Pen Review: ystudio Portable Brassing

The ystudio Portable Brassing is currently for sale. (SOLD)

For the list of pens currently for sale, please visit here.

 

While the fundamentals of how a fountain pen works are well established and there aren’t much significant changes, the appearance of a pen, and the add-on features can vary drastically. In this review, I’m going to cover the details of a pen that’s an interesting representation of the designs that focus on simplicity. It is the ystudio Portable Brassing.

IMG ystudio Portable Brassing - 3

Basic Information:

Fountain Pen: ystudio Portable Brassing
Nib: Stainless steel medium nib
Filling System: International standard cartridge/converter
Production: Regular edition

1. Packaging (10/10):
The ystudio Portable Brassing fountain pen comes with one of the best packagings in my pen collection. The wooden box is protected by a strong cardboard sleeve. Lifting the lip open presents a booklet and a piece of sandpaper. The sandpaper is provided to purposely remove the black coating on the pen to add more character to the pen, if the user prefers and chooses to do so. The pen and the wood pen tube are securely placed underneath. The quality of the packaging materials and the attention to details are outstanding. It’s hard to find another pen within the same price range that offers such a great package. Even many pens in the higher price levels cannot compete.

2. Pen Design (7/10):
The ystudio Portable Brassing fountain pen is designed to work seamlessly with the wood storage tube that’s provided. Therefore, I will go through both the pen and the tube in this part of the review.

IMG ystudio Portable Brassing - 2
First, the pen. The design definitely focuses on simplicity. The pen is fairly long and slim, and the brass body makes it quite heavy for its size. Personally, I’m not very into its slim profile, but I really appreciate the decent weight. Both the cap and barrel are hexagonal, so that the pen won’t easily roll around. The snap cap is easy to use, and being a snap cap, it can freely rotate on the pen, making it easy to align the sides with the barrel. Since the cap and barrel share the same dimension, this pen cannot be posted at all. Also, that means there is no smooth transition from the barrel to the grip section. While the cap and barrel have the same matte black coating, except for on the edges, the grip section simply shows the colour of the brass materials. The bright and golden tone of the brass grip section makes a great contrast with the rest of the pen. The stainless steel nib is gold plated, making sure that the colour scheme is kept consistent. Overall, when uncapped, the shape of the ystudio Portable Brassing fountain pen reminds me of a pencil. Personally, I like the clipless, simple, and modern design, but the slim profile and the thin grip section are not my favourite. As mentioned before, a piece of sandpaper is provied, and it can be used to remove the matte black coating on the pen, in order to give it a less pristine look.
Even though I don’t necessarily agree with all of the design aspects of the pen, I can see that the build quality of the pen is nevertheless outstanding. I think the provided pen tube doesn’t live up to the same expectation.

IMG ystudio Portable Brassing - 1
The wooden pen tube has a screw-in cap and a barrel. The top of the cap has a rectangular cut out, which is to let the top of the pen cap to go through. Once the pen cap is inserted, the user can secure the pen cap there by using the provided string. This design lets the pen have enough protection inside the pen tube, and doesn’t move around freely. However, I find the design not really practical. First, the pen doesn’t really sit completely securely inside the tube, and the inside of the tube not only doesn’t have any padding for protection, but also stays unpolished. Secondly, the goal of the design is that when the user wants to use the pen, the tube barrel can be removed, presenting the pen, so then the pen can be pulled out to use. However, this process takes a considerable amount of time to complete, which defeats the purpose of using the snap cap mechanism. Without the tube barrel, the pen body may also have the risk getting loose, especially if the user chooses to use the provided string to tie the pen tube on the outside of a backpack, or some other places that wouldn’t be ideal for protecting the pen. I think the idea of a pen tube is cool, but the implementation is poorly done.

3. Filling System (7/10):
The ystudio Portable Brassing fountain pen uses the international standard cartridge/converter filling system. There isn’t anything special about it. The provided converter works very well, and holds a decent amount of ink. But compared to the nicely finished metal pen body, the plastic converter doesn’t have the same feel of the premium quality. Also, the converter is not threaded. Personally I always prefer to have a threaded international standard converter, for its added safety to hold on to the nib unit.

