OMAS 90th Anniversary Icons Celluloid Set Review

So, there's a lot going on over at OMAS that serves as a pretext to this 90th Anniversary celebratory set. Presently, the Chinese holding company that owns 90% of the Italian pen company want to liquidate the company. To save it, the employees at OMAS are making a bid to take back the company. The OMAS US distributor has indicated that two companies are interested in purchasing the company.

We wish the employees of OMAS the best of luck during the trying time. All OMAS pen fans are pulling for this transition to continue the manufacture of their writing instruments for the foreseeable future. Hopefully, a capable company will purchase OMAS and allow it to keep making awesome fountain pens like the ones included in this 90th Anniversary Set.

It seems rather ironic that a company would go to such lengths to produce a limited edition that celebrates a milestone in glamorous fashion. Meanwhile, the rug gets pulled out from under them with the possibility of never seeing the 91st anniversary. Well, lets cut short the commentary and talk about this awesome, limited set of delicious, celluloid fountain pens.

First, a little history and background on the creation of this set, taken from Kenro Industries' website :

Exactly 90 years ago, on June 15, 1925, Armando Simoni founded in Bologna Officina Meccanica Armando Simoni. Thus was made OMAS, a workshop that would become in later years one of the most significant expressions of "made in Italy" and prestigious player of high-end writing instruments.

The set celebrating the 90th Anniversary dedicated to Historical OMAS’s Shapes, has been therefore made with the same passion of our Founder. Created by hand entirely in celluloid, the set is composed by The Paragon Vintage piston filling fountain pens, designed by Armando Simoni in 1931, Ogiva model original designed in 1927 and 360 model created in 1996. The set is realized with historical celluloid Pearl Grey.

The exclusive Limited and Numbered 90 Sets are enriched, for the first time, by special engraving on the ring, placed to celebrate the nine decades of history.

Available in silver finish with odd numbers and gold trim with even numbers.
The 90th Anniversary "Icons" perfectly fits the bill when it comes to what you would expect of a pen that celebrates the history and distinction of this pen company. They take three of their most recognizable and beloved models, cast them in a material (celluloid) that isn't used often by other pen manufacturers and fit nib sizes that no contemporary pen maker can match. In short, this isn't just a run-of-the mill re-hash of a glory-days pen model with a cheap stainless steel nib slapped on it (*cough* Esterbrook *cough*). The 90th Anniversary Set is a legitimate collection of pens that, while expensive, totally cater to the fountain pen enthusiast that loves to write.

The Epic Unboxing

Anyone who has purchased an OMAS pens know that the Italian company does not skimp on packaging. The pen boxes are usually given a substantial amount of attention, with soft, fabric-lined interiors and a single pen sleeve that carries your brand-new pen. The 90th Anniversary set takes packaging to the next level with a pen chest with a rose, velvet-like top. Opening the top reveals all three pens, laying in their own spot. Each pen is slid into a textured, leather pen sleeve imprinted with the OMAS logo. A special booklet is also included that talks about the history and includes the edition number that matches your set.

The Arte Italiana Milord with 18kt BBB Nib

The Arte Italiana is one of my favorite OMAS models. The 12 faceted sides are excellent for taking photos. You never have to worry about one rolling off on you! The Milord model is usually built with a cartridge or converter, but for the purposes of this limited edition, a piston-filling mechanism is installed in this pen.

I wasn't sure what to expect from the 18kt triple broad nib. Originally, I was thinking that it would be just a really, really broad nib.  And yes, it is broad. I can almost paint the trim in my room with  how thick it is. What I wasn't expecting was the stubbiness of the nib. A thick, vertical stroke is contrasted with a noticeably thinner horizontal line.

The Ogiva with 14kt Extra Flessibile Fine Nib

I'm still fawning over the Ogiva Cocktail that was recently reviewed (and I recently purchased...yay employee discount). My Ogiva has the extra flessibile nib and the one on the 90th Anniversary pen does not disappoint. The flex on this nib offers excellent variation and soft springiness that allows you to throw additional flourish into your writing.

