Omas Ogiva Alba Fountain Pen Introduction

Time markers for the video: 

  • Omas history – (0:55)
  • Color Options -(2:05)
  • Materials – (2:33)
  • Cotton Resin – (3:18)
  • Unboxing – (7:14)
  • Features – (9:58)
  • Filling It up – (11:09)
  • Inking it up – (13:56)
  • How it writes – (15:11)

I’m honored to be able to present to you today, the Omas Ogiva Alba fountain pen. Omas is an Italian pen company that I haven’t explored much in the past, so you may be wondering to yourself where this is coming from, and why Omas would want to do a US-exclusive on a pen like this with GouletPens.com. It all began this summer when Luca Baglione, the Sales and Brand Director of Omas in Italy visited our office here in Ashland, Va. He’d been aware of what we were doing, and seen our mission, purpose, vision, and values. Seeing a strong alignment between Omas as a company and Goulet, he showed me that there is a bond we share between our history, passion, and enthusiasm for the writing experience.

Omas Historical Timeline

Omas was established in 1925 by Cavaliere Armando Simoni, who was a craftsman, designer, creator, and entrepreneur. A man of my own heart! In fact, OMAS stands for Officina Meccanica Armando Simoni, or in English, Armando Simoni’s Machine Shop. Given that the Goulet Pen Company was established with my own wood turning and pen craftsmanship (something that is now just a part of my past), I immediately connect to the kind of passion that Armando had. His first model of pen that he designed back in 1927 was the Ogiva, a cigar-shaped pen that is popular for its smooth design and balanced shape, still in production today in the Omas shop in Bologna, Italy. It is fitting that this model should be used as a commemorative pen.

Omas Ogiva Alba collection in purple, orange, and green

In Italian, the word Alba means “dawn”. As Omas is approaching the dawn of its 90th anniversary in 2015, they wanted a pen that would capture the feeling of dawn. So they looked to the dawn of Aurora Borealis, and created three colors that captured the most spectacular colors of the boreal dawn. After a year and a half of experimentation, they decided upon the translucent demonstrator colors you now see in the Alba: orange, green and purple.

The Ogiva Alba is made out of Cotton Resin, which is a material made from cotton seeds that is durable, natural, and resists scratches and damage more than acrylic resin or injection-molded plastic used in most modern fountain pens. Cotton resin is warm to the touch, and provides a more secure grip to the pen as it resists the buildup of hand oils from your fingers as you write for long periods of time. Much like other natural materials like ebonite and celluloid, cotton resin is a favorite among avid writing enthusiasts because the material allows you to hold the pen with less pressure in your grip which lessens hand cramping and fatigue during long writing sessions. 

The process for making cotton resin was developed by Omas in the 1970’s, and is more time consuming than your typical resin pens used abundantly in the fountain pen world today. The cell walls of the cotton blossom are extracted and mixed with other proprietary materials to create seeds that are melted and injection-molded into a rough shape of a pen. Once the material is stabilized with a series of curing steps, the pen is then shaped by hand to create the final pen body. It’s a very time-consuming process that takes a lot of experience and craftsmanship to produce, especially on a design like the Alba that is fluted along the length of the pen body. 

The Ogiva Alba is gently fluted along the length of the pen body and cap

The Alba collection is available in a numbered Limited Edition with only 327 piston filling fountain pens per color worldwide, and is individually engraved on the underside of the grip of the pen. Each pen is made with an ebonite feed individually crafted and heat set to every single nib to ensure that the ink flow is as reliable and consistent as possible. Most fountain pens produced today use injection-molded plastic feeds, which are made consistently, but do not accommodate for individual variances on the underside of the fountain pen nib. Heat setting an ebonite feed allows the feed to mate up perfectly to the underside of the nib, to allow for proper contact and continuous capillary action.

The Ogiva is a piston-filling fountain pen, with an ink capacity of around 1.8ml so you will have plenty of ink to keep you going.

Omas has an extensive range of 15 different nibs that they manufacture in-house, hand-tuned and polished for consistency. A range of nibs this extensive is almost overwhelming, so we had decided to narrow the selection to what we see as the most popular offerings at GouletPens.com, which includes 5 sizes: 14k extra-fine “extra-flessibile” (flexible), 18k extra-fine, 18k fine, 18k medium, and 18k medium italic. These nibs are gold with rhodium plating to match the rhodium trim, and offer a smooth writing experience with a tiny touch of feedback on some of the smaller nib sizes. The broader sizes are quite smooth. The flow is consistent and wet, with nib sizes running what you might expect from other gold-nib European pen manufacturers. There are other sizes of flexible nibs as well as obliques and italics, and they are all available by special order if you know you have a particular nib that you prefer. We won’t charge anything additional to get one of these special nibs, it will just take a few extra weeks to coordinate.