4. Nib Performance (8/10):

A stainless steel medium nib is equipped on this pen. It writes reliably and has no hard start or skipping issue out of the box. But my biggest complaint is that the writing experience is uninspiring. The ink flow is very conservative. The nib is not very smooth, but it doesn’t provide any pleasant feedback either. It’s just a dry nib that writes like the same on almost any type of paper. For me, that’s not good enough. But if you are specifically looking for a nib that is fairly reliable, and has a drier ink flow, maybe this pen is a good option.

5. Pen Cleaning and Maintenance (8/10):
Being an international cartridge/converter filling fountain pen, the ystudio Portable Brassing is very easy to clean. However, since the matte black finish can be damaged, if anyone wants to keep the finish as pristine as possible, it’s probably a good idea to store the pen carefully in a pen case or a pen pouch.

Summary:

Packaging: 10/10
Pen Design: 7/10
Filling System: 7/10
Nib Performance: 8/10
Pen Cleaning and Maintenance: 8/10

Total: 40/50

The ystudio Portable Brassing fountain pen carries an interesting design. It has a very modern look, with quality construction and the simple but reliable international cartridge/converter filling system. For its writing performance, it can be a good choice for a daily writer. However, I personally find the writing experience with the nib not very interesting. Considering its price and what it really offers, I think a large portion of the investment goes towards the packaging, the provided pen tube, but not the pen itself. Combined with the slim profile and thick grip section, it’s not the ideal pen for me.

 

The ystudio Portable Brassing is currently for sale. (SOLD)

For the list of pens currently for sale, please visit here.

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Photo of the Day – Episode 20

Photo of the Day – 96 – The Eiffel Tower #photography #eiffeltower #toureiffel #paris #france #sunset

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Photo of the Day – 99 – The Eiffel Tower #photography #tourdeeiffel #champdemars #paris #france

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Photo of the Day – 100 – Afternoon in Strasbourg #photography #strasbourg #strasbourgcathedral #france #alsace

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Photo of the Day – Episode 19

Pen Review: Pelikan Classic M205 Amethyst

For the list of pens currently for sale, please visit here.

 

For more details, please visit the following related pen reviews:

Pelikan has a lineup of premium fountain pen inks called the Edelstein. Since 2012, a new colour gets introduced every year, called the Ink of the Year. Starting in 2015, Pelikan also releases a special edition fountain pen with the matching colour, in the Classic M200/205 line. The 2015 special edition colour is the Amethyst. This review is going to go over the details of the Pelikan Classic M205 Amethyst.

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Basic Information:
Fountain Pen: Pelikan Classic M205 Amethyst
Nib: Stainless steel fine nib
Filling System: Piston
Production: Special edition

1. Packaging (9/10):
The Pelikan Classic M205 Amethyst has a simple but adequate packaging, just like any other regular production Classic line fountain pens. There is actually a version with a special packaging, which includes both the pen and the Ink of the Year ink bottle. In comparison, this box seems much more plain and simple, but it’s still a great one.

2. Pen Design (9/10):

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The Pelikan Classic M205 Amethyst is a beautiful pen. The overall shape and structure of this pen is identical to the ones that I have reviewed in the past (M200 Black, M200 Café Crème, M200 Demonstrator & M205 White-Silver), but what makes it stand out is the beautiful frosted purple resin. It’s a demonstrator fountain pen, which shows the piston mechanism inside the barrel, the nib inside the cap, and the amount of ink left in the reservoir. But unlike some other clear demonstrators, such as the Lamy Vista or the Pelikan Classic M200 Demonstrator, or the one with the matte surface, the Platinum 3776 Century Nice Pur, the Pelikan Classic M205 Amethyst is polished outside, but frosted inside. I really enjoy this wonderful approach. Combining with the silver coloured trims, this pen is very attractive. I really wish that the same finish can be made available on the M805 model.
Other than the special finish, the Pelikan Classic M205 Amethyst shares the same design aspects as the other M200/M205 pens. The cap twists off, and posts deeply and securely onto the end of the barrel. The lightweight resin ensures that the weight balance is always excellent, no matter whether the cap is posted or not. The nib unit is interchangeable, so that this pen can be fitted with any M200/M205 stainless steel nib, or M400/M405 14K gold nib, which is one of my favourite features from the Pelikan Classic and Souverän lines of fountain pens.

