It was with a great deal of anticipation that I was handed my brand new Platinum #3776 Century Pen to review to my heart’s content. Not only that, I was asked if it could accompany me on my recent trip to Norway where I was due to make my fledgling first steps cross-country skiing.
You might wonder why I should be taking a pen with me on holiday? Fair question and yes, I do have friends! The reason being is that Platinum have recently launched a pen that can be safely taken on board an aircraft without the risk of an embarrassing ink incident
. Apparently this is very common! As the air stewardess remarked, whilst admiring my new pen and travelling companion, that she had seen many a poor business man and woman disembark the aircraft with a pristine white shirt but with the unwelcome addition of a blue pocket. Yes, aircraft and fountain pens don’t always go well together. It’s all to do with changes in air pressure that will cause the pen to leak. The standard advice is either to carry your pen full of ink or completely empty. If you have air and ink in a cartridge or converter, as the air pressure in the cabin decreases, the air inside will expand and force the ink out of the pen. All the ingredients then for a leakage!
With the Platinum #3776 Century, these concerns are no more. Ingeniously, the inside of the pen is completely airtight and as a consequence unaffected by changes in cabin pressure
. So no leaks and I was delighted to arrive at Oslo’s Gardemon aiport with pen (and shirt) intact! Just the cross-country skiing to face now!
But what more about the pen I can hear you demanding? So, some background information before we get to the really good bits! Platinum first introduced the #3776 range of pens in 1978. The 3776 tag because of the height of Mount Fuji in metres. Since then, the 3776 has become a corner stone of the Platinum range (they sold just over 150,000 in the first six months!), evolving slowly through the years to this latest incarnation: the #3776 Century. The Century part coming from the fact Platinum have been making pens since 1919, almost 100 years!
The pen is certainly sleek and undoubtedly comfortable. The black with gold trim body has a timeless look and the 14k gold nib just glides on the page. The pen is light and the ink dries quickly too and here’s where it gets a bit clever. The pen has a built in “slip and Seal” mechanism in the cap of the pen which, as was pointed out earlier, makes the inside of the pen air tight. This accounts for its ability to deal with changes in aircraft cabin pressure, but it also prevents the ink drying out when the pen is not used over a long period of time. The team at Platinum say the pen can be left for up to two years without the ink drying out
. Wow! With other lesser known brands, the ink can dry out completely within five months and it has certainly happened to me when I’ve come to pick up an old favourite, only to find the ink dry and a nib flush urgently required. Of course, having only had my Century pen for some four months now, it is impossible for me to say. Maybe I should place it in the Pen Heaven
vault for some 24 months. Who knows, I may have learnt how to ski by then...