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 PenFountain.com 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.


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