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Being a lower level model from Pelikan, the M205 Amethyst is not perfect. The seam lines are visible on the grip section. And compared to the metallic cap top from the Souverän line, the plastic cap top looks a bit out of place, considering that the rest of the pen is constructed by either the translucent purple resin, or the silver coloured trims.
Despite the imperfections, I think the Pelikan Classic M205 Amethyst has a great design for its price.

3. Filling System (10/10):
Just like any other Pelikan Classic M200/M205 that I have reviewed, the piston filling mechanism installed here is flawless. It has a decent ink capacity. The piston operation is very smooth. And the whole translucent barrel serves as the perfect ink window. If you like a coloured demonstrator, there is not much else to ask for.

4. Nib Performance (9/10):

The stainless steel nibs from the Pelikan Classic line always have high performances. Personally, I think they are among the best in their category. This fine nib doesn’t have much special. It is rigid and it doesn’t offer any significant line variation, but it always writes without any disruptions. Right out of the box, hard start or skipping problems don’t exist on this nib. As a good option for a daily writer, its reliable performance is the key.

5. Pen Cleaning and Maintenance (10/10):
The Pelikan Classic M205 Amethyst doesn’t take much effort to clean. The piston operation is smooth and effective. The nib unit is removable for easy access to the ink reservoir. Furthermore, the piston seal is tightly fit, so that unlike what I have experienced with my Omas Ogiva Alba, no ink gets trapped behind the piston seal. Within its price range, there isn’t much else that can compete. The resin used to make the pen will of course see some normal micro-scratches during the daily use. But other than that, there isn’t much to worry about. The build quality of the pen is excellent.

Summary:

Packaging: 9/10
Pen Design: 9/10
Filling System: 10/10
Nib Performance: 9/10
Pen Cleaning and Maintenance: 10/10

Total: 47/50

The Pelikan Classic M205 Amethyst is Pelikan’s first special edition release that matches the corresponding Edelstein Ink of the Year, and it’s a great one. The M200/M205 model is on the small/medium side for a pen, but it is easy to handle and great for carry around. Other than a few seam lines that are not polished off, and a few decorations that are less fancy compared to the gold nib Souverän model, this pen has a lot of great features. The translucent and frosted purple cap and barrel look amazing, and the smooth piston filling mechanism only makes it even better. Being a special edition and for what it offers, I think it falls into the right price range. No matter if you choose the M205 Amethyst, or any other version from the Pelikan Classic lineup, it will be a great writer.

 

For the list of pens currently for sale, please visit here.

Photo of the Day – Episode 18

Photo of the Day – 87 – The Atomium #photography #atomium #brussels #bruxelles #belgium

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Pen Review: Pilot Prera – Light Blue

The Pilot Prera – Light Blue is currently for sale. (SOLD)

For the list of pens currently for sale, please visit here.

 

Pilot nibs are often well made and are in high performance, no matter if they are the lower end stainless steel nibs, or the much more expensive gold ones. The one to be reviewed this time is an entry level fountain pen from Pilot, the Pilot Prera – Light Blue.

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Basic Information:

Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera – Light Blue
Nib: Stainless steel medium nib
Filling System: Pilot proprietary cartridge/converter
Production: Regular edition

1. Packaging (9/10):

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From what I have heard, it seems that even with the same Pilot pen model, there can be quite a variety of different packagings. Therefore, what I have may not necessarily be what you will receive. My Pilot Prera comes with a metal pen case, and I think it is one of the best pen cases in this price range. The top of the pen case has a large cutout, with a transparent cover. The pen can be seen clearly and is securely placed. In addition, a Pilot CON-50 converter is provided in the packaging. Compared to the other fountain pens in the same price range, the Pilot Prera has one of the best packagings offered.

