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.
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12 comments / Add your comment below
Thanks for this review – I had been wondering about the Prefounte. I liked the Preppy, but I had issues with the bodies and/or caps cracking under ordinary use. I was wondering if the plastic on the Prefounte was heavier/stronger than that on the Preppy, but based on what you say, it sounds like it isn’t. I think I’ll stick with the Plaisir as my step up from the Preppy
The con-70 also fits the Kakuno for larger ink capacity.
The Con-70 does fit in the
PrefounteKakuno but I don’t recommend it to beginners because it’s a little fussy to use. It’s also more expensive (half the cost of the pen!). The Con-B would also fit but its hard to tell when it’s filled completely or when it’s run out of ink so I don’t tend to recommend it either.
Does a Pilot con -D really fit a Platinum Prefounte? I thought they were proprietary. You are right that the con-D is a little fussier. By the time that I also put a Kaweco clip on my Kakuno, along the con-D, it brought the price up to $25. As to the Prefounte, it certainly has a better look than the Preppy.
Argh!!! The reference to the Pilot Con-70 should have been in relation to the pens I mentioned at the end of the post — the Kakuno. Not the Platinum. It only take the one Platinum converter that is available. Sorry for the confusion. I was clearly sleepwalking.
I’ve had a heck of a time with the cap creating suction and making lots of ink burp out when I open the cap. Any advice?
I haven’t had this issue but I recommend storing your pen upright to help alleviate the burp problem.
I picked one of these up (also F nib) a couple of weeks ago as a “less tacky than the Preppy” gateway fountain pen. I really liked it at first. The grip is larger than many pens I’ve tried and was a good fit to my large hands. I was impressed that an inexpensive fountain pen could write so smoothly… Until it didn’t. After a week of daily use it mostly wouldn’t write one morning (just a few uneven words before it quit altogether). I eventually had to resort to a thorough cleaning and a different cartridge to restore it to operation. Why was this necessary on a new pen and especially one that advertises a long capped no dry time?
It turns out that I’m not the only one. A look at the reviews for this pen on JetPens shows other reports of the same problem. They seem to have some sort of a quality control issue here.
Hmmm… they did include a blue black cartridge instead of standard black or other standard color included with the Preppy. I’m wondering if that could be the issue? Also, it’s the middle of winter here in the US, so pens shipped in freezing temperatures could have affected the viability of the ink cartridge. Cartridges are small so much more likely to freeze if exposed to low temperatures over larger bottled ink.
I’ve been using this pen daily for a month now since cleaning it and replacing the cartridge. Even though the replacement cartridge has a pigment-based ink (Platinum Carbon Black) I’ve had no trouble at all with the pen. It does seem, as you suggested, that the problem was with the cartridge.
Aha – glad to read these comments. I just received mine and was delighted with the smooth nib (and the blue-black ink matches the dark blue body). Next day, it stopped working! Taking it home tonight, cleaning and using a new cartridge. Oh yes – it shipped through the recent NE snowstorm.
Your review went up the day I received my Prefounte (I got the blue). I was hoping it would be a nice EDC that I wouldn’t be hyper worried about losing. Unfortunately it barely writes. I’m not real thrilled with the Prefounte. Then again, I’ve had bad luck with Preppies, too. For my money, I’d rather by a TWSBI Go that writes every time, no matter how functional-looking it is, than have a pretty pen that won’t write. :/ I guess I’ll do what Rick commented and do a thorough cleaning. But it’s disappointing.