The Prefounte ($10) is a new entry-level fountain pen from Platinum. It features a similar design to the Preppy but with an upgraded metal clip and more sophisticated body colors.
The Prefounte pen comes in retail display packaging with one cartridge. The pen is large enough for a converter and it’s probably possible to eyedropper fill it too if you’re particularly bold.
I picked the Dark Emerald body color which is a deep green with a hint of blue. It’s a really pretty color. In the hand, uncapped, the Prefounte is exactly like the Preppy. The body has the same shape and size as the Preppy and essentially the same weight.
Above is the Platinum Carbon Desk Pen (PCDP) ($13.75), the Prefounte, and the Preppy ($4-5). These are the entry level plastic pens from Platinum. The Prefounte and Preppy are clearly the same size and shape with the clip being the only difference. The Carbon Desk Pen is much longer and doesn’t profess to have the “1 Year No Dry” promise but the nib is wicked fine.
The Prefounte and Preppy both feature snap and seal caps. The PCDP has a friction seal cap. I love the PCDP. It writes super fine and handles permanent carbon ink with aplomb. It’s fugly as hell though.
Above, the nibs are pictured side-by-side. My Preppy nib is dirty! But despite being in a drawer for who-know-how-long, it still writes which is what the Prefounte also professes to do. The PCDP usually has a steel nib. Mine is a special 14K version I found on a Japanese web site. My steel nib PCDP have all been given away. Artists love the PCDP for drawing and replaces the thousands of felt tip pens we all seem to churn through.
In writing tests, the Prefounte 03 is super smooth but a little wider writing than a lot of Japanese fine or extrafine nibs.
So, I imagine you want to know if I recommend the Prefounte? If you already own one or more Preppy pens, then you don’t really need to purchase the Prefounte.
If you are looking for a gateway pen to get someone into fountain pens, the Prefounte may be more convincing than the Preppy. Aesthetically, its nicer looking than the Preppy however, Platinum pens do require a proprietary cartridges or converter ($8.25).
For the same $18+ dollars, you could buy the (IMHO, fugly) TWSBI Go ($19.50) which is a piston-filler pen so there’s no need for proprietary cartridges or converters. The Kaweco Perkeo ($16) takes standard international cartridges or converters ($2.50+) so it’s also in a similar price range and easier to find cartridges/converters for newbies. Finally, the Pilot Kakuno ($11.75-$12.50) is a similar-sized pen and there’s one proprietary converter ($7.25) I recommend. So, the winky Kakuno is also a good option.
The looks of the Prefounte is probably the most sophisticated of the lot but I’m not sure that validates the $7 price hike from the Preppy.