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Jinhao 159


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#1 Malcy

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 23:46

I'll say it here and now; 'I don't like most Chinese pens'. There is something about them that I just can't put my finger on. However, I don't deny that they produce cost effective writing instruments that many enjoy. There is an exception to every rule, and the Jinhao 159 does enough to work it's way into the select group of pens that I like.

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I came by the 159 totally by accident. I was having a rare sleepless night and decided to surf the net in the early hours in the hope that I would get to sleep afterwards (it worked). In a half awake state, I saw an image of a Jinhao 159 and an MB 149 together and thought that it looked pretty good. A quick surf on the bay and I snagged this Jinhao 159 for £6.98 inc P&P.

As you can see from the images, the 159 has the classic cigar shape, though the design is not as refined as that certain German pen. Unlike the German pen which I will not identify, the section is narrower (or at least appears to be) and the pen is comfier to write with. The 159 is mostly metal and black lacquer and I have no complaints about the finish which is very good. I think that the cap is mostly plastic and posting it does not put the pen out of balance. Overall well made and solid. Being large and metal, it is not light weight but the weight is not excessive and one of my year 7 (11-12YO) pupils used it the other day without problem, in fact she found that the chunky shape was a big help. Dimensions are 147mm long capped, 164mm posted, barrel 17.3mm diameter, mass 49g (to compare, my Parker Duofold Maxima has a mass of 20g).

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The 159 has a steel nib which like the rest of the pen is rather large. It is marked 18K GP, though where they hid the gold plating is anyones guess. No complaints about how it writes though. I prefer nibs on the flexier side, but this is a nail. However it writes with a very smooth wet broad line and as such is nice to use. The filler is C/C and the included converter works well, so no issues here other than capacity.

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For me, this is a fun pen and a nice surprise. It is very robust and costs little, so I can let the kids use it without worry but it is nice to use in it's self. It is only 73 times cheaper than that certain German pen but I have had both and I know which will stay.

Appearance & Design (1-10) 7
Construction & Quality (1-10) 7
Weight & Dimensions (1-10) 8
Nib & Performance (1-10) 7
Filling System & Maintenance (1-10) 6
Cost & Value (1-10) 10
Conclusion (Final score, xx/6) 45/60

A writing sample (Diamine blue-black):

Posted Image

Edited by Malcy, 04 March 2012 - 10:04.

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#2 nitnop

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 00:06

Thanks. Nice review. I think I'll try a 159.

#3 ryanchan

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 01:51

Beautiful handwriting - may I ask what ink that is?

#4 wastelanded

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 02:42

I have the Bulow version, also reviewed here, and yes it's a surprisingly pleasing pen to use. Heavy yes, but balanaced fairly well. Just don't drop it on your foot or you'll be in A&E for xrays. An excellent deal, certainly more than 1/73 the worth of another writing instrument not mentioned.

Thanks for reviewing this...I'd also like to know what ink that is.
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#5 CRB

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 02:54

Thanks for sharing the interesting review. After reading it I went looking for a 159; I'm looking forward to getting it.

As for the 18K GP marking on the nib, I think it's like the white gold plating on the Jinhao X750 nib (it's not the same colour as stainless steel). I have that nib, and consider it to be very good. The script in your background seems to show some stubbish line variation, very nice.

Congratulations on your new pen.

Cheers,
Joe

#6 Celerity-dad

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 03:33

I just received the Bulow version as well. Mine has a fine German Knox nib which is butter smooth. I like the weight and size of the pen. Thanks for sharing the photos of your pen.
Mark
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#7 Malcy

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 10:09

Alas, the writing in the background of the images was not made by the Jinhao 159. I took the photos at the same time as I took photos of a 1928 Sheaffer 7-30 flat top and the writing is by that pen. I think that the ink was Lamy blue but I could be wrong. I have added a writing sample from the 159 to the review, however my scanner is on it's last legs so the quality is not great.
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#8 Malcy

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 22:46

I have tried the pen out at school with a variety of kids and they really like it.