Omas has an extensive array of 14k flexible and 18k conventional nibs

GouletPens.com has an exclusive introduction of the Ogiva Alba in the US, and we’re honored to be able to work with Omas in a way that we never have before. We share a love of the writing experience, the close family company, and hand-craftsmanship that is embodied by the Ogiva Alba. The Ogiva Alba is available for purchase at $495 at GouletPens.com, a pretty serious commitment for most. But you see that the history, care, and hand-craftsmanship that goes into a pen like this is something unique, and while this pen won’t be for everyone, it is certainly something that I think all of us as writing enthusiasts can appreciate and admire.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback about the Omas Ogiva Alba, so please leave me some comments below.

Write On,
Brian Goulet 

2017-10-11T03:56:31+00:00 November 4th, 2014|Pen Reviews|19 Comments
  • Mike

    I believe OMAS nibs are outsourced to bock now. They used to be made in-house though. These look nice, I'm in love with the bronze arco though. I'm saving up for one currently.

  • Tom Johnson

    Brian, great information. My first impression was "…another expensive pen?" Now I know why it is expensive and the development and quality behind it. Nice to know about the history and dedication of the company too. Not sure what color I'd choose, all 3 look fantastic. Also interesting is the development of the cotton resin and its characteristics. I'll be entering the write-in contest, keeping my fingers crossed! Thanks so much.

  • Expected timing for writing samples to show up in the nib nook to compare the nibs?

  • melissa

    this is off-topic but have you guys considered carrying bexley fountain pens? or toucan ink? thanks.

  • hmmm, good question. I'll see if I can find out. It was my understanding they did them in house, but I'll see what kind of clarification I can get on that.

  • We honestly just haven't gotten a lot of requests for Bexley, we could carry them though. We've looked into Toucan, but there were some logistical hurdles that kept us from jumping on that for the time being.

  • Yeah, I knew without a lot of depth and context that the price tag would seem high…but there is a reason for it. Of course, whether or not all of these things matter to you is up to you, I completely understand that a pen like this isn't for everyone! But for those that appreciate all the backstory and the romanticism, there's a lot here.

  • Otter

    Those are gorgeous pens! All three colors are beautiful, and after hearing the story of Omas's commitment to quality, I would love to be able to give my business to their company. But I will definitely have to save up for that one. Thanks for sharing that, Brian. The cotton resin information was especially interesting.

  • sean

    From my understanding, after they were sold off to LVMH in 2000, they stopped production on in-house nibs and switched to Bock. From what I understand the Bock nibs are great too and they still tune them by hand at the factory.

  • David

    Does this resin material have any odor?

  • Beth Irwin

    What ARE the other 15 nib sizes available for special order???? This is the first I've heard obliques are available & I'm an OBB lover in MB pens. What are the LARGER sizes we might order? Medium italic is a small nib for me.

  • jane pilecki

    They are expensive, but I can see why. I hope to be able to obtain a purple one. These are stunning and I think you made a good choice on the nibs you are carrying. Congratulations on being the exclusive in the USA for its introduction!

  • jvhalbrooks

    Super video, Brian. Could you tell us a bit about the "medium italic"? Is this a medium nib ground to an italic, or is it a medium in their italic range? How would it compare to, say, the 1.1mm Edison?

  • Tom Johnson

    Brian, I'm drawn to several things. The history/romance/tradition of Omas. To their commitment to quality, development of their own materials, craftsmanship, and the materials used. Ebonite feed, gold nib, and this Cotton Resin is so intriguing! Love your description of its feel to the touch. The Fluting is great, I imagine it feels so perfect in the hand. They catch the light like jewels. The finishing touches to the design are so classic. I'm leaning to the green, but love all three colors. Hmmmm.

  • Joe

    Brian, great video. How would I go about ordering one of these pens with a broad nib?
    Thanks
    Joe

  • daniel

    omas pens must be really special. I was reading john mottishaw's daily carry on an old fpgeeks article and he describes his omas as his long-time favorite pen. it's really telling that mottishaw, who is definetly among the, if not the most, skilled and adept nib technician in the world considers his omas his favorite pen. i dont have an omas but i'm really looking into one now.

  • Tom Johnson

    Daniel, this is quite a testament. I have never known anyone who owned an Omas, but they have pens that sell into the thousands of dollars and which are works of art. My question is how well the cap seals and keeps the nib from drying out. However, if you use it every day or two it doesn't matter. I rotate in and out of multiple pens as I have too many at a time, and the pens that seal well stay inked all the time. Thanks for the info.

  • mike

    were you able to confirm with omas whether they're in-house or not? from my research it seems that the nibs themselves are bock-made but the feeds are made in-house.

  • rickdm

    I bought an Omas Ogiva clear demonstrator about 16 years a go from a local pen shop. I think they were discontinuing it at the time. I paid about $110 for it, of course that was before Omas was bought by a luxury goods conglomerate. It is a nice pen, but had two issues. The first is that the cap did not seal and the pen would cry out in less than an hour (something I hope they have fixed). The second issue is that the vegetal material used for the pen body seems susceptible to staining. My clear demonstrator turned yellow after using Waterman Havana Brown. I suspect this is the same material, so be careful. Otherwise it is a great nib, smooth and with a bit of flex.