Review: Opus 88 Koloro

Kudos to Opus 88 for designing a truly distinctive pen. The Koloro is available in four different colour schemes; this is the red. Each is made not just of the usual translucent plastic, but a generous helping of satin-finished ebonite in an accent shade.

I personally really like the design, even though red would not have been my first choice of colour (I’m a blue man, myself). Capped, it’s a sizeable pen with presence.

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The Koloro stands up well against the Ixion and the Pelikan M805 in size.

Most importantly, the design is executed to extremely high standards. The surface finish is consistent, and there are no detectable joins between the materials.

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Everything is very nicely finished.

The Opus 88 logo is very neatly engraved into the cap.

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This font is so cool.

The filling experience is unusual — for those of us who have never owned a high-end Japanese eyedropper, at least. The box contains a simple rubber-and-glass pipette, which you use to drip ink directly into the pen barrel, from the section end.

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The box is sturdy but not particularly flash.

Then, screw the section back on and an o-ring takes care of sealing the ink safely inside the demonstrator barrel.

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You don’t have to worry about ink leaking out here.

But what’s this? A metal rod runs down the length of the barrel. It isn’t a piston or vac rod, and has no role in filling at all. Its purpose is to operate a shutoff valve at the top of the section, which starves the feed of ink. This is nominally useful for air travel and for preventing hiccups caused by heat expansion.

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There’s the rod.

The valve is operated by the ebonite knob on the end of the barrel. Unscrew to write.

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If you forget to unscrew this the pen won’t write.

Uncapping takes 3.5 turns by my count, which is borderline acceptable. Once uncapped the pen sits well in the hand, with a good swell in the barrel. The section is long and has a flair at the nib end, so threads stay well out of the way. But uncapped the pen is not as big as it originally looked. The nib is a small #5, and the section is much narrower than the size of the cap would suggest.

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The small nib and narrow section are really obvious when compared to, say, a Namisu Ixion.

The writing experience has precision, but little personality. The steel nib is marked fine, and it’s definitely that. Apply some pressure and you get a little line variation as well as markedly more flow, and if this were my nib I’d try to open up the tines to make it run wetter by default. Right now, it’s rather dry. On the plus side, for such a fine and dry nib it’s really smooth. The tipping is nicely finished.

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See what I mean about it being fine?

With a fine nib and enormous capacity (I reckon 3ml would be no problem), a single fill will last you absolutely ages. That and the shutoff valve mean the Koloro would make a good pen for business travel — if you don’t mind the smell of ebonite following you to your meetings. Or having to find a way to eyedropper fill from a hotel room when you inevitably leave the glass pipette at home.

For me the Opus 88 Koloro would be vastly improved by a #6 nib and I would choose a wider line to make better use of that capacity. I really like the bravery of the design and the quality execution, but I didn’t quite click with the nib.

At under $100, the Koloro is pretty good value, comparing favourably to the Taccia Spectrum in my eyes. The Koloro is available from Pen Chalet, who loaned this example to United Inkdom at no charge.

 

 

One thought on “Review: Opus 88 Koloro

  1. Pingback: Opus 88 Koloro fountain pen review | United Inkdom

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