Pen Review: Platinum 3776 Century Nice Pur

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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.

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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.

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2015 Favourites – Part 1

This is my second year coming back to use fountain pens and starting my small collection of pens and inks. It’s a year that I was able to better understand what I truly love for this hobby.

I had very limited knowledge about fountain pens before I decided to come back to the hobby. I had no idea about the huge varieties of filling systems, pen materials, nib materials, and so on. And I guess these are just the basics of any fountain pen design. At the very beginning, almost any kind of design combinations look attractive to me. As the result, I was adding pens that differ vastly into my collection. As I become more knowledgeable about fountain pens, I was able to slowly figure out what particular design directions work the best for me. Therefore I am now having a better focus on what to collect. Also as different pen companies have different designs and how their pens also do not perform in the same way, this makes my collection of pens and inks lean towards certain brands. But before talking about all those details, I think now would be a good time to start listing what my favourites are. Here are my top 10 fountain pens:

  1. Pelikan Souverän M400 Tortoiseshell-White (14K Gold, F)
  2. Pelikan Souverän M805 Stressmann (18K Gold, EF)
  3. Graf von Faber-Castell Classic Grenadilla (18K Gold, M)
  4. Pelikan Souverän M600 Pink (14K Gold, F)
  5. Delta Dolcevita Oversize (14K Gold, F)
  6. Pelikan Souverän M620 Chicago (18K Gold, F)
  7. Lamy 2000 (14K Gold, F)
  8. Waterman Carène Ombres et Lumières (18K Gold, F)
  9. Pilot Vanishing Point Twilight (18K Gold, M)
  10. Montblanc Meisterstück Classique Platinum Line (14K Gold, F)

By now you can probably see that I really love Pelikan and this brand is certainly the most favourite. My preference for the filling system is the piston filling mechanism, and I think Pelikan does the best job in this area. The pistons are always smooth and the barrels hold a lot of ink. While many other pen companies also offer piston filling pen options, Pelikan makes the basic pen maintenance super convenient by designing the nib units to be easily removable and swappable.

Each other pen has its own advantage. The Graf von Faber-Castell Classic Grenadilla has a very smooth and springy 18K gold nib. Its trip to the nib meister turned it from an average medium nib to a wet nib that writes a bit similar to an architect’s point. The pen looks classic and sits balanced in the hand. It is just so fun to use. All the other pens in the list are also good writers and the ones from Delta, Waterman and Pilot are particularly beautiful pens. Being a smooth and reliable writer, my Lamy 2000 is rarely out of rotation. Last but not least, the Montblanc Meisterstück Classique has always been one of my favourites, since it is my first fountain pen. And of course it writes equally as well as the others, if not even better.

These pens are the ones that I love the most and use the most often. There are some honourable mentions that I want to list below. While they could not make it to the top 10, these pens are either very interesting to use, or offering great values for the money:

As for inks, below is my top 5:

  1. Montblanc Lavender Purple
  2. Sailor Jentle Souten
  3. Sailor Jentle Tokiwa-Matsu
  4. Pelikan Edelstein Mandarin
  5. Montblanc Toffee Brown

I love cool colour inks in general, except for the Pelikan Edelstein Mandarin. These inks all flow well, easy for pen maintenance and offer excellent performances on many types of paper. The best part is, they all have a decent amount of shading combining with most paper types and pens.

Once again there are some honourable mentions in each colour range. Please feel free to check out this page.

That’s it for my top 10 fountain pens and top 5 inks for 2015. In the next blog I will continue to talk about other things that made this hobby wonderful, in my opinion.

Thank you for reading!