Platinum offers a wide range of fountain pens, but their Platinum Preppy has always stood out as being an excellent beginner fountain pen. For $4, it writes beautifully, is comfortable to hold, and Platinum’s unique cap mechanism ensures that the pen can go months without writing and not dry out. But the Preppy, despite being reusable, does look a bit, well, cheap. Platinum offered the Plaisir, a Preppy with an upgraded aluminum body at a higher cost ($17), but it felt harder to recommend, especially considering there’s more competition at the $20 price point, like Kaweco’s Sport or Pilot’s Metropolitan, both of which I love. Enter Platinum’s new pen, the Prefounte—at $10, it’s a cross between the cheap Preppy and the upgraded Plaisir, and it’s quite good.
I should say before we begin—I love the Preppy, even with the disposable-looking body. I own several; it’s a solid, reliable fountain pen, and the fact that it doesn’t look expensive means it’s less likely to go missing in a shared office or school environment. It’s also incredibly light, something I personally like in a pen. My only real complaint is that Platinum uses proprietary ink cartridges, but you can buy an adapter for $2 to allow it to take standard international-style ink cartridges, and it’s easy enough to refill Platinum’s cartridges with a syringe (or to do an eyedropper conversion where you use the pen body itself as an ink reservoir).
The Prefounte is largely identical to the Preppy—it has the same dimensions, it’s a similar weight, it uses the same excellent nib and feed mechanism, it has the same cap-sealing mechanism, and it takes the same cartridges or converters. If you like the Preppy’s writing experience (as I do), you’ll like the Prefounte.
The body has been upgraded—instead of the Preppy’s clear, label-covered plastic, we instead have a translucent colored plastic that looks more refined. I tested the Night Sea version, which was a deep blue, and it looked quite nice.
So, the pen looks good, writes well, and is economical—should you buy it? My answer is yes—but I do need to include a small asterisk. That “yes” depends on how sensitive you are to price and pen appearance. If you don’t have any problems with the way the Preppy looks, there’s no reason to not get the less-expensive Preppy—again, other than the body, the pens are virtually identical. But if you want an inexpensive pen that writes well, and looks solid, the Prefounte is a very good choice.