Opus 88 Picnic Fountain Pen Review

There is a fountain pen brand that seems to be taking US retailers by storm this past year called Opus 88. Now, they’ve been around for awhile, but have just been hitting the US stores in 2017 and 2018.

One thing of note is just how photogenic these pens are. Their models are generally brighter, glossy colors, and the designs are just really pleasing to the eye. Some pens are just “meh”, or look like every other fountain pen, but for some reason (to me) the Opus 88’s don’t.

Pen Chalet was kind enough to send me over one of the “Picnic” models, which is an eye dropper only series pen…scared yet?… It isn’t so bad.

Out of the Picnic series of four colors I picked what is probably the most boring one, brown, but it appealed to me. What can I say? And, I bet most people wouldn’t pick it so I wanted to see how well the color matched up to the picture. In real life it is so much better and actually has a sort of vintage vibe.

The pen comes in simple but tasteful packaging, a black faux-leather hard cardboard box in a grey paper sleeve. The box has white lettering and in a corner says “Since 1977”. The packaging kind of reminds me of what you might see in the 70s, but I digress. It really is ok, but won’t win any presentation beauty contests.

Upon opening the box you’ll find the pen nestled in a foam cutout and alongside it is a glass pipette for filling. I have to admit, this is the first time I’ve received an eye dropper only pen so it was interesting to see.

When I say eye dropper only, this is actually true. With some acrylic pens you can use a cartridge or converter, but also choose to seal up the treads really well and fill up the barrel with ink. Before trying this with just any pen, see if it is possible first or if anyone else has tried it….

What makes the Picnic different is that inside the barrel there is a sort of agitator that can be moved up and down slightly by unscrewing the end cap. This relieves air pressure (or adds it?) within the feed allowing the ink to flow. I’m not entirely sure of the science which also made using the pen initially somewhat unnerving.

Was I doing it right? Did I unscrew it too far? If I keep unscrewing will the ink shoot out everywhere?!…

All in all, I probably was overthinking it and it was fine.

To fill the pen you unscrew the section and nib and use the pipette to transfer ink from a bottle to the barrel. The pipette worked pretty well, but was hard to get a good fill on so I had to transfer ink a few times to get to the level I wanted.

I decided to fill the pen up with Noodler’s Apache Sunset, a beautiful orange-ish ink that has awesome shading properties. It’s like you’re writing with hues of different orange/yellow colors from the same pen. While it was a touch too orange to be a perfect pairing, I feel it went with the brown well.

One thing I really like about the barrel being translucent is how the same material can provide different shades depending on thickness or overlapping. The machined parts on the inside take on more of a tan color while the see-through parts maintain more of a caramel. The solid ends are the darkest letting the least light through, but I love how much contrast you get.

Once filled I replaced the section and nib, then cracked the end cap as instructed to get things going. Again, I wasn’t sure how much to open it, so I gave it just a couple turns.

It took the ink a little bit to fill the feed, but once it was there it flowed well.

The pen comes with a stainless steel #5 nib made by JoWo which is a trusted brand. For the size of the pen I found the nib to be a little small and would probably have preferred one step up to balance it out.

I chose a broad nib and it put down a very wet line. The flow is actually about perfect for my preference as I enjoy the ink pooling a bit on the page before drying. With a broad this is more easily attainable…

The writing experience of the nib I would describe as glassy, gliding across the page without much feedback. I did notice some pretty consistent slow starts on the first vertical stroke, enough so to test it in increments for the review.

After that first stroke, the nib felt great and is enjoyable to write with.

While writing I have not posted the pen, partly due to the complex I seem to have with the shut-off valve, but it is possible to. I feel the pen is big enough to be very comfortable unposted.

For $99 I think you get a really quality pen that is beautiful, and even a bit on the “fun” side. I’ve enjoyed using it quite a lot.

Now, is the eye dropper experience one that I enjoy going through? It is really easy to use, but for me personally I would probably choose a piston or converter style out of convenience. Cleaning requires flushing the pipette, barrel, and section/feed while other pens are a little easier to do in one swoop.

But, if you like eye dropper pens or have been wanting to try out an eye dropper pen I think you’d be hard pressed to find a nicer one. Don’t let my laziness sway you if the pen is calling…

Thanks again to Pen Chalet for kindly sending the Picnic over. Which color would you choose?

Baron Fig Squire - Blackout Edition Giveaway!

It’s been a little while since I’ve done a giveaway at The Clicky Post, so we’re going to be doing two pens this time… Happy New Year!

