OPUS 88 Review Part 2: Picnic Brown

Part Two! This is the second part in my OPUS 88 review series. Today I am reviewing the OPUS 88 Picnic in Brown acrylic. This was graciously sent to me by OPUS 88 for review.

Packaging: The pen arrives inside of a black box with a grey slip cover. On the cover in silver print are the words “OPUS 88 Fine Writing Instruments” and a company logo. The inside black box is textured with a magnetic flip-front closure and has the words “OPUS 88 Fine Writing Instruments” and “Since 1977” embossed in a grey/white color. Inside the box, a foam insert with cut outs holds the pen snugly in place as well as a glass eyedropper for filling the pen. There is also a small instruction booklet and care guide.

First Thoughts: The design and color is very different from the Koloro. This cigar-shaped pen is a rich toffee or caramel brown color with a gloss finish.

Design: The pen is made from translucent brown acrylic and has rounded finials, a classic cigar shape, and a barrel that tapers slightly toward the ink shut-off valve. The teardrop-shaped clip is tight but easy to use and holds the pen in place effectively. There is also a bit of decorative engraving on the sides of the clip. On this model, “OPUS 88” is printed in white where the cap band would be. Again, I really like the minimal branding as it lets the pen speak for itself and doesn’t rely on the brand to sell the pen. The cap screws on securely and there is a slight step down from the barrel to the grip section, which is made from the same brown acrylic. The threads are noticeable, but not sharp, and they don’t get in the way when writing, even when holding the pen higher up on the barrel. The grip section is smooth and flares out near the nib creating a finger stop.

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Nib Performance: The Picnic line comes with a #5 stainless steel nib. I received a fine nib for this review, as well. There is a small amount of scrollwork along the edges of the nib and the word “OPUS 88” and “F” for fine are engraved in the center of the nib. The pen wrote well right out of the box and gives a pleasant feedback as you write. I filled this pen with Pelikan Edelstein Aquamarine ink and it wrote fairly dry. I learned from the Koloro to open the valve, and I was able to adjust the flow to my preferred amount of wetness.

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Filling System: The filling system for the Picnic series is the same as the Koloro series. To fill the pen, start by unscrewing the grip section from the barrel. I found that opening the ink shut-off valve slightly makes it easier to fill the pen, as it moves the shut-off rod back into the barrel and allows the ink to more freely enter the barrel. Then take the glass eyedropper and fill it with your favorite ink, approximately 2ml, and squeeze it into the barrel. Contrary to ordinary eyedropper pens, there is no need to add silicone grease to the grip and barrel threads since OPUS 88 added O-rings  to form a tight leak-proof seal. When you don’t need to write, you simply turn the shut-off valve clockwise until it stops to close the valve and prevent ink from reaching the nib and feed. This also prevents burps and leaks when the pen is jostled around. When you are ready to write, simply turn the valve counter-clockwise, which opens the valve and lets the ink flow freely. From my experience the tighter you close the valve, the drier the pen writes. The more open the valve, the wetter it writes. I also found that I could leave the valve open slightly so the pen was always ready to use, but this does potentially open the pen up for burps and leaks, so do this at your own risk.

Value: The retail price for this model is $99 USD. Similar to the Koloro, I feel this is really a great price for what you get. The brown acrylic has a strong high-quality feel to it. It writes beautifully, and you can write for days especially with a fine nib.

Overall: Similar to the Koloro, I think this pen is amazing. The material has a deep, rich color and feels well-built. The peace of mind knowing the shut-off valve helps prevent leaks and burps, for those like me that are not exactly gentle on their pens, is a top selling point. After testing both of these pens, I feel that OPUS 88 has really added some amazing products to the fountain pen community, and I am looking forward to see what they develop in the years to come.

Specs:

Name: OPUS 88 Picnic Brown

Design: Brown acrylic

Length: 145mm (5.7in)

Posted: 161.1mm (6.3in)

Diameter: 13.8mm (0.5in)

Weight: 21g (0.7oz)

Nib: Stainless Steel #5

Filling System: Eye Dropper with shut off valve

Pros: Durable materials, wonderful colors, huge ink supply

Cons: You need to open the ink valve to get the pen ready to write

In the same price range:

TWSBI Vac 700R

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