Omas Phaeton LE fountain pen

Founded in 1925 in Bologna OMAS was an Italian manufacturer of luxury goods. Their fountain pens weren’t cheap but they had strong following in the community. Sadly it wasn’t enough. In january 2015 company was put in liquidation.

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OMAS stands for Officina Meccanica Armando Simoni. The company was founded by Armando Simoni, who also designed the tools and equipment needed to manufacture the OMAS line of pens.

Throughout the years OMAS manufactured a variety of pens, the top line being the faceted Arte Italiana range, as well as a variety of limited edition pens. In their history, they introduced a number of interesting designs such as the “Doctor’s pen” which had a tiny built-in clinical thermometer or the double-nibbed Itala in the 1920s and the 361 model in the late 1940s whose nib could be used as a hard writer if handled in one position and as a flexible writer in another.

In 2000, the French company LVMH acquired OMAS from the heirs of Armando Simoni. In October 2007 the Xinyu Hengdeli Group of Hong Kong purchased 90% equity stake in OMAS. Xinyu had a strategic partnership with LVMH and planned to use OMAS for its expansion of luxury goods in the Asian market. The company continued to be unprofitable and in 2011 it was sold to another Chinese company, O-Luxe. O-Luxe decided to close Omas in November 2015 and the company entered voluntary liquidation in January 2016 ceasing all trading.

My experience with Omas is limited. Two years ago I went bonkers and bought orange Omas Ogiva Alba – the most expensive pen in my collection. While the pen disappointed me a little – I expected it would emanate high quality but it doesn’t – the smoothness of its medium nib still amazes me. It glides across the paper. Pure poetry. And the reason I still have the pen. During last two years  I bought two other Omas pens – vintage Extra and Emotica. While none of them is perfectly engineered, they all write like a dream.
Omas Phaeton was one of two Omases vodnikvolsovecek proposed to borrow me. It seems this model is extremely difficult to find. It was produced for and distributed solely by Volkswagen company who, as it seems, added it as a gift to first buyers of Phaeton model. I’m not sure anout it as there’s very little information about this pen.
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Anyway Omas Phaeton is oversized celluloid piston-filler. Only 650 pieces were made. I’m not sure if it was possible to get a pen without buying a car. The pen is oversized and feels very solid compared to other Omas pens I had in hand. WHile most of them are stunning, some of them simply don’t feel very well built. This one however is solid, medium weight, and precisely constructed. It’s shaped as Ogiva models and it shares many features with this serie. Phaeton is a classic cigar shaped pen with classy furnishings. The clip is sturdy and has a built in roller to ease the pen in and out of shirt.First difference you see between Ogiva and Phaeton is the cap that has metal ending that I find rather unsightly. Apart from this one element the pen looks very well.

Grey celuloid looks nice but it doesn’t offer the depth of Arco or Burkina celluloids. Still, on a sunny day grey, black and silverish patches glitter and are a joy to watch. The effect is more than satisfying.

Construction

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So far I used seven Omas pens and owned three. This one is, undoubtedly, the most well made among them. Piston-filler works smoothly and the pen feels very soild and substantial in the hand. Evidently italians decided to accomplish successful marriage of italian style and german precision.

Nib

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Writing sample (Robert Oster Blue Night on Fantastic Paper)

Omas Phaeton has Omas nib. This nib is boringly and predictably AWESOME. Wet, smooth and perfect. Omas nibs were (and still are) the nibs that fully meet my expectations. What can I say – the guy who invented a process of creating and tuning nibs for Omas was genius. This nib is simply stellar. In terms of pen-to-paper performace it offers everything I look for – great looks paired with smoothness and wetness.

I believe thar rich flow is possible because Omas used ebonite feeds instead of typical injection mold plastic feeds. Ebonite feeds aren’t mass produced like the plastic feeds because ebonite requires different technique to machine them into feeds.

The nib and feed combo gives juicy feel that I enjoy and look for in fountain pens.

Filling System 

Piston-filler. The piston operates smoothly and it holds enough ink for a typical day in the office. Or maybe even two.

Dimensions

Capped – 150 mm

Uncapped – 138 mm

Weight – 35 g

Summary

While i think Phaeton is much better pen (in terms of fit&finish and materials) than Omas 360 Burkina I reviewed a week ago, I’m not interested in looking for deals on this one. I enjoyed using it but it just doesn’t do to me what Omas Burkina does so well. It’s aesthetically pleasing, well build pen that’s almost impossible to find on aftermarket.

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4 thoughts on “Omas Phaeton LE fountain pen

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