From an Italian Website

From an Italian Website

I thought I’d write about this particular Omas because there isn’t much written about it. OMAS was founded in 1925 by Armando Simoni. OMAS stands for Officina Meccanica Armando Simoni. The Alma Mater was made in 1988 in celebration of the 900th Anniversary of the University of Bologna, considered as the oldest university in the world. Omas, being located in Bologna, would join in the celebration by coming up with this pen. I’m still doing research if Signor Simoni actually studied in Bologna.

So remember, think 1988. The Alma Mater was based on the Omas 557/f Extra in production at the time. It is made of black resin with a plastic piston filling mechanism. It is a faccettata or faceted pen, the 12 facets gives it what is now considered the classic iconic Italian pen look. On one side of the facets is the engraving “Omas” with it’s characteristic S font and the Roman numerals “M CM LXXXVIII.” The only furniture on the barrel is a thin gold ring at the barrel end between the piston knob. The section is that of a 557/f 3rd gen section. The cap has 3 rings which allegedly means that such a pen is for and to be sold by the “Museum of Modern Art”. The 3 rings comes from the older 2nd gen vintage Extra Lucens which also had the arrow clip. The younger 557/f would have the Greek band around the cap as well as the diamond/bow tie clip. So to summarize, cosmetically your Alma Mater is a 557/f with the older 2nd gen Extra Lucens 3 ring cap rings. Length of the pen capped is 13.8 cms, almost the same length capped as an M800. It is a light pen probably because of the plastic piston.

The nib, is an Extra Lucens Type, this means that it has the arrow, Omas and 585 engraving design and look of an earlier Extra Lucens. On the left side of the nib, the M for medium is engraved on it’s side. However, it doesn’t have the characteristic flex of an actual early Extra Lucens. Omas back then, during the Alma Maters production, made their own nibs. The Alma Mater nib is not marked 14K nor 18K. IF you’re the lucky owner of a semi-flex nib Alma Mater then you have a 14K nib. I assume I have a 14K on my Alma Mater because it is very much a semi flex nib. Probably pre ISO, story/legend has it, that back then when Omas nibs were made in house, during assembly of a pen, a box of semi flex nibs might have a firm nib mixed up in it or vice versa in a box of firm nibs. Some say that it also might be a production run thing, meaning that first issues were 14k semi flexes while later issues where firm 18k’s. This sounds more plausible. All those I’ve been in touch with have semi flex nibs in their Alma Maters. Though in the internet, they mention firm nibs for the Alma Mater. Feed is an old school ebonite feed with it’s characteristic flat black color. To summarize again, the pen is based on the 557/f of 1988 BUT has 3 cap rings and an Extra Lucens type nib of the older 2nd gen Extra Lucens pen. The Alma Mater will either have a semi flex 14K or firm 18K nib made in house.

A site mentions this about the Faccettata Omas“The chosen line could not be other than the dodecagonal, with lovely finishes, a mythical ancestor, the Extra Lucens, in the 2nd half of the 30’s, both for it’s undisputed primary in the continuity of production as being the highest expression of Italian style.” This is an English translation from an Italian article but you obviously can get the point. The faceted Omas is an iconic Italian pen that does not need a double take.

I love this Omas, even if made back in 1988 and already a 27 year old pen, is actually considered a modern Omas. I got it mint, with outer card board box and inner felt box with papers, catalogs, manual and a dealers sticker. This the only pen in my humble collection that for me is just too pretty to be made as a daily writer. It continues to be mint in box, even if I’ve used it once. I used it for this article. The Montblanc Oscar Wilde was used for the NKK article and a Montblanc 149 for the De Santiago article. The nib just feels too elegant, not a bad thing of course. The 1988 Alma Mater is not a numbered LE or SE unlike the 1992 “Europa” having only 3500 pcs, or the 1997 “British handover of HK to China” pen which had 1997 pcs. I would like to believe that this is quite rare as it hardly comes out in the classifieds. The 1988 Alma Mater is also a pre LVMH pen, meaning at the time, Omas was still family owned (1983 was when Simoni Grandson Gianluca Malaguti started to run Omas), May 2000 was when LVMH took over. 1988 pens also still had in house made nibs. Nibs eventually were made by Bock, of course still wonderful nibs. The early Omas pre LVMH pens are getting harder to find and just like all things vintage they come cheap when they are all banged up and they are pricey like hell when mint. These model of pens aren’t outrageously expensive. If you find one mint at a good price then you are lucky because brand new Paragons are just too rich. I still continue to hunt for a bargain Omas Paragon Arco Brown/Bronze LE.

Write away!