Platinum Standard Maki-e: Cranes with Mt. Fuji

Maki-e and a springy 18k gold nib for less than $100? Yes please!

No regrets about this impulse buy.

Okay, I have to admit, I got it on sale. Still, Platinum’s “Standard” line actually encompasses three different model numbers (PTL-12000, PTL-15000 and PTL-20000), but I cannot tell what the differences are. Mine is from the 12000 line and the design is called “Cranes with Mt. Fuji”. All three lines use the modern hira maki-e technique, where the images are screen-printed onto the pen; usually this results in a flat finish, but not with Platinum’s offerings. The Cranes has no maki-e on the cap and perhaps that’s not to everyone’s tastes, but I like the simplicity of this design.

As this is a lower-end maki-e pen, it is priced accordingly: hand-painted maki-e will cost easily five times more! But that doesn’t take away from the beauty of the design, which is colourful, eye-catching, and full of detail.

(Potato photo.)

Posting the snap cap works well, though it also obscures some of the maki-e. I would never post this simply out of fear of scratching up the design, though it might be a little too short for large hands when unposted. This is a medium-weight pen, and is rather front-weighted due to the metal parts in the section. The two trim rings near the nib also give off a feeling of luxury — this pen feels like it is much more expensive than it is.

The clip is simple and straight and looks like a tie clip. Platinum’s famous slip-and-seal inner cap is included, and it works as expected. I have never had ink dry out on the nib even if I don’t write with it for weeks.

The nib itself is a little wonder: a tiny piece of 18k gold, similar in shape to those on the Preppy. It looks like it could almost be pulled off and swapped out Lamy-style, though I haven’t tried. Platinum doesn’t sell individual nibs either, and I won’t buy two Standards just to try this!

Simple clip, simple nib.

A very beautiful pen, yes, but how does it write?

The nib has a little feedback that feels almost rough, but I like that. It definitely isn’t buttery-smooth by any means, but it won’t fly around on smooth papers either, and handles Clairefontaine and Tomoe River very well. My nib leaves a true fine line, nothing as fine as my experience with Pilot’s F nibs, but in turn definitely finer than Western F nibs.

Ink flow is always great — I have used inks ranging from the very dry Pelikan and Platinum blue-blacks to Pilot Iroshizukus and have never run into problems. The feed is also slightly transparent, so there’s an additional splash of colour in an unexpected place!

And, this is the best part: it’s slightly flexible! Advertising material states that it’s firm, but that hasn’t been my experience at all. For me this is a plus, since I like flex, and I can get some quality Engraver’s/copperplate and Spencerian out of the nib. The springback is surprisingly fast as well, though I would hesitate to label this as anything but semi-flexible at best. “Springy” is probably the term I would settle on.

Here we go, then:

In my book this also counts as “absolutely incredible”.

This concludes two months of Flex & Other Follies! Thank you for reading my reviews, and have a happy New Year in advance. To finish off properly, however, here is another example of what I use the Platinum Standard for:

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