Ink and Pen Notes: Omas 360 Vintage with Montblanc Bordeaux

Omas 360 Vintage with Montblanc Bordeaux ink bottle

The Omas 360 Vintage has a name I hate. It’s vintage in name only and there are in fact vintage (meaning old) Omas 360s. I feel like I have to mention this every time I say this pen’s name. This a modern pen I picked up at the 2013 DC Pen show. I review it here. The nib started as a factory medium but I had Mike Masuyama turn it into a fine.
It’s easily the wettest fine nib that I have and also the one with the most spring. While it may not meet vintage nib flexibility standards it’s the most flexible nib I have. It doesn’t really suit my writing style, the line is too wide, but I still have fun using it.
Montblanc Bordeaux is my favorite ink, plain and simple. It’s topped my Top 5 Inks list since, well, since I made the list. I reviewed the ink here.
Together, they were fun to use. Although I couldn’t really use them as my daily writer which is all due to the pen. But it was fun to play with the flexible nib on weekends (a weekend pen?). Thanks to the very wet nib the ink doesn’t last too long in this pen. I inked the pen December 28th and it went dry today.

Ink & Pen Notes: KarasKustoms Ink and Montblanc Permanent Blue

KarasKustoms Ink (silver) fine nib

When I empty a pen, either by writing or otherwise, I usually write a few notes about the pen and ink for future reference. I decided to try moving those notes to the website. This isn’t an original idea as David from NibsAnd.Ink and has been doing this regularly when he inks his pens.
I inked up the KarasKustoms Ink with Montblanc Permanent Blue back on November 26, 2014 and cleaned it out January 7, 2015. I picked the fine nib and aluminum gripping section.
Forty two days is a bit long for a ink that has some iron gall in it. But the modern stuff is very mild and Montblanc themselves (in the included pamphlet) just say to clean the pen “regularly.” Although, they say this is to avoid build-up of solids rather than corrosion.
Montblanc Permanent Blue is a bit on the dry side which I like. The flow was good in this pen until the final days. I’m not a fan of true blues, which is what this is, but I kind of like the color. There was some skipping and I noticed a little ink clinging to the sides of converter. I forced the ink down into the feed and got another page or two before it was completely dry.
I reviewed the KarasKustoms Ink here. I’ve yet to review Montblanc Permanent Blue but my limited experience matches this review at The Unroyal Warrant.

Ink Notes: Montblanc Mystery Black

Montblanc Mystery Black bottle and Vac 700

Regular readers will know that I’m a fan of Montblanc inks. Despite not owning any of their pens. But I’ve ignored Montblanc Mystery Black because there are so many other blacks I like – Aurora, Sailor Kiwa Guro Nano Black, Platinum Carbon Black and more. But I decided it was time to give it try and ordered a bottle a couple months ago.
If memory serves, Montblanc changed up their inks in 2010 but the Mystery Black ink remained similar to the Black it replaced. I never used the old black ink so I can’t compare them.
Montblanc is a luxury brand so it’s thought of as an expensive ink, but at $19 for a 60 ml bottle it’s $0.32/ml, which puts it well under some of today’s other luxury inks and competitive with many others.
It’s not a deep, dark pitch black and in fact some line variation can be detected at times, with wider or wetter nibs. The dry time is very acceptable with my preferred fine and extra fine nibs.
The flow is very good and the ink seems well lubricated. I prefer dryer nibs and found this pen to be near my “wetness” tolerance in them, although not a gusher.
I was especially taken by it’s performance in my Esterbrook #2668 Firm Medium nib. Despite my preference for thinner nibs I liked the ink in this pen. Drying time was longer than the TWSBI medium I tested with and I had a few accidental smudges since it was a wet writer. The line stayed true to the nib size despite being wet.
The ink is dark enough to contribute to some show through on papers prone to such things (but not on the Rhodia or Doane paper I used). I didn’t encounter any bleed through or feathering, even on cheap non-FP paper.
The ink didn’t wash completely away in the water test but it was close. I wouldn’t trust it if moister could be a problem.

Pens Used

The TWSBI Vac 700 with the usual nib selection (x-fine, fine, medium, broad, 1.1 mm) was used for testing. The ink didn’t remain in the pen very long so I didn’t expect problems cleaning it and there weren’t any.
I started using my Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black with a fine nib as a daily writer to test the ink. It was problem free and I didn’t encounter and skipping or false starts. The ink was in the pen just under a month and there wasn’t any problem cleaning it.
After I inked my Esterbook J with the #2668 medium nib with Mystery Black I enjoyed it so much it became my daily writer when I wanted black ink. Again, no problems and it was easily cleaned after being inked about two weeks.

Bottom Line

I like the performance of the ink. Unfortunately it’s not pitch black and I prefer grey inks over black. This puts the ink behind the eight ball. I won’t use it when I want a black ink since in those cases I want pitch black. And the color isn’t different enough to make me want to use it in daily writing. On the other hand, I was really taken by it in the Esterbrook medium nib so I’d like to say I may use Montblanc Mystery Black in some wider nibs from time to time and see if there are other nibs with which it gets along as well. But the reality is that Montblanc Mystery Black will probably be lost among the many other ink choices I have.

