Posts filed under Omas

OMAS Limited Edition Calligraphy Set Review

When Kenro Industries reached out to me last year about reviewing some products I jumped at the chance. Who wouldn’t want to get their hands on beautiful pens like the Omas Ogiva Cocktail, Arte Italiana London Smoke, and Arte Italina ART? I had high expectations for these pens, and was blown away across the board.

What I didn’t expect from Kenro was the inclusion of the OMAS Limited Edition Calligraphy Set in my reviewer box of goodness. This is no ordinary calligraphy set mind you. This is where the big boys and girls play, and Omas has put together a package that is hard to beat for serious writers and fans of the Omas brand.

Image via Kenro Industries

Image via Kenro Industries

To get started, let’s discuss everything that is included in this kit. There is but a single pen barrel: The Omas Milord, limited and numbered as part of the 331 sets released. Along with the pen barrel, the four nibs included are the stars of this show. They are as follows:

  • 14kt gold – Broad
  • 18kt gold – Italic
  • 18kt gold – Fine
  • 14kt gold – Extra Fine, Extra Flessible

The pen and nibs are held in a soft Italian leather case that also holds a converter, ink cartridges, and an Omas notebook. Everything you need to get writing, all in one package. And what a package it is.

If you read any of the previous Omas reviews you know my thoughts on their nibs. I don’t think best in the business is an understatement. I have yet to use an Omas nib that hasn’t impressed, and the nibs in this set are no different.

The standouts in this set are the non-standard nibs: The Italic and the EF Flessible. They are both buttery smooth, with crisp lines from the Italic and wonderful line variation from the flex nib. You need to get these nibs in your hand one day to see how superior they truly are.

The stock Broad and Fine nibs are wonderful in their own right, but I would have liked to see even more variation in what is included in this set. It is a calligraphy set after all, so how about a finer stub and and even wider italic? Increase the variety and make this set even more special.

The idea behind the set is wonderful, the products are beautiful, but when putting the whole set in use in one sitting I ran into some roadblocks. The first is that it ships with only one converter. For a set that retails for around $1500 you could toss me a few more converters, right?

That brings us to the next issue. I have four nibs and I want to use four different ink colors. No problem, I grab three more standard international converters to fill with ink, along with the one provided. I have fun using all the nibs, swapping them in and out of the barrel as needed, writing a wonderful letter with amazing artwork. When it is time to pack up, I cap one nib in the barrel…and have three left with ink and converters in them.

If I am out and about and not at home, this is an issue because I cannot store those inked nibs back in the case cleanly. There is no way to seal them off, and rolling them up in the case will make a mess. I don’t want to clean them either because I have full converters and want to use them again tomorrow for more creative awesomeness. I’m stuck.

At home, I temoprarily solved this problem but putting the three remaining nibs and converters in a ziploc bag. An inelegant solution for an elegant product. That is fine in the very short term, as in a day or two, but any longer and the ink starts to evaporate.

It’s clear that this is a luxury set created for a luxury market. I’m good with that. Actually great with it because getting to use all of these nibs was a treat. But it is not a functional set in that it works as a portable calligraphy kit.

For the price, I would like four complete barrels in the set, even if you have to sacrifice on the barrel quality just a bit. The majority of the cost is tied up in the four gold nibs anyway, so why not allow the nibs to be in use AND stored at the same time a priority? That would be a big improvement in my eyes.

My thanks to Kenro Industries for loaning this, and all other Omas pens to me for review. I’ll miss them all when I ship them back this week!

Posted on February 1, 2016 and filed under Calligraphy Pens, Fountain Pens, Omas.

Omas Arte Italiana Milord Fountain Pen Review

(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

If flexible nibs are wrong, I don't want to be right.

I've been using this Omas Arte Italiana Milord for the past few weeks, and it blew my mind the first time I used it. It's my first exposure to Omas, but it's also my first exposure to such a silky smooth, effortlessly flexible nib. If you'be never heard of or tried Omas, you really need to at some point.

The "extra flessible" nib is pure delight, but let's talk a bit about the rest of the pen first.

The aesthetics

The Milord I have is the London Smoke color, which is a gray with subtle swirls. The accents are silver and look extremely well done. When you pick this pen up, there's not doubt in your mind that it is made of high quality materials and workmanship. Even though the pen is light, it feels solid and reliable.

The pen has 12 facets (dodecogon), which gives the pen visual interest, but also makes it nice to grip. The cap features some classy Omas branding around the bottom of the cap, and a simple ring on top of the cap. The clip is strong, nicely shaped, and has a functioning wheel toward the end that allows easier use when sliding it on or off another object.

When you unscrew the cap, the beautiful nib is the first thing you notice. It's long and slender, but fits the rest of the pen body perfectly. The grip section is smooth, and there's a nice 12-sided silver piece at the base of the nib that provides extra grip.

The decoration on the nib is minimal. It has the words "Extra Flessible" engraved toward the top, and then "Omas" and "14k" toward the base. The feed is has a remarkably low profile, which keeps it from looking bulky. Overall, the nib is completely elegant and simple.

The pen accepts cartridges or a converter. I've been using a converter since day 1, and it's been great. The rest of the pen body is flawless and gorgeous. I particularly like the London Smoke color because it has subtle variations that show up in different light.

When unscrewing or screwing on the cap, it feels solid. There's a very high tolerance on the threads, and it makes the process enjoyable.

Overall, the pen is gorgeous, and I'm a huge fan of the design and overall look. The 12-faceted shape suits it perfectly and adds a lot of visual interest. Plus, it keeps the pen from rolling if you set it down uncapped.

