Pens and Pencils | Reviews and Data

Platinum Fountain Pen Buying Guide

Platinum 3776 Century

Platinum is one of Japan’s “Big Three” pen companies, but it doesn’t seem to get the same level of attention as the other two, at least in the United States. Despite that, Platinum makes some of our favorite fountain pens. Which should you lean towards? Which are sure-fire hits that no one can deny is a great pen? Read on to find out.

Platinum Fountain Pen Lines

  • 3776 Century – Platinum’s main line of enthusiast fountain pens
  • 3776 Century Nice – The same as the normal 3776 Century, but with translucent bodies. These often have rhodium or rose-gold plated components, which boost the price
  • Balance – The same pen as the Cool but with different trim. This includes the notable Platinum PTL-5000A ($36.53)
  • Cool – Similar to the Preppy but with a high-end plastic body and an upgraded steel nib
  • Plaisir – A Preppy with a metal cap and pen body
  • Preppy – An excellent entry-level fountain pen, selling for around $3
  • President – A full-sized fountain pen
  • Procyon – Basically an upgrade Plaisir, with a nicer body and an upgraded steel nib with more line variation then the one the Preppy/Plaisir
  • Izumo – High-end lacquered fountain pens, We won’t cover it here.
  • Maki-e – High-end pens with custom designs on the body. We won’t cover it here

Out of all Platinum’s fountain pens, the ones listed above are those that you would see mentioned the most often. The main enthusiast line is the 3776 Century, while the Preppy is the mainstream disposable pen. These two firmly buttress Platinum’s fountain pens, as least as far as the mainstream buyer in concerned. Both are world-class in their respective categories, so know that you are starting at a good place!

The Plaisir line is basically the Preppy with a metal cap and body. There is little reason to get it over a Preppy, so we’ll limit our talk of it. The Procyon and Cool are interesting pens but they are awkwardly priced in the $40-55 price range, which puts them very close to the entry level Century 3776 — if you are going by street prices for Japan imports.

The 3776 Century is a medium-size pen with a huge variation across the line. There are dozens of designs and prices can range from under $100 (again, on Amazon and import with no warranty) to well over $300.

The President is the full-sized version of the 3776 Century, and Platinum’s flagship fountain pen (putting aside limited edition and bespoke pens).

All of Platinum’s pens mentioned so far are cartridge/converter pens.

Platinum Pen Sizes

  • 3776 Century: 140 mm capped, 15.3 mm diameter
  • President: 142 mm capped, 16 mm diameter

As you can see, the two are very similar in size. The President is by no means a huge pen and then 3776 Century is not a tiny one.

Platinum Nibs

Platinum is known for its wonderful gold nibs, particularly because of the large amounts of feedback their nibs are designed to offer. This is a distinctly different feeling then the incredibly smooth writing of a Pilot. The Platinum nib are not scratchy, they just give you more of a feeling for the paper than some of their competition. This comes at the expense of some added friction.

Platinum’s higher-end fountain pens mostly use 14K gold nibs. Once you get to the President and other more expensive pens there are 18K nibs and 18K bi-color nibs but their difference from the standard 14K is limited.

Platinum’s nibs generally are sold in:

  • Ultra ExtraFine
  • Extra Fine
  • Fine
  • Medium
  • Broad
  • Coarse (Extra Broad)

Recommended Platinum Pens

One of the most interesting pens in Platinum’s line is the unassuming Platinum PTL-5000A ($36.53). It’s an entry-level gold nib pen that sells for under $60, US street price. This is almost unheard of and about the cheapest gold nib pen sold today.

Our favorite pen in the Platinum line is the 3776 Century ($72.14). This is a beautiful pen with a gold nib that offers lots of control and paper feedback. It’s a cartridge converter with an MSRP that is over $150 but you can regularly import from Japan for around half that. At under $100 this pen is a phenomenal deal.