Tuesday, May 15, 2018

OPUS 88 KOLORO DEMONSTRATOR FOUNTAIN PEN REVIEW

Opus 88 Koloro Demonstrator fountain pen review
I must admit that I have a tendency of being rather skeptical towards new brands. However sometimes it's almost impossible to ignore them... especially when they are onto something good!

The brand we're looking at today, Opus 88, isn't even technically a new brand. It has existed for over two  decades, but used to be mainly focused on handmade high-end pens (including some very nice urushi work!). They never had a worldwide breakthrough, until the Koloro pens were launched. 
Opus 88 Koloro Demonstrator fountain pen review
I had the chance to try them out during my recent visit to the new brick&mortar Fontoplumo store, and I fell in love with the Koloro Demonstrator right away. There's a lot about this pen that makes it punch far above its class, while remaining relatively affordable. So let's dive straight in! 
Opus 88 Koloro Demonstrator fountain pen review
The Opus 88 Koloro Demonstrator is, of course a demonstrator pen (duh). The design is very simple: just a straight cylindrical flattop shape. The ends taper ever-so-slightly, but the profile is overall fairly straight. The black matte clip is the only piece of hardware on the outside of the pen, and I really love how it contrasts with the clear acrylic construction of the pen. 
Opus 88 Koloro Demonstrator fountain pen review
The insides of the pen all received a frosted finish to give it a matte appearance. This finish is incredibly even and consistent throughout the entire pen. The finials on top and bottom of the Koloro are polished, to contrast with the rest of the pen. 
Opus 88 Koloro Demonstrator fountain pen review
Let's be clear (pun intended): demonstrators are ruthless when it comes to fit and finish issues. If something is wrong, even by a little bit, it'll inevitably show up. There's no place to hide production flaws. I inspected every inch of the Koloro Demonstrator and I have to say they really nailed the production across the board. All parts are polished perfectly and fit together with tight tolerances. The clip is perhaps the weakest point of the entire pen. It could've been made from slightly thicker steel to give it a sturdier feel, and the matte black coating might wear down over time. 
Opus 88 Koloro Demonstrator fountain pen review
Opus 88 Koloro Demonstrator fountain pen review
L to R: TWSBI 580Al, Opus 88 Koloro, Opus 88 Koloro Demonstrator, Lamy aion, Lamy 2000, Lamy Vista
The Koloro Demonstrator is a substantial pen, and the imposing design without taper helps to accentuate that. It measures 14.8 cm (5.88") open, and 13.9 cm (5.47") uncapped. Together with the fairly consistent width of 1.8 cm (0.688"), this makes for a noticeably oversized pen. However, the all-acrylic construction keeps the weight low (total of just 27g). 
Opus 88 Koloro Demonstrator fountain pen review
Despite the size, it's a rather comfortable fit for my hand. The section has a nicely tapered shape that narrows down a bit compared to the barrel, but not too much. The threads are shallow, but more importantly the step towards the barrel is low enough to not interfere with my grip at all. The writing experience is comfortable and fatigue-free. Of course it's good to keep in mind that I'm partial to large pens, and I'm definitely not saying this will be everyone's taste. But it has to be said that Opus 88 managed to make a large pen that doesn't feel unwieldy or imposing. 
Opus 88 Koloro Demonstrator fountain pen review
On to the filling system: this is probably the area where you could easily mistake the Koloro Demonstrator for a much more expensive alternative. The filling system is what's called a Japanese Eyedropper, something you normally only see on high-end urushi pens and the like. Throughout the barrel, you can see an ebonite shut-off rod that can be moved up and down by twisting the blind cap. 
Opus 88 Koloro Demonstrator fountain pen review
The rubber seal at the end of the ebonite shut-off rod
In the closed position, this rod shuts off access to the feed, which leaves a tiny volume enclosed that can be filled with ink (the writing reservoir, if you will).  Opening it up allows ink from the barrel to flow towards the feed, which creates a wetter ink flow. The entire barrel can be eyedroppered with ink (a ridiculous ink capacity of 3-4 ml, I haven't actually measured it). The pen is made for eyedropper use through rubber o-rings at the nib unit threads, and barrel threads. I added some silicon grease on the barrel threads as well, just to be sure.
Opus 88 Koloro Demonstrator fountain pen review
The nib is a stock JoWo unit, with the Opus 88 brand name laser-engraved across it, and some standard flourishes that I don't think really fit the overall modern appearance of the rest of the pen. 

The plus side of a stock JoWo nib is that you can easily swap it out with any other nib that suits you. No need to do so right away though, because this stock unit is an extremely pleasant writer! It's a broad nib, smooth as butter and with a nice rich ink flow. Depending on the paper, it can be a bit prone to skipping, especially with oils from your hands it can occasionally have a hard time. All in all though, it's a great nib to use that lays down a rather nice broad line. 
Opus 88 Koloro Demonstrator fountain pen review
The best part: 100 EUR (120 USD) for all this! In terms of value for money, I'd put it alongside the TWSBI 580. It's a bit more expensive, but the build quality seems better (seemingly no issues with cracking!), and I'm a big fan of the minimal and clean aesthetic. I'm having a hard time finding any downsides about this pen. It would be an understatement to say I've had a pleasant first encounter with this (not really) new brand!

Note: I received a discount on the purchase of this product from Fontoplumo. I was in no way influenced in the making of this review, the opinions shared in this review are completely my own! This post does not contain affilate links.
Opus 88 Koloro Demonstrator fountain pen review

4 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. It does not post, but with a length of 13.9 cm uncapped, it's more than long enough to use comfortably (for comparison, a lamy 2000 is about 12.5 cm uncapped!).

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  2. I quite liked this pen too, more so than the regular Koloro (the non-transparent model).

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    Replies
    1. Me too! I like the modern design of this one. Although the combination of acrylic and ebonite on the regular Koloro is also quite nifty. I'll review it at some point as well.

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