Monday, October 28, 2013

Platinum Carbon Desk Pen

There's a neat little pen that I recently discovered, called the Platinum Carbon Desk Pen. Put simply, it's a $12 extra-fine nib Japanese fountain pen, that can use pigmented ink like the Platinum Carbon Black that is included with it (in a single cartridge). There's really one reason why you'd want this pen, and that's to write really, really fine. You can see how it compares to other nibs in the Nib Nook.

It's an attractive pen, but by itself it's more function over form. The cap that is included with the pen leaves a little to be desired, but c'mon, it's cheap. If you want to jazz it up, then you can get the base for it, and that's going to run you an extra $20. It's not a super-heavy base, but it definitely gets the job done. It has some kind of cap insert in the base, so it does seal the nib of the pen. I only tested it for a couple of days and the pen started up just fine, I'm not sure how long it would last sitting in that base before the nib would dry out. But it seems to do the job, and I kind of like the look of it!

Platinum Carbon Desk Pen, extra-fine steel nib.
Platinum Carbon Desk Pen Base, sold separately from the pen. 

So here are some of my thoughts:

  • Inexpensive- $12 for the pen, an extra $20 for the base (not needed to use the pen, though). Even $32 for both, that's pretty good.
  • Very fine nib- it's a Japanese extra-fine, and it lives up!
  • Attractive- it looks like it costs more than it does
  • Writes well- flows consistently, and is pretty smooth (with some feedback, like most Platinum nibs)
  • Cap isn't postable- because of the long body
  • Converter isn't included, that's an extra $7.50
  • Only available in one color, one nib size
  • Cap is pretty ugly!

Even with these cons, it's such a great writing pen for the price. Of course I'm a retailer and I sell these pens, so take what I say with that into account. But honestly, I'm impressed, and I don't even like pens with fine nibs like these for my own daily writing. I've actually taken one of these guys for use on my own desk.

Platinum Carbon Desk Pen Set, the pen with the base. 

I don't think this is a pen that typically gets a lot of fanfare. I don't even remember ever seeing it or reading about it before I discovered it in my Platinum catalog. Rachel first mentioned to me, "hey, did you know Platinum has this pen with an extra-fine nib?". That's all it took, and now I have it in my hands and in our store! We carry the pen, the base, and a package set with both together with a bit of a price break.

If you have any experience with this pen or any questions about it, I'd love to hear it in the comments below!

Write On,
Brian Goulet


  1. This is a popular pen with sketchers because of the extra-fine nib. Some have even modified it (by trimming the length) to make it more portable!

  2. What Leigh said! The ink can also be washed over without running, which makes it a popular choice for water colourists.

    Cathy Johnson is one person I know of who's shortened their pen, http://artistsjournalworkshop.blogspot.co.uk/2011/06/yet-another-new-pen.html

  3. What happened to your thumb!? Hope it's ok! Desk pens seem pretty cool, too bad I don't have a desk! :P

  4. I have the pen and base. The nib still has ink after sitting in the base unused for over 2 weeks and I've never had a dry nib when taking it from the base. (carbon black cartridge)

  5. No directly related but anyway. Sometimes I re-watch some of your early videos. It's amazing how amateurish they look like (it's not a criticism). For instance the one about Clairefontaine Triomphe is wonderfull with the shelves full of stuff in your "dinning" room. Now your videos look really professional. The information in the old or new videos always valuable. Please jeep going.

  6. Brian, the Platinum Carbon pen has been a very popular pen in the sketching world for a long time, because of its fine nib and a feed that accommodates Platinum Carbon Black ink well.

    You're right that not being able to post the pen, and even the overall length, can be a problem if you want to carry one around. Here's how some of us have solved that problem and I carry one with me everywhere, in much the same way as one might carry a Kaweco Sport: http://www.larrydmarshall.com/quick-sketching-trying-out-the-platinum-carbon-pen/

  7. This pen is a great bargain. Platinum has an entire line of desk pens for the Japanese domestic market, this one is near the bottom of the range. I use the pen in the stand daily, but have had it sitting in the base without use for over 3 weeks while on a business trip with ink (Platinum carbon black) in the pen and it started right up without hesitation on my return. This must be due to the combination of the enclosed feed and semi-hooded nib as well as the spring loaded cap sealer in the pen stand tulip. Should you need to do a thorough clean of the pen, see Brian's breakdown of the Platinum Cool for how to breakdown this pen as well (the nib and feed pull-out backward after unscrewing the metal threaded part of the section).

  8. Frank G. - Thank you so much for sharing this. I have been waiting for an answer to my question on Goulet's product page about removing the nib and feed. When I checked Brian's Blog review yesterday you had posted the answer! So I ordered the package set. I love the Balance and Cool pens for three reasons: they feel & write wonderfully, they can stay capped for extended periods without drying out, and they can be cleaned out thoroughly if need be. I have had Platinum Carbon Black in my Cool pen since October 27, 2014. Today is 12/23/14 and it writes at once with no flow issues! Two months without cleaning or flushing with an ink recommended for weekly flushing. Filling the cartridge with a syringe so re-filling does not flush the nib and feed out. Amazing pen, love writing with them.


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