What’s Up with the Platinum Carbon Desk Pen?

Platinum Carbon Desk Pen

I often recommend the Platinum Carbon Desk Pen to artists, designers, illustrators — anyone who wants to draw with a fountain pen. First, it’s a relatively inexpensive fountain pen — usually under $20. Next, it ships with Platinum Carbon Black ink which is permanent and perfect for mixed media uses. Finally, the tip is very fine, comparable to the creative favorite, the Sakura  Pigma Micron and other of its brethern (the fine fiber-tipped “technical” pens).

Recently, I’ve had trouble finding the classic EF Platinum Carbon Desk Pen through my favorite online retailers. I reached out to a couple contacts and received some conflicting information. On one hand, I was told that Platinum was no longer listing the Platinum Carbon Desk Pen. I looked on the Platinum web site for Japan and it appears that this is the case. The other info I received from the US distributor for Platinum suggested that the pen was still available from some online retailers but they did not clarify if the Carbon Desk Pen was being discontinued, rebranded or anything else.

I let the issue drop for a couple months (pandemic distraction and all) but when I started teaching, I really wanted my students to have access to this pen so my hunt started again.

Platinum Carbon Desk Pen

In my renewed search, I found three variations: the EF, the M and the Desk Pen (no Carbon ink and a snap cap and clip). The EF and M (approx. $15) I got at Wonder Fair and the Desk Pen ($13.41) was purchased on Amazon. All three were sold in blister packs with one cartridge. Previously, I owned a 14K ($24) version from Amazon which I swapped the housing with a friend and cut it down to fit into a pencil case.

Platinum Carbon Desk Pen

Above is a close-up of the nibs to show the difference in the housing and nib shapes. You can see there is a little bit of fiber stuck to the EF nib (something that can happen often because this nib is so fine). Amazingly, the 14K is even finer if you can believe it. Because it’s gold, there is a little give to it but its not flexible.

I have mentioned in the past that the Platinum Carbon Pen is not the prettiest pen in the world. The cap is hideous. The nib and its ability to handle permanent ink well and compete with the technical pens that end up in the trash when the tips wear down or the ink is used up make these worth their weight. And seriously, Sakura Pigma Microns are not going to win any beauty contests so I can look past their ugly. In fact, over time, I have learned to love their weird looks and their funny DEVO caps.

They are definitely function over form. But you can use Carbon Black cartridges or converters and they last so much longer than technical pens. The tips do not wear down and the variety between these styles provide the same range as several of the widths of technical pens.

Platinum Carbon Desk Pen

On different paper, the Carbon ink will be more or less waterproof. I’ve done other waterproof ink tests but Platinum Carbon Black remains my favorite. Either way, it’s clearly water resistant. Depending on how much ink coverage you have, there might be a little transference but for fountain pen ink, it’s the most permanent I’ve found while still being easy to clean out of your pen.

Platinum Carbon Desk Pen

So, while I’m having trouble finding the Platinum Carbon Desk Pen in the usual places, don’t give up. Until I know where Platinum has hidden these, do pen equivalent of crate digging and hunt down some of these gems. They are worth it. And if you know what has happened to them in the Platinum line up, please let me know.


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41 comments / Add your comment below

  1. So when they say14k ” on a $24 pen, that is not a gold nib,it is a gold colored nib.. many imported cheap pens say 14k.. gold nibs are in the $200-300 price range.. did you know that Pilot makes almost the exact pen! He platinum cartridges don’t fit but you can fill a pilot converter with the bottle carbonblack ink..

      1. NO, it is real 14K gold. The 14-3 nib is made very thin. Information from Page137 .”デスクペン、ゴルフグリップ型の尾軸、14 金ペン付”.
        If it is a gold-plated nib, they will say “金メッキ”,like DP700A in page 058

    1. In fact, DP-1000AN(STY-2Nib,DP700A is plated. But DP1500(14-12Nib , KDP3000(14-3Nib ,KDP3000A(14K-3Nib. The Japanese naming is very interesting, STY2 is the gold-plated version of the ST2 nib, 14- is the 14K gold nib plus the shape number

  2. i have just a tiny handful of these at my store, I have been unable to get them back in on a reorder and indeed they are not on my order form..I will be giving a shout out to my distributor to see what the update it..because truly, as ugly as it is..I can attest to this pens ability to stand the distance.. I use it to do drawings watercolor in and it never runs, that pen sat neglected on my desk once for over a month..and it worked like a charm, after that no -no magical little tip to tounge trick ..lol at any rate.. if you see one of these out in the wild..grab it!!!!

