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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10 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..

  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.

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