Merry Mary: Platinum #3776 Century Chartres Blue Fountain Pen

Westminster window
Amazing blues

We have some amazing stained glass windows in our church, and sometimes I find myself getting distracted by the stunning blues in the window pictured above. Maybe that’s why I was so drawn to the latest Platinum #3776…the “Chartres Blue” is just gorgeous. (You’ll probably have to take my word for it as I doubt that my camera, or the ambient lighting I’m working with, will do it justice.) I first saw the pen on an FPGeeks podcast, and then couldn’t get it out of my head. I’m pretty sure it had something to do with that window.

Merry Christmas to me!
Oh, look!

Fred & I don’t buy Christmas presents for each other, which may sound weird, but is actually kind of nice…one less thing to feel pressure about. We are, though, free to pick up something for ourselves. Twist my arm! The Platinum #3776 arrived a little before Christmas, and though I used it immediately, I stashed the box under our simple tree. Merry Christmas to me.

Platinum swag
Platinum swag

Along with the pen, the box contained a few surprises. The converter and cartridge were expected, but I was thrilled to find a Commemorative card which indicated that I had pen No. 0070 of the first 2000 pieces. The run is not limited to 2000 pens, but folks with one of the first 2000 get the card. Kind of cool!

Commemorative card
No. 0070

Platinum also included a rubber stamp that says “Written Using Platinum Pigment Ink” that you can use to stamp on a letter or card. Quite novel! And we all know that I love novelties! That was a fun little surprise.

Platinum stamp
Platinum stamp

But what about the pen? In short, it’s pure joy.

Platinum #3776 Century Chartres Blue, capped

I ordered the EF nib, then fretted just a little, hoping that it wouldn’t be so fine that it’d be problematic. I needn’t have worried. Even though the nib IS exceptionally fine, it writes like a dream, and has done so consistently. I haven’t had one issue with the pen since inking it (with Platinum Blue Black).

Platinum EF nib
Epitome of 14K EF nibbage (note heart-shaped breather hole)

The line is very fine, the finest I own, but there are no skips or hard starts. The cap contains a special seal that keeps the nib from drying up even if the pen is unused for as long as a year. I’ll probably never test that statement because I’ve used this pen almost daily since unboxing it, but it’s good to know that it won’t suffer from a period of non-use. There is some feedback from the nib, but I would not call it scratchy…just oh so fine.

Platinum #3776, posted
Simple but stunning looks

Here’s a little comparison of the “EF” lines made with a few pens:
EF lines

That gives you an idea of the sweet, sweet line laid down by this pen.

A little bit of trivia: #3776 refers to the height of Mt. Fuji in meters. The rich, translucent blue of the pen looks to emulate the stained glass windows in the Chartres Cathedral in France (or the windows at Westminster Presbyterian!).

The Platinum #3776 is a classic pen, with simply elegant styling and branding. I’m smitten.

Platinum branding

Merry Christmas to me!

The whole package

And Happy New Year to you! Wishing you a happy, relaxing, and healthy 2013!

Gifting: The Cross Click Gel Pen

Cross Click Gel Pen
Cross Click: Easy to wrap!

It’s a multi-tasking evening here, and one of the things I’m chipping away at is my Christmas wrapping. I’m making good progress, but every now and then I come to a gift that’s hard to wrap (i.e., it’s not a square), and I kick myself for buying irregularly shaped things. The Cross Click Gel Pen boxed set that I recently picked up at Staples (one for me, and a few others for gifts) is a cinch to wrap. Big check in the plus column!

I’ve been eyeing the Click online for awhile, and after reading this review on Gourmet Pens, knew I had to try it out for myself. The pen consistently runs $25 online, but on a trip to Staples, I spied the boxed version for $19.99. Sold! What’s cool is that this set includes three refills, a black one in the pen, and a black and a blue for later use. There’s also a small velvet pouch for storing your Click.

Cross Click
Satin Black body

The only downside is that Staples doesn’t carry the cool teal color that I’ve seen online. I kind of had my heart set on that, but when that choice wasn’t available, I picked the Satin Black version. I’m partial to matte finishes and this is a nice one. Other colors available were white, royal blue, and a darkish pink, all in the matte finish.

The Click
Serious clickage

The clicker (or “knock”) on this pen is SOLID…a joy to click. The mechanism feels sturdy and not at all wishy-washy. The only problem is ME. I’m so used to Cross pens being twist-type pens, that I find myself trying to extend the tip by twisting the body before I remember that there’s a clicker. Old dog, new tricks.

The branding is very tasteful, just the word “Cross,” in white, on the top of the clip. Nice.

This is a narrow pen, and may be too narrow for some. I’ve apparently gotten used to using thicker pens, as I’m still a bit surprised by the thinness when I first pick it up. But I quickly adjust and go on my merry writing way.

0.7 mm Gel Tip
Matte black body and the 0.7 mm gel tip

The gel refill is 0.7 mm so the line is a medium width and is also very dark and solid. Even though it’s a thicker line than what I’ve become accustomed to, I enjoy using the Click. The build quality is apparent and the writing experience is a smooth one.

