Friday, December 27, 2019

REVIEW: OPUS 88 OMAR DEMONSTRATOR FOUNTAIN PEN

Review: Opus 88 Omar Demonstrator fountain pen
I've raved about Opus 88 before, and I may just do it again today! Of the -now 4- pens I've tried (three of which I've reviewed before, the Koloro Demonstrator, Fantasia and now this one), Opus has managed to keep up a remarkably high and steady standard across all of them. 

The Taiwanese brand (apparently founded in 1977 already, according to the box?) took off a couple years ago with a refreshing collection of fountain pens that utilized combinations of ebonite and acrylic, excellent JoWo nibs, and a Japanese eyedropper filling system. But I think the real reason they suddenly got so much attention, is because of the excellent quality-to-price ratio. My favorite back then was the Koloro Demonstrator (now just called 'Demonstrator', but I'll refer to it as Koloro to keep things clear): an oversized, completely clear acrylic pen. 
Review: Opus 88 Omar Demonstrator fountain pen
The Omar is one of Opus' latest models, and didn't blow me away right away (although they do come in very interesting combinations of transparent and 'cracked ice' acrylics), but when I heard of a demonstrator version coming out... Now THAT'S something I was interested in!
Review: Opus 88 Omar Demonstrator fountain pen
The Omar Demonstrator is again a seriously large pen. It makes sense that I enjoy it just as much as the original Koloro Demonstrator, because in essence... it's identical. That's to say, all threads and internals are machined to the exact same specifications on both pens. That also means that basically all parts are interchangeable with each other. So if you'd want, you could go around mix-and-matching your own unique design (Pro tip: the cap of the Koloro Demo on the Omar body looks quite sleek!). 

On the outside, the design is obviously different. We're looking at a much more 'sculpted' design, compared to the completely straight and angular Koloro Demo. The Omar has a more elegant, bulbous shape. Although on a pen this size, elegant is perhaps not the right word to use. It's still a chunky-looking, beefy pen.
Review: Opus 88 Omar Demonstrator fountain pen
Opus' pens are generally quite light on trims and decoration -perhaps a way of keeping the cost of the pen down? The Omar has a chunky clip, the shape of which I'm not particularly fond of. Where I found the clip on the Koloro Demo a bit flimsy, this one is too tight. Then again, these pens are probably too big to carry in a pocket anyway. 
Review: Opus 88 Omar Demonstrator fountain pen
The Omar has two wide, matte black metal rings, one at the cap finial, one at the back finial. Together with the large, chunky overall shape of the pen, the trim doesn't look particularly refined either. However, it does look sleek and creates a stark contrast against the transparent acrylic. The only downside about the (powder-coated?) matte black trim is its' proneness to scuffing and becoming glossy with use.
Review: Opus 88 Omar Demonstrator fountain pen
Where I've always been quite impressed with the build quality on Opus pens, the Omar manages to take that to the next level. Threads are crisp (also internally, quite important on a demonstrator pen of course) and machining marks are nowhere to be found. Polishing is exceptionally consistent. Surfaces inside the cap, barrel, and section are again chemically etched to create a nice matte finish, and once again the consistency with which they applied this etching is impressive. Opus can easily compete in a far higher price category when it comes to build quality. 
Review: Opus 88 Omar Demonstrator fountain pen
Review: Opus 88 Omar Demonstrator fountain pen
L to R: Pelikan M805, TWSBI 580Al, Ensso Piuma, Opus 88 Omar, Opus 88 Koloro Demonstrator, Lamy Safari, Lamy 2000
I was quite surprised when I realized the Omar is an even bigger pen than the already-large Koloro Demonstrator. It measures exactly 15cm (5.9") with the cap on and 13.7cm (5.4") without. It's a very bulky 1.8cm (0.7") in diameter at the widest point. So both in width and length, it trumps the Koloro Demonstrator or a Montblanc 149 for that matter. With its 34 grams, the Omar has a bit more heft than the Koloro Demo, too. 
Review: Opus 88 Omar Demonstrator fountain pen
Not a fan of oversized pens? Then it's safe to say the Omar may not make your shortlist. But it's not as terrible as it may seem. Despite its' mammoth size, the Omar Demo still manages to be a very comfortable pen to write with. The bulbous shape fits the hand naturally, and it narrows down towards the section to make for a grip section that's not too wide at all. The pen has just enough heft to let you feel it's there, yet not enough to cause fatigue. 

The section is a decent size, and has a nice taper to it, flaring out at the end. The shape of the section invites your grip more towards the front, keeping your fingers away from the threads. The threads themselves never bothered me, but there's a small step right behind them that's a bit noticeable.
Review: Opus 88 Omar Demonstrator fountain pen
I'm not big on eyedroppers, but I do like Japanese eyedroppers. It's still a simple system (it can hardly be called a filling mechanism, I guess), but adds a shutoff valve to temper the massive 3.5ml-ish ink capacity when you need to. It's sealed shut when not in use, ideal for traveling (unlike normal eyedroppers), and the ink flow can be controlled by simply opening or closing the valve while you write. It's pretty great, apart from when you need to clean it out.
Review: Opus 88 Omar Demonstrator fountain pen
The stock JoWo nib that all Opus 88 pens come with is an excellent choice for everyday writers. The nibs are reliable (probably more so than those from Bock), albeit maybe a touch bland. The EF on this pen actually lays down a very fine line, and it has the feedback you should expect with a nib that fine. I quite like it for notetaking, and with an ink capacity like this, it lasts ages before needing a refill. To take better advantage of an ink capacity like this, pair it up with something broad or a stub nib, like the FANTASTIC Franklin-Christoph Music nib... or a Pilot Parallel?
Review: Opus 88 Omar Demonstrator fountain pen
Opus 88 scored massive internet points when the Pilot Parallel pen hack came up, and so I had to give it a go. You just unscrew the stock JoWo nib section as a whole (and remove the rubber o-ring right behind it) and throw in the nib and feed of a Parallel pen. Plenty simple. Congratulations, you now hold a pretty brilliant calligraphy pen with a MUCH more comfortable body than that of the Pilot Parallels and a ridiculously large ink capacity! Although for the OCD peeps like me: the frosted finish on the inside of the section does get messed up a bit when you do this pen hack.
Review: Opus 88 Omar Demonstrator fountain pen
My verdict on the Opus 88 Omar Demonstrator? There's a lot to like about it: First of all, the build quality is bar none. Secondly, I like how Opus has a way of coming up with designs that are exciting and just a little different. And above all -need I repeat it any more- the value proposition is pretty perfect. 108€/ 126$ Is definitely in that 'next-level pen' category, but it's a very fair price for the quality you get in return. I'd be tempted to put this up against the -also great- Leonardo Momento Zero Grande, but then you're looking at a price that's almost three times higher.
Appelboom
Note: This product was sent by Opus 88 and Appelboom, so I could write this review. I was in no way influenced in the making of this review, the opinions shared in this review are completely my own! This post contains affiliate links.
Review: Opus 88 Omar Demonstrator fountain pen

2 comments:

  1. What a great review! I've been fancying one of these for a while. In the end I went with the Opus 88 Picnic in Purple, but only because I'm a big fan of purple and I got a great deal on it for Fountain Pen Day. This might just be my next pen purchase though.......

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    1. Thank you Nikki-Ann! I haven't tried the Picnic myself yet, but really all Opus pens are pretty great quality. You can't really go wrong with them, especially when you get a good deal!

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