Hi and welcome back for another fountain pen ink review.
In my previous review we’ve looked at a black “Carbon” ink from the Japanese company Platinum. Today’s ink is from their “Pigment” line, which I think is very similar if not identical. The Pigment line-up, however, offers no black, only red, blue and brown. The one we’re going to discuss today is the red, or as it is being marketed – “Pigment Rose Red”.
The ink is satisfactorily presented. I am not thrilled by Platinum ink bottles but that’s all right. They are very functional and work well. Not much else you expect from a bottle, unless it’s a luxurious premium ink and the bottle is made to impress. Cost of the Pigment ink by Platinum is 15€ here in EU for a 60ml bottle, which is not that bad. It is definitely not a budget ink, though it is still cheaper than their Carbon Black (19€). If you’re in need of a permanent ink it is definitely a good option.
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I wouldn’t have guessed it if you asked me before I used the ink but I actually think that this ink is perfect. You can see on the following infographic that the ink got 5/5 almost across the board. It is pink and light and pigmented and yet, I cannot help it. It’s just that good.
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Hue & Tone: 4/5
Hue and tone describe the color and lightness of the ink.
- Temperature: The Rose Red is naturally a warm ink. Any red is, in absolute sense. However, when looking at the particular hue of red as shown on paper, it shows pink undertones and so it is on the cool side of red. Here’s the twist though: when looking at the ink in the bottle, it looks to be extraordinarily saturated warm orange-red, which is the exact opposite of what it looks like on paper! This is undeniably a very cool effect. The same goes for the color when you see it in the pen, a demonstrator like the TWSBI Eco (below). Indeed very, very cool.
- Tonal Value: The ink is on the lighter side of middle value. I’ve had, however, no issues reading what I wrote. It is fair to say though, that in certain situations things may become difficult to read, for example when using EF, F or perhaps even M nibs that are on the dry side. Using it in wider nibs and wetter pens is certainly advisable. Due to the fact that the ink may not be as versatile, I detracted one point.
- Hue Shift: When the ink is put on the page wet, it is a bit darker and richer and shifts towards the lighter pinkish hue after drying.
- Shading: There is slight shading that this ink exhibits but really not much.
- Special Characteristics: Now normally I would be all against a light pink ink. And whether one likes or dislikes the color or the lighter value, one simply cannot omit the “cool factor” this ink exhibits. On the images below you can see how the ink looks in a pen and even in a feed. It is a very peculiar and at the same time absolutely awesome effect. For this alone it deserves the highest score. I am fairly certain the effect is caused by the pigment particles because I’ve not seen this in any other red ink.
- Personal Appeal: So why the high score then? Well, you cannot argue with the spectacular look of the ink in a demonstrator pen. Even in regular pen just look at the feed. It’s really rather special. The color on the paper is light and pinkish but what can I say? It’s really grown on me.
Composition envelops a group of properties closely tied to how the ink is made. These properties directly affect dry times, dry smear and overall maintenance requirements of the ink.
- Dye/Pigment Load & Concentration: The ratio of pigment/dye to vehicle – in our case water infused with additives. Lightness of the ink may not be necessarily a result of low pigment concentration. Red pigments are generally of fairly solid middle value, though the cool ones often are inherently lighter in value. Undoubtedly, the Rose Red ink is not the most vibrant, concentrated ink out there. It doesn’t feel weak though, which is a good thing.
- Dry Times: Dry times are very good. I don’t measure them in seconds and all that but I can say from using the ink that you won’t have issues with it staying wet for too long. It may not be the fastest drying ink but it’s very reasonable.
- Dry Smear: This is one of the biggest issues I have with inks in general. That’s why I discarded Noodler’s Ink Black from my regular rotation. Even Platinum Carbon Black does smear a little bit as well as Sailor’s pigmented ink Sei-Boku. When used in a wet pen the effect increases to the point that I’m no longer comfortable using it. That being said, if you really try to smear the Rose Red you can get a minute smudge. Despite being very mindful of smeary inks, I don’t mind it here because you really have to try hard to get a smear. And since pigmented inks are prone to this behavior much more than dye based inks (as the particles sit on the surface rather than get absorbed into the paper fibers), I think the result is actually very good.