2. Pen Design (9/10):
The Pilot Prera is fairly small in length. Compared to two popular economical compact pen models, the Kaweco AL Sport and the Pilot Metropolitan, the Pilot Prera always falls in the middle, whether it is capped, posted, or not posted. I personally don’t often post the caps on my pens, but I do find that the Pilot Prera has an excellent weight balance when the cap is posted. And the cap posts very securely. Without posting, the pen is quite short but still very much easily usable.

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The Pilot Prera Light Blue is a demonstrator fountain pen. The grip section and the barrel are transparent, so that it is very clear to see the feed and the converter/cartridge inserted into the pen. For this version, the two end pieces of the pen are in transparent blue. The cap has one silver coloured ring on the bottom of the blue end piece. On the top of the cap is a silver coloured flat finial, with the pen clip right underneath it. On the other side of the cap is another silver coloured cap band. The cap snaps to close. The closing action is very responsive and it gives a clear click sound. It is a very well designed cap. However, it’s not perfect. One complaint that I have about the cap is the decision to use a white inner cap for a demonstrator pen. The inner cap occupies a large space in the cap, and personally, I think it looks very inconsistent against the rest of the pen. Secondly, the printed dots and letters also don’t look that appealing on a demonstrator. I think it would be a much better choice if they are engraved, or maybe not added at all.
The Pilot Prera is very comfortable to hold. The grip section gets slightly narrower as it goes towards the nib, and it is long enough for the fingers to grip onto it firmly and comfortably. Several silver coloured rings decorate the grip section and the pen barrel. With the addition of the stainless steel nib, it’s a very good looking entry level fountain pen. Again, my biggest complaint is about the strange looking inner cap.

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The Pilot Prera Light Blue looks and feels well made. The parts are well polished, and the assembly shows the precision and the attention to details. Compared to the previously reviewed Platinum 3776 Century Nice Pur, the Pilot Prera Light Blue does not have very obvious machining marks or excessive glue filled. When looked closely, some seam lines can be seen on the grip section and the pen barrel, but the pen surface is very smooth. Even though it’s only an entry level fountain pen, the build quality is outstanding.

3. Filling System (6/10):
The Pilot Prera Light Blue comes with a Pilot proprietary CON-50 converter. The CON-50 converter does not hold a lot of ink, and it’s difficult to make a full fill. The opening of the converter is quite wide. Therefore, it’s very easy to make an ink splash when removing the converter, if there is any ink left inside. The converter itself works well and has a good build quality, but there’s nothing special that makes this proprietary converter better than the international standard ones.

4. Nib Performance (9/10):

All of my Pilot fountain pens have great nibs, and this one is no exception. The stainless steel medium nib on this Pilot Prera Light Blue writes better than many others of higher price points. The nib writes reliably right out of the box, and does not have any hard start or skipping issue. It writes consistently regardless of the paper quality. It’s a stiff stainless steel nib, therefore there is basically no line variation. But the excellent writing performance with the moderate ink flow make the Pilot Prera Light Blue a great daily writing pen.

5. Pen Cleaning and Maintenance (10/10):
Even though the Pilot Prera Light Blue is a demonstrator pen, I actually don’t find much issue with the cleaning and maintenance. The cartridge/converter filling system is quite easy to use. The clear plastic pen body seems to be fairly stain resistant. The inside of the grip section will make contact with the ink filled. But I haven’t seen any staining so far.
Meanwhile, the plastic used for the Pilot Prera Light Blue is very scratch resistant as well. The material feels well polished and the weight is decent in the hand, as far as the plastic is concerned.

Summary:

Packaging: 9/10
Pen Design: 9/10
Filling System: 6/10
Nib Performance: 9/10
Pen Cleaning and Maintenance: 10/10

Total: 43/50

The Pilot Prera Light Blue is one of the best offerings available in its price range, in my opinion. It’s a great upgrade from the entry level Pilot Metropolitan, having high quality pen material, a better converter, and a more comfortable pen design, while keeping the high writing performance.
The construction of the pen is solid. The build quality is very high, perhaps even better than many other pen models that are much more expensive.
The Pilot Prera Light Blue is a great compact size demonstrator. For anyone who is looking for a great daily writing pen, the Pilot Prera Light Blue may be worth checking out.

 

The Pilot Prera – Light Blue is currently for sale. (SOLD)

For the list of pens currently for sale, please visit here.