Comments like 'Where can I get one?' and 'Will you sell it to me?" are typical. They find the chunky shape easier to grip than thin ball points and not having to apply pressure when writing helps too.

However for children used to cheap ball points ( which they borrow half the time) even £7 seems a lot.
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#9 tmcneil82

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 02:40

I just got mine in tonight ($11 with shipping) and I am amazed at how much I like it. Certainly not a high quality pen, but it's a heck of a pen for the price. In fact, next to the twsbi, this might be the best bang for the buck I've gotten so far out of pens.

#10 robofkent

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 19:58

I have a Jinhao 159 too and like you I find it to be one of the best of the current generation of Chinese pens........looks mightily impressive for very little money, what's not to like?

#11 th3

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 01:07

That is a beautiful pen! Thanks for your review, very well done.

I've always admired the large black cigar-shaped pens, the
kind that Presidents and Prime Ministers and leaders of industry would
use in old movies.

#12 WetWetWet

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 22:47

Thanks for a good review!

I ordered one too and waited 30 days for it to be delivered. While it's impressive for the price and perhaps in some sense a bargain compared to the pen it tries to ape, it isn't in my opinion a very good pen, neither writing wise nor quality wise. The feeding seems to either overflow the nib with ink or there's severe skipping. The tines came slightly misaligned and due to the uneven flow of ink, there's sometimes a double line.

The ring in the cap where the threads are came off immediately. The "laquer"-surface doesn't fit 100 per cent on the brass etc.

I don't think it's fit for DIY projects or that it is worth to tune it; there are many S/H pens of good quality that have a character of their own and could be repaired/tuned and that doesn't cost more than the MontJinhao.

I have a few Chinese clone pens that I adore, f ex The Baoer 388 (Parker Sonnet), so there's no prejudice against Chinese pens.

Or perhaps I got a particularily bad specimen :happyberet:
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#13 Malcy

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 23:55

Thanks for a good review!

I ordered one too and waited 30 days for it to be delivered. While it's impressive for the price and perhaps in some sense a bargain compared to the pen it tries to ape, it isn't in my opinion a very good pen, neither writing wise nor quality wise. The feeding seems to either overflow the nib with ink or there's severe skipping. The tines came slightly misaligned and due to the uneven flow of ink, there's sometimes a double line.

The ring in the cap where the threads are came off immediately. The "laquer"-surface doesn't fit 100 per cent on the brass etc.

I don't think it's fit for DIY projects or that it is worth to tune it; there are many S/H pens of good quality that have a character of their own and could be repaired/tuned and that doesn't cost more than the MontJinhao.

I have a few Chinese clone pens that I adore, f ex The Baoer 388 (Parker Sonnet), so there's no prejudice against Chinese pens.

Or perhaps I got a particularly bad specimen :happyberet:


It sounds like you got a lemon or I got a good one. my copy seems robust and writes well. As I said earlier, I am letting kids at school use it and they tend to be hard on their pens. I have had some Baoer 388 which went down well with the children too.
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#14 larsbj

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 14:24

Congratulatinons on your new pen!
I purcased the same one off a chinese (I think) ebay seller together with a X750 and a "Naranja Dolce" which is supposed to be a replica of a Delta Dolce Vita. Paid appx USD10 incl P/S per pen. Unfortunately I have not had the opportunity to use it toroughly, only dipping it. But the initial impression is positive. There is, however, one annoying snag with it. The threads on the cap are squeeky; not smooth at all. Not quite sure what I should do with it, but maybye some silicone oil (supplied with my TWSBI) can help???

Anyway, I liked the feeling of the pen; smooth nib, bit heavy but feels sturdy, nice medium/fine wet line. And cost/value is 10/10. So, as one of the other members commented, What's Not to Like?

A nice day to ya all from Norway!
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#15 cuza

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 15:55

It is no coincidence that Jinhao named this pen the 159... Photo below offers a handy visual comparison of the J 159 vs MB 149.