- Maintenance: Pigmented inks are notorious for being more difficult as far as pen hygiene goes. That is true in general, because pigmented inks contain pigment particles. And so when left unattended for a long time (to the extent that the ink dries out in the pen), it may be extremely difficult to get it out. The pigment is going to clog the feed. I don’t consider this to be an issue, because even with dye based ink you will run into trouble if you’re in the habit of letting your pens dry out. The more practical issue here is that pigmented inks tend to heavily stain surfaces, since that’s actually their function. This has happened to me with Sei-Boku, Noodler’s Black (not a pigment based ink) as well Platinum’s Carbon Black. So far though, Rose Red behaves extremely well in this respect. I’m very pleasantly surprised. I’ve been using it for quite a bit now in a couple of pens and honestly, after cleaning the TWSBI Eco – which is a demonstrator! – there is no residue present as is usually the case. I’m very, very happy with this property, considering red inks are generally more prone to staining.
Performance indicates how the ink performs on various types of paper regarding feathering, bleed through, ghosting and what possible other undesirable qualities it exhibits. It also indicates the flow rate of the ink subjectively based on my experience and opinion.
- Flow: Flow is excellent. This ink is wet. And very pleasantly so. It feels smooth and well lubricated, unlike other pigmented inks I’ve tried. I really like how it behaves and how it flows from a pen. I’ve put it into two of my pens: TWSBI Eco with a 1.1mm stub and Noodler’s Dixie fitted with a 1.5mm TWSBI stub. The Dixie is a gusher in the most true sense of the word and yet the flow is controlled perfectly. My Eco is not a dry pen either but it cannot compare to the Ebonite feed of the Noodler’s pen. Yet, it does perfectly fine and it doesn’t stop, skip or dry out. The flow is superb.
- Behavior: The ink behaves extremely well on the paper. It doesn’t bleed unless put down very heavily. And I mean very heavily. My Dixie is an extremely wet pen and yet there is no bleedthrough at all. The 15mm poster nib I use for the large writing made it bleed only in two spots. This is truly a fantastic performance. I have tried it on regular printer paper and it doesn’t do as well but that is simply because of the increased wetness and lubrication. If you want to use this ink on a poor quality paper I think you’ll have to try and find a drier nib for the task, but it can certainly be done.
Permanence is concerned with two main areas: water resistance and archivability. While water resistance is the “everyday” permanence aspect we enjoy and appreciate, archivability refers to longevity, that is long-term resistance to exposure to the elements. The more permanent the ink is the less it degrades in color and tone. This is difficult to estimate with fountain pen ink since there’s no standardized testing established by the ASTM.
- UV: As I write this review, my lightfastness tests are still underway. The Rose Red ink, however, is not included in the testing batch because it arrived after I made my selection. I cannot, therefore, comment as much on the durability of the ink against UV. What I can say is that from what I observed in the Carbon Black (which is included in the testing) suggests that Platinum’s pigment inks are actually very resistant to UV. It’s been just two months though and so for any conclusive evidence we have to wait a fair bit longer. In the marketing materials I found I read that the inks are supposedly lightfast, which suggests that they can indeed withstand exposure to UV, matching my observations.
- Water: As for the resistance to water, the ink shows very high resistance. I don’t include an image of the water test because simply there is no need. The ink doesn’t move a bit. Nothing has separated from the page. The paper with which I cleaned the water was completely clean without any traces of the ink.
The following writing samples were done in my Leuchtturm 1917 notebook with a Noodler’s Ink Dixie #10 fitted with TWSBI 1.5mm stub, TWSBI Eco 1.1mm stub and a dip pen with Poster dip nib 15mm. For the second set the Noodler’s and TWSBI pens were used in a Winsor & Newton Heavyweight sketchbook with a heavy but fairly absorbent 170g paper.
Enjoy the rest of the review and let me know what you think about this ink. What is your experience with Platinum inks in general? Do you like them? Do you prefer pigment based inks over dye based ones? Let me know in the comments down below.