Friday, August 21, 2020

REVIEW: OPUS 88 FLOW FOUNTAIN PEN

REVIEW: OPUS 88 FLOW FOUNTAIN PEN
With Opus 88 creating pens that LITERALLY look like a flower vase these days, it's quite clear that they don't mind thinking outside the 'conventional design' box from time to time. The new (ok, new-ish, I'm late to the game, as usual!) Opus 88 Flow shows some signs of the creative madness, but is all in all still a rather tame beast - and I like it for that! The Flow is more or less the perfect balance between the oversized footprint of the Demonstrator (reviewed HERE) and Omar (reviewed HERE), combined with the funky, colorful, occasionally whacky, design of pens like the Fantasia (reviewed HERE) and Flora.
REVIEW: OPUS 88 FLOW FOUNTAIN PEN
Of all the Opus pens, the Flow has perhaps the least 'flowing' shape, with a straight overall profile. The Flow does get creative with a mix of both a decagonal faceted cap and blind cap, and a round section and barrel. It's enough to create a unique pen, but doesn't overdo it (read: it's not a vase!). The design is emphasized by a colorful material choice, combining an opaque colored resin for the decagonal parts and section, and transparent swirled ('Flow-y') resin for the barrel so you can still see the ink inside. 
REVIEW: OPUS 88 FLOW FOUNTAIN PEN
The red colorway I have here is a clear departure from the colorless demonstrator Opus pens I tend to stick with. I would personally go for the slightly more understated grey colorway, but I do have to admit that this red/yellow/black color scheme is quite fun and catches the eye, especially when filled with an equally colorful ink!
REVIEW: OPUS 88 FLOW FOUNTAIN PEN
The Flow doesn't have decorative metal bands like the Omar does, but instead receives a shiny chrome coin insert in the cap finial, with the words 'Flow - Opus 88' laser-engraved on it. Opus has a tendency to use a different clip design for every pen they create, most of which I tolerate but don't particularly love. While the clip on the Flow does follow the overall straight profile of the pen quite well, the grooved design is a bit too much in my opinion. The Flow is perhaps a missed opportunity to go for a clipless design, since the faceted cap prevents the pen from rolling away uncontrollably. Besides, the Flow isn't an ideal candidate for vest or pocket carry anyway, as it's quite a big pen.
REVIEW: OPUS 88 FLOW FOUNTAIN PEN
REVIEW: OPUS 88 FLOW FOUNTAIN PEN
L to R: Pelikan M1000, Esterbrook Estie Oversized, Opus 88 Omar, Opus 88 Flow, Lamy Safari, Lamy 2000
Talking about size, the Flow measures in at 14.9 cm/ 5.83" capped, and 13.6 cm/ 5.35" open. The section is relatively wide - just like the rest of the pen- and tapers down to 1.1 cm/ 0.43" at the thinnest point, before flaring out slightly. With an all-acrylic construction, the Flow is - unsurprisingly - a rather light pen for its size, at just 28 grams.

The words 'well-executed' and 'excellently put together' tend to fall out of my mouth when describing the Flow, because the build quality is excellent. I probably keep repeating it to death with every single Opus 88 pen I review, but it's simply true, and it's certainly one of the things I very much appreciate about their pens. In fact, it manages to put many higher-priced pens to shame!

Just like the other oversized models from Opus, the Flow borrows a few parts from existing Opus pens. A bit like how car manufacturers build different cars on the same platform: it's cheaper to manufacture, and the parts are tried and trusted! In this case, the Japanese eyedropper mechanism, and barrel are plucked directly from the Opus Demonstrator. 

I wrongfully assumed the section to also be identical to that on the Demonstrator and Omar, but it's actually noticeably shorter. Why they decided to change it up, I have no idea, especially because I really like the Demonstrator and Omar for their comfortable section design. That being said, the Flow's shorter section still has a decent size and comfortable shape, and the threads and step don't interfere too much with your grip. Along with its overall substantial size (the Flow isn't made for posting, but doesn't need it), a pleasantly girthy diameter, and lightweight all-resin construction, the Flow still takes a lot of the design ques that tend to make Opus pens excellent for long writing sessions.    
REVIEW: OPUS 88 FLOW FOUNTAIN PEN
As all Opus 88 pens, the Flow is a Japanese eyedropper. The back of the barrel unscrews as you would with a piston filler, but the "mechanism" inside is nothing more than a rod with an o-ring stopper at the end that plugs off the barrel when the pen is not in use, and prevents the pen from leaking. It's a brilliantly simple mechanism, and Opus implements it perfectly in all their pens: the large barrel of the Flow means you won't run out of ink anytime soon, and the o-ring on the section prevents leaks.
REVIEW: OPUS 88 FLOW FOUNTAIN PEN
Interestingly, Opus has recently made a switch to Bock nibs for some of their pens - a bit like Leonardo does. The only reason I could think of that warrants using both nib brands, would be to lower the dependence on a single supplier? In any case, the Flow only comes with a Bock nib, that means no more Pilot Parallell hack, no more swapping in the awesome Franklin-Christoph music nibs, and probably some people that will hold off on buying simply because it has a Bock writing end. 

The Bock nibs come with a simple laser-engraved logo engraved on the nib face, which looks cleaner and in my opinion suits the overall design of the pen much better than the classic flourishes engraved on stock JoWo nibs. It's a small detail, but I do appreciate it.
REVIEW: OPUS 88 FLOW FOUNTAIN PEN
Regardless of your nib preference swinging towards the Bock or JoWo camp, there's not much to say against the performance of this medium Bock nib. The Japanese eyedropper filling mechanism certainly does output a steady flow of ink, but it doesn't feel like it has a substantially wetter flow than any other Bock nib. The medium nib is nothing out of the ordinary, but it's smooth, responsive and... well, it does the job the same way a JoWo nib would. While Bock nibs at a certain point were noticeably more soft and flexible (giving them a slight edge over JoWo IMHO), I've found them to be much stiffer these days (but at the same time, also perhaps a bit more reliable?).
REVIEW: OPUS 88 FLOW FOUNTAIN PEN
The Opus 88 Flow is another cool and unique pen from the Taiwanese company. I especially like the mix of faceted and round profiles in the design. The swirly demonstrator acrylics add a playful character to the pen, although I'd love to see an all-clear demonstrator version of the Flow to match the clear Omar and Demonstrator models! 

At 116/ 135$ (at Appelboom. Sweeten the deal with 10% off using discount code 'friend') retail price, the Flow provides a hard-to-beat value. It's no secret, I continue to appreciate Opus 88's efforts in creating excellent quality products that turn heads, one way or another. And as long as they keep making those incredibly well-made, oversized, and most importantly, affordable fountain pens, I will happily keep reviewing them!
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Note: This product was sent on loan by our site sponsor 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 FLOW FOUNTAIN PEN

1 comment:

  1. Is the ink capacity less than 1/2 of the Koloro Demonstrstor?

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