Early thoughts on the Platinum Curidas fountain pen.

Last week I spent a most delightful evening at Choosing Keeping, a lovely stationery shop in London’s Covent Garden. They were hosting an event to launch Platinum’s new retractable nib fountain pen, the Curidas. It was also a celebration of the Platinum pen company, attended by senior representatives of the company over from Japan and with a display of rarely seen fountain pens from the company’s 100 year history.

Choosing Keeping, a wonderful stationery shop in London.

The new Curidas was on display, in each of the five colours (red, blue, green, smoky grey and clear). Also there were test pens on the counter to try out, in both the fine and medium nib options.

Description.

The Curidas is a fountain pen with a retractable nib operated by pressing the button that extends from the end of the barrel. Press once and the nib pops out through a trap door, with a satisfying click. Press again and the nib retreats and the door closes, to seal off the nib and keep it from drying out.

At first glance it is similar to Pilot’s Vanishing Point or Capless fountain pen, except that the Curidas is made of plastic and has a stainless steel nib. Also, the steel pocket clip is removable.

The Platinum Curidas.

Disassembly and filling the pen.

As fountain pens go, this is a fun mechanism to play with and a very clever design. To fill the pen, you first unscrew and remove the barrel. Next you withdraw the entire nib, feed and ink housing. Simply push it inwards and then twist (like unscrewing a light bulb) and out it comes in one piece. Next you do a similar twist and pull operation, to remove the ink reservoir cover from the nib and feed unit.

Next you can attach either a Platinum ink cartridge to the feed, or a Platinum converter, before putting back the shiny chrome cover, inserting the whole unit back into the pen and screwing the barrel back on. It is easier than it sounds.

Disassembled for fitting cartridge to nib and feed unit.

The nib.

The pen is available with choice of medium or fine steel nib. I tried the fine nib first on the test pen and was immediately struck by how beautifully smooth and precise it was. I wanted to go on and on writing with it! I then tried the medium which was slightly broader but still on the fine side. The Curidas fine and medium nib options could perhaps be said to equate to a western extra fine and fine, or leaning towards it. After trying both, I decided to buy the pen, in blue, with the medium nib.

The nib is small and some might say, too small for the large pen. However, it is necessary to remember the practicalities of designing a nib that will retract into a pen barrel of this size.

With nib extended. This was how the pen looked before I removed the pocket clip.

The writing experience.

The medium nib on my model proved to be superb. Examined under a loupe, the tines were even and symmetrical and there was a slight gap between the tines. This is how I Iike them for good flow, with smooth, well lubricated writing with no downward pressure required. This suits my lefty over-writer style of writing.

At home, I loaded the supplied Platinum Blue Black cartridge. I clicked open the nib and was delighted that the pen wrote immediately from the first touch of nib to paper.

I was also thrilled with the Platinum Blue Black ink. The special promotion included a pack of 10 of these superb cartridges. The box features a picture of Mt Fuji and and states that the ink contains 5% natural water sourced from the base of Mt Fuji. The ink is a lovely shade of blue and water resistant. There is also a metal agitator ball.

I was very happy with the nib and the ink. However in terms of comfort there are a couple of potential issues to be aware of. First on the underside of the barrel, there is a rounded protrusion which accommodates part of the nib’s trap door when opened. It is quite far forward on the underside of the barrel but you may still find your second finger rubbing against this as you grip the pen if you hold the pen low, towards the nib

But the bigger problem for me, was the metal pocket clip. This is aligned with the nib and so if you hold the pen with finger and thumb symetrically placed, either side of the 12 o’clock point then the clip may not be in your way. But if like me, you rotate the nib slightly inwards, the pocket clip may then fall directly below your thumb which is not very comfortable.

The good news is that the metal pocket clip can be removed. A plastic tool for this purposes is included in the box. It works by being placed around the underside of the barrel and then being pushed inwards so that the chamfered edges slide under the metal clip and lift it off the raised locating pegs. In theory, you then slide the clip along and off the pen. In practice I found this very fiddly and awkward and I spent a frustrating few minutes pushing and shoving whilst worrying that something might break. I did eventually get the clip off but need to spend a bit more time practising the technique.

The bad news is that even with the pocket clip removed, there is still the issue of a plastic nodule protruding at the top of the barrel, which is to keep the clip in place.

In profile, with pocket clip removed. Note the offending protrusion at the top.

At the moment, I am using the pen with the clip removed and waiting to see whether my grip adapts to this protrusion in time. Alternatively, I will have to think how I might remove it safely without risk of cracking the barrel and ruining the pen. But I do wish it was not there. For me the pen would be so much more comfortable without it: just try holding the pen by the opposite end of the barrel, to see how it would feel.

Weights and measurements.

The pen with a cartridge weighs about 26.5g of which about 2g is the pocket clip. Lengthwise, it is about 154mm closed but reduces to about 142mm when the nib is extended when most of the button retreats into the barrel. The girth of the barrel is roughly 13mm in diameter.

Apologies for poor lighting. The pen is a good 140mm long with nib extended, which is great.

Likes and dislikes.

There is a lot to be said in favour of this new pen. The generous length, girth and weight are pleasing. The nib (on my model and the two test pens that I tried) is a delight and writes beautifully. The mechanism to extend and retract the nib is a marvellous design, save perhaps for the need to have a lump on the barrel for part of the trap door mechanism to go into. This does serve as a roll stop, if you have removed the pocket clip.