Pen Review: Platinum 3776 Century Nice Pur

For the list of pens currently for sale, please visit here.

I like demonstrator fountain pens. Even though they are not the most practical finish of a pen, because of the risk of seeing ink staining or the difficulty of thorough cleaning, I still love to see the internal mechanism of a fountain pen, and how it operates. Therefore, I started looking for good demonstrators. I purchased the Lamy Vista, but the design doesn’t interest me that much. I also have the Pelikan Classic M200 Demonstrator. I enjoy the fact that it is a piston filling pen, which makes the pen looking much cooler than cartridge/converter demonstrators, in my opinion. However the gold coloured trims are not my favourite. Also, considering that it’s a lower end model that uses a stainless steel nib, and its fairly small size, this is not my perfect demonstrator. The pen to be reviewed this time is another demonstrator that I was very interested in trying out, and it is the Platinum 3776 Century Nice Pur.

IMG_0013

Basic Information:

Fountain Pen: Platinum 3776 Century Nice Pur
Nib: 14K gold medium nib
Filling System: Platinum proprietary cartridge/converter
Production: Limited edition, now regular edition

1. Packaging (9/10):

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The packaging that’s provided for the Platinum 3776 Century Nice Pur is simple but adequate. The pen box is in white and made of strong cardboard. What’s interesting is that the box is in an oval shape. The top lifts open, then the pen is secured by a ribbon, on the base of the pen box. The whole colour scheme is around silver and white, which matches extremely well with the pen itself. In addition, a Platinum cartridge and a Platinum converter are provided. I don’t like the idea of proprietary cartridge and converter formats, but I appreciate that they are provided in the packaging.

2. Pen Design (8/10):
The Platinum 3776 Century is a classic cigar shaped pen. It offers several different colour versions, from the simple black body with gold coloured trims, to clear body with silver coloured trims. The offerings range from regular production models to limited editions. The Platinum 3776 Century Nice Pur started as a limited edition of 2000 numbered pieces. After the first 2000 releases, the Nice Pur became part of the regular lineup. There is no functional difference between the two versions. It’s only that the limited edition pens have the number marked on the pen cap.
The Platinum 3776 Century Nice Pur is a nicely sized pen. It’s about as long as the Pelikan Souverän M800/M805 when closed. When the cap is posted, the Platinum 3776 Century Nice Pur is slightly shorter, which I find that easier to handle, compared to the sub-flagship model from Pelikan. Without the cap, it is quite a bit shorter than the Pelikan. The pen is mostly made from resin, therefore it doesn’t really have any problem with the weight distribution.


The reason why I chose the Nice Pur over the others is because of its unique finish. The grip section of the pen is clear, but the cap and barrel are frosted. Therefore, it is easy to see the feed, while the other internal components are visible, but only vaguely. I think it works well aesthetically and functionally. For example, the converter can only be vaguely seen inside the barrel, but when inked, the colour of the ink and the ink level are still easy to tell.
The Platinum 3776 Century Nice Pur also uses the technology called the “Slip and Seal” mechanism, which is supposed to keep the ink from drying out in the pen, for a long period of the time, when the pen is capped. From what I understand, essentially the inner cap is spring loaded, rather than fixed. When the cap is screwed back on, the edge of the grip section makes contact with the end of the inner cap. Then as the twist action continues, the inner cap is pushed in, and the spring is pressed, making the seal tighter. It’s a fairly simple mechanism that the users may not even notice, but I think it’s definitely great to have.
There are many grooves on the cap and barrel, and they are evenly distributed. The grooves are not as frosted as the surface of the pen, making the alternating stripe pattern very cool looking. Also this gives an interesting texture to the pen, but not uncomfortable to the hand. There are silver coloured rings on the grip section, and near the two ends of the pen, followed by the wide clip and cap band that are in the same tone. Finally, the 14K gold nib is entirely rhodium plated. The shiny silver coloured trims blend in seamlessly with the frosted and white demonstrator pen body. In comparison, the previously reviewed Pilot Falcon Black/Rhodium, which is in the same price range, doesn’t have the same level of design consistency.

