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Why Still No Omas?



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A Smug Dill

In my short time (of about two years) of active engagement with the FPN forum, I'm afraid I've mainly heard about problems when it comes to OMAS pens someone bought new in the years leading up to the company's demise. Of course I've seen aficionados wax lyrical about the beauty, elegance or quality of OMAS pens, or appeal to the romance and heritage of the brand, but then that is true of almost any fountain pen brand. Given what I heard, should some business enterprise resurrect the OMAS brand, I'd have to (and want to) see it do bloody battle head to head with brands from Aurora and Santini Italia, to Nakaya and Namiki, and even to Fine Writing International and Hero, in the already crowded marketplace trying to prove it still has a place, and can win over new customers who have no positive sentiment for the brand but will judge any new product offerings clinically against its competition. I don't think it would be a quick and easy battle to win, and perhaps the owner of the rights to the OMAS name doesn't really want to take up that challenge and that fight. Goodwill and nostalgia for the old OMAS do not outweigh the baggage that also comes with the reputation, especially for new hobbyists who don't mind spending money (hell, are any of those plasticky Sailor limited/special editions really worth the asking prices?) but would want manufacturers to continually prove their products in the age of online reviews by every man and his dog, and have every aspect dissected and scrutinised.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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In my short time (of about two years) of active engagement with the FPN forum, I'm afraid I've mainly heard about problems when it comes to OMAS pens someone bought new in the years leading up to the company's demise. Of course I've seen aficionados wax lyrical about the beauty, elegance or quality of OMAS pens, or appeal to the romance and heritage of the brand, but then that is true of almost any fountain pen brand. Given what I heard, should some business enterprise resurrect the OMAS brand, I'd have to (and want to) see it do bloody battle head to head with brands from Aurora and Santini Italia, to Nakaya and Namiki, and even to Fine Writing International and Hero, in the already crowded marketplace trying to prove it still has a place, and can win over new customers who have no positive sentiment for the brand but will judge any new product offerings clinically against its competition. I don't think it would be a quick and easy battle to win, and perhaps the owner of the rights to the OMAS name doesn't really want to take up that challenge and that fight. Goodwill and nostalgia for the old OMAS do not outweigh the baggage that also comes with the reputation, especially for new hobbyists who don't mind spending money (hell, are any of those plasticky Sailor limited/special editions really worth the asking prices?) but would want manufacturers to continually prove their products in the age of online reviews by every man and his dog, and have every aspect dissected and scrutinised.

What you say is so true A Smug Dill.

Sometime around 2004-2006 the quality of the pens manufactured by Omas plummeted and never recovered. They never got as bad as the pieces now being produced by ASC but, nonetheless, what you say is correct.

 

Your comments about the prospects for success & customer satisfaction looking forward are spot on. There are so many examples of the failure of brand reincarnations! Whereas in my heart, I would love to see the return of the OMAS brand as envisioned by fpupulin, I too do not think it can happen and prefer to let it "rest in peace."

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Often people acquire the brand name of a defunct business with only the intention to sell or license the name for a profit at a later date. Buying the name does not necessarily mean that they wish to use the name themselves.

 

Perhaps Scribo might offer to acquire the OMAS name someday, if they can afford to. Perhaps they already tried but could not agree terms. That would seem preferable to those who would want a relaunched OMAS pen line to have at least some authenticity beyond merely the name. I assume Ancora would not be sentimental about this - they would likely only be interested to make the most money they can from the OMAS name, and Scribo is a small, start-up company. Could Scribo ever mass-produce pens to a high quality, and sell enough of them at OMAS price levels, to recoup the likely cost of acquiring the name? History suggests that is unlikely and it would be far less risky for Scribo to slowly build their own brand.

 

Or perhaps Ancora would be willing to license the OMAS name to Scribo for a royalty payment on each pen sold. This would mean you get an OMAS-branded Scribo pen and you would pay more for it than if it was called a Scribo pen. It could potentially also be the same shape as an old OMAS pen if that was part of the licensing agreement (and presumably you would pay even more for an OMAS-branded, OMAS-shaped Scribo pen). Maybe many people would be happy with that. I don’t know. Somehow it seems less satisfying to pay more for a branded pen if the manufacturer is merely licensing the name and/or design, and these licensing rights might be given to a different company later on.

