Century. The smallest nibs are the Pilot Custom 74 and the Sailor 1911S.

And so ... the Boring Details:


large.jpg

and the pens:
 

medium800.jpg
 

All of the pens were like the kittens, all near perfect and it would be hard to go wrong with any one of them. All had unique strengths and all had certain weaknesses. It really will come down to which chooses you; which most closely fits your needs. All cap or uncap in under two turns.

They all felt better in hand when posted...
 


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... but they were all also long enough to use un-posted if that is your preference...
 


medium800.jpg

... and each of the pens had nibs that were tastefully done without being gaudy.
 


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The six pens have far more in common than they have differences. All follow the basic Sheaffer Balance profile and all have the wide raised cap band popularized by Montblanc but of course with only two bands not three. All are moderately to very wet writers with the three Pilot pens the wettest, then the two Sailors and the Platinum while wet, not as gushing as the others.

Here are writing samples of all six pens on Clairefontaine notebook paper.

 

large.jpg

As expected, the actual lines are also pretty similar. In addition, all were very smooth writers.

So what were the differences?

As mentioned by me in the past, I find Pilot pens as shipped almost too wet. If you read my review of the Custom 845 I found it so wet I had to switch to a drier ink (Pelikan 4001) to make it even usable. These pens are not as wet as the BB nib on the 845 but were still the wettest of the Japanese pens in this comparison. All three, even the little #5 nib on the Custom 74 were wetter than the Sailors or the Platinum. They were not so wet I would feel the need to switch to something like Pelikan 4001 but they were wet enough that I never really felt I was in full control of the pens.

The Pilot Custom 743 was the largest pen in the comparison (actually the Pilot trio were all the longest in every measurement) and it also has he fanciest furniture with a raised section on the cap and body end bands and the writing on the wide cap band filled in to make it stand out.

The place the Pilot pens did all fall down is in the pocket clips. The Pilot pens have the most pocket unfriendly clips of the six pens.

The Sailor pens tested were both plain black and gold, the most tapered in looks and simply traditional. They were not quite as wet writers as the three from Pilot but still slightly more than moderately wet. The 1911L had the only non-14K nib of the group with a nice large 21K beauty. The 1911S had the smallest nib of the group, just a hair smaller than the #5 nib on the Pilot Custom 74. In use I always felt in total control with either of the Sailors.

Where Sailor really stood out is in their pocket clips. The two Sailor pens had by far the most pocket friendly easy to use pocket clips.

The Platinum #3776 Century had the biggest nib of the group with wider shoulders than even the big #15 Pilot Custom 743 nib. It also was available in the widest selection of colors but also had the smallest selection of possible nib widths and styles. Like the others it is moderately wet, smooth but with the most feedback of any of the six nibs. Platinum is also the only one of the three makers that offers an adapter that allows using Standard International cartridges in their pens. Since I have lots of them that is something I like.


medium.jpg

Where the Platinum #3776 Century really stands out is in the nib. It really offers the best feedback of all of the pens in this comparison. It, like all the Platinum and Nakaya nibs I've tried simply feels like it was created just for me; not a separate object but rather an extension of my thoughts.

I said that Sunshine and Princess picked me. So which of these pens also seemed to choose me?

Surprisingly to me, the two smallest. The Sailor 1911S and the Platinum #3776 Century just feel the best of all six in my hand.


Edited by jar, 02 January 2017 - 17:02.

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#2 Manalto

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Posted 01 January 2017 - 15:34

Thanks for your interesting analysis of these wonderful pens.


James


#3 Sidd

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Posted 01 January 2017 - 16:28

Thanks for the wonderful comparison! Looking at your pictures, the platinum looks prettier than the others too. Do you prefer any one over others in terms of appearance alone?  


Edited by siddr90, 01 January 2017 - 16:29.


#4 jar

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Posted 01 January 2017 - 16:34

I'm not a real fan of transparent and translucent pens generally but I must admit the Platinum Bourgogne and Chartres Blue might change my opinion.

 

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Of the others, I like the Sailor designs the best.


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#5 MuddyWaters

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Posted 01 January 2017 - 16:50

The platinum nibs are beauties visually. It seems your Sailors were driest of the bunch. 


Link to a post about ergonomics I made: http://www.fountainp...with/?p=4179072


#6 jar

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Posted 01 January 2017 - 16:54

The platinum nibs are beauties visually. It seems your Sailors were driest of the bunch. 

Not really.  The Sailors were wetter than the Platinum but not as wet as the Pilots.