The pearl grey celluloid is especially striking on this smooth, rounded profile model. The gold bands on the cap and before the section threads are intricately engraved with Greek key frets. The band at the section has "9OMAS" and "Anniversary" engraved on it.

The 360 with 18kt Medium Nib

The triangular 360 is one of the more recent OMAS models that has a distinctive, three-sided profile. In contrast to the Arte & Ogiva, the 360 is a snap cap design with a triangular grip to match the body of the pen.

The 18kt gold nib in medium point is a perfect, middle-of-the-road writing nib. The triangular section is easy to hold. The girth and balance of the pen would make the 360 an ideal choice for long writing sessions. In comparison with the flexible 14kt nib on the Ogiva and the ultra-thick 18kt BBB nib on the Arte, the medium writing nib on the 360 is a welcome, moderate choice for those who may not need to do flex in their writing or paint a house with the triple broad.

A Few Final Words

Summary :
  • Writing Quality : OMAS has put themselves forward as one of the premier "writing" fountain pen brands that focuses on enhancing the writing experience. Offering a new nib along with nibs that simply don't exist in the current market make these pens hard to imitate. (grade A)
  • Aesthetic Quality : Celluloid is steadily becoming harder to find in the world of pens. And, when a pen is made of it, the price is usually much higher due to the rarity and difficulty to manufacture the material. The grey celluloid has plenty of chatoyance and the trims are sublime. (grade A+)
  • Utility : Every pen fills via piston, so points for ink capacity. The packaging isn't the most shelf-friendly, but if you're planning on showing off the set in a glass display, the box is rather impressive. The pen sleeves are a nice touch to protect your pens. (grade B+)
  • Price : $3,550 Retail. Yikes! The sticker shock is overwhelming for most. Each of the models separately are  being currently sold in other materials (besides celluloid) for a fraction of the cost. To argue for the price, the set is only a 90 piece edition and they are made of celluloid. (grade C)

Final Grade : A-
Regardless of the fate of OMAS after 2015, this 90th Anniversary Celluloid Icon set is a testament to a company that is built upon artful quality and an excellent writing experience. 3 classic models, all in piston-fill with 3 fantastic nibs. What else can an FP Geek ask for? Maybe a second mortgage?


Filofax 2016 Calendar Diary Inserts in BLUE Ink

To all of our Organized Filofax Fans,

Maybe it was the changeover in US distribution to "Blueline" Rediform, or it was the need for ruffling the feathers of dedicated Filofax users worldwide, but Filofax has printed a number of their 2016 organizer refills in blue ink instead of black.

This may not seem like Earth-shattering news for the rest of us, but for those who have been faithfully scheduling, to-doing and note-taking in their Filo's for years, this is a matter of grave importance. It's like when Spotify changed their logo color to a solid, electric green. It's offensive and irritable to its core users.

We've recently updated all of our 2016 calendar refill photos to show the correct ink color appearance and layout of the inserts. Oh, and that's another thing - the layouts on certain week-to-view style inserts have been slightly tweaked.

See the 2016 week on two pages below. Filofax added a "This Week" section to the top-left of the layout. The left-side was originally divided into larger sections for the first three days of the week. The right side would have had Thursday, Friday and the weekend would have been split in the lower right-hand side.
New 2016 Blue ink refill with updated layout
So far, the response to this refill change hasn't been the most welcome. We've forwarded all complaints to Filofax to provide them valuable user feedback. Perhaps they may learn from this lesson to keep their core organizer users happy by sticking with a format that wasn't broken to begin with. Or perhaps crowdsource the design change by getting feedback from online Filofax communities like Philofaxy.


The Goldspot Team


Platinum #3776 Century Chartres Blue Fountain Pen in Music Nib Review

This week, we're giving Platinum some love, as one of the big 3 Japanese manufacturers of fountain pens. Platinum sometimes takes the backseat to Pilot and Sailor. While it is arguable that both are stronger in terms of being fan favorites, Platinum has it place for high quality fountain pens and the 3776 Century line is proof of this.

The 3776 Century is Platinum's flagship model of fountain pen that has a classic, cigar-shaped profile, simple, yet elegant trim design and a 14kt gold nib. The look of the pen is close to the Sailor 1911 and serves as a basis for comparison, especially since a Sailor was reviewed quite recently.

