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Platinum Cool / Balance Review

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#1 Caeruleum

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Posted 03 May 2019 - 15:34

There are some reviews on the Platinum Cool, which is also known as Platinum Balance, on FPN and other places. Nevertheless I think adding one more might contribute some more information, another perspective, experience and pictures. I had this pen in fine and medium and now use the fine for more than a year.
Platinum Cool (3).jpg
 
Introduction
This review is meant to depict my personal opinion and valuation. I wont use points to rate aspects. While I dont intend to criticize those who do, I dont want to evoke the semblance of objectivity. I am neither an expert for standards used nor could I compare this pen to dozens of others. Due to these limitations to what might be an ideal review, I will simply try my best to describe my experience with this model in a way which allows you to contrast it to your own experience and preferences. Nonetheless I will offer a few comparisons which might be useful.
Platinum officially calls this model PGB-3000A and categorises it as a member of its Balance-family on its website. The Cool features a relatively springy steel nib in fine or medium, an acrylic resin torpedo-shaped body of medium size and weight.
 
First Impressions
The pen came in a nice-looking cardboard box which also included a Platinum proprietary cartridge and an instruction manual. Unfortunately there was no converter included. I was pleasantly surprised with the box. I wouldnt be ashamed to have the box be part of a present even though it was probably not necessarily meant to be displayed.
While to me this pen feels solid and well made it cant keep up with the clear Platinum 3776 versions if we dont consider the price. The clear plastic with chrome trim looks modern.
Platinum Cool (2).jpg
 
Appearance and Construction
The Cool is available in three different colours, shining crystal, crystal blue and crystal rose. The clear one is, well, clear, the coloured ones are highly translucent. As I mentioned this pen is torpedo shaped, having a cap which becomes slightly wider towards the cap band and a barrel which then tapers towards its end. The Cool is mostly made from plastic. I like its quality because it really is clear, not prone to scratching and the material is quite thick which gives it a more sturdy impression than a Platinum Preppy. A Preppys barrel can be deformed when a lot of pressure is applied by hand, this one seems much more robust.
Platinum Cool (8).jpg
One plastic part I strongly dislike is its cap insert. While it doesnt feature Platinums sophisticated slip and seal mechanism it still works well - but looks ugly. Being opaque white it doesnt match the design in my eyes. The point, I assume, is to hide traces of ink inside the cap. Where the insert is it does its job, however to me this isnt worth the effort as I consider it flawed in two ways. On the one hand this white insert is far more noticeable than ink stains in the cap, on the other hand at least in my case the white now is covered in blue spots all around its upper part where it occasionally had contact with the nib and these are more visible due to the higher contrast than those in the cap which exist where the insert cant cover them up. I would prefer a clear cap insert or a cap sealing reasonably without an insert.
Platinum Cool (4).jpg
I'm aware my focus on staining might cast a negative light on the Cool. Thus I want to point out I don't consider this a weakness or criticize it - other pens suffer similarly from my decision to use such ink. I knew that and am fine with it, I simply look at this pen from this angle based on my personal experience. I am sure if you use non permanent colours you can maintain its transparency.
The clip is simple, functional and sturdy adorned by a subtly engraved line around its rim only. Similarly utilitarian the cap band is narrow. On the cap directly above it JAPAN PLATINUM and Platinums Logo are engraved. A big part of the body is faceted though in a different way than a TWSBI Diamond as the facets are inside the barrel making its outside round and smooth. Thus the facets only affect the appearance and light refraction.
Being clear the section allows the transparent feed and metal threads to be seen which probably is the most attractive and promotional aspect this pen offers. This feature makes the feed adopt the colour of your ink. In general lighter colours come across better, more like they look on paper than darker colours. The effect is similar to ink in a bottle or converter, the more ink light travels through the darker the colour will look like. Pigment inks however are an exception to this rule behaving less like this. Speaking of pigment inks, I already mentioned traces of ink and stains in the cap and insert, ink of course can also stain the feed. If you want to keep the feed completely transparent, I recommend to have this in mind when choosing an ink. In my photos you can see the effect of using Platinum Pigment Blue and Sailor Sei Boku for months (with regular cleaning). Cleanings results are limited with pigment inks. I dont think they damage or penetrate the plastic used but once they dry they are hard to remove because water then wont do anything. Removing dried pigment ink mechanically is possible, gently rubbing is enough, but limited to accessible areas and areas like the body and inside of the cap which are smooth. I am not able to completely remove stains from the feed. If you tried it with an ultrasonic cleaner I would love to read about your experience.
Platinum Cool (6).jpg
The sections circumference is on the narrow side, I would say. Wider than a Pilot Metropolitan section for example or a Waterman Hemispheres one, which for me is not comfortable. I recommend Goulets Pen Plaza for comparisons.
Since the connection between section and barrel is made from metal the front part is heavier than the plastic back where only the converter adds weight. The section unfortunately comes with another downside as its threads are sharp enough to abrase material from the plastic threads on the barrel, at least in my case. Im sure this wont be more than an aesthetic problem for the next few years but it doesnt improve the experience either.
 
