Opus 88 Picnic – no hanging rocks here.
Many people do not know that Michael Hsu, in his earlier avatar, had been an OEM producer, supplying parts to many high-end writing instruments and had decades of experience to back the Opus 88 brand when it was finally launched. Needless to say, the gale turned into a tsunami within a very short period of time and Opus 88 today enjoys not only top-of-mind recall as a brand but is also universally acknowledged for its quality products and innovative offerings.
Apparently little, even inconsequential (on the face of it) innovations that not only sets it apart, but also ensures that OPUS 88 products stand head and shoulders above the rest.
Take the Opus 88 Picnic for example. At first glance, it is a straight forward eyedropper filler (even the package comes with a pipette). One that has a piston at the rear end.
An eyedropper with a piston? No, it is not an oxymoron, but another one of those little OPUS 88 innovative touches that sets the winners apart from the also-ran’s. The piston, for the uninitiated, is there to block the flow of ink from the reservoir to the feed so as to address the problems of burping and leaking that eyedroppers have been known to suffer from since their very inception. Besides, they also help regulate, shut-off the ink flow when flying thereby stopping the ink from leaking into the inner cap due to changes in air pressures.
However, it will not be out of place to mention here that the filling system is not a OPUS 88 property and is often termed as the “Japanese eyedropper”. Apparently, the process was invented by Onoto in the wee years of the last century and was once very popular with the Japanese pen makers. Namiki and Danitrio are known users and what makes the OPUS move of incorporating it a laudatory one, is the very fact that they have dug it up, dusted and added it to the Opus 88 Picnic.
That apart, the Opus 88 Picnic is a regular – a champion in form and function. Mine is a brown – the colour of coffee when light shines through it. I can go on and on about the different hues my Opus 88 Picnic takes as the ambient light changes, which alone can be a good reason for any fountain aficionado to acquire this stunner. I also heard that in Chinese the colour is known as Earth – which gives rise to a different set of connotations when read with the Picnic, but I guess, I’ll settle for the coffee.
The plastic resin body, with the darker shades at the cap finial and the ebonite piston knob adds just that dash of character (or is it mystery?) to the Opus 88 Picnic, adding to its overall appeal and pointing out the obvious dexterity of the manufacturer with the materials. The clip-ring is securely set and adds to the glam-quotient. The Opus 88 marking at the bottom of the cap is understated and is elegant enough to blend into the overall look and feel of the pen.
The Opus 88 Picnic comes fitted with a Jowo nib, which though not dry is not too wet either. Jowo nibs are, as far as my experience goes, extremely consistent and this one too is no exception. What I like the most about these stainless-steel nibs is their “edgy” smoothness. They are smooth alright but have just that tension in them that gives the sensation of the resistance as they scratch on the surface of the paper. The pen itself is a regular cigar shape and has the right girth for my fingers. It is astonishingly well balanced and is a sheer pleasure to write with, blending as it were, into the contours of the grip and doing what it is meant to, that too perfectly – transfer one’s thoughts on to the paper. The grip section of the Opus 88 Picnic seems as though it was designed especially for my fingers to be wrapped into.
It may look bespoke and feel designer grade in the hand, but it still is one solid performer – a regular, that can take on the travails of life, equally at home in your palm or your pocket, as you create your next masterpiece or jot down the boss’s commands in stoic silence.
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