Sailor 1911S vs Platinum 3776 Spec Comparison
Platinum 3776Sailor 1911S
Length (Capped)5.43”5.3125"
Length (Uncapped)4.68”4.625"
Length (Posted)6.06”5.875"
Section Diameter0.41”0.375"
Cap Max Diameter0.61”0.5625"
Weight0.85 oz0.7oz
Nib14kt Gold14kt Gold
Price (USD)~$175~$155

As you can see by the comparison chart here, the 3776 has a little bit more to offer in girth and length than the 1911S. My personal taste prefers a larger pen, especially in regards to the section diameter, for a surer grip.

The Finish

The 3776 Century "Chartres blue" takes its name from deep, translucent blue stained glass of France's Chartres Cathedral. Designated a World Heritage site in 1979, the stained glasses are known worldwide for their beauty. Although the material is translucent, this pen is not a demonstrator. The body and cap has a high opacity, allowing only an aura of light to pass through, radiating a deep, royal blue. It isn't possible to see the ink level inside the pen's converter. You can somewhat make out the the nib's silhouette inside the cap when it is closed.

Personally, I love the gold trim on blue pens. Most pen makers put silver or rhodium trim. Platinum recently released a rhodium trim version of the Chartres Blue, but I do prefer the gold, as it is more unique and beautiful.

The thick cap ring with engraving, paired with a thinner ring above, creates an elegant point of interest on what would otherwise be a plain, cigar-shaped pen design. The oblong clip is also quite plain, lacking the distinctiveness and personality that other brands have utilized in their identity (Lamy Safari's wire clip, Visconti's arc clip & Pelikan's beak, for example).

Filling Up

The Platinum 3776 Century uses a cartridge / converter filling mechanism and is provided with both options in the box with the pen. The proprietary converter fits in deeply and snugly into the section. No surprises with this standard filling system. Drawing up ink is a breeze. Although not used for purposes of this review, the cartridge that is included with the pen is a proprietary style made by Platinum.

Writing with the Platinum Music Nib

As I mentioned previously, I had the pleasure of writing with the Sailor Pro Gear Galaxy with a Music nib a few weeks ago. While the two-tined Sailor music nib isn't a true music nib like the 3-tined Platinum nib is, both were very similar in their output. As you would expect with a music nib, there is a thick downstroke and thinner horizontal line.

The ink flows smoothly and the feed keeps up with the higher demand the music nib makes. The thick/thin line variation is good with Platinum's music nib, but the Sailor 2-tined music nib had slightly better variation and wrote slightly wetter than the Platinum nib.

A neat feature of the 3776 Century is a "slip seal" cap that helps prevent an inked nib to dry out. When screwing the cap on the front end, the last quarter turn has a secure, tightened feel. More extensive testing would have to be done to see if this design would provide an advantage over your typical fountain pen cap. From the week or so I had to experience this pen, the nib always wrote immediately and without hesitation, even after being capped for hours or a day later.

Overall, the writing experience is quite pleasant with Platinum's music nib. The 14kt gold isn't flexible or soft, but it still provides ample flow and coverage to keep up with the demand that a thick nib requires.

A Few Final Words

Summary :
  • Writing Quality : The Platinum 14kt gold music nib writes with good flow, smoothness and always starts up right away. The size and shape of the pen's profile makes it comfortable to grip and write with for long stretches. Excellent balance with the cap posted. (grade A)
  • Aesthetic Quality : The Chartres Blue is a gorgeous, deep color that looks great paired with gold trim. Classic cigar profile is fairly unimaginative. (grade B)
  • Utility : The Platinum slip seal cap is billed to keep the nib fresher for longer, but that would be a claim that would need more testing over time. Cap posts well. Cartridge & converter are proprietary, which makes it harder to obtain replacements. (grade B+)
  • Price : ~$220 Retail. The Platinum 3776 is priced at the same tier as Pelikan Tradition m2xx, Lamy 2000, Pilot Custom 74, and Sailor 1911. Looking at the competition at this tier, the 3776 Century would be a bigger standout if it was priced lower to differentiate itself from it's relatively close analog in the Sailor 1911. (grade C+)

Final Grade : B+
If this were a shootout between the 1911 and the 3776, I'd give the round to the 1911 in terms of writing quality and the craftsmanship of the design. Although the Chartres Blue resin is a stunning color, the effect is too subtle for a pen that needs to have more personality to stand out amongst the other Japanese fine writing instruments.