 

AbE:  What you may see could be an artifact of the Sailor ink.  The 1911L has a Sailor particle base Blue Black cartridge in it while the 1911S cartridge is  Sailor's dye based Jentle Blue Black.


Edited by jar, 01 January 2017 - 16:58.

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#7 visvamitra

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Posted 01 January 2017 - 18:00

Very nice comparison and these kittens look great :)



#8 Barkingpig

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Posted 01 January 2017 - 21:07

I especially enjoyed this comparison & thank you for taking the time to make it to share with us.  I have been vacillating about purchase of a Platinum 3776, I keep reading comments about their smaller size being a detriment to some persons.  Thanks to your comparison photo I no longer see any concern.  I worried about purchasing a Pelikan M600 because it was smaller than the 800, which I had & enjoyed.  My concern was balanced by the fear of there EVER being a 800 White Tortoise, so I ordered & worried, UNTIL I received the pen.  Thanks to Regina Martini I received an OBB nib & altho the pen is smaller it is perfectly adequate for use.  I believe the 3776 will also be fine for me; now only to determine whether a stock music nib, or a Coarse to have stubbed, THEN "Blue or Burgundy................"



#9 jar

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Posted 01 January 2017 - 21:09

I especially enjoyed this comparison & thank you for taking the time to make it to share with us.  I have been vacillating about purchase of a Platinum 3776, I keep reading comments about their smaller size being a detriment to some persons.  Thanks to your comparison photo I no longer see any concern.  I worried about purchasing a Pelikan M600 because it was smaller than the 800, which I had & enjoyed.  My concern was balanced by the fear of there EVER being a 800 White Tortoise, so I ordered & worried, UNTIL I received the pen.  Thanks to Regina Martini I received an OBB nib & altho the pen is smaller it is perfectly adequate for use.  I believe the 3776 will also be fine for me; now only to determine whether a stock music nib, or a Coarse to have stubbed, THEN "Blue or Burgundy................"

Hint:

 

medium800.jpg


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#10 AndyYNWA

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Posted 01 January 2017 - 21:55

Thanks for the comparison.

I have a 3776 Chartres Blue on they way from Japan. Really excited!

YNWA     JFT96

 

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#11 Barkingpig

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Posted 01 January 2017 - 22:10

I believe Chartres Blue wins;  I do NOT have a blue pen, & several reds already.  "I can take a HINT" & thank you for it!

 

Post script:  Amazon will send a Coarse nib Blue on Wednesday, "they say."  I will send same away for stubbing; there weren't any bargains for a music nib in anything except black & they were almost $100 more.


Edited by Barkingpig, 02 January 2017 - 04:14.


#12 langere

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Posted 01 January 2017 - 23:36

What a marvelous review!  Thanks so much for it.  I have all but one of those pens and I still learned something.

 

And I loved how you used the kittens as a way to get us involved in the story/comparison.

 

Erick


Waterman Hemisphere "M" nib running J. Herbin 1670 Rouge Hematite

Moonman M8 "F" nib running Noodler's Heart of Darkness

Sailor Professional Gear Manyo "H-MF" nib running Waterman Green

 


#13 benslot

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Posted 03 January 2017 - 09:43

The story on the kittens is very familiar. Years ago we had a cat just like the one on the right (one eye white and one black). If you are so lucky with your kitten as we were with ours; lovely 'cat years' ahead. As to the pens: I have a blue transparent Pilot Custom 74 and filled with Lamy Blue it is a beautiful writer. Yes; a bit on the wet side, but that is perfectly OK. My Sailor Professional Gear sits in the cabinet, and I think must be put in service shortly. I am drawn however to your -part- preference for Platinum, up for a further search as also earlier reviews were very positive on this pen. Thanks for the reminder to look into the matter again. 



#14 jar

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Posted 03 January 2017 - 12:14

A Part two coming soon where I'll compare a half dozen European and American medium nib pens from the pile.  The Part three will compare three from each group in an East meets West summary.  So far I've selected a pen from the US, England, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland for part two.


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#15 AndyYNWA

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Posted 03 January 2017 - 12:29

Looking forward to it!  :thumbup:


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#16 Sagarb

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Posted 03 January 2017 - 14:53

very nice..your pens, kitties, comparison..


Sagar Bhowmick


#17 Budzynski

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Posted 03 January 2017 - 14:59

lovely comparison 



#18 jar

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Posted 03 January 2017 - 17:19

Long long ago in a land far far away, when I was child and ate as a child Round Robin dinners were popular.

