Friday, 27 April 2012

TWSBI Diamond 540 Fountain Pen Review

Palimpsest admits that it was the glowing Fountain Pen Geeks review that prompted the purchase of the TWSBI Diamond 540. Palimpsest wouldn’t have ordered a demonstrator (the Lamy Vista was quite sufficient) but bowing to the others’ higher wisdom hastened to order a Diamond 540 from the Writing Desk. Following the arrival of said pen, pernickety Palimpsest was too quick to comment unfavourably on the Diamond’s presentation box (too much, too plastic), on the Diamond’s body (too many diamond-shaped edges), on its cap (a screw-on, how annoying) and on its fine nib (too fine). However, Palimpsest finds that as of late the Diamond 540 has become a constant companion. What has changed?

Some time has elapsed. The nib is now conditioned nicely. There is some resistance as it glides on paper but it is a pleasant resistance with an ever so slight flex to it. Inked with J. Herbin Perle Noire (a lot of it, too, for the reservoir is of enormous capacity), the Diamond 540 performs wonderfully. Ink flow is consistent (no skipping) and the nib has the right amount of wetness. Should one wish to convert the Diamond 540 into an eyedropper, the pen’s Apple-sque presentation box comes with a silicone tube and wrench to remove the piston.

This is not a pen with a smooth body (Palimpsest is partial to smooth bodies) but the diamond-shaped facets on the barrel are attractive and glimmer in the light. You see, dear Readers, even these diamond shapes that Palimpsest found annoying at first are now described in poetic terms. Palimpsest does like them and doesn’t even mind the ribbed surface where the cap screws on. It is a pleasure too to watch the ink moving inside the Diamond and shimmering darkly.

The Diamond 540 is a substantial pen and even more so when it’s posted: it becomes this enormous (and heavy) writing instrument that people stare at when Palimpsest uses the Diamond in public places. But it’s OK. Palimpsest forgives the enormity and prefers holding the cap in the other hand. And a wonderful cap it is with its simple clip, wide band and the metallic TWSBI logo at the top set against the red background. The only thing against it: it is a screw-on not a snap-on cap. And it does take some time to screw on, which is more noticeable when one is in a hurry. But never mind. Palimpsest feels that screwing on a cap, after a writing task is finished, gives one an air of importance.

And thus, dear Readers, Palimpsest finishes this review by self-importantly screwing the Diamond’s cap on and proceeding in recommending the TWSBI Diamond 540 warmly.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Platinum Plaisir Fountain Pen Review

As far as appearances go, the Platinum Plaisir does not disappoint. Palimpsest does like a polished, glossy body with rounded ends in a fountain pen, and is partial to snap-on caps. Tick on both counts: the Plaisir is very polished and has a luxurious feel to it, while the cap snaps on and off with a satisfying sound. The clip is unobtrusive with a thin stripe that matches the colour of the body. Palimpsest finds that the substantial ornate cap band, which has received not so positive comments by reviewers, adds interest to the pen rather than making it look disproportionate or, worse still, not much unlike a giant lipstick.

Uncap the Plaisir though and it becomes a glorified Preppy. Yes, here is Preppy’s clear plastic section and here too is Preppy’s nib which matches the colour of the pen. Having inserted the cartridge the pen came with, it took more than a day for the Plaisir to acquire a satisfactory ink flow, being quite dry and skipping before that. Afterwards it continued to write consistently but its ink flow left something to be desired, though it improves considerably during use. It has been mentioned elsewhere that the Platinum uses proprietary cartridges, but Palimpsest found a no-name cartridge fitted just fine. The cap has been fitted on the inside with a special plastic seal which prevents the ink from drying - a common problem with fountain pens when left unused for some time.

Palimpsest would not call the nib smooth. This Platinum Plaisir has got a medium (0.5) nib and if said nib cannot be described as scratchy, it has certainly got some resistance to it. It is rough rather than smooth on standard printer paper but when tried on Rhodia there was a lot of skipping and yes, a scratchy feel to it.

The Plaisir feels quite light without the cap and more solid when posted. I venture to say a posted Plaisir makes for a more balanced writing. However, the writing experience did not amaze. Pleasurable to hold due to its smooth body, the Plaisir offered an ordinary writing experience with a rough edge. The nib felt as if it has been blunted and did not run smoothly on paper. The Plaisir is an economy pen and so there should not be demands for perfection placed on its sleek body. However, if it wins on the tactile front it loses on the writing experience.

The Platinum Plaisir was kindly sent to Palimpsest by Tiger Pens.

Other Platinum Plaisir Reviews:
Note Booker Esq