Fountain Pen Comparison: Platinum Preppy 02 vs. 03

Platinum Preppy 02 vs 03

Every now and then, I feel the need to invest some of the budget fountain pens available on the market. I often gift these types of fountain pens to friends and co-workers when they express interest in fountain pens. The Platinum Preppy ($5.50-$7.80 per pen) is probably my favorite fountain pen gateway pen.

This time, I wanted to compare the 02 EF nib with the 03 F nib which was available in a stylized Hanabishi Kikko Wa” Japanese pattern.

Platinum Preppy 02 vs 03

In the nib close-up photo above, its easy to see the difference in the width of the nibs. The 02 EF is very fine and perfect if you or a friend loves super fine Micron pens or other itty bitty nibs. The 03 is closer to a standard fine-tipped pen, particularly when ink spread is factored into the equation. Fountain pen ink spreads more than gel or ballpoint ink so if you’re trying a fountain pen for the first time, the narrower nibs will have less noticeable ink spread on a wider assortment of average papers.

I installed the cartridge that shipped with both pens so the ink is the same but, in writing, the ink in the 02 looks noticeably lighter. This phenomena is familiar to regular fountain pen users but may come as a surprise to new users. The finer the nib, the less ink on the paper therefore the lighter the ink color.

Thanks to the Platinum “slip and seal” snap cap, these pens will not dry out quickly so if you want to have a back-up fountain pen at the ready in your desk drawer, the Preppy will be ready and waiting.

I like to upgrade these pens with a box of Platinum Carbon Black ink cartridges ($4.50 for a box of 4). Yes, the cartridges are pricey but these fine nibs use ink so sparingly that it will take a good deal of time to use it all up. By the time you or a pal has used a whole box of cartridges, you’ll know if you want to invest in a converter and a whole bottle of ink.

The Preppy remains one of my most recommended entry-level pens. Yes, it requires proprietary cartridges and a converter that costs as much as the pen itself but for a first taste of fountain pens, it can’t be beat.

The Preppy is also quite hackable. Many people will add some silicone grease to the threads and just eyedropper the pens. They are easy to clean and the nibs are smooth for such a fine nib.

How many Preppys are in your collection? Or what pen do you gift to would-be pen fans?

DISCLAIMER: The items included in this review were provided free of charge by JetPens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

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4 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I have about 10 or so. Like Raffaelo, I find them great for having a variety of inks at my disposal for a very low price.

  2. After using an 03 Preppy pretty extensively for the last couple years. I picked up an 02 just last month. I use my 03 for art, and typically use it for lettering. It’s just slightly wider than I want, so I hoped that the 02 would be better. Alas, it’s just a bit too thin for the use I imagined. I’ll still use it, but someday hope for the sweet spot between 02 and 03 (02.5?)

  3. No pen in decades of fountain pen use has surprised me more than the Preppy. The 03 nib with Carbon cartridges is shockingly fun to use.

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