For those who may not be familiar with the torture it is where you have to get dressed up, drive to someones house in a caravan of cars to eat one part of a dinner that big folks loved but were never hot dogs or hamburgers or fried chicken. Instead it would be quiche or cucumber sandwiches or stuff. Then you all got back into your cars and drove to another house where they would have something you liked only to get a bowl of cauliflower soup. And you had to sit with your family and all the kids couldn't sit together but then you all got back into the cars and drove to another house where they would have some really good food; it would be chicken...chicken stuffed with asparagus and covered in lemons.

Fortunately this Round Robin dinner has been a lot more fun.

For this part of the comparison I picked a pen from England, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the US. All are medium nibs and as with the first comparison the paper used is from a Clairefontaine notebook. As before I also used only cartridges and for those that use the short International Standard cartridges I weighed them with two cartridges, the heir and a spare concept.

And so ... the Boring Details:


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and the pens:


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There was no quiche or chicken stuffed with asparagus in this group; instead these were all near perfect. As with the Japanese pens it would be hard to not like any one of these. From left to right they are my Caran d'Ache Geneve, an Aurora Talentum Duetto, a first generation Sheaffer Cartridge pen, my Graf von Faber Castell Guilloche, a modern Conway Stewart #58 and a Parker France "75".

The first difference from the earlier group is that while all the Japanese pens were comfortable posted or unposted the Aurora Talentum and the Caran d'Ache Geneve (it was the predecessor of today's LeMan) felt better unposted.
 

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They were all long enough though to use either posted or unposted...
 

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... but the nibs were quite different than the Japanese ones.
 

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Four of the nibs were 18K, one 14K and the Sheaffer is untipped steel.

Here is the writing samples:
 

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Surprisingly there is simply no large width difference between the medium Japanese pens and the ones in this sample. More on that in part three.

So what are these pens like?

The Caran d' Ache epitomizes Swiss made. Everything about it is refined and finished inside and out. It is by far the heaviest of any pens in the comparison, even heavier than the Aurora Talentum Duetto with it's heavy metal cap.

The Aurora Talentum is as wet as the Pilots and maybe even smoother. It's a cartridge converter pen that uses either Parker or Aurora cartridges or converters but seemed to offer more control than any of the Pilots.

The little Sheaffer cartridge pen surprised me the most. I had forgotten just how nice these little $1.00 pen and six cartridge packages were. It was also the finest line of any of the pens tested but reminded me it would not tolerate rotating the nib on the paper. Try that and that little steel nib just digs its heals in and says "Not doing that bro!".

The GvFC Guilloche is an interesting contrast between the steel section and the rubber like body cover. It's also one of the three pens (Sheaffer and Parker were the others) that used a slip on cap arrangement. It also posted the most securely of all the pens.

The Conway Stewart #58 was unique in having all the furniture, cap bands, clip, nib made from 18C gold.
 

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That doesn't change the writing characteristics but is somewhat unusual.

Finally, the Parker France "75" is (need I say it?) classic Parker pens at their best. It and the Sheaffer cartridge pen were the smallest of the pens, even smaller than the Sailor 1911S.

Did any of this batch pick me? Kinda. The Aurora Talentum certainly is fantastic, as wet as the Pilots but with the control of the Platinum. And I was reminded of just what fantastic school pens Sheaffer was making.


Edited by jar, 03 January 2017 - 21:36.

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#19 jar

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Posted 04 January 2017 - 01:11

As a warm up for Part 3...
 

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These are all pens from the earlier posts. I removed color information to make it fun. Three are from the Japanese pens, three from the US & Eur group.


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#20 empyrean

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Posted 04 January 2017 - 05:04

Thanks for the comparison.

I have a 3776 Chartres Blue on they way from Japan. Really excited!

It is a beautiful pen~! I have one. I let it sit, with cap on, of course, for 4 months. When I began to write with it, there the ink was, no skipping. So I now believe what they say about it not drying out~! Enjoy your pen~!


empyrean Conklin,Stipula Pyrite, Bon Voyage & Tuscany Dreams Siena, Levengers, Sailor 1911,Pelikan M200, Bexley BX802, AoLiWen Music Notes pen, Jinhao's,1935 Parker Deluxe Challenger, 1930s Eversharp Gold Seal RingTop, 1940s Sheaffer Tuckaway, 1944 Sheaffer Triumph, Visconti Van Gogh midi, Esties!(SJ, T, and J),Cross Townsend Medalist & Aventura, 1930s Mentmore Autoflow, A bunch of Conway-Stewarts 84, Platinum 3776 Chartres Blue(med); Montegrappa Elmo (broad nib), Delta "The Journal" (med nib), Conklin Yellowstone (med nib)





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