 

I’m not sure we would be happy with these things anyway. It would require much more than the OMAS name for Scribo to become the OMAS you remember.

 

One way or another there is a fair chance that the OMAS name will come back some day. But usually with such things the new incarnation of the name is a huge disappointment and a short-lived phenomenon. Even if a big, reputable company is involved it rarely turns out well. Just look at what Disney did to the Star Wars brand, even though they spent billions and were motivated to make something great.

 

I think the truth is usually that a brand name is only special because of a unique combination of people, ideas and resources, at a particular time. The name itself means nothing when those other things are no longer there. OMAS (and it may have been great while it lasted) is gone forever. But there will be other, different companies in future to get excited about instead.

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"I think the truth is usually that a brand name is only special because of a unique combination of people, ideas and resources, at a particular time. The name itself means nothing when those other things are no longer there. OMAS (and it may have been great while it lasted) is gone forever. But there will be other, different companies in future to get excited about instead."

 

 

This expressed my own thoughts very well.

 

I was thinking about the impossibility of re-creating another famous Italian masterpiece, the Stradivarius violin. Materials, knowhow and some unknown secret sauce are all unobtainable.

 

I am happy to own a number of wonderful OMAS pens - all from the 1990's or before, but my new pen purchases are now focused on a few of the newer Italian makers who are making fine writing instruments. They are not OMAS pens, but they are admirable in the own right and on their own terms.

 

Thanks, everyone, for a very interesting discussion.

 

David

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This expressed my own thoughts very well.

 

I was thinking about the impossibility of re-creating another famous Italian masterpiece, the Stradivarius violin. Materials, knowhow and some unknown secret sauce are all unobtainable.

 

I am happy to own a number of wonderful OMAS pens - all from the 1990's or before, but my new pen purchases are now focused on a few of the newer Italian makers who are making fine writing instruments. They are not OMAS pens, but they are admirable in the own right and on their own terms.

 

Thanks, everyone, for a very interesting discussion.

 

David

Agree! 100%+

Thank you MoriartyR for your great post and David for your perfect follow-up comment.

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Thank you Franco for starting a very interesting discussion.

I believe that in less than 2 pages of thread we have touched the heart of the problem.

I don't own an ASC, and I'm not tempted, and as others have mentioned I just feel the pain for such lovely last stock of celluloid being misused/abused, by what I hear...

I share your desire to see the Arte Italiana pens again, but it might just be that the purchase of the Omas brand by Arcora was a financial investment. Arcora themselves don't seem to be making big efforts even with their own brand, although they used to have the capabilities...

The horse I'm betting on is Scribo. The have the machines, the know how, and the individual skills.

It won't be Omas I fear, nor the Arte Italiana... but they have the potential to come out with something really nice.

But as Uncial said, they have to work harder on the design, I'm not going to buy one of those skinny section/big step down pens from them, even if the nib is quasi Omas vintage like...

Come on Scribo, pen design is critical when the pen is uncapped, not when the pen is capped! (or if both together, the better)

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Actually, dear sansenri, I learnt a lesson here.

 

The extent of bad reputation that the OMAS brand suffered in the last years of its life, even among people who never tried a single actual pen of the brand to form a personal opinion about it, is probably insurmountable.

I agree with most of the things that have been written in this topic, and I also think that no brand can survive only of its old glories if it does not compete with a reputable product in the market arena, But it is obvious that I see a vantage of OMAS that others may not see in the same way: OMAS pens were in general of a breathtaking beauty!

The shapes, the proportions, the ratio between cap and body and filler cone, the engravings of the nibs, even the color of the plastics used in the last iterations of OMAS pens, were second to none, in my opinion. I can not see, in the actual scenario, any other brand making such perfectly shaped and refined pens, if not imperfectly copying those of OMAS. But this is me, and I am happy that others may see things under a different perspective, buying what the market has to offer without nostalgia.

