Posts filed under Opus

Opus 88 Demonstrator with 1.5mm Stub Nib Review

Opus 88 Demonstrator with 1.5mm Stub Nib Review

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

The Opus 88 Demonstrator is a relative newcomer on the fountain pen stage, but it's also made quite a splash. I'm sure you've seen or heard of the Opus 88 line, and chances are you've seen the Demonstrator, as it's one of the most common models. It's well-known for good reason, and packs quite a punch into the acrylic package.

I got my hands on the 1.5mm stub version of the clear demonstrator, and I couldn't be happier with it. First off, I have to say that I had an incredibly difficult time picking a color. Between the gray, red, orange, and clear demonstrators, it's a nearly impossible choice for some. They all look so great. But, in the end, I went with the classic clear demonstrator since it felt like the most representative of the pen's style and aesthetic.

Opus 88 Demonstrator Review

For this review, I chose KWZ Gummiberry to show off the wonderful 1.5mm stub nib as well as the clear acrylic ink reservoir. The yummy purple ink does a great job of showcasing both the nib and reservoir that I've struggled to put anything else in it so far.

Starting at the first impressions of this pen, it's quite large. At 5.75 inches or 14.6 cm, it's definitely a full-size fountain pen that even makes the Pilot Custom 823 look average. It's no Sailor King of Pen, but it's also a fraction of the price. Aside from the size, one of my favorite features of this pen — especially the demonstrator model — is the mixture of frosted and polished acrylic. This mixture of textures creates such a unique and beautiful aesthetic. The top and bottom finials are incredibly polished and manipulate light as it passes through to the other side. The inside of the cap is frosted, allowing a blurry peek at the nib that rests inside, while the ink reservoir is also polished to show off the color of the ink inside. These subtle touches really add a lot to this pen that I enjoy.

Opus 88 Demonstrator with 1.5mm Stub Nib

The clip is also a nice bit of contrast to the frosty and bright acrylic features. It's a black-ish matte color that really stands out from the rest of the pen. It's also quite strong and well made. For a pen of this size, that's a must. Just below the bottom of the clip is the only branding you'll find on this pen. An elegant "Opus 88" is stamped on the cap band, and it can be easy to miss if you aren't looking for it.

Moving on to the body, the exterior is completely polished, allowing you to see all the innards clearly. The only parts that appear frosted are the threaded parts, but that's more texture that adds to the overall aesthetic. The grip section is nice and smooth with a clear view of the feed mechanism, and then you get to the nib. This glorious JoWo #6 is the perfect size for this pen. It's a shiny material with a tiny Opus 88 etching above the nib size stamp. The 1.5mm stub is hard to miss on this pen.

Opus 88 Demonstrator with 1.5mm Stub

Moving down the body to the end of the pen, you encounter the blind. There's plenty of polished material here to grip while untwisting the blind to allow the ink to flow freely into the feed section. There's a bit of squeaking as you tighten and loosen the material, but it starts to dissipate after several dozen iterations. Again, the highly polished material is fun to look at and watch how the light interacts with it. In some light, it just looks like a vial of ink sitting on your desk. Which leads us to...

The filling system and ink reservoir. Oh my. This pen holds so much ink. I haven't measured, but I'm sure I can easily fit 5ml of ink in this pen. The Demonstrator comes with a glass eyedropper for filling, but I used a syringe I had lying around. To fill the pen, simply unscrew the section from the body to expose the reservoir, inject the ink (either by eyedropper or another method), replace the section, unscrew the blind a few turns, and wait for the ink to soak through the feed. It's such a simple system, and it works so well. I love piston fillers, but they require extra attention and focus when filling all the way. With this advanced eyedropper system, just add the ink and replace the section. Easy!

Opus 88 Demonstrator Comparison

Once you've inked the pen up, it's time to start writing. Even though this pen isn't a piston filler, it is similar in the case that you have to unscrew the blind a few turns in order for the ink to flow into the feed. This is a great feature for sealing off the ink reservoir from the feed when transporting it or traveling through pressure changes. The motion of unscrewing the blind and screwing it back down when you're done using the pen quickly becomes muscle memory. But, as long as you remember to operate the filling mechanism correctly, you're sure to have a fantastic writing experience.