Weight and Dimensions
Length capped: 139,5mm 5,5in
Length posted: ~154mm 6,1in
Length uncapped: ~126mm 5in
Weight body: 13g 0,46oz
Weight cap: 5g 0,18oz
 
The more subjective assessment: This model is section-heavy but works well. Posting for me adds too much weight to the back. The Cool is about as heavy/light as a Lamy Safari.
 
Nib and Performance
As already mentioned the nib is made from steel and available in fine and medium. The nib is rather small, normal sized for the pens overall size. In contrast to most Japanese and Platinum pens in this model the line width runs similar to an average European fountain pen. I also found both the medium and fine rather wet. Combined this results in rather wide lines, maybe even compared to some fine running European brands.
How it feels writing is more congruent to other Platinum pens as mine write smoothly and with some even feedback. An interesting feature is the relatively springy nib. Following the logic of what Platinum says about the new Platinum Procyon this might be due to the pentagon-shaped nib. It offers more flexibility than a Lamy Safari or Pilot Metropolitan to which I compared it before, I wouldnt call it flex though. My experience is limited but considering what I have seen it also is much less flexible than a Pilot Falcon or FA nib. When pressure is applied the line width increases, more noticeable in the fine than the medium, as well as the ink flow. You can reasonably expect the line width to become 1,5 times as wide, maybe to double. During normal writing the effect is very small, writing feels springier than with a nail-like steel nib. But I wouldnt recommend to constantly apply (a lot of) pressure, to me this nib doesnt feel like it would like this.
The ink flow is even, doesnt decrease over time and easily keeps up with fast writing.
Platinum Cool (1).jpg

20190504_132726-01.jpeg

Edit: The symbol on the left means 'fine', the one on the right 'medium'. Both nibs are silver coloured, the ambient light affected the reflection.
Platinum Cool (9).jpg
 
Filling System and Maintenance
Platinum uses a proprietary cartridge/converter system. There was no converter included which is common at this price point. Buying one is worth it I think. The converter is very well made overall, feels sturdy and can be taken apart for cleaning if you wish so. Its mouth is made from plastic surrounded by a metal ring. The clear part stood up surprisingly well against staining being still clear. The shroud is from metal again. Take a look at the pictures to see the piston mechanism inside the converter. The knob is made from plastic and features grooves, turning it feels controlled.
Platinums cartridges are smaller than large standard international ones, and close in size to Pilot's cartridges. Their body is fairly thick and they contain a metal ball agitator.
Platinum Cool (7).jpg
 
Cost and Value
The Platinum Cool retails for about 40 US-Dollar in the US. I havent seen it at European retailers and must admit I dont know much about other markets. Some companies offer it for around 25 Dollar/Euro. Customer care usually is limited if you would have to send it back to Japan from Europe for example but these shipping costs probably exceed their benefits anyway at this price.
The Cool can be considered an entry-level pen, maybe an upgrade to a Preppy or Plaisir. There are a lot of good competitors. I can name the Safari and Metropolitan again, but there are many more. I think the Cool cannot surpass them in writing experience, construction quality or filling-system but neither lacks behind. A clearer reason to buy is its transparent body and feed.
 
Conclusion
The Platinum Cool is an affordable demonstrator which offers reliable and controlled writing. Its transparent feed makes it special.
If you aim for a super-smooth entry-level pen, look elsewhere.
If you like the design you probably wont be disappointed by its other features.
 
 
Feedback, criticism and further questions or opinions are welcome.
Feel free to point out language mistakes I might have made.

Edit 1: removed my remark on what the symbol on the nib stands for. It indicates the nib size,but I probably mixed up fine and medium.

Edit 2: added picture for comparison of the symbols adorning the nib which mean 'fine' and 'medium'. Thanks for pointing out my mistake, Pseudo88.
 


Edited by Caeruleum, 04 May 2019 - 11:39.


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#2 1nkulus

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Posted 03 May 2019 - 19:10

Great review and the effort is appreciated.  thumbup.gif  An entry level robust pen.


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#3 Iur

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Posted 03 May 2019 - 21:45

Very nice review!

#4 Honeybadgers

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Posted 04 May 2019 - 00:01

The cool is the demonstrator. The balance is the opaque model.

