The Platinum 3776 Century sits at an interesting crossroad in my personal gear journey. Drawing its name from the elevation of Mt. Fuji, it embodies several things I enjoy: Japanese craftsmanship (in food, tools, and monster movies), writing (especially with fountain pens), and wine (reds, in particular). Given that it came along at the peak of my interest in nibs and ink, we were bound to wind up together.
So, how much does all this serendipity cost? Get ready: 180 American dollars. Now, I didn’t pay anywhere near that. This particular wine-red model (known as the Bourgogne) cost me almost a century less – Just under $80 on Amazon. Here’s my full review of the Platinum 3776 Century after more than six months of use.
General Dimensions and Details
If I was asked to close my eyes and picture a fountain pen, my mind would conjure up an image very much like the Century. Its rounded cigar shape, translucent resin, and tasteful branding all fall into the comforting realm of clean-cut familiarity.
Pen dimensions! Here we go: The overall length of this mental picture is 5.5-inches with the cap screwed into place, or 6.3 with it posted and ready to write. The diameter of the grip area is 0.4-inches, with the body widening out to 0.5. Overall weight is a scant 0.7 ounces, excluding the minimal heft of the ink. Speaking of which, the pen’s liquid capacity varies depending on your fill method: 1.27-miliiters for Platinum’s proprietary cartridges, or 0.82ml with the converter.
Let’s dive into some of the details. Take a look at the ring around the base of the cap. It reads, “#3776 PLATINUM – MADE IN JAPAN.” There’s another logo and symbol in there, but the overall effect of the printing and text is very nice. I enjoy the little gold rings on the cap and body, too. They really pop against the wine-red resin, creating a premium look in just about any light. The same is true of the clip, which is polished enough to give off a reflection reminiscent of a funhouse mirror.
The nib, too, is nicely detailed. You’ve got a pair of mountainous-looking lines above a heart-shaped breather hole, and more tasteful branding. And see that “14K” mark? That’s right – This is a real-life golden nib! We’ll come back to its function later, but Platinum nailed the form factory with this pen.
Ergonomics and Capping
The care shown in the Century’s design caries over from the visual to the tactile. The smooth texture of its burgundy surface is welcoming to the hand, and its forward grip section offers just enough purchase for my medium/large hand. The threading can be a touch sharp if your fingers back out of position, but the overall ergos are strong.
But here’s the Century’s party trick: See that spring assembly inside the upper portion of the cap? That’s Platinum’s patented “Slip & Seal” mechanism. It creates a seal inside, restricting air flow to the nib. This, if you believe the marketing literature, will help keep that 14-karat tip inked for up to 24 months.
Obviously, I haven’t been able to fully vet this claim. But I can tell you that, even after a month of rest in my pen case, the Century has yet to give me a dry start. I’m inclined to give credence to the better part of Platinum’s claim.
Writing and Filling
After examining the pen from cap to post, it’s time to get to the point. Specifically, we need to talk about that fancy gold nib. For all its beauty and detail work, it’s not that great of a writer. Disappointing, right? But, let’s add a little color to this dreary statement.
First, I should clarify by saying that it’s still a more pleasurable writer than any ballpoint, rollerball, or gel pen in existence. The Diamine Blue Velvet ink flows nicely from the medium nib, with a good amount of color shading in its lines. It should be noted that, as with most Japanese pens, their “Medium” size is akin to a “Fine” nib from other manufacturers. But the problem here isn’t in the pen’s ability to lay down lines – It’s the AM-radio static it sends coursing up from the nib and into my hand. The feedback from this supposedly premium writer was so bad, in fact, that I sent the first pen back to its Amazon seller. The replacement that came a few days later was slightly better, but still scratchier than a humble Lamy Safari.
On the plus side, this taught me a thing or two about nib tuning. I grabbed some emery boards and micromesh and was able to smooth out the writing experience. But, even after these adjustments, I still can’t use this on my favorite Strathmore letter paper. The rough-ish texture of the stationary doesn’t play well with the Platinum.
There’s still some good here, though. While the fine-ish tip isn’t great for premium paper, it somehow pairs well with standard legal pads and notebooks. The feedback is also greatly reduced with my Clairfontaine Triomphe, which offers a much smoother surface. And, while I actually get better line variation with my Faber-Castell Loom and TWSBI ECO, the Century’s shading ability creates some really beautiful visual texturing.
A few quick words on filling. While you can always opt for Platinum’s proprietary cartridges, I paid $7 for a converter on Amazon. It’s a simple screw and piston affair, and I’ve had no issues with bottled ink.
Platinum 3776 Century Review – Final Thoughts
The Century and I have developed a deep love/hate relationship, more so than any other piece of gear in my collection. I love its look, feel, and style, but the limited writing utility makes it a truly frustrating piece. As such, I can’t recommend this particular pen. Especially not at its $180 retail price, which is absolutely unacceptable. I paid nearly $100 less, and I still feel like I’ve been taken for a ride. An elegant and occasionally beautiful ride, sure, but a disappointing trip all the same. If you’re looking to take your pen hobby to new heights, I’d avoid this Platinum’s particular mountain.
Editor: I recommend purchasing the Platinum 3776 Century at Amazon. Please consider that buying anything through any of the links on this website helps support BladeReviews.com, and keeps the site going. As always, any and all support is greatly appreciated. Thank you very much.