Ohto Poche Arabesque fountain pen review


About a month ago I was browsing pens from Straits Pen when Sunny (owner) decided to let me choose an Ohto pen that he would sponsor me to play with and review on my blog. Ohto has never been a brand that I usually take note of, and although I already had an Ohto Rook which a friend had given to me before, I have never gotten down to reviewing it. Well, it’s good that Sunny pointed this pen out to me, because this is giving me a chance to show you how adorable it is! Just a disclaimer, all opinions in this review are my own, but I do have a personal bias towards favouring small, pretty pens… 😛


The Ohto Poche Arabesque comes in a transparent plastic box

The Ohto Poche comes in 4 different designs, namely the Diamond, Zebra, Leopard, and Arabesque. Out of the designs that were available, I chose the Arabesque, because I was really attracted by the swirly design on the metallic body. The Ohto Poche Arabesque combines exotic traditional patterns on a modern-looking aluminium body without looking awkward or mismatched! When I checked Wikipedia about Arabesque art, it gave me two entries, one being European Arabesque and the other being Islamic Arabesque. I’m not sure which kind of Arabesque this pen features, but anyway, it’s pretty and that’s important enough. 🙂

The Ohto Poche comes in a cheap-looking plastic box, and it may not be appealing to some, but don’t let packaging deceive your perception of the pen! It is a reasonably affordable pen with a steel nib, and seeing how nicely-made the pen is, I would think it’s pretty value for money. The only “fault” I could possibly think of is the way they present this pen. Being a “Poche” (which is French for “pocket”) type of pen, I suppose the real selling point should be in the size of the pen. Have a look at the pictures below. If this pen was packaged capped or uncapped instead of posted, wouldn’t you think that it’s more attractive?


The Ohto Poche, posted, capped, and uncapped

Ohto is a Japanese pen company based in Tokyo, Japan. Although it does produce fountain pens, you may actually have heard more of it in the pencils or ballpoint pens side of the market (at least I have). It seems to be gaining a little traction on the fountain pens side, with reviews by SBRE Brown (Ohto Tasche), The Pen Addict (Ohto Dude), and No Pen Intended (Ohto Rook), just to name a few.

This Ohto Poche is a slim and small pen, and the body is mostly matte aluminium with the glossy parts being the Arabesque patterns. It’s quite eye-catching in that way, with the light reflecting off some parts but not others. Being all aluminium, it reminds me very much of the Muji Aluminium fountain pen, of which I did a review before. I found out only later the reason: the nibs are the same!


Nib of the Ohto Poche, stainless steel, fine. Looks golden here because of warm lighting

I grabbed my Muji fountain pen to check and indeed, the swirly engravings are all exactly the same as the Ohto Poche, complete with the lack of a breather hole, and the words “Iridium Point” all together. The nib is a fine nib, and the “F” is also engraved in swirly form in the middle. In case you have been wondering, the Ohto Poche takes international short cartridges, and the inner part is made in such a way that it fits exactly the cartridge. You can get Ohto cartridges like the blue black ones I have, but instead of that, I tried fitting in my last Pelikan 4001 Pink cartridge, just to see if it would fit or not. I think, because of a little piece of plastic protruding at the side of the Pelikan cartridge, it was quite a tight fit, and unscrewing the tiny barrel would also unscrew the cartridge. But no one really needs to do that until the ink has been depleted anyway.


Ohto ink cartridges vs Pelikan 4001 ink cartridge


Ohto Poche, disassembled

Once the cartridge was plugged in, it didn’t take long for the ink to reach the nib. This nib doesn’t have a breather hole and I am not able to verify if it’s perfectly aligned, but the flow was excellent! Despite how most Japanese fine-nibbed fountain pens write like extra-fines, this nib writes more like an European fine. Like the Muji fountain pen nib, it writes generally smoothly but with feedback, a little like pencil on paper.


Writing sample

We may as well move on to the size of this little pocket pen. Here are some vital stats:

  • Length when capped: 10.6cm
  • Length when uncapped: 8.9cm
  • Length when posted: 14.5cm

Numbers don’t mean a lot to me, so I decided to take a couple of comparison photographs with my other short pens. As you may already know, I just love collecting small pens. Here are two shots:


L-R: Kaweco Skyline Sport Mint, Sheaffer Agio Compact, Stipula Passaporto, Platinum Pocket Pen, Ohto Rook, Ohto Poche, Pilot Petit1, Peter Pan, Waterman 52.5V, Wahl ringtop


Top-bottom: Ohto Rook, Ohto Poche, Platinum Pocket Pen, Sheaffer Agio Compact, Kaweco Skyline Sport Mint

For reference, the Ohto Poche is about the same length as the Kaweco Skyline Sport (reviewed) but not quite as thick (also, it is metal and not plastic). Or if you have a Sheaffer Agio Compact fountain pen, the Poche is just about the same length and thickness as the Agio Compact, but visually the long cap on the Poche makes it look slimmer. In terms of design, the Poche is just like the Platinum Pocket Pen (reviewed) which is the long-short design, but the Platinum is longer than the Poche. The extra length of the Platinum goes into the barrel as both caps are about the same length. This is to accomodate the long Platinum cartridges for the Platinum pens.

Some may think that this is a lady’s pen since it’s so small, but I wouldn’t mock a guy if he uses it. In my view, it looks more like a unisex pen, so guys, go ahead and try this one out. It’s a really nice pen. Oftentimes those with bigger hands may find it too small to grip, but the cap posts easily and the weight is very well-balanced throughout the pen when posted! Also, the cap is a pull-off cap, and snaps shut very firmly and with a very clean, satisfying sound. No wobbling anywhere. It’s just that with the tiny barrel on the Ohto Poche, it may be a little inconvenient to uncap the pen, depending on how you normally uncap pens.


Crystal on one end, stylus on the other

One incredible additional function I found on this pen was on the end of the pen. While one end is studded with a Swarovski crystal, the other is smooth and rounded, looking like a capacitive stylus. Of course I had been tempted to test it out on my phone screen… and it worked! Just tap gently on the touchscreen, and you get around your phone in that manner. On the other hand, I probably would not use it too much on my phone without a screen protector, since the “stylus” is made of metal…

Overall, do I love the Ohto Poche? YES!

I think it is a great carry-around pen: small enough, light enough, elegant enough, and multifunctional enough (if you’re thinking of using it as a stylus).

Thanks Straits Pen once again for providing me this pen to review. I foresee myself putting it in my daily carry. Check out stock and prices at Straits Pen, or your local retailer, or as always, on Amazon US or Amazon CA.

4 Responses

  1. jahir hussain 9 December 2014 / 1:28 AM

    It reminds me of the aluminium short pilot pen my mother use to have when I was in my primary school in my village in india. But I wish it had its own converter as the pilot did.

    • Maybelline 9 December 2014 / 6:53 AM

      Yes true, having its own converter would be much better, i do like playing with different ink colours.

  2. Matt 7 December 2014 / 2:58 PM

    Nice. I like the older Sailor and Pilot pocket pens from the 70s and 80s. Buy one whenever I find one, usually for under 1000 yen. Handy to carry, the nibs are great, and it doesn’t break your heart when you notice a new hairline crack starting in the barrel.

I would love to hear your thoughts!