 

For about $40, it's honestly a good pen. I think that an extra $25 to get a gold nib 3776 almost makes the cool/balance a bad deal, and the PTL-5000A can be found for $35-40, which is almost identical to the balance but with a 14k nib (and a hair narrower) 

 

Platinum just kind of made the cool/balance a poor value with their own other pens in the JDM price sector. I really like the balance in black, it's covered in barely visible rainbow shimmering particles that you can only see when held just right.


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#5 ENewton

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Posted 04 May 2019 - 01:14

I have the Balance in black and agree that it is a good pen.  In fact, the body on the Balance feels more substantial to me than the plastic of the lowest-priced models of  the 3776.

 

The nib is quite interesting also, unique among my pens.  I just wish it weren't plated.



#6 pseudo88

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Posted 04 May 2019 - 02:21

My experience hasn't been like yours; which doesn't take anything away from this good review, it's probably down to what each of us appreciates, quality control and dumb luck.

 

I have a medium (for sure) and either a fine or fine medium; they both show the same symbol on the nib underneath the platinum logo. I can tell them apart because the medium is particularly smooth if very wet, the other is ok, by which I mean at the level of my 7 Lamy Vistas.

 

The opaque cap insert doesn't seem to do much for evaporation, these go as quickly as my Vistas; so ugly (even if I don't really mind) and useless.

 

The plastic used feels cheaper than any of my other pens, probably as cheap as a Kakuno I once tried. It's not like the Vistas feel luxurious but they do feel a bit more solid. It doesn't help that the cap rattles if shaken, not something I usually do but still.

 

One of the pens always had starting problems, and I tried many inks to try and remedy this, after cleaning even more times; I finally gave up on it, which led me to be suspicious of other Platinum products, like the 3776 which otherwise seems like an interesting pen. Not a pen I'd recommend.


Edited by pseudo88, 04 May 2019 - 02:22.

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#7 Caeruleum

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Posted 04 May 2019 - 11:46

Thank you for clarifying 'Cool' exlusively refers to the the demonstrator versions while 'Balance' refers to the opaque versions in the US or all colours worldwide.

Thank you for adding your experiences.



#8 Yohaanrods

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Posted 04 May 2019 - 16:35

Thank you for the review!

#9 1nkulus

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Posted 04 May 2019 - 16:43

The cool is the demonstrator. The balance is the opaque model.

 

For about $40, it's honestly a good pen. I think that an extra $25 to get a gold nib 3776 almost makes the cool/balance a bad deal, and the PTL-5000A can be found for $35-40, which is almost identical to the balance but with a 14k nib (and a hair narrower) 

 

Platinum just kind of made the cool/balance a poor value with their own other pens in the JDM price sector. I really like the balance in black, it's covered in barely visible rainbow shimmering particles that you can only see when held just right.

+1


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#10 Mongoosey

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Posted 05 May 2019 - 09:57

I've been curious about this pen.

 

I like the fact that it's a better nib than the Platinum preppy, offers a metal clip, has a long section, and does write a wet line (from what I hear). 

 

One of my biggest complaints for many beginner pens is how dry they can write (TWSBI, Lamy Safari, and even my Prera only ekes out a patchy line of Kiwa-Guro).

 

I do wish they would remedy that opaque inner cap with a clear one.  It juxtaposes obnoxiously lol.

________________________________________________________________

 

I don't know about other locations, but on Amazon in the U.S. you can get it for about $23-$27 depending on the nib, right now...

 

...of course I think they're Japanese imports.  

 

On J-subculture, what appears to be Platinum Cool pens under a different name of "Nian Brush Balance" cost sub $30 after shipping costs added...  though I'd make sure to verify that with J-subculture before considering.

 

But for anything more than $30 and it starts to look less appetizing.



#11 Caeruleum

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Posted 05 May 2019 - 13:02

I don't know about other locations, but on Amazon in the U.S. you can get it for about $23-$27 depending on the nib, right now...
 
...of course I think they're Japanese imports.

 
I used this option too and can say your assumption is right. Mine were sent from Japan.

Edited by Caeruleum, 05 May 2019 - 13:04.


#12 ENewton

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Posted 05 May 2019 - 14:23

"I like the fact that it's a better nib than the Platinum preppy, offers a metal clip, has a long section, and does write a wet line (from what I hear). "

 

 

I have the medium, and it is wet enough to use with iron gall inks.



#13 Mongoosey

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Posted 05 May 2019 - 17:42

 
I used this option too and can say your assumption is right. Mine were sent from Japan.

 

That's good to know. 

 

The prices on Amazon, or japanese imports rather, are very competitive.  I have a Platinum 3776-M on the way from J-subculture (I prefer how they ship in a box and guarantee and brand new unopened pen),

 

But I like the idea of considering the Platinum Cool as an inexpensive quality EDC.  I really wish they'd remedy that inner cap.