The 1.5mm stub steel nib on my unit is smooth with just the right amount of feedback on the edges. I like this because it tells my fingers if I'm rotating too far in either direction before the line edges start to suffer or skip. It's incredibly wide on down strokes, but you can also get an exceptionally thin line on the cross strokes. Add those together and you get beautiful line variation when writing. There's no flex to speak of, but you don't need it. This is a perfect nib for showcasing various inks, and it does a flawless job at that. I've not had any issues with skipping, stuttering, hard starts, or ink flow. This is a fairly wet nib, but not so much that it globs up on slower strokes. The feel is very smooth, and the lines are still crisp even when writing quickly. In all, I'm incredibly impressed by this nib, especially at the price point.

Opus 88 Demonstrator Writing

When looking at this pen as a whole, I have to consider the overall quality and value. In terms of quality, I only have this pen and the Fantasia I've used prior, but I'm still very impressed by how well-made these pens are straight out of the box. Neither needed any nib modifications or tuning, and the acrylic work is flawless. These pens are made very well, and I've been very happy with them both. Given the grade of quality, the materials used, and the color options, I'm also very happy with the price. At $120 across the board, it's a great value. It's certainly more than your average beginner fountain pen, but it offers some unique features that are difficult to find in this price range. For one, the ink capacity and filling mechanism. It's hard to find something of this quality at this price point. And while the nib isn't gold, the quality of materials and manufacturing certainly justify the price. Since it uses a standard #6 nib, you could easily swap in a favorite from your collection.

In the end, the most difficult choice is picking a color and nib. All of the colors look great, and I might have to pick up another (or two) over time with different nib options. I'm using the Demonstrator in this review, but you can also pick from Gray, Orange, and Red as well as F, M, B, and 1.5mm italic nibs.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


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Opus 88 Demonstrator Writing
Posted on June 5, 2019 and filed under Opus, Fountain Pens, Pen Reviews.

Opus 88 Fantasia Fountain Pen Review

Opus 88 Fantasia 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.)

The Opus 88 Fantasia fountain pen is unlike any other I've ever used. As an eyedropper pen, it's a similar to other eyedropper pens I've used, such as the Franklin Christoph pens I use. But what's unique about this one when compared to classic eyedroppers is the inclusion of a shut off valve to stop ink flow. The unique design as well as the translucent body and colorful cap make this an instant favorite.

The particular model I have is a dark teal body paired with a black ebonite cap that also has a few colorful stripes to add visual interest. The stripes on the cap are green, dark red, and a light yellow. The stripes are different widths and really draw my eye to them. The clip is chrome and is incredibly strong.

Opus 88 Fantasia Fountain Pen

The cap is secured/removed with threads, and only requires four turns to operate completely. The overall length of the pen is quite short at only 4.5 inches or 11.5cm when capped. When opened and not posted, the length is just a hair over four inches, but the full posted length is a more comfortable 5.75 inches or 14.5cm.

Since there aren't any metal parts that make up the body of this pen, it's a lightweight instrument. The grip section is a bit short for my liking, not providing quite enough surface area for my fingers to rest comfortably. I didn't notice this much while writing, but trying to find a comfortable writing grip at first was a challenge. It's workable, but you are definitely reminded that this is a compact pen where the main focus is ink capacity and portability.

Opus 88 Fantasia Fountain Pen Barrel

The nib included on this pen is a medium stainless steel JoWo nib. Vanness offers Fine, Medium, and Broad, and I've found that the medium on my unit is much closer to a European fine. I've always had good luck with JoWo nibs, and this one is no exception. It's an incredibly smooth and reliable writer with just a small of flex when pressure is applied on downstrokes. There is some light decoration on the nib along with the Opus 88 name and the size indicator. I've been really happy with this nib and how it writes.

Writing with this pen can take some practice since the grip is so small. The overall length of the pen doesn't bother me at all because I usually prefer to write without the cap posted. The grip has caused me some grief, however. If there were just a bit more space for my fingers, it wouldn't be an issue. It's difficult to find a sweet spot that doesn't involve gripping the cap threads or dipping my fingers onto the nib or feed accidentally, resulting in inky fingertips that transfer ink back to the grip. After some practice, I've found the sweet spot for my grip, but it took some time.

Opus 88 Fantasia Fountain Pen Eyedropper

The real selling feature for this pen, along with the beautiful exterior, is the filling mechanism. It's a classic eyedropper with a twist: there's a end blind cap that operates a shut off valve. This is something I've come to love with vacuum fillers. I like being able to totally close off the ink reservoir from the feed so I can travel or just for additional security when being transported.

To fill the pen, simply unscrew the section and use the included eyedropper to fill the reservoir with ink. I didn't measure exactly, but I got a little over 2ml of ink when filling. For such a small pen, that's extraordinary. To write, back out the blind cap a few turns to allow the ink to flow. In practice, this has worked flawlessly for me. And, for quick notes, you can write for about half a full page without opening the blind cap.

