While both OMAS pens are indeed stunning, I vastly prefer the appearance of the 2003 Paragon Royal Blue over the 1934 Extra Permanio, and I don't mean blue versus brown celluloid which are equally gorgeous. Rather, for me, it's the elegant cap ring and the tactile paragon shape of the 2003 pens that really sets it apart from its 1934 counterpart, if you will.
I think those 70 years really highlight the steady evolution of OMAS' craft and design as technology slowly improved -- that OMAS was near its pinnacle of creativity, design and craftsmanship by 2003, if not earlier.
But the increased scarcity of OMAS specialty nibs -- stubs, italics and obliques -- slowly eroded away at those of us in the minority who prefer such nibs. We were left with that difficult decision of whether to buy an expensive OMAS pen and settle on a nib size that we didn't necessarily want. At least that's how it was for me.
I think OMAS got pinched between an unfortunate economic downturn and pressure from O-Luxe (OMAS' Chinese holding company) to earn a sufficient profit. But the truth is, would we ever have looked at OMAS the same if they suddenly produced an inexpensive, albeit profitable, line of pens just to appease O-Luxe? And perhaps even more importantly, could OMAS actually have ever designed and produced such a line of pens? OMAS' aspirations always seemed so much higher and grander, and perhaps that was their true weakness.
So, do I miss OMAS? Yeah, I sure do. Their pens weren't "sedate" or "gaudy." They were the epitome of elegance. That's probably why most of us cherish the OMAS pens that we own, regardless of whether we use them or not. I certainly do.