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The Original Platinum Higo Zogan (Circa 1969) - A Review

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The original Platinum Higo Zogan was an impulse buy on Ebay. There isn't much information on this pen, but I do know that one blogger (Phthalo) said she enjoyed how this pen writes. I also know that Platinum currently makes a 3776 with a similar higo zogan ring around the cap.


Appearance and Design
At first glance, this pen is reminiscent of the Lamy 2000 in both shape and feel, but with a Japanese flair. The matte black resin body reminds me of Makrolon but with slightly less of a brushed texture. Its 18K gold nib that looks very similar to that of the Platinum Pocket Pen and other 1970s era Platinum Pens as well as the Platinum Desk Pen. I must say that I’m a fan of the clear vintage era Platinum feeds, especially the clear blue ones found on the Platinum Pocket Pen. This one has a clear black feed.

Instead of having the barrel transition seamlessly into the section like on the Lamy 2000, there is a clearly defined ridge that makes it more comfortable for me to hold. 


The cap includes an understated and beautiful higo zogan ring made of iron and gold formed into the shape of cherry blossoms. The gold mirror polished clip is also reminiscent to that of the Lamy 2000 in form. I have to say that I prefer the brushed clip on the Lamy. Mirror polish or gold plating doesn’t seem to last in my experience.

Construction & Quality
It’s easy to tell that the Platinum Higo Zogan is a high-quality item. While the plastic and metal parts feel thin, there is a certain presence to the pen when you hold it. 


Since I’ve only had this pen for about a week, I can’t speak much about its durability. However, given that the pen has went through one full cartridge of ink in the 1970s, and looks practically new after 50 years, I have high hopes for this piece.

Weight and Dimensions
This pen is relatively large and about the same size as the Lamy 2000. Despite its size, it’s also relatively light, and lighter than the Lamy. Since this pen has a clearly defined section unlike on the Lamy, its additional reference points allow your hands to find a consistent grip on the pen. If you’re like me and you like girthier pens, whether your have large or small hands (like I do), you might like this one.

Nib & Performance

The 18K gold fine nib is springy and a light touch allows it to float away from the feed. It kind of reminds me of a well-tuned and delicate suspension system. I would not call this a flex nib at all, though it does provide for a tiny bit of line variation. The kanji translates to “Fine Text,” and I have seen other versions of this pen with kanji that reads “Fine Soft.” I would imagine that the Fine Soft version is even springier. I purchased a Platinum Pocket Pen with what I believe to be the same nib but in Fine Soft and I’ll see how it performs and whether they’re interchangeable.


This nib is likely equivalent to a modern Platinum F nib. It writes quite wet with J. Herbin Perle Noire and does not skip at all (after I cleaned the feed). The tip provides some feedback as you write, but it's a pleasurable(?) responsive feedback. I’ve found that for a person like me who has a habit of rushing when they write, having some nib feedback encourages me to slow down and focus more on the rhythm of writing. 


Take my opinion on the nib with a grain of salt because I have never owned another pen with a Japanese gold nib.

Filling System & Maintenance

The Platinum is a cartridge converter that comes with an "Aerometric" style squeeze-converter; however, since this pen lacks a breather tube, it has trouble taking advantage of what little real estate the sac provides. The stock converter does not fill to satisfaction.


I have since switched out the stock squeeze-converter in favor of a modern Platinum piston converter. In addition to having increased ink capacity the gold trim of the modern converter better suits the aesthetics of this very modern looking piece. A part of me wishes that this pen had an integrated piston mechanism instead. There is a lot of real estate in the barrel for ink.

Taking apart this pen is very much like taking apart the modern Platinum desk pen. I wouldn’t say it’s too difficult. It was tricky at first since the parts are tightly fitted together. I was actually afraid that a previous owner superglued the pen shut. Luckily, that was not the case. It became easier to disassemble after the first time. I had to clean the pen because it wasn’t feeding from the converter to the feed. After deep cleaning the feed, the pen worked perfectly.


Cost & Value

For $99 on Ebay, I think this pen was a steal. According to the Platinum website, this pen sold for 8,000 yen in 1970. That is the equivalent to around 27,000 yen ($260.00) today.

If we’re evaluating this pen purely for performance, there are many less expensive options that will do the same job. But I do believe that there is value in traditional craftsmanship and I would like to say the pen was worth it. I have never written with a pen that has fit my relatively small hands better than this one.

Additional Notes

I would post side by side photos with the Lamy 2000, but I have already gifted it to a friend. I also would like to get an experienced 3776 owner to do an A/B.

I also want to see if the nib is interchangeable with an 18K Fine Soft nib from a Platinum Pocket Pen with the diamond inlay. Would you folks recommend that I don’t swap out the nibs? 


Edited by Aelia
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Thanks for the nice review and photos. I like the cap band design. 

Tempus edax rerum

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 Those vintage Platinums are well-made, comfortable, and give a unique sense of precision when writing.


 I hope you will get many decades of enjoyment out of this pen.

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That is a good-looking pen, thanks for showing it to us.


I have an 18K Extra Fine on the 70's pocket pen PKB 2000, and it writes better than either of the two other Japanese EF nibs I have. It's a very slim pen, though, so although the shape is similar I wonder if the nibs will be interchangeable. The width of my nib at the place where the sides fold down is about 4.7 mm. 

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7 hours ago, Paul-in-SF said:

I wonder if the nibs will be interchangeable

Alas, it's not. The nib on the Platinum pocket pens are smaller. With that said the pocket pen I acquired has a soft fine nib and I use it to make fancy capital letters for everyday writing. Also, I found out that the squeeze converter from the Higo Zogan works perfectly fine in the Platinum Pocket pen. I did have to partially disassemble and reassemble it to get the converter in, but it fits and it works! 

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Thank you for posting this, looks like a cool pen. As a Japanese sword and sword fittings collector the Higo zogan is a neat feature. Iron, gold, understated. That is spot on. Zogan is inlay and Higo inlay is a particular style and method. I’d love to see one in person. 

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