Retro 51 x Goldspot Pens Introduce the Coffee Tornado

It's no secret that the Goldspot office has a love affair with coffee. Most mornings, one can smell the first pot being brewed before getting in the door.

So, when we were discussing the design of an exclusive collaboration with Texas-based Retro 1951, we thought an ode to the mighty bean was in order.

Retro 51's Tornado twist-action rollerball pen has rapidly become an iconic writing instrument, with many styles that take on a variety of themes. Cats, zombies, space rockets, baseballs and ugly sweaters were the topics of several recent limited edition Tornadoes. So, why not coffee?

Brewing a Cup of Retro

We approached Retro with a tall (or venti) order. We placed a great deal of trust in their stellar graphics department, who really came through in achieving our vision of a caffeinated Tornado Pen.

The base of the pen's barrel takes its texture and color from the burlap sacks that transport the whole coffee beans. Retro's acid etch technique, combined with a matte finish, achieve this rustic effect.

Icons of coffee beans and espresso cups are imprinted on the textured finish. Coffee terms, written in varying typographic styles, are poured over the beige colored barrel in varying tones of brown. This design will be right at home with your coffee wall decor that may already be adorning your breakfast nook or kitchen.

The antique metal accents, clip and knurled turning mechanism complete the style in a way that is distinctively Retro. An espresso brown disc tops the crown of the pen.

The Ink

The Tornado rollerball includes a short, capless rollerball type refill which has smooth-writing, gel type ink that lasts for some time in a retractable pen. The Tornado pens can also accept Parker-style ballpoint refills, which are available in a wide array of colors, even in gel inks. So, it would be possible to match your Coffee Tornado with a brown or sepia ballpoint cartridge.

Retro x Goldspot Coffee Tornado Packaging (no beans included)


As with any special edition Retro pen, the Coffee Tornado received the full treatment with a matching art for the tube packaging. The label has a big mug with the Goldspot logo, along with our website address.

Is It a Limited Edition?

We decided the Coffee Tornado is too good of a pen to limit in number. After all, don't you hate it when the last drop of coffee is gone? We do, too.

So, when this batch of Coffee Tornadoes are sold, we will obtain more. However, our first shipment is limited for the Holidays, and we wouldn't expect the next shipment to arrive until after the New Year. If you're looking to get the Retro 51 Coffee Tornado for yourself or as a gift for Christmas, we would recommend to jump on this as soon as possible so you don't miss out on your hot cup of pen awesomeness.



Cast Your Vote for 2015 Pen & Ink of the Year

Today is Election Day 2015, and the first official day open for voting on the Goldspot Pens Readers' Choice Pen of the Year.

Voting is currently open until Fountain Pen Day, Friday at 10am Eastern US Time. At that time, the polls will close and we will release the results later that day.

Our previous winners include : 
  • Edison Glenmont 2014 Limited Edition (2014)
  • Edison Menlo Fountain Pen (2013)
  • Edison Beaumont & Conid's Fountainbel Bulkfiller Demonstrator (2012)
  • Edison Collier Fountain Pen (2011)
  • TWSBI Diamond 530 Fountain Pen (2010)
  • Pelikan m205 Blue Transparent Fountain Pen (2009)
  • Online Newood Fountain Pen Calligraphy Set (2008)

Edison is our reigning, 4-time champion, but has some big-time competition this year with a flock of Pelikans and the TWSBI Eco to compete with.

For the first time this year, we're also holding a separate contest for inks as well.

(Edit 11/08/2015 : Voting has ended, but you can visit the above link to see the outcome of the vote!)

Get all your friends involved! Share the image in this post on Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag #2015POTY