For the first time, My Life As a Verb has a guest blog entry. Thank you, Karlo. <3

Omas 557-F

Omas 557-F

Leigh has an Omas 556/S that needs no help from Marol to look slick. It exudes cool like Gianni Agnelli in a bespoke Caraceni. The 50s Italian Fine moves better than Jagger, laying down hairline curves with ease and dishing out flourish when the crowd wants satisfaction.

So Leigh was more than a little interested when I told her that the 556 had a bigger brother from the same era: the 557.

Soon enough, a package arrives from the land of Vespas, San Pellegrino and talking hands.  Ensconced in bubble wrap was a black faceted Omas in the size of the vintage Paragons, its pedigree stamped on one barrel flat.

Omas 557-F, barrel stamp

Omas 557-F, barrel stamp

The character marks hinted at the age of the pen but none of its scars were beyond skin deep. The two-toned nib carried the classic arrow engraving and the cut of its shoulders suggested some softness. So with the greatest hopes, the pen was inked.

And failed.

Omas 557-F, nib

Omas 557-F, nib

Cross strokes were faint and downstrokes required biro-like pressure. No decent pen, let alone an Omas, required a heavy hand to write. So I asked if I could take a crack at this pen.

The culprit was an unevenly cut slit. Like a lot of vintage nibs, this one was probably cut by hand. On a Wednesday.

Omas 557-F, nib side view

Omas 557-F, nib side view

Several dips in an ultrasonic cleaner, some tine alignment work plus a few passes with ultrafine abrasives brought the pen back to life.

The nib still has a few quirks as sprezzatura demands. But like an angled fedora or an offset pocket square, it works just fine.

Writing sample

Writing sample

Back to Leigh:

This Omas 557-F is a Paragon from the 80s, based on the faceted clip and the number on the barrel. Ah, Italy in the 80s.

From Vogue Italia September 1984

From Vogue Italia September 1984

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=629459337 Chito Limson

    “an angled fedora” — is that the progenitor of the jejemonic baseball cap?

    Thank you for the Omas review.

  • leighpod

    Angles are flattering. :D

  • Lince

    Great review, thank you so much. Great guest!

  • Karlo Tatad

    Guesting on Leigh’s blog is a tall order. Thank you for the kind words.

  • Karlo Tatad

    Chito: I doubt Bogey would have approved of the way some folks wear ball caps, but to each his own. :)