I will continue sourcing my OMAS pens through the net, where fortunately they still abound, even though they are becoming more and more pricy, often much more pricy of what OMAS was selling them when new.

My only serious regret is that I will not more eagerly wait for the news about the release of novelty models, materials and colors of pens from OMAS. It is a collateral effect of a dead brand...

I leave you with a drawing made with one of the many plastic Paragons, the Saecularia Nona, and its beautiful fine, responsive, single-tomed nib.

fpn_1597448992__omas_saecularia_nona_and

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Very nice thread! This takes me back to the beginnings of my pen hobby, when I received my first Levenger branded OMAS and subsequently began hunting down some very beautiful models in small stationary stores in Italy. I repeatedly traveled to Bologna to experience what for me was the holy grail of fountain pen acquisition - opening the glass door to a small stationary shop and asking the elderly owner if they had any models by OMAS ...

Around 2008, I gave up on the brand after a new Bologna model bought in Rome started leaking from the piston immediately. After waiting months to have it repaired, it came back in worse condition, now with a deep gouge in the cap. Meanwhile, my Senape had completely changed color, and the blue Lucens had shrunk and cracked ...

This thread made me think of better experiences. I agree with the OP, their cotton resin models hold a special appeal. I still own and like the special colors they came out with - the Venezia, Colonial, and grey. These are simple, handmade pens that shine through the detail of proportion, shape, balance. This is the core of OMAS to me.

 

I had the opportunity to befriend the (or one of the) US sales people of OMAS who had met the last family owner (what was his name again?) and said he was not the kind of person you would want to hang out with. Maybe, in the end, the heirs were more infatuated with the myth of making luxury goods than with making actually beautiful pens. Somewhere along the way the brand lost its identity even before it was sold.

 

Im not sure Ancora is the right company to continue OMAS. It seems that they, too, have become more interested in making status symbols for oligarchs than with making writing instruments.

 

The whole hobby has changed for me along the way, too. On the one hand you have ridiculously priced objects like ASC with which you can apparently also write, and on the other continuous bombardment with sales by drop companies. Finding something that still has charm and individuality, and a sort of humility befitting a writing instrument, has become difficult. I still like Aurora which seems to be committed to the writing aspect of fountain pens and is doing much to upgrade their nibs.

 

Thank you for this thread! Such interesting reading!

"If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live."

– Lin Yu-T'ang

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Finding something that still has charm and individuality, and a sort of humility befitting a writing instrument, has become difficult. I still like Aurora which seems to be committed to the writing aspect of fountain pens and is doing much to upgrade their nibs.

 

You might like to give Santini Italia a go. The finer details in the manufacture of the (one) Santini pen I got may not be quite as smooth and polished as Aurora —which is a brand I like and of which I have over 15 pens and will likely buy more down the track — but Santini makes everything (other than the piston-filling mechanism) in-house, and its pens certainly have individuality. I was delighted by its customer service; and you can ask Santini to customise and tune the nib however you like, straight in his workshop, if you order directly from him.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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You might like to give Santini Italia a go. The finer details in the manufacture of the (one) Santini pen I got may not be quite as smooth and polished as Aurora which is a brand I like and of which I have over 15 pens and will likely buy more down the track but Santini makes everything (other than the piston-filling mechanism) in-house.

Do they make their own nibs? Thank you for the lead - Ill check that out. I did also familiarize myself with Scribo, but tend to agree with the posts here that the shape is odd.

Somewhat off topic, but I also like the handmade Desiderata pen I got recently - has a distinctly un-Italian DNA, so doesnt fit in this thread.

"If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live."

– Lin Yu-T'ang

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Let me second A Smug Dill's point. Santini Italia is a great brand and is producing great Italian pens. Santini also is connected to OMAS.

 

The owner of Santini is also the owner of Ancora, so there might be a "good" revival of OMAS in the works. I'm sure he's rather busy right now, but perhaps soon in the future...

