One of the boring things about university life is the fact exams should be written in blue, blue-black, or black ink. For a fountain pen geek who enjoys the full rainbow of colours, the choice is either keep a school ready colour in constant rotation at all times or partially fill a pen each time a test or exam rolls around. There’s a third option, find a pen that can be left inked and unused for long periods of time!
Platinum’s #3776 line of fountain pens are made from plastic with a classic style. The old #3776 pens were replaced with the slightly more expensive #3776 Century model, which feature the “Slip ‘n Seal” cap system. The system will be familiar to those who have used Platinum’s disposable Preppy pens. The inner cap is spring loaded, creating an air tight seal that dramatically slows evaporation. According to Platinum, such a seal with a snap type cap is not a difficult task; however, creating a screw on cap with the same seal system, on the other hand, was apparently a small feat of industrial engineering.
Platinum advertises that the #3776 Century will not dry out for up to two years. This makes the pen ideal for traditionally dicey inks, like Platinum’s Pigmented line of inks, Sailor’s Nano inks, and iron gall inks. I found drops of ink from dipping the nib into ink were still wet weeks after.
The #3776 Century comes in a wide variety of 14k gold nibs and bodies. The nibs go from a Japanese Ultra Extra Fine up to a Broad. The pen is also available Music and Soft Fine speciality nibs. The #3776 Century comes in three standard colours: black, translucent Bourgogne red, and translucent Chartres Blue. Several special editions are available, including an ebonite body and demonstrators.
The widest part of the body is about 1.3 cm wide, with the grip clocking in at around 1 cm in width. Capped, the pen is 14 cm long. Uncapped, the pen is 12 cm long. The weightiest part of the pen is actually the cap, due to the “Slip ‘n Seal” cap. The body itself is very light, which makes the pen extremely back heavy when the cap is posted. I find the pen is just way too unwieldy when its posted. The pen clip is a bit on the springy side, which will allow it to slide into shirt pockets without much fuss.
The pen is fed with either Platinum cartridges or twist converter. The standard box comes with a Platinum cartridge filled with regular black ink. Certain special editions of the pen include a cartridge of Platinum Pigmented ink instead. Platinum cartridges happen to be one of my favourites due to the extremely durable plastic used and the small ball bearing that seals the cartridge. They end up being great for long term refilling with a syringe. I’m also particularly fond of the converter as it can be disassembled and lubricated with a little bit of silicone grease.
My Platinum #3776 Century is an EF. I originally was hoping to snag an UEF, but it seems they are becoming increasingly rare. I think it worked out for me in the end, as the EF is extremely fine as it is. Based on my little ink/nib notebook, the #3776 Century’s EF seems to be a hair finer than the Pilot Penmanship’s EF nib and much finer than the Pilot VP’s EF nib.
The pen wrote perfectly out of the box. It was as smooth as could be, considering the writing end of the nib is practically a needle point. The flow is a hair on the dry side. I wouldn’t mind to have the pen wetter by a point or two on a scale of one to ten.
In North America, the Platinum #3776 Century starts at $176 USD, with music nibs and limited edition bodies being more expensive. The pen is much cheaper in Japan, with pens starting around around $85 USD plus shipping from online vendors. At the US price, the #3776 Century is a bit too pricey for me to recommend without hesitation. However, at $85-100 USD, the #3776 Century is a no brainer for those looking for a professional looking work horse pen that can remain inked and unused for months at a time.
Platinum #3776 Century Extra Fine
Ink: Sailor Jentle Sky High Paper: Clairefontaine 90g
+ Wide variety of nibs, including several super fine options
+ Light weight pen for long writing sessions
+ Slip ‘n Seal cap very effective at slowing evaporation
+ Smooth right out of the box
– Too expensive @ US MSRP
+ Much better priced in Japan
– Cap is very heavy, throws off the balance when posted
Yes, especially if you can get the pen for under $100 USD.)