Fountain Pen Review: Opus 88 Bela

By Jessica Coles

I would like to introduce a pen that I haven’t seen reviewed very often: the Opus 88 Bela. A big thank you to Goldspot Pens for letting me experience the Bela. I have enjoyed Opus 88 pens (and nibs!) in the past, but this one is slightly different. It is a CHONKER. I thought this would be tough to use for me (I have small hands) but I found it wasn’t tough at all. I loved the chunkiness of this one!

The Opus 88 Bela pen comes packages quite securely in a lovely box with a magnetic closure and includes a glass eyedropper to help with filling the pen. The eyedropper is missing from this photo.

Lying alone in its box, the Bela looks like a pen of normal size. Nope. The pen to the right of the Bella is the Pilot 743 (identical to the Pilot 823 except for the filling system). Previously, the Opus 88 demonstrator to the left of the Bela was my pen with the largest diameter (just under 15 mm or about .6 inches). The Bela has a diameter just shy of 20 mm or .78 inches. The first time I picked up the Bela, I was reminded of the chunky crayons in preschool – the ones you had to hold in your whole fist to use.

Surprisingly, this only added to my enjoyment of the Bela; the diameter of this pen helped during long writing sessions – my hand did not cramp up at all.

Let me show you a bit more about the Bela. The pen is available in two very attractive swirl patterned colors – red or blue. I chose the blue version that has swirls of yellow, green, and black in the material. The finial, end cap, and clip are a shiny black. The clip is very tight – I prefer this, but in certain pen cases, this can be a bit distracting.

The colorful portion of this pen is not translucent, but just above the pen section is a clear ink window for seeing both the color and the level of your ink. I will not be needing to check the ink level very soon, however. The Bela is able to hold almost 3.5mL of ink. That’s right. You can fill this pen up with more ink than most ink sample sizes.

One concern I had when I first started using the Bela – would it fit into any of my pen cases? Since I had recently acquired a Franklin-Christoph 6 pen case, that was my first attempt.

The fit here is snug, but no force was used to get this to happen.

Now let’s go on to the nib of the Bela; the Bela comes with a #6 stainless steel Bock nib branded Opus 88. I have never had a problem with the nibs from Opus 88  – they are smooth out of the box and write beeautifully.

My favorite feature of all Opus 88 pens is the filling system. These pens use an eyedropper filling system – the nib and section are unscrewed and the ink is dropped into the barrel of the pen using… an eyedropper, hence the name. The instructions included with the pen are easy to follow.

After the pen is full (with 3.5mL of ink!), the user vents the pen by unscrewing the back end just a bit. This retracts the rod and sealing mechanism in the center of the pen and allows the ink to flow into the pen section and feed. The pen can be left this way or the user can close the end during or after the writing session. If the pen is used while it is vented, it will write until the ink in the feed and section are used up. The process can be repeated.

A huge advantage of this filling system is this rod and sealing mechanism. When the pen is sealed, no ink will come out except the small amount in the feed and section. That means that 3.5 mL of ink won’t leak during plane trips, rough movements, changes in altitude. The ink is also less likely to evaporate in the pen since the seal keeps the ink away from most exposure to air.

I am absolutely thrilled with the Opus 88 Bela. During long note-writing sessions, I am thankful for it as well, both for the non-cramping hand and for the HUGE amount of ink stored inside. Goldspot has it at $97.95 – a great price for a Chonker pen.

DISCLAIMER: The Opus 88 Bela included in this review was provided to us by Goldspot for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

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9 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Just ordered one with a fine point. Great price, especially since they honor Mike’s code for his Patreons. Thanks, Jessie

  2. I have two Fsntasia’s. They both write with playful spring to the nib. I find the writing is not dry and not overly wet- the Goldilocks middle of balance to ink flow.

    These pens are incredibly easy to get entirrly clean. This is my preferred small pen to carry. I’ve owned all the required recommended entry level piston fills .. i eish i had bought this first
    These nibs can be swapped with other nibs of same size.. I perfer it to small Getman pens. The shut off valve is peace of mind. If you use it properly you will never have a drop leak even while hiking.

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