Writing sample
Smoooooth writing with the Cross Click

So if you need a gift that’s affordable, useful, well-made, and EASY TO WRAP, look no further than the Cross Click Gel Pen gift set at Staples. With a deal this good, who needs Santa?


I’m not affiliated with Staples or Cross Pens, just a happy customer.

Who am I kidding…I still need Santa.

Flashback: Sailor’s Reddish Brown Ink in the A.S. Manhattaner’s “Kitty In the City” Fountain Pen

A.S. Manhattaner w/ Sailor Reddish-Brown ink
Sailor’s Reddish Brown ink in the A.S. Manhattaner pen

Flashback #1: I’ve reviewed this pen before, and in that review, recounted how I’d ALMOST sold this pen because I couldn’t get it to write consistently. But I mucked through, and gave the pen one more chance. It must’ve heard my threat, because it’s been fine ever since. It’s fine in that it writes a very fine line, and fine in that it writes when I need it to. So why review again? Well, I had a bit of an ink issue…black ink splooched into the cap for no apparent reason (maybe it went on an airplane without me??)…so I gave the pen a good clean-out. After letting it dry, I decided to pop in one of Sailor’s Reddish Brown cartridges that I have on hand but have never used.

Sailor Clear Candy Reddish Brown ink

LOVE the color, which really IS reddish brown…or maybe orangeish brown. It reminds me of J. Herbin’s 1670 Rouge Hematite, but without the sediment. Because I’m using it in a pen with a very fine nib, the shading isn’t as apparent as it may be otherwise, but it is there nonetheless, and I really like the look. I’m enjoying it enough to break out of my usual black ink rut and have been using this pen and ink to write my incessant lists (groceries, to-dos, Christmas stuff…) and find that my lists as least LOOK a lot more fun.

Flashback #2: I read a review somewhere, maybe on JetPens, where the reviewer noted that the ink color reminded them of the Mercurochrome that their mother used to draw on their little kid scrapes and cuts. WOAH…Mercurochrome! Hadn’t thought about that for years! My mom used it to draw kitties on our constantly skinned knees. So it’s fitting that I’m using this “Mercurochrome” colored ink in a pen with a kitty on it.

Kitty In the City
Kitty In the City

A quick Google search revealed that Mercurochrome was, of course, made with MERCURY. Eek. I’m trying not to think about the fact that I had 20,000 skinned knees by the time I was eight. Ah, well— I walked to kindergarten by myself (“Be careful crossing that busy road!!”), rode my bike without a helmet (sometimes “no-handed”), and spent road trips on the ledge under the back window of the family sedan (what seat belts?!). I’m sure I’ll survive.

Unfortunately, the A.S. Manhattaner “kitty” pens are no longer available (there were a number of different motifs, all featuring a cat), but Sailor’s Clear Candy pens appear to be virtually the same. The nib is certainly no-frills, but I can vouch for the very crisp line that it lays down. Its reasonable price and range of fun colors makes Sailor’s Clear Candy a good “starter pen” candidate, especially for kids, or for anyone looking to add a little color to their fountain pen collection without breaking the bank.

F-2 Nib
Who needs a fancy nib?

The Clear Candy model features a star on the end of the cap while my pen features…

Kitty cap
Meow. Of course.

A.S. Manhattaner Kitty pen

Though I was already having fun with this pen, I’m enjoying it a little more with the new ink color. And the reddish brown ink brought back a flood of childhood memories.

There’s no telling where a pen and ink can take you.

New Math: The Pilot FriXion Ball 3 Metal 3 Color Gel Multi Pen in Gradation Blue

When does 1+1+1 = 1? When you’re using the new 3-color FriXion Multi Pen from Pilot.

Pilot FriXion Multi Pen

Pilot FriXion Multi Pen (0.5 mm) in Gradation Blue

I’ve reviewed the Frixion pens before. (Remember the “hot car” experiment?) Around the time I posted that review, I asked Pilot, via Twitter, if they’d ever thought about making a FriXion multi pen. So maybe I nudged them towards this latest Frixion incarnation? Or more likely, it was already in the works. In any case, it’s here, JetPens carries it, and I ordered it. I seem to be a sucker for all things FriXion.

Pilot FriXion test drive
FriXion Multi Pen vs. retractable single pens

Looking closely at the sample, it appears that the black gel ink in the multi pen is a touch lighter than the black from the retractable single pen. And that’s really my only knock on this pen. The blue is strong, the red just a little less so, and the black definitely leans towards gray. Because the ink erases so cleanly (see the previous review for details on this feature), I’m willing to concede a bit on the darkness of the black ink. But if you require a pitch black ink, you’d better pass on this pen.

The eraser uses friction (FriXion!) to create heat to “erase” the specially formulated gel ink. If you’re like me, you spend the month of December writing lists, lists, and more lists. And correcting those lists. And color-coding those lists. Now you can do it all with one erasable pen.

FriXion eraser
FriXion eraser

The grip is rubberized and firm, and makes for easy handling. No slippage! The metal body, in Gradation Blue, fades from royal blue above the grip, to teal at the eraser end. It’s a novel, eye-catching look.

The best thing, though, is that I’m carrying one pen instead of three. With the FriXion Multi Pen, 1+1+1 really does equal 1.

1+1+1 = 1
New math

That’s one equation I don’t need to erase.