Up for grabs are two of the recent Blackout edition of the popular Baron Fig Squire rollerball pen for two winners! The Squire has become one of my go-tos over the last couple of years and definitely wanted to share it.

If you haven’t tried the Squire yet, now is a good way to try and get your hands on one…

Baron Fig Blackout Squire.png

How to Enter (Giveaway “Rules”):

- Giveaway will run through Friday, January 4th and will end at 11:59pm Arizona Time, USA

- To enter, leave a comment below (limited to one entry per person; no cheating!): What is a pen you can’t seem to leave the house without?

- I will arrange the entries in numerical order and randomly select a winner.  The winners will be announced on the blog on Saturday, January 5th and will need to connect with me within a week to claim their prize. 

- This giveaway is open to both US and International readers.

And… Special Coupon: If you’ve been looking into getting something from Baron Fig, you can save $10 off with a coupon from my referral link. This isn't a sponsorship link, but can help me to purchase more goods for review or to be given away from the folks at Baron Fig.

Fisher Space Pen - Clutch Review

With the 50th anniversary of the Apollo program this year, we can’t help but think of all things space. (or, at least I can’t…) One element of the space experience was the ability for the astronauts to keep notes while in orbit or heading to the moon, and a key player in this was the Fisher Space Pen by Paul Fisher. Now, throughout the years there were various tools used for writing in space: pencils, grease sticks on slate, felt-tip markers… but one that seems to have stuck is the Fisher.

Due to their reliable, write in any circumstances (even up to 250 degrees…who has THAT job?…), they’ve become a staple in the EDC world as a durable pocket essential.

My personal favorite in the Fisher lineup is the original astronaut pen, the AG7, but I’m always down with trying out a new model.

Pen Chalet was kind enough to send me the Clutch pen by Fisher to review, so special thanks to them!

The traditional “bullet” pen by Fisher is an especially popular EDC, but what if you’re looking for a nice durable click style? While I love the AG7 and it’s all brass construction, it is definitely more of a “dress” pen in my opinion (even though we literally took them to space). I’ve used some of the less expensive Fisher pens like the Space-Tec which has a super cool vintage vibe, but for something a little more sturdy the Clutch may just be the ticket.

The version I received is a matte black anodized aluminum which certainly has some heft, but isn’t too heavy. But, feels like a tank. Weight wise comes in just at 1 oz which is about perfect.

As far as aesthetics, this pen looks pretty cool I think. There is a good amount going on, but it balances out well. The grip section is a hexagonal shape that is slightly larger than the round main barrel. There is also a smaller matching hexagonal piece up near where the clip matches the knock.

Just below the grip there is a light knurling pattern which some texture to grab onto when unscrewing the tip to swap the refill. While writing I actually find the inside of my middle finger rests on this knurled section which creates a really strong hold on the pen.

From first glance I thought the larger hex shape of the grip might be a bit bulky or uncomfortable, but I find that my thumb and index finger quickly and comfortably find their place on one of the large facets. No qualms whatsoever.

If you like a satisfying click, this pen is sure not to disappoint. A good amount of tension, a clear “engagement”, and solid audible click. Again, the mechanism fits the pen and feels extremely sturdy.

The clip is made from bent steel and has a really tight spring. It takes a decent tug to move it from the barrel, but it affixes easily to pockets. Even though it is strong, I could see a possibility of it bending out if it was caught and pulled hard while attached to a thick pocket, but would take a good amount of force.

I have to admit when I first saw this pen it wasn’t really one I was dying to get my hands on, but now that I’ve tried it I’d put it up there in my top 3 Fisher made pens. It is Fisher’s answer to a retractable workhorse of a pen that is sure to take a beating.

Price wise it is a bit on the spendy side for a Fisher retailing for $50 (when you can get a bullet for about $20), but I think the pen fits the price. Pen Chalet even has theirs listed for $40 to save a few bucks.

If I had some bones to pick with the pen it wouldn’t be many, but I do wish that it had a slightly slimmer profile. Doesn’t diminish my new found appreciation for the pen, but would be a “want”. The hexagonal barrel exceeds 1/2” in diameter which makes for a pretty stout writing instrument, but not unwieldy. For who they designed it for I think it is pretty spot on (people working in harsh conditions usually with gloves), but if they made a Clutch S model with a smaller diameter that fit a bit more normal carry circumstances I think it would do well.

Well, there you have it. The Clutch has made it into my top 3 Fisher made pens. I think it filled a void in their lineup that had been missing with a ultra-durable, tactical looking model that outsiders have been filling for awhile. They have had what has been called the Matte Black or Police Pro pens for some time, but didn’t quite fit what the Clutch was solving for.