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Platinum #3776 Century Fountain pens from Japan!

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Platinum #3776 Century

13 colors to choose from at Pen Boutique

Specs:
  • Description: A sleek and reliable gold nibbed pen that comes in at a reasonable price and comes in many colors from fun to professional.
  • Nib: 14k Gold
  • Material: Clear and Opaque Resin
  • Filling Mechanism: Cartridge and/or Converter
  • Weight: 20g unfilled
  • Measurements: 5.5 in capped, 6.3 in Posted
  • Ink Capacity: 1.27ml cartridge, .82ml Converter

History & Origin:

    Platinum was founded in 1919, just 8 years after Sailor and 1 year after Pilot, and has proven itself to be a strong contender with its competition. I am a fan of all three brands listed above and firmly believe that each one has something unique that they bring to the table so allow me to express what Platinum has captured with the #3776. Platinum's #3776 model has been around since 1978 and relatively recently, as the century marking anniversary of Platinum approached, the pen got a redesign. The aesthetics of the pen remain relatively unchanged however this is when Platinum first introduced their remarkable "Slip and Seal" cap mechanism which I will go over a little later, the nib and feed were re designed as well during this time. These modifications are no surprise when you take into account the tradition of technological innovation that Platinum prides themselves on. According to Platinum's website they say that the #3776 Century was designed with the following ideas for quality in mind: sleek design, comfortable writing balance, smooth flow and fast drying ink. Enough of me talking about it, let's see how it arrives and how it looks.
Appearance & Packaging:
    The packaging for all the standard colors is relatively simple, an outer branded slip cover is protecting a black clamshell box. Inside the box you will find the pen, a cartridge, use and care guide, and all of this is being protected with a nice silk-like lining. The pen has a decent length that is comparable to the TWSBI Eco when capped and comparable to the Lamy 2000 when uncapped so I'd call it a nice mid-sized pen. Most finishes will be see through but there are some less transparent options as well, and there are a few choices for material and finish. 
Platinum has found great success in this model and have dedicated a special collection of #3776's to Mount Fuji and its surrounding natural beauties. These editions tend to be textured and are very eye catching but be warned, they sell out fast. 
Another option is their Maki-e and gold leaf versions of this pen which can be quite striking, I'm partial to the Fujin and Raijin version pictured here. Another variant that is decidedly more rare is the celluloid versions of this pen however those aren't too widely available and are not carried by Pen Boutique. Lets check out the nib and how the pen actually writes!
Nib & Performance:
    This area was the most impacted, in a positive manner, by the "Century" redesign. Lets start things off with the nib and feed, nibs on the #3776c are made of 14k and are quite stiff in my experience, you can expect a standard run from EF-B and with some special colors you have the choice of a Music nib which can be quite nice. I don't find that #3776's have a heavy ink flow, in fact out of the medium and broad that I've tried, I'd say the ink flow is quite balanced, this will change a bit depending on the ink used but expect something right in the middle of dry and gushing. The nib and feed are incredibly reliable thanks to another innovation Platinum brought to this pen, I'm of course talking about the "Slip and Seal" mechanism inside of the cap. 
This is an inner cap sleeve that is spring loaded so that when the cap is screwed closed, the sleeve is pushed back and pressure is put on the spring which keeps the portion of the cap where the nib is stored, air tight. Platinum claims that this can keep a nib wet for 24 months when pens of theirs without the new mechanism only stay wet for about 6 months, again, I haven't tested this but after using the #3776 I could see 24 months in the realm of possibility. The pen fills with a cartridge or converter, both are proprietary so you must use Platinum brand cartridges or a platinum converter for this pen to fill correctly. The cartridges are quite nice and even have a metal ball to agitate the ink and keep things flowing, the converter holds a reasonable amount of ink as well. I believe that with these new additions to a classic design, Platinum has solidified the #3776 as a great option for someone wanting to get their first gold nib or a seasoned collector. 
Pros:
  • Sleek and classic design
  • Wide color variety
  • Fair Price
  • Interesting mechanics that work well
  • Various special edition and "step up" options
Cons:
  • May look plain to some
  • While the nibs are reliable they are fairly stiff
  • Stiff competition in this price range

Price & Conclusion:

     The #3776 Century is one that I find myself suggesting more and more, especially for those wanting to take the "next step" and get their first or maybe second gold nib. You get a reliable, good looking pen that would be appropriate in either a work environment or for just journaling at home. The ink capacity is fair for a cartridge converter pen and the nibs are nice despite being a bit on the stiffer side, it is a gold nib after all. The classic attention to detail and quality control that comes with buying a Japanese fountain is evident when you first take it out of the box, and if you are lucky enough to snag one of the limited edition versions, even better. The #3776c comes in between $176-$216 for the standard colors and special editions/music nibs will cost more, I hope this makes the choice for your next pen a little easier and remember to always Enjoy and Keep Writing! 
さようなら、Kyle  

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