Here are some of my Omas fountain pens, resting on my Nagasawa leather pen pouch. (Please see the Accessories page for more information on Nagasawa kip leather products). The Arco- brown celluloid is often cited as the best celluloid material anywhere. Fortunately, I have two Omas fountain pens in this finish. I would love to add a third with the newer, heftier Omas Paragon…if only I had the budget.
Omas is by far my favourite Italian fountain pen brand. I have owned Visconti’s and Montegrappa’s, (Monteverde’s!) as well but really, Omas is by far the best. Not just for the celluloid; as you will see below, Montegrappa also makes some wonderful celluloid pens, but Omas nibs are unparalleled. Springy, with excellent flex to bring out the best in shading inks, they generally make your handwriting look much more sophisticated than it would otherwise.
To me they give the sensation of writing with pure gold. I have used 21ct gold Sailor nibs, and to me they resemble gold far less than the 18ct gold you generally find in Omas. They also have a lot of tipping and are the best nibs for customisation. But even without customisation, Omas nibs are awesome. The Omas Ogiva in Arco- brown celluloid is one of my nicest writers, with its Broad (more like BB), unmodified 18ct gold nib. Here it is…
Here is a close- up of my Omas 360. I had the medium nib customised to a crispy cursive italic. Unfortunately it started leaking in the section where the gold collar meets the celluloid. I will have to get this mended at some point, but for now I use it as a dip pen.
The Arco- Verde (green, obviously) celluloid is also very nice, as featured on one of my favourite fountain pens below; the Omas Old style Paragon with ruthenium trim. Some people do not like this celluloid combination but I love the cool, stony colours of this pen. This celluloid also works perfectly with the ruthenium trim. I actually prefer greens and greys to reds and browns (same for Nakaya, I much prefer the Ao- tamenuri and Midori finishes to the more popular Aka- tamenuri “reddish red”). I even considered getting the Omas Ogiva in the Saft-green instead of the Arco-brown but it wasn’t available at the time. This pen is perfect filled with Pilot Iroshizuku’s Fyu-syogun, with the medium oblique (OM) cursive italic nib showing off the excellent shading properties of this ink.
For me Montegrappa is more about the celluloid than the nibs. Here are some examples;
Visconti for me doesn’t have the classic, timeless aesthetic of Omas, but is nevertheless an interesting brand for its design and use of 21ct Palladium nibs. These are also, somewhat surprisingly, ideal for customisation. I had these two Visconti 1.3mm Stub nibs sharpened up by Mike Masuyama, and they are now amongst my favourite writers…
My favourite Italian fountain pen; a battle between old and new (Paragons)
A close tie between the Omas old style Paragon and the new style Paragon. Even though the new style Paragon is made from a more rudimentary resin, it’s heft and the smoothness of the stub nib make it hard to beat. The piston- filling mechanism is also far superior to the prone- to- leak old style- paragons. The new Paragon may be a less practical option with its excessive weight and size, but it is also far bolder. It’s not subtle, but you know your getting your money’s worth with this pen. Now if only I could afford the Arco-brown celluloid version…
Winner writing sample…
My fountain pen collection; Italy
- Omas Paragon, Black resin with BB Nib cut to Mottishaw Stub
- Omas Old style Paragon in Arco Verde Celluloid, Medium (Ruthinium) nib cut to OM Cursive Italic/ Stub
- Omas 360 in Arco Brown Celluloid with Medium Nib cut to Cursive Italic
- Omas Ogiva in Arco Celluloid Brown with Broad Gold Nib
- Visconti Divina Desert Springs with 1.3mm Stub sharpened to a Masuyama CI/ Stub
- Visconti “Maxi” Homo Sapiens with 1.3mm Stub sharpened to a Masuyama CI/ Stub