Platinum Plaisir, Medium Steel Nib, in Gun-Metal

It occurred to me, after reading a bit more, and enjoying the pens in—what I now probably have to call—my collection, that I could probably enjoy pens that cost less than $250 each. You could be forgiven for thinking that the thought was a bit late in coming to me, but I was never a very fast thinker when it came to money.

I looked around, and did a bit more reading…

The Platinum Plaisir has so much going for it, that calling it an entry-level pen is too limited. It is a fountain pen that offers excellent functionality at a reasonable price with features anyone can appreciate.
Inkophile, November 22, 2016
Review: Platinum Plaisir Fountain Pen

The Plaisir features the same fine, firm nib as the Preppy but upgraded the design of the barrel greatly. Not only does it feature a lightweight, silky smooth aluminum body, it also has an innovative cap that allows the pen to be stored for a year without drying out.

I have been very happy with the Plaisir and it will continue to see frequent use.
The Pen Addict
Brad Dowdy, August 29, 2013
Platinum Plaisir Fountain Pen Review

… the Plaisir is a great pen for the money. It’s a nice writer, comfortable to hold, and if you like the shininess it looks great.
Pens! Paper! Pencils! November 30, 2015
Platinum Plaisir Fountain Pen Review

We’ve already established that I like boring pens. Bright colours are not generally my thing (but I’m willing to believe that something might catch my eye one day). So I decided that the Plaisir in a gun-metal finish (read shiny aluminium), was going to fit the bill. I ordered my pen from the amazing Jon and Liz at Wonder Pens, who were as helpful as ever. I opted for a medium nib (at less than $30 Canadian, you won’t be seeing any gold here, unless it’s paint), and as if by the magic of Canada post, it arrived 48-hours later.

And I almost wished they hadn’t bothered. I’ll tell you why in a paragraph or two, but for now, let’s just take a look at the pen, because it’s really rather nice for a budget buy.

The Plaisir takes a cartridge or a Platinum proprietary converter, but you have to buy the converter seperately. I had done that, but I couldn’t be bothered to put that in right away, there was something else I wanted to investigate.

I fitted the pen with a Platinum cartridge adapter, so that I could use a European standard ink cartridge. I’ll write a full review of these at a later date, but for now, suffice to say that they’re great; they do exactly what they’re supposed to, and you can get them from Pen Chalet in the States. You can see them in the picture below (one in a packet, one on the blotting paper, and one in the section of the pen).

Platinum Plaisir, in gunmetal. Platinum cartridge adapter and Platinum-supplied international ink cartridge fitted

Details

The Platinum Plaisir has a nice, shiny, aluminium barrel, and a transparent section, so that you can see the color of your ink, and how much you’ve got left. It’s a cheap pen and doesn’t exactly ooze class, but it’s attractive in a fun kind of way (am I getting less boring?). You have two nib choices, fine, or medium, but quite a range of barrel colors: black (sparkly); blue; green; frosty blue; gunmetal; ice white; nova orange; pink; red; violet; and yellow. So if you’re the kind of person who likes to match their ink colour to their pen (me), then you’ve got more than enough choice.

Uncapped, it’s almost exactly the same size as the Century 3776, and it has the same slip and seal technology to keep the ink from drying out in the nib (see Brad Dowdy’s comments in his review), but there the similarities die, as the Century 3776 is a completely different kind of beast entirely.

 

Metric (mm/g/ml)

US (in/oz)

Length Unposted:

119.5

4.7

Length Capped:

143

5.6

Diameter:

12.2

0.5

Length Posted:

152

6.0

Weight:

19

0.64

Nib Size:

M

M

Nib Material:

Steel

Steel

Cartridge Notes:

1.5

0.05

Converter Notes:

0.98

0.03

The Nib

Ah yes, the nib, the heart of the pen that all the other reviews said was so good for such a cheap pen. Well, I got a lemon then. Mine was bloody awful. The tines were crossed and had to be eased apart with a razor blade (there are better tools, and I and your fingers urge you to use them—maybe brass sheets from Wonder Pens—but that was all I had to hand). And it was still as rough, and scratchy, as a rusty nail down the paintwork of a brand new Mercedes.

Coffee-Cup Nib Smoothing

I had a cup of coffee, tipped my cup over, and began smoothing down the spike.

Have a cheap, scratchy pen? Try coffee cup nib smoothing. Give your fountain pen nib a tune up with this simple hack in less than 5 minutes.
Jennifer, August 9, 2015,
Best Fountain Pen, Coffee Cup Nib Smoothing

I tried a few strokes with the Plaisir on some good paper. I used a small Rhodia Dotpad, and noted how the nib caught a little on a downward stroke, but a whole lot more on a diagonal upward stroke. With this in mind, I gave one or two experimental sweeps across the base of my coffee cup. I wiped the nib with a damp, lint-free cloth, and tried the same pen strokes on the Rhodia again. Was it my imagination or was there an improvement in the upper lines? I tried again, and kept repeating until I could definitely feel an improvement. Jennifer scores again!

The coffee cup nib smoothing was certainly making an impression. It took about 20 minutes of tentative, gentle rubbing and testing, before that steel dagger was working better than either of my Cross Century II gold nibs. It had gone from a 2.5 out of 10, to a good 6.5 in less than half an hour (so much for a 5 minute hack).

I would like to say that the Cross twins’ gold nibs are now buttery smooth as well, but alas, I still haven’t had the courage to take a $120 Canadian (before taxes) nib, to the bottom of my coffee cup. The Plaisir still has the occasional weak moment, but nothing like that straight out of the box experience, and I can overlook that now that it feels so good against the paper.

What Does it Write Like Now?

Writing sample from Platinum Plaisir, using J. Herbin Eclat de Saphir ink cartridge and a Platinum cartridge adapter, on Rhodia Dot-Pad 80gsm paper.

Well, I have to admit, it still needed some work after the massive improvements made by Jennifer’s coffee cup nib smoothing. If it was a 6.5 out of 10 with Jennifer’s help, then I was sure I could make it an 8 out of 10 with Richard Binder’s.

So I spent a little while longer on a sheet of 2000-grit wet/dry sandpaper, with a copy of Richard Binder’s Workshop Notes by my elbow.

And here’s another warning, Richard Binder is the professional’s professional, and he most certainly does not recommend doing what I did. I simply borrowed a technique from his notes, and gambled with a cheap nib. The fact that it worked for me, first time, was probably more luck than skill. But work it did. The Plaisir is a pleasure.

Summary

I was both unlucky, and lucky that day. Unlucky that I got a Plaisir with a bum nib, and lucky that I managed to sort it out to my liking. The pen works great now, and is an enjoyable workhorse in my collection. For the money, this is a great pen, but I just wish Platinum’s (and probably all manufacturer’s) quality control was a bit tighter on their bottom-end models.

4 thoughts on “Platinum Plaisir, Medium Steel Nib, in Gun-Metal

  1. If it’s got the Preppy nib, I know exactly what you’re saying, and I’ll avoid it forever. What a shame, since it’s nice looking. 😦

    Like

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