Pen Review: OMAS Ogiva Celluloide

  • Material: Celluloid
  • Nib: 14k Gold, Fine Extra-Flessibile
  • Appointments: Gold
  • Filling System: Piston
  • Length (Capped): 149mm
  • Length (Uncapped): 132mm
  • Length (Posted): 178mm
  • Section Diameter: 11.9mm
  • Barrel Max Diameter: 13.3mm
  • Cap Max Diameter: 14.7mm
  • Weight, Capped (with ink and/or converter): 22g
  • Weight, Uncapped (with ink and/or converter): 14g

For those obsessed with pens, as I have been over the past two years, the simple act of receiving a new pen (or five) often becomes part of the thrill of the hobby: The constant refreshing of the UPS Tracking website; the jolt you receive when you open the PO Box and see a key to the package locker; the stab of excitement when you receive an email from the office receptionist that FedEx just dropped off another package addressed to you; the sound of cutting and ripping tape; the 15-minute ritual of unwrapping bubble wrap and layer upon layer of blue plastic (if it’s a package from Goulet Pen Company); the feeling of opening the pen coffin and seeing the shiny new writing instrument nestled in place; the ritual of flushing the pen; the agonizing process of picking the first ink to use in it; and, perhaps most importantly, the expectation you experience the first time you put the nib to paper. The entire process is a glorious one, and a huge part of the reason why I must constantly be on guard lest I find myself drowning in credit card debt.

Most of the time, the new pen ranges from good to great. Every now and then, you experience the disappointment of a real dud of a pen. And rarely–ever so rarely–you come into contact with a pen that is such a perfect fit it threatens to bring your days of pen acquisition permanently to a close. Because, really, how could you ever find anything better.

That was exactly how I felt the very first time I opened up the box of my new OMAS Ogiva Celluloide and saw this:



Made from OMAS’s signature Brown Arco celluloid, this limited edition OMAS Ogiva just about took my breath away the first time I saw it. I had seen photographs and video of the Brown Arco celluloid, but I had never seen it in person. Nary a picture or video I have seen does the material even the slightest amount of justice. But I am getting ahead of myself.


The pen comes in a large, lovely, silver-grey box with the OMAS logo on the front. The top lifts off to reveal a flocked grey inner tray with a cutout for a bottle of OMAS ink and slot for the pen. The pen comes inside a grey suede pen sleeve.  The inner tray also lifts off to reveal the booklet and warranty cards for the pen.

The pen’s profile is a fairly standard torpedo- or cigar-shape.  It’s a larger pen, at 149mm, capped, but it doesn’t look that large, likely due to the pen’s graceful, arcing curves. The special edition Celluloide version of the Ogiva comes in two finishes, a lovely Verde Saft green, and the brand’s signature Brown Arco. As far as I was concerned, there was only one option even worth consideration.

From the first moment it hits the light, it’s clear that the real star of this pen is the Brown Arco celluloid. Rich, and deeply layered, the celluloid seems to almost glow with browns, golds, and caramels. Some have even mistaken the material for a deeply-figured wood. It’s one of the most mesmerizing and uniquely beautiful pens I have ever seen. One of my coworkers, upon seeing the it even commented, “It’s like it’s being lit from the inside!”

The gorgeous material is complemented by gold hardware. The clip is solid with only a minor bit of give, and ends in a roller whee. The gold cap band that runs around the pen is etched with the greek key design found on many OMAS pens.  There is also a small gold ring that separates the knob which operates the pen’s piston filler.

The pen’s piston filling mechanisms was a little more “sticky” in the operation than I was expecting for a pen in this price range. When compared to the silky smooth mechanism in my Pelikan M800 and M600, it felt a bit more plasticky and rough than I would have liked. I didn’t have any issues with inking up the pen, however, and over time, the mechanism has seemed to smooth out a little. As a piston filler, the pen will hold a goodly amount of ink.