The pen seems very well made and comes in a range of attractive semi transparent colours and a clear demonstrator version. It has a good ink capacity: the Platinum cartridges hold 1.2ml and there is the converter option too (although sold separately). The cartridge or converter metal housing has cutaways to serve as an ink window.

On the down side, my only real complaint is the lumps and bumps on the barrel where you want to grip. It is a big help that you have the option of removing the clip. I found this a rather awkward operation and was disappointed that even with the clip removed, there is a still a plastic protrusion at the top of the barrel just where I would like to rest my thumb. There are a couple of other tiny locating bumps for the clip too but these are far enough out of the way not to be a problem.

It is a pity to have a dilemma of whether and how to file off a protruding piece of the pen barrel, to make the pen comfortable to hold. But perhaps this is just me because of my unusual way of holding the pen. I know that many people use the Pilot Vanishing Point or Lamy Dialog without such issues.

Medium nib. Platinum Blue Black cartridge ink. A most enjoyable ink!

Conclusion.

On balance, I found the positive points about this pen more than made up for the negatives. Admittedly it is only a few days old and still well within the new pen honeymoon period but I know I am going to like it.

The retractable nib and single-handed operation make this an ideal pen for quick notes while out and about, such as in a theatre or while standing without a place to put your pen cap. Ironically, these situations are also when a pocket clip is useful to carry the pen in a jacket pocket. If you have removed the clip to make the pen comfortable and then carry the pen in a pen case or sleeve, it rather defeats the object of being quick and easy. You cannot remove the pen from a pen case single handed and you will still need to find somewhere to put the pen case down while you write.

Perhaps I am in the minority here with my unusual grip style. The retractable nib is fun and a novelty. Above all, the pen writes superbly and so I will find a way to make it work for me. I am sure that it will prove to be a great success.

That new pen feeling.

13 thoughts on “Early thoughts on the Platinum Curidas fountain pen.

  1. Wow. This is a pen I would never buy. I would not like all those protrusions. Plus, 13 mm girth is way too wide for my fingers. I have small hands, and I prefer 9 – 10 mm girth. But also, I just think it looks ungainly and kind of ugly. I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but it’s not beautiful to me. Great review, though. You outlined all the pluses and minuses of the pen, and I can tell this pen would not be suitable for my writing style.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Debi. Thank you for your comments. I can understand why you would not find this pen to your liking. On FPN, several people commented on the overly long push button (although this is necessary for the long travel of the nib mechanism). I do like the girth. I am still debating whether to try to file off the top protrusion which is in the way of my grip but worry about cracking the pen in the process. I appreciate the retractable nib design as a gadget although of limited benefit in practice. But it does perform well and I enjoy writing with it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Rupert!
    Thank you for a very interesting review. This is a pen I have been watching out for since it was first announced a few weeks ago. It is also great to read that we have a good pen and stationery shop in London- I was rather despairing that we would not have one after Penfriend closed its physical shops and went online. I will definitely pay Choosing Keeping a visit soon!
    One question I have about the Curidas is whether it is, in the end, an improvement on the Pilot Capless pens? I have had a capless for years and it is a frequent companion. Do you have any views on the two pens compared?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, thank you very much. Yes, I am sure you will find Choosing Keeping of interest and it is well worth a visit! They might still be offering their promotion on the Curidas, including a nice journal, pack of blue black cartridges and a tote bag.
      As you like the Pilot Capless, I assume that you have no issues over the placement of the pocket clip, whereas I tend to rotate my pens inwards which would result in my grip having my thumb on top of the clip. For this reason I have never had a Pilot Capless and so I cannot comment too much about them.
      The Curidas does have a number of differences. It is a plastic pen with a steel nib. But don’t let that put you off as the nib is wonderful.
      Also, there is a very clever nib chamber which is said to keep the nib from drying out for up to 6 months. There is a very long push button to operate the pen, to allow for the distance the nib has to travel. The internal mechanism and the clever way you remove it and access the nib and feed, is clever, unique and amusing.
      You may have seen from my subsequent post that I removed the pocket clip on my Curidas and then carefully filed off the protrusion on the barrel, where the clip had been. This (for me) made a vast improvement and allowed me to use this interesting pen in comfort. I enjoy writing with it now. Obviously this is a rather drastic thing to do and not to be undertaken lightly.
      Whether it is an improvement on the Pilot Capless? It is similar. But different. It is much cheaper, probably less robust, (I would not want to drop it on the floor) but has a unique design and is enjoyable to write with and to disassemble.
      There is a discussion of the pen on The Pen Habit podcast, episode 397 at about 27 minutes in. The verdict was that it had a superb nib, a rather eccentric mechanism, but was over-engineered and left you nowhere to hold the pen.
      I think it will be a pen that divides opinions. I can only say that I like writing with it and I would urge you to try one in the shop if you can. Even if you chose not to get one, I’d recommend picking up the new Platinum Prefounte and a box of their Blue Black cartridges.

      Like

    1. Thanks a lot! If you like the VP you will probably like the Curidas. My only gripe was the clip which was in the way for me but since I removed it and the remaining plastic nodule, it feels great. I love writing with it. The small nib is really enjoyable.

      Liked by 1 person

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