First Impressions 4 out of 5
I have read several reviews of Omas pens and had admired the 360 line when I visited the Worldlux store on a recent trip to Seattle. I was allowed to handle a wooden model, although I have always been a fan of celluloid. I watched ebay and researched on-line retailers for a bit and finally took a stab at a gray pearl 360 offered on Ebay. The retailer listed it as a NOS pen, perhaps a returned purchase or a display pen. I won at a pretty low bid, given the retail listing for this model was at 895.00! (at least that is what the sticker on the box read as the retail price.) I then waited impatiently for the package to arrive. When it came, I cleared my writing desk, carefully opened the package and... It was very nice. I mean nice, not mind-blowing,not remarkably lovely,not I have never-seen-anything-like-it, but just nice. I am aware that I probably bought a display model, or a returned item, so perhaps the shine had faded a bit, but some of the blush was off the rose. As I did my usual flush with mild soapy water I noticed a small amount of blue ink came out when I touched the nib to the bowl of water. Perhaps it had been a return. After a filling of Pelikan Brilliant black, I was prepared for the Omas experience. It was... nice. A bit dry. More on that in a bit.
The boxes and the little gray pen case are nice additions and seem well made. I don't know, boxes and such don't really do much for me.
Appearance/ Finish 3 out of 5
I like celluloid. I really like celluloid. The depth, the smell, the feel, I just think it is the best. In fact, I do not think there is a better looking pen material out there. People gush about the Omas celluloid, so I felt I had to check it out. In natural sunlight, while sitting at my antique desk, coffee in hand, ready to put some serious thoughts to paper, this pen looks classy and very pretty. I wish it had more dramatic shine and depth to the celluloid though. It has some surface desk wear, and I may have to go to work with some Simichrome to bring out the shine. I do have pens that glow a little more, and one or two that really capture my attention. This one is growing on me- on day one, I was not that amazed, but now, I catch it in different kinds of light and I like it more. The feel of the material is perfect.
One problem with the pen though is the fit of the cap. It is a snap on cap and it does not fit as tightly as I think it should. In fact, there is about 1mm of play in the cap and it seems far from airtight. I have had other snap on caps that either rotated too easily or did not fit well and I solved the problem by putting a very small(2mm X 5mm) ring of clear packing tape around the inside of the cap. I carefully applied this fix to the 360 and it works much better now, but I am still put off by having to make such an inelegant modification on this otherwise beautiful and well regarded luxury pen.
Design/Size/Weight 4 out of 5
This pen is well designed,that is for certain. The triangular shape is very ergo and feels very natural. I am sure that this is the most innovative shape out there and it is very comfortable. I can see spending hours with this pen and not being weary of the shape. Sometimes a pen can cause some discomfort on my middle finger because of the pressure that builds up while writing for an extended period. Not so with the 360! It is very comfortable. I have the model with the celluloid section, which is also a very nice feature. I wish more companies would make the section out of the same material as the body of the pen. It looks nicer and is more comfy as well. With only a few exceptions, I feel that metal sections are too slippery. So, I am happy with the section. It has a Greek Key band of rhodium trim at the end of the section and it does provide a nice gripping surface.
This is a very light pen, even though it is quite big. It has taken me a while to realize that heft and quality are not the same thing. You would not grow tired writing with this pen. It has an effortless feel in the nib, the weight and the triangular shape. It all adds up to a very rewarding experience.
Nib Design and Performance 5 out of 5
The 360 has a monotone, rhodium plated gold nib and it looks very nice. I would like it to be a bigger size, as the pen itself is very big and the nib almost seems too small for it. Still, it is very attractive and reminds me of a Parker nib with the arrow design. When I first flushed it with mild soapy water and the filled it with Pelikan Brilliant Black, I was surprised to find it was a dry writer. People seem to go on and on about the wetness and smoothness of Omas pens, but for me that was not the case at first. I flushed it again, tried Waterman Blue-black, a trusty and good flowing ink, and was still a bit unhappy with the flow. Finally, I flossed the nib with a brass sheet, and the carefully spread the tines on the nib a little bit. Bingo! I now have a juicy wet writer and it is also much smoother than before. Now I love this nib, it is one of the best I own. I was hesitant to do much adjusting on my own, but it sure worked well for me in the end.
The feed is made out of ebonite, and it does its job very well. I like it much better as a material than plastic, if only as an aesthetic attribute. I wish more manufacturers would use it.
The Filling System 5 out of 5
Omas has done a nice job with the piston on this model. I am partial to pistons, and that is one of the reasons I went for this one. The filler was a bit rough at first, it felt very difficult to turn the knob, but after a few fills it has become more smooth. I was worried that something was wrong at first, but it seems smoother now. I have other piston fillers, my Lamy 2000 and my Pelikans, and it is nice to compare it to the others. The turning of the knob was not as smooth as a Pelikan, but similar in its stiffness to the Lamy. It also holds a great deal of ink.
Cost 4 out of 5
I did not pay anywhere close to retail on this pen, however, it is the most I have ever spent on a pen. As a result my expectations were very high, and I have to admit at first I was a bit disappointed. Yet, as I use it more, I like it more. I think the initial nib difficulties and play in the cap took away from my early sense of enjoyment and did affect my judgment. I do enjoy using it.
Nonetheless, if I had paid retail, or ˝, or even 1/3 of the retail price I would have been unhappy with it. At the price and the fair description by the seller, I feel like I have been able to try out a pen that would ordinarily be beyond my means.
Overall 25 out of 30
This is tough. I feel the reputation of this pen led me to expect too much from it. That I paid more than I ever had for a pen also made me demand that it be perfect. Also, I am aware that it was NOS or a display or a returned pen that could easily account for the flaws that detracted from the pen. Still, I was hoping to be wowed a little more than I was. I have had inexpensive pens exceed my expectations and also have had some expensive ones let me down. The 360 has not entirely let me down, yet, I was hoping for more. I will keep this one and use it quite a bit as it writes very well and has such a great shape. The more I write with it, the more I appreciate it.
As a side note, I tried to join the Omas Society and have not had any luck. One register with their personal info and has to wait to be contacted through email to register their user name. I was not contacted, and when I try to log on, I am informed that I have not confirmed my username. Perhaps they are just slow to get back to me, but I feel a little snubbed. Anyone a member?
Edited by bdngrd, 31 August 2007 - 00:32.