Of the “Big Three” Japanese pen companies: Pilot, Sailor, and Platinum, the latter traditionally gets the least amount of attention outside of Japan. Thing have changed somewhat in recent years, as Platinum has started to explore the limited edition market with its excellent line of 3776 Century pens, and its sister brand, Nakaya, has developed a stellar reputation among high-end collectors of pens featuring urushi, makie, and other forms of traditional Japanese artistry.
What tends to get lost in the shuffle is that of the “Big Three,” Platinum probably makes the widest array of low-cost pens. Two models, the Preppy and the Plaisir, regularly find their way onto various “Best First Fountain Pen” lists, and for good reason. Starting at $3.95, the Preppy can be as cheap as some disposable fountain pens, yet can be refilled with (proprietary) Platinum cartridges OR it can be eyedroppered, provided you first add some silicon grease and/or an o-ring to the barrel threads. Eyedroppering a Platinum Preppy is an excellent way to use “high-maintenance” inks that might damage or stain nicer pens, and the highlighter version of the Preppy can be used with Noodler’s Highlighter Inks.
The Platinum Plaisir adds an upgraded body to the same nib, feed and section featured on the Preppy, made from anodized aluminum and available in a wide array of colors. The primary reasons to opt for the Plaisir over the Preppy would be aesthetics and durability - some of the color options on the Plaisir are quite nice, like the “Ice White” featured here, and the caps on Preppies tend to crack over time.
On the whole, however, both pens offer an exceptional writing experience at the price point. One quirk is that nib sizes on these pens are not labeled with the usual EF, F, M, B designations. Rather, they are numbered .2, .3, and .5. For example, the Preppy featured here is labeled “.5”, as in .5mm, which equates to a medium, while the .3mm on the Plaisir is a fine. Platinum also makes a .2mm extra fine, which is a bit more difficult to source.
Takeaways and Where to Buy
I’ve neglected both the Preppy and the Plaisir in my own use, and that’s unfortunate, especially since I’ve grown to appreciate Platinum as a brand. These relatively inexpensive models offer an excellent writing experience at a bargain price. The Preppy in particular gives you a reliable refillable fountain pen at a price point similar to “disposable” pens like the Pilot Varsity. For just a bit more money, you can get the more professional looking Plaisir in a growing array of colors.
You can purchase either of these models from our sponsors Vanness Pens (in the United States) or Appelboom (in Europe). Both retailers stock the full range of Platinum products. Many thanks to both Vanness Pens and Appelboom for providing these two pens for review.