Jinhao 159.JPG


I have a couple of these and find them quite nice reflecting the improving quality control of PRC fountain pens. I paid only $20 USD for both 159s.


cuza

#16 mikefromsac

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 00:08

I also have a 159 and love it. I changed the nib to a German Knox (paid $9 for the nib, new) and it writes like a dream. I also have an x750 and they're both great values for $10 each delivered. Of course it doesn't have the quality as my MB, but the MB doesn't feel 50 times better either ...

Enjoy all pens!

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#17 John Cullen

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 12:33

I bought two of the 159's. Nice pen.

A couple of drawbacks. The cap does not screw on as well as it could. There is a cheap plastic insert in the cap into which the barrel screws. I would recommend people be a bit careful starting the screwing on process so as not to strip the threads. The barrel only screws maybe a half turn or so into the cap.

The included converter is a bit rough on the nipple end and then wobbles a bit when in, as the opening in the back of the section is quite a bit larger than converter. I found a Waterman cartridge fit more snuggly than the supplied converter.

It is a nice pen for the price.

The Knox nib is very nice and smooth.

#18 J English Smith

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 03:36

On the strength of the original review, I bought one of these last week. It arrived yesterday, about two weeks faster than I was expecting. I paid all of $10 shipped. Very nice pen for the money. A few small gripes only:

Clip is not as robust as I like. It is OK. Not as much grip action, as say, a similar size Wality pen.
The section is quite wobbly as you screw it in, but once in place, stays put and feels solid.
Regular Jinhao nib seems to take a little starting - first stroke - but then writes well. It is currently inked with just Lamy black. Other inks may be a little more lubricating.
It is a WIDE nib. With the size of the converter, I expect this will burn through the ink fairly fast, requiring more frequent refills.

I personally like the cap action, I like push-on caps better than screw caps, but this is nice and solid and does not unscrew.

The weight is amazing. It really is too heavy to use for everyday writing, but it is a hell of an impressive "signing pen."For about the same price as a Wality 152, it is pretty impressive.

How does one get the alternate nib for this pen? Is it just a push-in nib/feed?
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#19 Sparky2

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 05:14

Mine just arrived today – ordered for $11 on the first. It seemed like a long 18 days, but it isstill impressive for "free" shipping. No complaints here.

I like almost everything about this pen so far. There was a little squeak when screwing in the section; it is metal-to-metal threads that are a bit loose until tightened all the way down. The converter is a bit wonky. The piston had to be pushed as well as turned to fully travel down into the cylinder. These things were not too bad, but the writing thickness is very broad for being labeled a medium. I had heard that this was going to be the case and have ordered some K35 nibs. That brings the total to $20 (the good people at xfountainpens did notcharge for shipping). The pen still seems like a very good price. If I were a fan of this very smooth but very bold nib, it would be an excellent deal.

J English Smith - I saw some instructions around here that described how to change the nib. At least I think it was this nib, or perhaps it was the one on the X450 that uses the same size. I wish I had bookmarked the link. Perhaps someone has it handy...

Edited by Sparky2, 21 March 2012 - 03:55.


#20 lovemy51

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 07:57

this pen has become a sensation recently. the size appeals to me. thanx for the review, Malcy!



on a separate note:
am i the only one that dislikes the crest on the clips of these pens coming out of china? it looked good on the dukes, cos' it had the crown engraved on them and it looked... i dunno, regal?:rolleyes: (or should i say "princely", being a "duke" and not a king?)... but it seems like all chinese pen makers are using it now. dead ugly, IMO. :sick:

funny, but it doesn't look all that bad on the J159. it must be the size of the pen... :hmm1:

Edited by lovemy51, 20 March 2012 - 08:04.

Lovemy51 Posted Image




pleese, forgeeve my bad espelling!! Posted Image

#21 richardandtracy

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 14:55

That crest on the Jinhao Century pen looks rificulous, cheap & tacky. Maybe not too bad on this one.