 

Erick

 

Using right now:

Moonman F9 "F" nib running Noodler's Black Swan in Australian Roses

Wancher Sekai Tsugaru Urushi - Kuro-age "F" nib running Pelikan Olivine

Narwhal Schuykill "F" nib runnunning Wahl-Eversharp Everberry

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BaronWulfraed
The shapes, the proportions, the ratio between cap and body and filler cone, the engravings of the nibs, even the color of the plastics used in the last iterations of OMAS pens, were second to none, in my opinion.

I can agree with most of that... But not the "color of the plastics used..."

 

I was sucked (by hype) into buying my only Omas: the "London Smoke" Arte Italiana Paragon back in April 2016. If you include the shipping charge, my most expensive pen (without shipping it matched the price of my Platinum Izumo-Tamenuri from three years prior).

 

I honestly think my Levenger True Writer Select "Stormy Weather" has nicer plastic. Any variation in the "London Smoke" is pretty much the same you'd find in model kits using grey styrene plastic for major components. IE: flow lines as a mold is filled.

Edited by BaronWulfraed
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mongrelnomad

The last Omas's misses were less frequent than the newcomers know, and the hits were spectacular. They also rereleased their 'old' immortal models, in all the greatest celluloids. Yes, the QA was not up to the standards of, for instance, Aurora, but compared to so many contemporaries, they were fine.

Too many pens; too little writing.

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The last Omas's misses were less frequent than the newcomers know, and the hits were spectacular. They also released their 'old' immortal models, in all the greatest celluloids. Yes, the QA was not up to the standards of, for instance, Aurora, but compared to so many contemporaries, they were fine.

I think this is a very important and quite correct observation.

I also think that the QC of the "old immortal models" was excellent until the very end.

Where their QC fell short was, oftentimes, on some of their "new" creations. They made some nonsensical modifications to trusted & true designs in their final few years.

 

As time has passed by and we see the increasing popularity of the "old immortal models" one cannot help but wish that Omas could have simply stuck with them and hung on for a few more years.

IMO, the "old immortal models" are still great pens to acquire........ and enjoy.

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mongrelnomad

I think this is a very important and quite correct observation.

I also think that the QC of the "old immortal models" was excellent until the very end.

Where their QC fell short was, oftentimes, on some of their "new" creations. They made some nonsensical modifications to trusted & true designs in their final few years.

 

As time has passed by and we see the increasing popularity of the "old immortal models" one cannot help but wish that Omas could have simply stuck with them and hung on for a few more years.

IMO, the "old immortal models" are still great pens to acquire........ and enjoy.

 

Agreed. The original Paragon (including their precursor Extras) and the 360 must rank among the all-time greats of pen design and execution.

Too many pens; too little writing.

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  • 2 months later...
PrestoTenebroso

Do they make their own nibs? Thank you for the lead - Ill check that out. I did also familiarize myself with Scribo, but tend to agree with the posts here that the shape is odd.

Somewhat off topic, but I also like the handmade Desiderata pen I got recently - has a distinctly un-Italian DNA, so doesnt fit in this thread.

I'm honored to be mentioned in this thread. As King of The Desiderata Pen Company, I offer my sincerest thanks. Would you be able to tell us more what you mean about the un-Italian-ness of my work?

 

Goodwill and nostalgia for the old OMAS do not outweigh the baggage that also comes with the reputation, especially for new hobbyists who don't mind spending money (hell, are any of those plasticky Sailor limited/special editions really worth the asking prices?) but would want manufacturers to continually prove their products in the age of online reviews by every man and his dog, and have every aspect dissected and scrutinised.

That's a hard row to hoe, but I do try to get you work that has the quality of 'the closer you look, the more you find'.

 

The whole hobby has changed for me along the way, too. On the one hand you have ridiculously priced objects like ASC with which you can apparently also write, and on the other continuous bombardment with sales by drop companies. Finding something that still has charm and individuality, and a sort of humility befitting a writing instrument, has become difficult. I still like Aurora which seems to be committed to the writing aspect of fountain pens and is doing much to upgrade their nibs.

 

Humility! Amen!

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