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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.