Thanks for the review Malcy, may be putting it on my ever growing list. My only concern is the diameter of the section - can anyone measure theirs? I have just got out my Parker 100 again after a couple of years, and it feels like I'm writing with a childs training felt pen, it's so big & cumbersome, it's 12mm diameter.

Regards,

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#22 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 16:28

this pen has become a sensation recently. the size appeals to me. thanx for the review, Malcy!



on a separate note:
am i the only one that dislikes the crest on the clips of these pens coming out of china? it looked good on the dukes, cos' it had the crown engraved on them and it looked... i dunno, regal?:rolleyes: (or should i say "princely", being a "duke" and not a king?)... but it seems like all chinese pen makers are using it now. dead ugly, IMO. :sick:

funny, but it doesn't look all that bad on the J159. it must be the size of the pen... :hmm1:



That would be 'ducal,' lol. I may have to get one of these.

#23 phr4nkr4wk5

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 16:32

I believe it'd look nicer if it were truer to the original (a' la Hero 616). That's just a matter of personal taste and opinion though. :mellow:
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#24 J English Smith

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 18:34

Yes, I'm not a big fan of the crest on there, and I don't like the 159 clip in general, it feels a bit flimsy. At the same time, there is just enough pressure that it can sit in a shirt pocket without slipping unduly. The weight of the pen is such that I probably will be carrying this in a pen case rather than shirt pocket anyway. (And, for me, it's more comfortable to write with unposted.)

I would probably use it more if this was a medium. It took me about a day of light use to go through the converter!

Pulled out my old Wality 52 to compare. It looked big when I got it but next to this Jinhao it looks like its little brother. The Wality has a decent piston filler, is lighter, and has an F nib. For most people, it's probably more comfortable to write with than the 159.

The overall aesthetics and build quality of the 159, though - I've got to say - is remarkable.
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#25 Malcy

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 18:35

That crest on the Jinhao Century pen looks rificulous, cheap & tacky. Maybe not too bad on this one.

Thanks for the review Malcy, may be putting it on my ever growing list. My only concern is the diameter of the section - can anyone measure theirs? I have just got out my Parker 100 again after a couple of years, and it feels like I'm writing with a childs training felt pen, it's so big & cumbersome, it's 12mm diameter.

Regards,

Richard.


I can't measure it as I left the pen in my classroom but the section is less than that of the MB 149 which I found a bit too wide.

The nib should be a friction fit, the Chinese don't often use fancier methods on this type of pen. It will have to be pulled out rather than knocked out due to the cartridge coupling at the end of the feed.
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#26 rwilsonedn

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 19:39

this pen has become a sensation recently. the size appeals to me. thanx for the review, Malcy!



on a separate note:
am i the only one that dislikes the crest on the clips of these pens coming out of china? it looked good on the dukes, cos' it had the crown engraved on them and it looked... i dunno, regal?:rolleyes: (or should i say "princely", being a "duke" and not a king?)... but it seems like all chinese pen makers are using it now. dead ugly, IMO. :sick:

funny, but it doesn't look all that bad on the J159. it must be the size of the pen... :hmm1:

+1. The silly crest has kept me from trying the pen.
ron

#27 J English Smith

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 19:46

Jinhao section radius is 1.4 cm near the threads, tapering to 1.0 cm by the trim ring near the nib.

On the Wality 52, that is 1.2 top tapering to 1.0 by nib. Not too different.
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#28 J English Smith

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 20:27

There is one more thing about the 159 that is worth noting. I clean up pretty carefully after a fill, but this is a pen that really needs to be run under the tap post-fill. and then blotted. A LOT of ink apparently gets between the trim ring and the resin, and I've gotten very inky fingers now both times after "filling up". This is one where using cartridges would be far cleaner and easier, I may do that from here on out.
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#29 robofkent

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 21:30

Most of the complaints against this pen seem to be minor niggles when you consider the price

#30 J English Smith

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 21:35

Well agreed. I'm nit pickin'. But that's what we do, right? ;)

Definitely worth the modest investment.
"Most people go through life using up half their energy trying to protect a dignity they never had."
-Marlowe, in The Long Goodbye