 

"I like the fact that it's a better nib than the Platinum preppy, offers a metal clip, has a long section, and does write a wet line (from what I hear). "

 

 

I have the medium, and it is wet enough to use with iron gall inks.

 

Quite good to know : )

 

How do you like the pen?

 

How wide does your medium nib write?  Is it closer to a European Medium or a Japanese Medium (European Fine)?



#14 Caeruleum

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Posted 05 May 2019 - 19:14

But I like the idea of considering the Platinum Cool as an inexpensive quality EDC.  I really wish they'd remedy that inner cap.
 

I too look at it this way. Honeybagers criticized the value since the standard chartres/bourgogne + gold trim 3776s can be found for about 65 Dollar, and I think he has a point there. I'm content with the cool however carrying it around, enjoying its performance and not worrying although I'm careful.

Edited by Caeruleum, 05 May 2019 - 19:15.


#15 Honeybadgers

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Posted 05 May 2019 - 19:17

I absolutely wouldn't tell someone with a balance/cool that they got ripped off. If we never had the 3776 or PTL-500A available for less than $100, I'd say the cool/balance was a good deal at $40. It feels very robust and solid, looks good and writes a treat. I got mine as a gift from a friend that went to japan, and while I don't use it much, it's still a great pen. 


Edited by Honeybadgers, 05 May 2019 - 19:17.

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#16 Mongoosey

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Posted 05 May 2019 - 20:26

I too look at it this way. Honeybagers criticized the value since the standard chartres/bourgogne + gold trim 3776s can be found for about 65 Dollar, and I think he has a point there. I'm content with the cool however carrying it around, enjoying its performance and not worrying although I'm careful.

 

Exactly.

 

At the store price of $40+ the Platinum Cool does become a pen I more easily bypass for the sake of a Platinum 3776, which checks everything off my list and is built to last a lifetime.

 

But at sub-$30... and knowing the QC of Platinum (Japanese pens in general), and with my weakness for a Snap-Cap...  the Platinum Cool sidles up the list.

 

I absolutely wouldn't tell someone with a balance/cool that they got ripped off. If we never had the 3776 or PTL-500A available for less than $100, I'd say the cool/balance was a good deal at $40. It feels very robust and solid, looks good and writes a treat. I got mine as a gift from a friend that went to japan, and while I don't use it much, it's still a great pen. 

 

That's good to know : )



#17 ENewton

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Posted 05 May 2019 - 23:30

 

 

Quite good to know : )

 

How do you like the pen?

 

How wide does your medium nib write?  Is it closer to a European Medium or a Japanese Medium (European Fine)?

 

 

I like the solidity of the pen and find the nib interesting, despite a bias against plated nibs.  

 

The line width is equivalent to a European fine.



#18 alexwi

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Posted 05 May 2019 - 23:52

Hi,

 

This is one of the best pens I've owned. It's very smooth and writing with it is a pleasure for me.

 

In terms of smoothness, it's up there with my Sheaffer Prelude or Elysee Limited Edition 2.

 

Flex-wise, it's a bit more rigid than a Lamy Safari. I don't flex my nibs, but one can feel whether there's even a slight hint of give and that's how I feel the Platinum.

 

I purchased mine in the US, and the salesman claimed that it can stay capped for a year and still write. My office is in the attic and it's usually warmer and drier than the rest of my apartment, so a year is a bit much, but I know for a fact that it still writes after three months, whereas other pens are completely dry in less than one. Under normal circumstances, it wouldn't surprise me if this pen wrote after six months of sitting unused.

 

Overall, I love this pen.

 

alex



#19 Mongoosey

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Posted 06 May 2019 - 15:11

 

 

I like the solidity of the pen and find the nib interesting, despite a bias against plated nibs.  

 

The line width is equivalent to a European fine.

 

Thank you for the feedback : )

 

and with Alexwi's response... well, I'm going to have to try this pen out.

 

Thank you, Caeruleum, for this review.



#20 Mongoosey

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Posted 06 May 2019 - 20:42

Forgive me, but just to clarify:

 

In this review Caeruleum states that the Platinum Cool M and F nibbed pens reviewed write with a line width more congruent with European M and F sizing,

 

Enewton's experience was stated to have a Platinum Cool M write more like a European Fine.

 

And while my Platinum Preppy Fine 03 writes more like a European Fine, I must ask for clarification:  How do the nib sizes on the Platinum Cool run?  Are they more typical of Japanese sizing or do they run similar to average European sizing (as is stated in the review)?

 

Did sizing possibly change?  Is it a natural variation?







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: platinum, cool, balance, review, nib, size, clear



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