Omas Ogiva Celluloide

The threads on the pen’s cap mesh smoothly with those on the section, with little slack. My only real complaint with the pen is that, for some reason beyond my comprehension, OMAS designed the pen so that the threads were smack-dab in the middle of the section, right where I hold the pen. Why they couldn’t move them further up the barrel and out of the area of most people’s standard grip is beyond me. Fortunately, the threads are well-polished, and even immediately under my grip, I was never bothered by them at all.

The Ogiva can normally come with an 18k nib in a variety of standard sizes, but OMAS also sells a 14k Extra Flessibile (and no, that’s not a misspelling) nib in both fine and extra-fine. I opted for the 14k Fine Extra-Flessibile nib on my pen. Not to oversell it, but this nib kinda changed my life. I have, over the last couple of years, become exceedingly wary of any modern nib sold as “flexible.” Most modern flexible nibs simply aren’t: at least not in comparison to vintage nibs. The OMAS Extra Flessibile nib is, aside from the Pilot FA nib, perhaps the most flexible modern nib I have ever used. It lacks some of the fast snap-back action of a vintage flex nib, but it can put down some lovely line variation. This is not a nib I would suggest to folks unfamiliar with writing in flex, however. It’s got a softness to the writing experience that could tend to make those with a heavy hand spring the nib, which would be a true shame.

(Of note: I also purchased An Ogiva Alba recently, also with an Extra-Flessibile nib, and I didn’t find the nib on that pen to be nearly as flexible as the one on the Ogiva Celluloide. I’m not sure if that’s because the Alba nib is plated, or if there is a design difference, but that is my experience.)

Overall, writing with this pen is nothing short of miraculous. It’s juicy and wet. Even without flexing at all, the nib bounces quite a bit, giving a nice subtle line variation with no pressure. The nib is extremely smooth, even when flexing. The ebonite(!) feed does a truly spectacular job in keeping up with writing, even when writing quickly or with a fair bit of flex.  Every great once in a while, it will act as though it has run out of ink entirely, only to still have a fair bit in the reservoir when I go to clean it out. That has only happened with one ink so far, so it may be just that one ink.

Suffice it to say, I love this pen. It has catapulted to the #1 spot in my top pens list, unseating the previous leader, the Visconti Divina Elegance. I purchased the pen in December of last year, and it has been continuously inked since that time until about three days ago. For someone who almost never inks the same pen twice in a row, that should tell you how much I enjoy using this pen. But, perhaps the most telling thing of all: After I bought this pen, I didn’t buy another pen for nearly two months. I loved it so much, I couldn’t imagine wanting anything else.

  • Thecla

    Lovely review, thanks Matt!

    It’s interesting to get another view point as these nibs seem to divide opinions somewhat. SBRE Brown sprung the Extra Flessibile nib on the Ogiva Alba he reviewed and blamed the pen for it (which I thought was a bit unfair) while Azizah had no problems with the same pen. I guess it’s good to keep in mind that easier to flex often means easier to spring.

    • I have both this Ogiva and the Alba, and I will say that the nib on the Celluloide version flexes a LOT more (and a lot more easily) than the exact same nib (fine extra-flessibile) on my Alba. So, either they’re somewhat different nibs, or perhaps there is even some inconsistency in flexilbility.

      • Thecla

        That is interesting. It’s also a bit worrying. I would expect more consistency in pens of this price point.

        • Well, to be fair, they are completely different pens, with vastly different price points, so comparing the Celluloide and the Alba nibs may not be comparing apples to apples.

          • Thecla

            You may be right. I hadn’t realised that the price difference between them is so big.

            Anyway, I really like your reviews. The technical quality is excellent and I very much appreciate the way you manage to differentiate between your personal preferences (like size, weight, style) and more absolute measures of “goodness” (like fit and finish). It’s something that many other pen reviewers often fail at.

      • Anters

        Thanks for this great review. I loved the look of the Arco Brown Celluloid so much that I bought one last week with an EF Extra Flessibile nib. While I’m absolutely thrilled with the pen and nib, the nib is orders of magnitude less flexible than the one in your review. It’s much stiffer than I was expecting (after seeing your review), so I can see why Stephen sprung his Alba. For my next Omas purchase, I’ll definitely buy a Fine Extra Flessibile, but don’t take that to mean I don’t like the EFEF…as I wouldn’t swap it for anything. I just like variety.