That nib

I'm not exaggerating when I say this nib gave me chills when I first used it. I had no idea a flexible nib could be so effortless, smooth, consistent...the list goes on. I'm completely amazed by how well the nib performs. I'be used a couple of flex nibs in my day (a Pilot Elabo/Falcon and a Stipula steel nib), but they don't come close to touching the Omas. It's perfection. Really, this could be your only nib because it works so well.

When using the pen for regular writing, the nib behaves and keeps a fairly consistent line width. Also, it requires a feather touch to put ink down, so that takes a bit of practice. When writing this way, the line width is somewhere between a European EF or F. I've used this pen for several writing sessions and never got tired of using it. It's an excellent performer.

But, when you add a little pressure to your down-strokes, the magic happens. The gold nib is extremely soft and easy when you unleash the flex. It takes practically no effort to generate enough flex to equal a M or B line width on the page. Like I said, I've been using this pen for several weeks, and it still shocks me by how smooth it writes when flexing.

One peculiar characteristic about the pen, though, is the sound it makes when writing. It sounds a bit scratchy, but scratchy isn't the correct word. It's more of a light rubbing sound on the page. It's strange to me because that sound is usually associated with a rough nib, but that's not the case at all. The nib is silky smooth, but still makes a light scratching noise. It's not a down-side at all, but is something that still intrigues me.

I've never had any issues with the pen having starting or skipping issues. When flexing the nib, I have not been able to create any railroad marks. The flow to the nib is plentiful, but not too heavy when writing normally. When I call this nib perfect, I'm not misusing the word at all. That's simply all there is to it.

Conclusion

The Omas Arte Italiana Milord is an exceptional pen, and the Extra Flessible nib from Omas is perfect. With these two descriptions, you have something close to a perfect pen. Now, with that being said, it's no surprise that the price of such a pen is also extraordinary. The retail price of this pen at Pen Chalet is $575, but you can find it on sale for somewhere around $520 sometimes. If you've ever looked at Omas before, you know that they aren't cheap. From what I'be seen, the price is worth the attention to detail, quality, and experience you get from one of their writing instruments. Still, that price is completely within bounds for many other fountain pens that we're familiar with. It's all about what you want in a pen that makes it worth the price or not.

If you like the looks of the Milord and love a good flexible gold nib, this pen is definitely one you should seriously consider if it's within your budget. Since this pen is on loan to me for the review, all I can say is that I will miss it when it's gone. It will be the standard for every flexible nib I try in the future, and it's a high standard.

(Kenro Industries loaned this product to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)

Posted on January 13, 2016 and filed under Fountain Pens, Omas.

Omas Milord Arte Italiana ART Fountain Pen Review

My fountain pen education thus far has primarily focused around pens from two countries of origin: Germany and Japan. That seems like a narrow focus, but considering the production history and love of writing those two countries have, focusing on one brand from one country could give you more than enough choice to last you a lifetime.

As I learn more about this wonderful industry and hobby I am realizing that a third country belongs in the conversation: Italy. I own two Italian pens, and brands like Omas, Visconti, Aurora, Delta, and Montegrappa - to name a few - are well known and respected by fountain pen lovers young and old. But it's only been recently that I have had more than a superficial interest in Italian pens, and I am quickly learning what I have been missing out on all these years.

Omas Milord Arte Italiana ART Fountain Pen Sample.jpg

The opportunity to use the Omas Milord Arte Italiana ART recently has opened my eyes to the wonderful work being done by Italian manufacturers. I own a Visconti, and even own an Omas, but until using this Arte Italiana ART I didn't "get it". Well, needless to say, I get it now.

Let me be clear about something right upfront with the ART: this is a high end luxury pen, and a limited run of 311 units in this color. Street price runs around $680, which makes it the second most expensive pen I have reviewed (my Nakaya Portable being the first). I get asked all the time about expensive pens and their relative worth compared to more reasonably priced options. The majority of the time, you can get a comparable writing experience with a lower priced option, and the price difference lies in unique design or rare materials used to make the pen. Other times, the overall experience is so exceptional that the price is justified comparatively. This is one of those times.

In talking about this particular Omas I'm going to make a bold statement up front because I feel this strongly about it: This is the best gold nib I have ever used. It's truly fascinating. The fine 18k nib is unbelievably smooth and hits a sweet spot right between firm and springy. For a non-squared off nib (like a stub or italic), the edges of the lines on the page are surprisingly crisp and sharp. I get nibs modified often because I like that clean look and this one I wouldn't consider touching.

Speaking of flawless, this barrel is something else. The guilloche pattern in the Teal Green cotton resin barrel is subtle, but as a whole unit it draws your eyes in and won't let them go. It feels wonderful too, with just the slightest tactile touch to let you know it's there. Writing balance is impeccable, and the overall feel when doing its job is spot on.

Part of that balance is due to the Rhodium plated grip section. The weight of the metal offsets the lightness of the cotton resin barrel. It is comfortable to hold and not slippery at all. It also continues the guilloche pattern seen on the barrel. Rhodium plays a design role throughout the ART, bringing together the nib, section, clip, cap band, finial, and piston ring.

The piston filling system itself twists fluidly from the end of the pen and fills up the barrel with ease. I didn't measure the ink drawn in but it reports to have a 1.2 ml capacity. Judging by the ink in the bottle of Omas Turquoise and my lengthy writing time, I have no reason to doubt that.

I received this pen on loan from Kenro Industries for review and I'm going to have a tough time sending it back. I've been using it constantly for the past couple of months, and just yesterday was the first time it sat on my desk uninked. The 2016 fountain pen show season kicks off soon though, and a cotton resin barrel Omas will be at, or near, the top of my shopping list.

Omas Milord Arte Italiana ART Fountain Pen Review.jpg
Posted on December 7, 2015 and filed under Fountain Pens, Omas, Pen Reviews.