To fountain pen geeks, the words "Made in Taiwan" are coming to mean "Expect something special and unusual". And fountain pen geeks like unusual. Opus 88 have been manufacturing on behalf of other companies since 1988, but now they're designing and making their own pens, aiming them quite firmly at those of us who love fountain pens, and want something a bit different.
The Omar is a large and really striking pen. The styling is simple, with a dark green acrylic barrel and marbled cap, trimmed in contrasting polished chrome.
While the filling system used by these pens is not something new - far from it - it's rare in modern pens. They may look at first as if they're piston fillers, or perhaps vacuum fillers, but these are actually eyedropper pens. More specifically, they're of a type often known as 'Japanese Eyedroppers' (though these aren't Japanese). They don't draw ink up into the barrel themselves, you need to use an eyedropper (or syringe if you prefer) to get ink from the bottle to the pen barrel.
So why the piston-like mechanism? It's a valve, to seal off the ink supply just above the nib. Why? Well, for one thing, it makes the pens safer to carry, as only the ink that's already in the feed can leak into the cap if it gets shaken about. It can also be used to work around a common problem with eyedropper pens. With a lot of ink and air held directly in the barrel, as the heat from your hand warms up an eyedropper pen, they can push a bit of ink out through the feed, onto the page. It's not usually a problem when the pen is full, only when there's air in the barrel, but if it happens to be a problem for you, you can just keep the valve closed, only opening it to allow more ink to the feed as needed.
In use, you just need to unscrew the valve a little before you start a longer writing session, and tighten it back up for safety when you're done. And if you just need to make a quick note, the ink that's already in the feed should be plenty, so it doesn't slow you down.
Supplied in a gift box, with a glass eyedropper.
150mm long capped, 137mm uncapped. 14.5mm wide, 11mm at grip. Weighs 34g. While it can be posted, it doesn't post securely, and would be very top-heavy! The cap takes around 3.5 complete turns to remove/tighten.