Additional Reading
Reviewed on FPN

Ink Notes: Montblanc Midnight Blue

Montblanc Midnight Blue bottle

I’m back on the iron gall ink train after a brief detour. Midnight Blue is a “permanent” ink from Montblanc. The permanence comes from iron gall, although the enclosed pamphlet calls this “ferro-gallic content.”
I’ve seen reference to a non-permanent/non-iron gall Montblanc Midnight Blue. My box was labeled “Permanent for documents” and the pamphlet, while general for MB inks, mentioned that Midnight Blue was “permanent, ferro-gallic.” So this bottle is definitely iron gall based.
The ink is a fairly wet flowing ink and it’s also fairly slow drying. Slower than the other iron gall inks I’ve tested recently. I stop timing the dry time when it reaches 20 seconds and on Rhodia a broad nib barely met this deadline. A 1.1 mm stub took well over 20 seconds on both Doane Paper (large jotter) and Rhodia. On the positive side, drying time was very reasonable with my preferred thin nibs, especially on Doane Paper which is my preferred note taking paper. The ink is suitable for work and meeting notes.
There wasn’t any bleed through on any of the papers that I used and feathering was non-existent. The line width was true to the nib size. The ink is waterproof in that it can still be read after drying for 24 hours and then being soaked. There was dye in the water and a little spreading of the ink.
The ink does have some nice shading to it, especially when if first goes onto the paper. It gives this business-like ink a little character. I can’t quit place why I like this ink so much so I’m calling it “character.”. There’s just something about this ink I like. Its color varies just slightly depending on the paper or lighting. Sometimes it’s a little grey, sometimes a little more black. I guess I’d classify this as a blue-black ink. I equate it to my R & K Blau-Schwarz, both in color and character. The MB ink will be a capable replacement when the limited edition R & K ink is used up.
Unlike the other iron gall inks this ink doesn’t darken a lot after it dries. That’s mainly because it starts as a dark blue.

Pens Used

The ink worked well in my TWSBI Vac 700 with extra fine, fine, medium, broad and 1.1 mm nibs, These nibs tend to be on the dry side, but not with this ink. The ink flushed out easily although it wasn’t in the pen very long.
I used my Stipula Model T with the titanium nib as a daily writer with the ink for a few days. There was a little nib creep but other inks have a tendency to creep on this nib too. Not a lot, just enough so that the nib always had a little ink spreading from the slot between the tines. I also had a hard start after a day of ignoring the pen. No extraordinary measures were needed to get the ink flowing, just time with the nib pointed down.

Bottom Line

It doesn’t have a lot of the iron gall characteristics of the other IG inks such as a significant color change or absolute waterproofness. That said, the Montblanc Midnight Blue is another nice Montblanc ink that keeps me a fan of the ink brand.

Ink Notes: Montblanc Jonathan Swift Seaweed Green

photo of the box and botle

Montblanc is one of my favorite ink brands as it makes up three of my five favorite inks. Montblanc Jonathan Swift Seaweed Green is a limited edition ink which means it sells at a premium price. Prices vary considerably since availability is limited but I found mine for $17 for a 35 ml bottle. At 49 cents per ml this puts it solidly in the luxury ink category and about twice the proce as the standard Montblanc inks.
The ink color immediately reminded me of Montblanc Racing Green, #3 on my favorite inks list. When swabbed the ink is a little lighter than Racing Green, but when used from a fountain pen it’s a fairly close color, just a little less saturated.
Seaweed Green is not a wet, free-flowing ink. But like other Montblanc inks it’s consistent and puts down a nice line. The ink has enough water resistance so that it can still be read after having water spilled on it. Dry time was very good. I didn’t experience any feathering or bleed-through.
The color does vary quit a bit depending on the nib and paper. In my thin wet nibs the ink was noticeably darker. With drier nibs or nibs where the ink spread out more, like my broad stub the ink had more of a khaki color. I like the variety in the way the ink performs.
There was some nice line variation with both the stub nibs. There was some nice shading with the wetter nibs, when there was enough ink put down to actually shade.

Pens Used

I tested this ink a bit differently this time, skipping the TWSBI Vac 700 opting to use four different pens.
Sheaffer PFM I with a fine nib – the ink was at it’s best in this pen. While it’s a fine nib it’s the wettest nib of the bunch that I used. The ink when onto the paper with a nice dark color. Because of this the ink took as long to dry when using this pen as it did when I used the broad nib. No signs of feathering. I liked this pen/ink combo so much that it’s been my daily writer.
Esterbrook J with 1 #2442 Fine Stub – a nice consistent flow without any skipping or other problems. The ink was drier with this nob but still problem free. Drying time was less than 5 seconds.
Caran d’ Ache Geneve with a medium nib – this was the only convertor fill pen of the bunch and was a problem pen. It’s been a long time since I used the pen but it’s always been a good writer. I had flow problems mainly from the ink clinging to the convertor, but it was inconsistent from the beginning. I’ve yet to try another ink in the pen, but this was so unlike the other pens I used I’m blaming the pen. You’ll see some smudges on the Rhodia sample. This was when I had just forced ink into the feed because it was stuck in the convertor.
Pelikan M620 Shanghai with a custom broad stub – while the widest nib used, it was ground and tuned by Mike Masuyama to write on the dry side. So dry times were comparable to the PFM I fine nib.

Wrapping Up

It’s a well behaved ink with a color I like. Is it worth the premium? I bought mine at the low end of prices I’ve seen. It’s a well behaved ink with a fast drying time and pretty good water resistance so I don’t regret buying the bottle. I also like that the color varies depending on the nib used.

Additional Reading

Review on FPN
FPGeeks Inkcyclopedia
At Glenn’s Pens