I generally try to avoid owning pens just because I fancy owning one, I normally try to have a couple of reason why I think I’ll like it rather than just jumping down the rabbit hole because of some vague feeling of wanting a particular pen. However when faced with an Omas I might actually be able to afford at the 2018 London pen show I will fully admit to buying it pretty much just because I wanted an Omas. The 2018 London pen show was my first ever, I’d been saving up for a while, but didn’t really have a show wish list, my plan was to basically just wonder round and see if anything caught my eye. Soon I’d decided that it might be nice to get an Omas, as I’m not sure how long they’ll be readily available for. Thus began the search for one that I could realistically afford, I found a few towards the upper end of my budget and then I found the Omas Tokyo. After some negotiating this pen transferred into my ownership for the princely sum of £45, which was much, much less than I had been expecting to spend. So was this a terrible mistake as you might reasonable expect from an irrational impulse buy? Well, read on.
The Omas Tokyo was designed by Ettore Sottsass, my knowledge of 20th century designers isn’t good enough to know who he is off the top of my head, but I’m given to understand he was a big cheese in the design world. The Tokyo was apparently inspired by Oriental simplicity, which I do sort of see borne out in its appearance. Compared to most Omas pens this is very toned down, the material is all one colour the lines are quite clean, there’s nothing really outrageous going on here. It’s almost difficult to believe that this pen came from the same manufacturer that brought you the 360 in Arco Celluloid. Having said all that it’s not a bad looking pen, the clean lines work, and the colour (whilst potentially love or hate) is one that I personally quite like. I’m also quite a fan of the clip design, although I’ve heard it can be a bit of a weak point.
On to design, in terms of function I would describe the Tokyo as good, but nothing too remarkable. It has a piston filler, which takes up an impressive fill of ink, it’s not the smoothest I’ve ever used, but it does the job well. In what seems like a slightly odd choice Omas put the cap threads in the middle of the section. Where I hold the pen is right on the threads and I have to admit they seem smooth and don’t bother me, but I can believe they might annoy some people. From a visual point of view it also looks a bit odd, it breaks up what would have otherwise been quite an elegant, long section. Size wise this pen sits right in my sweet spot, although some people would probably say that it’s a bit small for them, personally I like it. I also like the fact that Omas chose a smaller nib to go with this pen as it fits with the size of the rest of the pen well. Overall I’d say it compares well with similar pens, such as the Pelikan M200, having a more interesting design even though it’s not quite as well engineered.
The Tokyo is fitted with a steel nib, which on my pen is a fine. It’s clearly been well tuned and writes a nice consistent fine line. I’ve had no issues like hard starting or skipping at all, which is always a vote of confidence. It’s a rigid nib that display’s no line variation to speak of. Ultimately it is just a fine steel nib, so there’s only so exciting it’s going to be, but I do think that Omas did a good job with this nib.
So the Omas Tokyo, a slightly odd pen, the product of one of the more flamboyant pen makers out there trying to do minimalism. Overall I do like this pen, I see why compared to other Omas pens you might call it boring, but I think when it shines is compared to other similar pens. I’d pick the Tokyo over an Pelikan M200 or one of the lower end Sailors, just because it’s more interesting. Yes it’s not a perfect pen, and it is quite toned down for an Omas, but that isn’t really a fair comparison, and when you do make a fair comparison with the Tokyo I’d say it comes out very well indeed.