Opus 88 Fantasia Fountain Pen Ink

I've been able to operate the blind cap easily with my fingers, but there's a nifty screwdriver mechanism built into the top of the cap. You can use the top of the cap as a screwdriver for operating the blind cap, which has two centered cross grooves (like the top of a Philips screw head). It's a novel idea, but not one that is required to operate the pen.

The Opus 88 Fantasia has been an incredibly fun and satisfying pen to use over the past several weeks. I wasn't sure what I would think of it after unboxing it. At first glance, it looks very practical and scientific in a way. After getting to know it, it's a practical piece of art that's a joy to use.

If you're interested in the Opus 88 Fantasia, they come in several color combinations for $125 a piece. The price if fair given the quality of the materials and craftsmanship, not to mention the unique filling mechanism.

(Vanness Pens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


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Opus vs Lamy
Posted on September 26, 2018 and filed under Opus, Fountain Pens, Pen Reviews.

Opus 88 Koloro Demonstrator: A Review

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(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)

The Opus 88 Koloro Demonstrator is an over-sized fountain pen with an eyedropper filling system. It comes with a steel Jowo nib in fine or medium.

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The pen arrives in a nice box with a brown outer sleeve. The box itself is black and has a magnetic closure. When you open the box, the pen and eyedropper are nestled in foam cut-outs. Well . . . they are supposed to be nestled. My pen was rolling around when I opened it; fortunately, no harm was done.

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The pen is made of acrylic, but the cap and barrel have a frosted look that I really like. The clip is matte black, and it complements the frosted cap perfectly.

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The only branding is on the cap band which is inscribed with “Opus 88” in black.

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The finial on top and the piston knob are both thick, clear acrylic.

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The pen is filled with a glass eyedropper (which comes with the pen). Simply unscrew the grip from the barrel and fill it with the ink of your choice.

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The grip section has a rubber ring that seals when you screw it back on to the barrel. No silicone grease is necessary.

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When you’re ready to write, you unscrew the piston knob a few turns to create flow.

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The barrel holds an enormous amount of ink (at least 2.0 ml), and since the barrel is transparent, you’ll always know when you’re getting low.

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The #6 Jowo steel nib is decorated with some scrollwork and Opus 88 branding. My fine nib writes flawlessly—it is smooth and wet. I experienced no hard starts or scratchiness with this nib.

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As I said above, the Opus 88 is an over-sized pen. It measures a bit over 5.75 inches (146mm) in length capped and 5.39 inches (137mm) uncapped. It isn’t meant to be posted, and, really, it’s large enough that posting would throw off the balance anyway. Even though this is a large pen, it isn’t heavy. I find it to be perfectly balanced even with a barrel full of ink. I love how substantive it feels in the hand. This is a well-made pen.

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The Opus 88 Koloro Demonstrator reminds me (in some ways) of my Conid Minimalistica (review here), but the Opus is much easier to fill and clean, and it is much less expensive.

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I am very impressed with my Opus 88 Koloro Demonstrator. It looks fantastic, especially when it is filled with a beautiful ink color. The eyedropper system works well and the rubber ring keeps it from leaking. The nib is smooth and responsive. This is, simply put, an excellent pen.

You can purchase the Opus 88 Koloro Demonstrator from Pen Chalet for $120.00. If you’ve ever wanted to try an eyedropper pen but have been put off by how expensive they can be, this is the perfect fountain pen for you. And, if you think the Opus 88 Koloro Demonstrator might be too big for your hand, you can try the smaller versions (also eyedroppers) that come in various colors and cost $93.00 at Pen Chalet.

Pros

  • The Opus 88 Koloro demonstrator is a well-made pen that feels substantive in your hand.
  • Because it is an over-sized pen with an eyedropper filling system, it holds a huge amount of ink.
  • The Jowo nib on my Opus 88 writes flawlessly.
  • I really like the look of this pen with the frosted barrel, cap, and matte black clip. Because it is a demonstrator, it will show off whatever ink you fill it with.

Cons

  • This over-sized pen might be too big for some people, but smaller Opus 88s are available (though not in the clear demonstrator version).
  • One thing you have to remember with this pen is to unscrew the piston knob before you start writing. I don’t find this bothersome at all, but it is an extra step.

(This purchase was made with my own funds from Pen Chalet.)


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Posted on March 23, 2018 and filed under Opus, Fountain Pens, Pen Reviews.