    1. If I really leave one sit for awhile, I’ll dip it in water for a second, wipe with a towel and it’s “off to the races”. Even with the carbon ink. Little ugly duckling gems.

  3. JUst so you know Pilot makes a “desk Pen” that is almost exactly like the Platinum Desk one. it does take Pailot converters and Cartidges..look on Ebay..

  4. Sad to see these aweosme pens disappearing. I don’t think all the links are working anymore, the 14K amazon link seems to go to the EF pen. I hope Platinum has a plan for future line of these pens.

  5. Hey guys, I am based in the UK and I am a massive fan of the extra fine pen. I create pen drawings which I enhance with watercolours so having permanent ink is crucial. As I work with one-continuous line on watercolour paper normal pens like the Sakura get shredded half way into the drawing. The Sakura nib is quite soft, can’t recommend it. No fineliner pen will ever look like these super crisp and jetblack fountain pen lines.
    Anyway, I started to panic when my usual supplier cult pens told me that the pen is discontinued. I have ordered half a dozen online just in case. One of them I ordered via this link. Whilst this says Platinum Carbon desk pen extra fine it looks somewhat different, especially devo cap is gone. Maybe this could be the follow-up model, or at least I live in hope. Please check it out:

    1. I found that same model and included it in my post. It does not include a CARBON ink refill so anyone ordering it should be particularly aware they will need to order CARBON cartridges and/or converter and CARBON ink separately if they want to use the pen with watercolor or other water-based media. Also, if you look back through my post, you’ll see that the model of the DESK pen is a medium nib, albeit a Japanese medium but not the EF fine that you might be familiar with from the original CARBON Desk Pen. I will continue to keep an eye of the Desk Pen situation and let you know if I find out anything.

  6. IMG_5067D.JPG

    For years I loved the Rotring Isograph for my drawing needs, but the Platinum Carbon supplanted these pens because they gave the same line as a .20 Rotring and were much easier to maintain. As for the “ugly” factor, I bought a 10 pack of Hero 616 fountain pens for $15. I screw off the body of the Hero and screw it on to the section of the Platinum. Works great and a little less ugly. Now I need to go shopping for a few more Platinums that I can squirrel away for the future.

  7. I already had the Medium point, and after reading the article I thought I would try the DP-1000 with EF point – and now I have been hunting for the DP-3000 to see if the 14K nib makes much difference – however, that one is not simple to find now ! The others are really good though, and I can’t recommend them enough. I do quite enjoy the EF nib – it is the perfect pen for many things. My Medium point is buttery smooth to work with, while the DP-1000 is almost like writing with a pencil – a great line to work with with just enough feedback for me …

  8. I doubt very much if the one marked “14k “ is gold, not for $24! It is prob gold plated.. yes it seems they have discontinued this pen. You can find them on eBay. I would suggest trying a Pilot metropolitan, they run about $20 and have an attractive colorful metal body.the fine is pretty fine and the cap does post. Or the Pilot Plumix/ penmanship EF, these are very fine and cost around $11..Also just so you know Pilot makes a desk pen that is almost identical to the platinum desk pen, but you have to use Pilot cartridges.. I teach a fountain pen class and I recommend the Pilot metro or twisbi eco as a good substitute..

  9. I was curious about the 14k variant…
    I have been thoroughly enamored by all the fountain pen variations that have appeared over the last hundred years…living near Janesville, Wisconsin, I can’t help but be a fan of vintage parkers…
    These desk pens with the carbon ink are still in Daily use, next to hundreds of other fountain pens. This can be an expensive obsession, but pens like these remind you that good quality does not require the cost…
    They can be more dependable than some overpriced brands, and my medium platinum desk pen is a smoother writer than many.
    Thank you for suggestions, both are nice, my twsbi eco is a favorite for my stub nib writer while writing with high shading inks…
    The wing sung and jinhao 51 clones are actually very nice fine line writers as well.

  10. Great article. Thank you. I’ve found the Platinum Carbon Desk Pens SF
    Are still on Amazon and a few on eBay. Pricing seems to be going up for them. Your picture showing the different nibs was really helpful. I think I’m getting a gold plated one. Your picture shows a nib with 14k on it while the other ones don’t have the 14k on them. Can not find a 14k one right now. Excited to use this pen with my water colors and sketching.

