I couldn't help but add them to my collection simply on their appearance. The Five that I selected really caught my eye. I'm sorry for those who love to use integrated filling systems since these are designed specifically for cartridges. The barrels on these are very thin, but I believe a converter would work if one were to find one that fits inside.
Material: Plated or Enameled steel
Weight: Light-Medium (27-30g)
Barrel size: Thin
Nib: Medium Two-toned 18k plated steel
Filling System: Cartridge
OAL: 5.5" (140mm)
Length Posted: 6.125" (155mm)
Pen Length: 4.75" (121mm)
The pens (from left to right):
The Red and Blue pens are from the "Kathrine" series.
The Black\Gold is from the "Edward" line.
The Stainless and Black\Chrome are from the "Lane" series of pens.
This is the best rating that I can offer on these pens since they really lack the premium machine work offered with much higher dollar pens, but despite this fact these pens still look really good. The finish is excellent with the colored models being extremely vibrant. The nib itself is adorned with some scrollwork and plated on the outer edge with gold. They all share a more modern look. Clean strait edges with trims of chrome to bring elegance to their design.
The cap snaps onto the end of the barrel. I like this concept since there is no part of the cap touching the barrel. Without relying on the a friction fit for posting, the finish of the barrel should stay intact for a long time with no "ring" developing where the cap is held in place.
The pens came packed in a nice little gift box, but was no where on the level that MBs, Viscontis, or Caran D'aches are packaged. At least they didn't arrive in just bubble wrap.
It's hard to believe that a pen for less than $10.00 out of the box will perform as well as these. I have found that some pens using converters or cartridges take a bit of effort to start the flow. 4 out of the 5 of these started incredibly quickly. The 5th pen has only a single feed channel which could be a reason it took longer to get going but none less began to flow. The other 4 pens share a feed system that has two channels for the ink. The 4 pens that have the twin feed channel system flow incredibly well with Private Reserve cartridges. Once the ink was flowing there was no skipping or starting problems.
The balance is towards the cap when posted. The crown of the cap is definitely one the heavier side. For me the thin size makes up for this. This is not for those of you who like a nice substantial barrel, but it's perfect for those of you who like to use a thin pen now and again. This should appeal to people that like the size of more common ball-point pens.
The Nib 4.5/5
I was completely take by surprise on my first pass with this instrument. The ink flowed cleanly leaving a nice full line. Not overly wet and not too dry. The nib glided over my page with ease. There was no scratchiness or squeaking. In fact it felt like the paper was covered with wax. The nib offers a little bit of flex but nothing like a crow quill.
It's appearance is very pleasing. It is not a huge nib, it's more on the smaller size. Very proportional to the overall thin design. The leading edges of the nib are trimmed in gold while the rest is chromed to match the trim on the rest of the pen. The design is clean with no over-the-top adornments.
I would have given this nib a 5/5, however all 5 pens share the same exact nib and only 4 of the 5 performed perfectly out of the box. One of them did have some feeding issues, skipping and not wanting to start. This same nib was a bit scratchy as well. With a little bit of elbow grease this nib was able to match the stellar performance of the other 4.
For under $10 what can one really expect? I certainly didn't expect performance at this level. So far I've tried Schneider Black, PR Daphne Blue, PR Dakota Red, and PR Cosmic Cobalt. Private Reserve ink performed excellent in these pens. I think PR will become a regular use item in most of my pens now. The biggest surprise was how smooth these pens were out of the box. The ink flowed from the nib as if they were more expensive than they are. I have a batch of pens coming in soon, being that these are other cheap chinese made pens I think my experience won't be on the level that these have to offer. For those of you who don't mind a thinner pen, I would recommend the "Kathrine" or the "Lane" series for their fantastic value and performance.
The box isn't marked with the country of manufacture, but I think that I read somewhere that these are made in Taiwan. Maybe the Taiwanese put just a little more effort into their pens than the Chinese? I'll find out when my other pens arrive. I should have my Visconti next week too, I am really excited to see how that performs!
Edited by Mr_Dirt, 04 April 2010 - 06:15.