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The Platinum 3776 Century Nice Pur is not perfect, of course. While the overall build quality is excellent, there are a few cases where I think platinum can do better. First of all, there are obvious seam lines on the grip section, which I assume are the result of the manufacturing process. It is easy to see and even easier to feel. Personally, I think any manufacturer must pay attention to the details like this and polish the obvious markings. They make the pen look and feel cheap. Secondly, there are markings left inside the grip section, which seem to be scratches. I’m not sure what the cause is, but since the grip section is clear, this kind of imperfections really damages the overall appearance of the pen. Last but not least, the end piece of the barrel appears to be glued on, but the application of the glue was poorly done. I can see so many bubbles at the joint section between the two pieces, and the glue looks to be excessive at a few places. Compared to the first two issues, this one looks even worse.

3. Filling System (7/10):
The Platinum 3776 Century Nice Pur uses the Platinum proprietary cartridge/converter filling system. As I have mentioned many times before, I do not like proprietary cartridge/converter filling systems, especially when the special design is not absolutely mandatory. Regarding the Platinum converter, it looks and works very similarly to the international standard converters, even though they are not interchangeable at all. The converter holds a decent amount of ink, and fits very securely in the pen. The converter does have a decent build quality.
Platinum actually sells a small adapter, which is able to let the Platinum fountain pens use the international standard converters. Personally, I have not yet tried this adapter. I appreciate that Platinum is willing to to make such a tool. However, I still think that Platinum should provide it by default in any of the pens beyond the entry level prices, or even better, just start to implement the international standard format on all of the offerings.

4. Nib Performance (8/10):

My Platinum 3776 Century Nice Pur has a 14K gold medium nib. Right out of the box, the nib has no issue with hard start or skipping. Compared to the 14K gold nib from the other brands, this one has a relatively flat top surface. The nib has a decent amount of springiness, but there is no line variation. As a medium nib, it has a large amount of tipping, but still writes with a lot of feedback, which is more than what I prefer. The ink flow of the nib tends to be on the more conservative side with most of the inks that I have tried, which may contribute to the nib’s feedback. In my opinion, if anyone is looking for a drier flowing pen, and would like to use it for the everyday writing, it’s not a bad choice. Personally though, I would like to use the nibs with a more generous flow.

5. Pen Cleaning and Maintenance (8/10):
The Platinum 3776 Century Nice Pur is a demonstrator pen, and demonstrators generally need more care regarding cleaning and maintenance. I don’t use this pen with any ink that tends to stain, and so far I haven’t encountered any staining issue. It’s a cartridge/converter pen, so that at least the pen barrel won’t make contact with the ink.
There are certain things to be aware of though. After filling the pen in an ink bottle, the ink may get trapped near the end of the grip section. Aesthetically that’s a bit annoying. When capping the pen, the ink may then get transferred to the inner cap. Then because of the “Slip and Seal” mechanism, the ink could get further into the gap between the cap and the inner cap, as the inner cap moves. By that time, it becomes difficult to clean up. Another issue that I have encountered is that, the grooves on the cap and barrel tend to collect quite a lot of dust. It doesn’t impact the pen’s usability, but it’s something to be aware of, since it’s also not very easy to clean.

Summary:

Packaging: 9/10
Pen Design: 8/10
Filling System: 7/10
Nib Performance: 8/10
Pen Cleaning and Maintenance: 8/10

Total: 40/50

The Platinum 3776 Century Nice Pur is an interesting demonstrator fountain pen. it introduces many refreshing designs, while keeping the overall styling still very classic. The nib writes consistently and it is well performing. Personally, I prefer more ink flows and a smoother nib. Regarding this, the Platinum 3776 Century Nice Pur does not meet my expectations.
For its price, the pen has an acceptable build quality. But at the same time it’s not that hard to find manufacturing details that are not paid with full attention.
The Platinum 3776 Century Nice Pur is worth checking out, if you are looking for a decently sized fountain pen that writes reliably, and perhaps best for the occasions when the paper quality isn’t too great, or when it’s ideal to have the written page dry out quickly. The demonstrator body makes it easy to check the ink colour and ink level, and the frosted finish makes the pen even more attractive.