        • Yeah, it seems that there’s a lot of difference between different batches of those extra flessibile nibs.

    • Pascal Leers

      I sprung it as wel. (On the Ogiva Arco Celluloide) After just a sentence or two. And I thought I was being carefull.

      • Pascal, out of curiosity, do you have a lot of experience with 14k flex nibs, or was this a first one for you?

        • Pascal Leers

          It is my second. I also have one on my Omas Arte Italiana. I have that one for about 6 month’s and wrote page after page with it with no problem. I thought I was being careful and not flexing it too much. Especially after hearing that SBRE Brown sprung his.

  • Eva Yaa Asantewaa

    Looks like a gorgeous writer indeed, in all respects.

  • If you love this one (and I love mine) you should try the 360 version — the ARCO is off-the-planet incredible!!! Great review as always (and my favourite brand). Thankyou.

  • Pascal Leers

    Such a nice pen. Reminds me of fossilized wood.

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  • Ken

    Thanks for yet another great review. It is really a gorgeous pen. I also purchased one from Chatterleys and spend a lot of time admiring the Arco brown celluloide while writing.
    I also liked the OMAS brown/sepia ink that came with the pen.

    • Mine just came with black in…much less inspiring than Brown/Sepia ink. 🙂

      • Ken

        Oh, the ink colours must be random – darn I thought Omas had matched it to the pen.

        • Pascal Leers

          Mine also came with the sepia.

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  • mikey

    Matt should I be ordering one size lower than normal ie if I normally go with medium should I order a fine with this pen?
    Thanks man great job!

  • Dave

    In regards to the stiffness of the piston, did you try flushing with the typical ammonia solution?

    • Yep. That’s usually the first thing I do with every new pen. It’s loosened up a bit, but compared to the pistons on my Pelikans, it still requires a lot more force.

  • Pascal Leers

    Diamine Sepia would suit this pen so nicely.

    • That’s one I don’t have. I’ll have to pick up a sample. As it is, Autumn Oak also fits the pen like a glove.

  • Pascal Leers

    Good news (for me). My favourite fountainpen-shop has this pen for sale. And can get me one with a Extra Fine flessible nib.

  • Pascal Leers

    Mine is on the way. I ordered one at La Couronne du Comte. (With the EF- flex nib).The waiting is killing me. (Already waiting for 39 day’s. But it should arrive this month.).Wishing I had a time machine.

  • Pascal Leers

    I’m very disappointed obout this pen. It did cost 625 euro’s. And took 58 day’s to arrive. The piston is very stif. And when I tried it out today, I sprung the nib after just two sentences. (Using the same pressure I put on the Omas arte Italiana nib (also an EF extra flex) and the Pelikan M1000 nib. Not too much pressure. Or so I was thinking. Contacted La couronne du comte. Hoping they can help. Even If the nib can be replaced. I’m too scared using it again.

  • Pascal Leers

    Hi Matt. My Omas Ogiva Celluloide came back from repair today. (Just in time for Christmas).
    This time the nib feels much more solid. ( I think Omas has replaced the nib instead of just bending it back in shape.)
    .Anyway it writes like a dream again. (Athough I’ll keep the flex to a minimum, just to be on the safe side. Just a bounce in my handwriting.
    After 2 month’s without the pen, I forgot what a stunning beauty she is. And I feel I could fall in love with her again.
    Have a nice Christmas Matt. And a happy new year.

    • Glad to hear you got it back so quickly. (Honestly, two months is a lightning turnaround!)

      • Pascal Leers

        Indeed I’m Lucky. I remember that you had to wait 10 months to get your Stipula back. That seems like….forever.

  • Pascal Leers

    Matt, you forgot to mention that typical smell of celluloid. It still surprises me every time I smell it.