  11. For $24 this is NOT a gold nib, it is a gold plated nib. Solid gold nibs are $200 without the pen.. This said, the Platinum Desk pen is a great pen with a super fine nib. It takes the paltinum Carbon Black ink because it was made for this ink. It was designed for signing documents, and sketchers love this pen..
    BTW I teach a class “Fountain Pens for Sketching” where I show ways you can select, fill, clean and sketch wiht fountain pens, they are a great exspressive tools. The next class is April 17 and it is on ZOOM so you can take it from anywhere. go to mywebsite to register. http://www.goldenbergdesigns.com

    1. The new caps “click” on and the older caps are friction fit. So if you are trying to swap between them, then no. They are not cross compatible.

  12. Hello! Lovely article, thank you so much. I contacted Platinum in Japan last year who told me DPQ–800S was discontinued and replaced by the DPQ–700A EF, which I then bought from cultpens.co.uk (I live in Asia). It has a clip cap but otherwise functions like the desk pen.

    It’s my first Platinum; it works with carbon black cartridges fine, and I also bought a converter as I use other permanent ink for drawing as well. The nib is fantastic, super thin (it felt scratchy at first but got better). But the pen is so cheapy in feel! The cap stopped clicking shut, so the ink dries out, which is really annoying. The Sailor fude pens are similarly priced but luxurious in comparison.

    My ideal pen would have the shape/weight of the Platinum desk pen and the same SF/EF nib, but be more comfortable to hold for long periods (like a Lamy Joy, also great for drawing/writing, though its EF nib is thick compared to the Japanese pens of course). One day I’ll find my dream pen !

  13. I open A KDP-3000, the nib is about 0.2g weight.
    This one nib is so thin and small.
    14K gold is about $55/g , so the nib is $11.
    $24-$11=$13=Others desk pen~

  14. I’m glad I came across your post.

    I absolutely love my original Platinum Carbon (EF) desk pen! It has been great for sketching and writing. I decided to order another one even though the one I’ve had for around 7 years is still going strong. I didn’t realise that there were different nib sizes available now. The new one feels different and has a lid with a clip. It also writes with a thicker line more in line with a Fine/Medium. I am disappointed because I’d wanted the EF nib but I’m sure it will still come in handy. I have a variety of fountain pens and, while my Platinum Carbon pen is a steadfast favourite for sketching, I also love my TWSBI fountain pens.

    Cheers from DownUnder,

    1. Forgive me for being contrary, but — no, that can’t be right. I cherish and hoard my Platinum Carbon Desk pens, the ones that are out of stock in every fountain pen store in Europe (why??) but you can’t change the barrel with a Preppy’s. I just tried, and it doesn’t fit at all. The normal Platinum Desk Pen (the only model sold now) also doesn’t have a barrel that will fit a Preppy. I wish it did, because it would be so useful to swap out for sketching on the go.

    1. I don’t know why these are still out of stock. I’ll reach out to the US Platinum distributor and see if they have any information.

  15. Is there a flex nib that works with the Platinum Desk Pen and the Platinum Carbon Ink? I’d like to trade out my Pigma Microns for a while and explore some drawing with it instead. But a flex nib seems like a BIG advantage not to add to my toolbox.

    1. I don’t know of a flex nib option for the Platinum Desk Pen but there are some refillable brush markers available from Kuretake (the Karappo line) and Kakimori that might provide a more sustainable option.

  16. Lovely article Ana. I love all my Platinum desk pens but really wanted to snag a medium nib for some of my watercolor work for a more dramatic line. Can’t find one anywhere. I hope they come back soon! They are amazing!

    1. The carbon ink works well in the Platinum Prefounte. The EF point is more like the medium Desk Pen.

      Actually, I use my desk pens as desk pens at work.


  17. Wondering if perhaps this article should be updated? It is now Nov 2022 and the EF Platinum Carbon Desk Pen is still available at Jet Pens, with one Carbon Black ink cartridge: https://www.jetpens.com/Platinum-Desk-Fountain-Pen-Black-Extra-Fine-Nib/pd/30519
    I love this EF pen myself and am glad to see it is still sold because it is what I recommend to fellow artists who want a low cost, but very effective option to try for sketching linework. Myself, I’ve switched to a TWSBI Eco and had the nib custom ground to a needlepoint grind. I use nothing but the Platinum Carbon black and brown ink in it and love it so much as I don’t like to mess with cartridges and I wanted a nib that was even FINER than the EF.

    1. Dianna. The one you linked is the newer version. It is, imo, far inferior to the original.
      The nib is bigger and it’s mild flex doesn’t allow for consistent flow and dare I say scratchier? The original is really amazing as it was a cheaper sturdier alternative to both rapidographs and felt/fibre tipped technical pens.
      If you haven’t tried the original version I would totally recommend you pick one up if you can find them. (Just came across this article in a periodic internet hunt for the ogs).

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