Help is at hand for Valentine letter writers

January 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

For romantics wanting to make a statement on Valentines Day, believes it can help.  The gift of a hand-written declaration of affection, or just a thinly veiled request for a night of hot passion, as seems to be the approach of many of the greetings cards currently available, is far better expressed in traditional pen and ink.

Pens, like lovers, come in all shapes and sizes and are very personal.  The subliminal message conveyed by the pen before even being picked-up may be worth considering.  For example, ladies may consider the giving of a well-chosen writing instrument as means of indicating a wish to receive letters of love and undying affection from their beau.  The pen may be a full-bodied and masculine fountain pen with a passionate red finish, along the lines of the Cross Apogee Titian Red and of course, a corresponding flame red ink.  While if the love is unrequited, having lost their man to another, lesser soul, perhaps the ink may be offered in green – or is it blue, while the pen could be of hard chrome finish like the Cross Matt Chrome ATX

Cross Apogee Titian Red fountain pen & rollerball

While for the chaps, the ladies may be delighted with something light and feminine.  It may be in a style suggesting something with just a hint of subtle naughtiness about it.  The Caran d’Ache Ecridor Eclat!  A ballpoint pen with a brilliant sparkle from the Swarovski®”   crystals embedded in its silver plated barrel springs to mind – perhaps,  just a hint of the intensity of things to come you hope! 

The colour of the ink used for many fountain pen users is something of personal statement.  We are sure there is a full scientific explanation as the choice of colour.  As described, the colour maybe a reflection of the writer’s intention or mood at the time of writing.  Whilst the use of perfumed ink is also a possibility.  These suggest a degree of intimacy requiring the recipient to hold the note so close to their body in order to be able to detect the scent, so delicately applied? 

 Whatever your choice for your Valentine, be sure that the handwritten note by fountain pen is on its way back.  The mistakes and misspellings add to the character of the love letter and even the occasional dribble of saliva water-marking your notepaper, anticipating the impact of your prose may add something to its charm – but I wouldn’t guarantee that last bit.

Why Platignum is in the Sale

January 27, 2011 § 1 Comment

Platignum is a brand that has been steeped in fountain pens since 1919 until its demise in 1998. Presumably, based on a perceived equity remaining in the brand, Snopake bought the rights to Platignum and launched their new range of pens to the trade in 2007. 

On the surface, the range was well thought-through, with the high-end pens retailing at about £25.00 reducing down to around the £10.00 area for the lower end of the range.  The pens were of a reasonable quality having been sourced in Germany for the more expensive products and the Far East for the lower priced products.  The ballpoints and rollerballs took Platignum branded generic refills in the style of Parker, Sheaffer, and Cross, while the fountain pens accepted a nominal ‘Euro’ style cartridge.

Platignum Fountain pens No1 & No5 in orange

The pens are all manufactured using metal barrels and finished in lacquers with chrome plating, and brushed metals.  The designs range from the more conservative Series 1 and 2 through to some stylish hooded nibbed models in the mid to lower priced units largely matched with corresponding roller/ballpoint formats.

What could go wrong?  Unfortunately, the brand appears, in my opinion, to a victim of insufficient ‘joined-up-thinking’. Initially, all the pens were supplied in a universal clear plastic hang-pack suitable for supermarket display.  This was ideal for the lower priced units but by the time the customer was looking to spend in excess of £20, a higher quality of presentation was required.  While this was addressed with the supply of optional, but relatively low quality, flip cases, the transfer from the retail display packaging was still required.  On launching, there were no Platignum branded cartridges, convertors, or alternative nibs and the split sourcing of the fountain pens resulted in issues relating to the dimensions of the cartridge fit.  Unfortunately, not all ‘Euro standard’ cartridges are produced to the same ‘Euro Standard’ and whilst some fitted, others were less secure and tended to back-off, resulting in leakage in some, but not all of the range.  Recommending third-party produced convertors had the same pitfalls, while the availability of replacement nibs, even on a like-for-like basis, would have been a powerful selling point.  None of these issues is insurmountable and, with a bit of research, at we recommend the Pelikan cartridges that fit the entire Platignum fountain pen range and have sourced a convertor that works without leakage.  The nibs may still be an issue.

For some reason, the majority of pen manufacturers seem to be of the opinion that it is adequate to produce a new pen or range and the retailer then has responsibility to promote and sell the product.  Platignum was no exception with only minimal promotion in the trade press.  Surely, a pound added to the cost of the pen would have maintained its competitive pricing structure and yet created a budget to allow an advertising campaign to raise the profile of the brand and enhance sales for the entire supply chain. 

Despite its inherent high quality proposition, sadly, we are in the process of discontinuing our stock of Platignum and have reduced the prices accordingly.  If you want a reasonable quality pen at a very competitive price look no further than our Platignum sale.

Size Does Matter – Caran d’Ache Madison

January 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

With the continued development of our Caran d’Ache fountain pen offer at, just prior to Christmas we took the Madison models into stock.  The Madison is an established style from the Swiss pen specialists and is a petite-medium sized pen with a brass barrel core that is finished in either plated or lacquered decoration.

Caran d'Ache Madison and Leman pens

Caran d'Ache Madison and Leman fountain pens - comparison

What has particularly drawn our attention to the Madison is the stylistic relationship with the popular Caran d’Ache’s Leman pens.  The Leman is an established and popular style offering stunning quality with an 18 coat, lacquered finish that you can see your face in. Generously proportioned, this is a pen with unquestionable presence.  However, for some users, its generosity is too much to handle!  Enter the Madison Bi-color.  The styling notes are extremely similar, as is its quality and finish.  The principle difference is dimensional.  The Leman fountain pen offers dimensions of 13.2 mm diameter and 47g weight while the Madison compares with 9mm diameter and 34g, although the lengths are similar.  Naturally there are differences in detail such as the silver plated grip and push-fit cap on the Madison but the silver plated 18kt gold nib performs just as would be expected from Caran d’Ache.  Despite its slender diameter, the Madison still offers the options of cartridge or convertor filling.

As far as we are aware, we are the only retailer to hold stock of the Madison Bi-Color and currently only have the black finish.  However, the silver plated models are more widely available should you wish to see the model ‘in the flesh’ before buying.  At, we hold stock of both the Bi-Colour and the Silver Plated Madison Cisele in both fountain pen and ballpoint formats, together with a full range of refills.

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