Having just received my new Jinhao 159 fountain pen, I thought I would share my experience with it!
Looks, Fit & Finish:
I have to admit that when I ordered this pen, my expections were quite low. How good can a chinese fountain pen be for only 11$ shipping included right?
Well, it can be pretty good! Very nice looking black barrel with silver trims. I think this pen could have used a slightly bigger nib, but I'm being picky here. The nib doesn't look disproportionate or out of place.
After a thorough inspection, I didn't see any apparent flaws in the finish or the various pieces. I didn't experience the sharp threads that I read about in another review either. This pen doesn't exactly feel luxurious, but it's without doubt a very well made pen, regardless of it's price tag.
Here are some pictures of the 159 along with some other pens:
First of all, let's make something clear. This is a big pen. Not big enough to use as a baseball bat, but it does feel substantial in both weight and size. I can see how the slightly tapered section could annoy some people, but I don't think it's tapered enough to make it slippery or awkward to hold. Of course, this depends on how you hold your pens. The pen has a nice balance, unless posted, where it becomes a little back heavy.
The Jinhao international converter that came with the pen does feel a bit flimsy, but it doesn't leak and is absolutely usable. I might actually fit it into one of my pen that didn't come with one.
I flushed the pen with soapy water before using it and loaded a cartridge of home blended Quink Black and Skrip Red with a touch of Waterman Blue. (For those interested, it gives a lovely dark cherry/purple with reddish accents)
Now this is where I had the biggest surprise: This thing writes well! The tines are properly aligned as far as I can tell and there is no scratchiness at various angles. It's a very enjoyable pen to write with. It gives a standard "western" medium line. The flow is a bit on the wet side, but it's not a gusher by any means. Very similar to my M200 in terms of flow. The 159's nib is very stiff and it starts railroading pretty quickly if you apply pressure to spread the tines. I didn't experience any skipping while writing. I did have a few small false starts, but I blame the ink and the cheap notebook paper much more than the pen.
The writing experience with this pen could be summed up this way: Nothing really exciting, but nothing negative either.
Now I won't try to fool anyone into thinking this pen is better than 100+$ offerings. I doesn't have quite the same feel as my Carene or my M200 for example. But assuming the pen I have is representative of it's siblings, it's hard to match at this price range. A bit too heavy to carry around as a workhorse, but a very nice pen to leave around on the desk to doodle with.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask!
(Oh and, I made an effort but english isn't my native language so please forgive me if it's not perfect!)