I have often looked longingly at Henry Simpole's pens and thought to myself:
- There must be a mechanical way of doing that without needing manual intervention.
- I wonder if it's comfortable to hold?
- I want one of them
Well, it's like this:
The first impression when opening the bubble wrap packaging was 'Ooh, Shinee'. I like it. Lots.
It is actually breathtakingly attractive.
You would never believe this pen cost $15.60 (£9.96) + postage of $5 from China. I got it from E-Bay seller 'combinedshipping' who seems to be another outlet for 'comeon1788'. The one fly in the ointment was the leaflet that came with the pen, advertising fakes of all sorts. Fake Montblanc pens, fake Parker pens and fake Rolex watches. It wasn't a mistake, the 'combinedshipping' and 'comeon1788' names were clearly plastered all over the leaflet. Not impressed with that at all, and I said so in the E-Bay feedback I left. However, the E-Bay sales seem to be genuine and not fakes. I suggest you use the E-Bay outlet & screw up the leaflets that are supplied by this seller. A genuine Montblanc Boheme LE for $36? In your dreams.
Back to the Jinhao 5000. The pen is fairly heavy, but the weight is distributed evenly along the pen, unlike the Jinhao Century pens, and is beautifully balanced. It's a slender but dense pen, there is heft here, but it only makes it feel more like a quality product rather than cheap junk. I don't equate weight with quality, however this pen oozes it.
The filigree is sharply stamped or cut, and etched to form a beautiful dragon shape curling around the cap and another around the barrel. There are a few areas where the edge of the filigree isn't completely smooth, but mostly it's very good. What can I say other than 'It's superb'.
The cap posts securely and, unusually for my Jinhao's, does not unbalance the pen because of the even weight distribution throughout the pen. The top of the cap has a 'jewel' like radial machining:
Having talked about the weight, I suppose I should give the dimensions and weight:
The sizes and weight are as below:
Length Capped: 136mm
Length Uncapped: 122mm
Length Posted (wonderfully secure): 161mm
Barrel Diameter: 11.10mm
Cap Diameter: 13.05mm
Weight: 40.5g capped. 23g uncapped.
The overall quality of fit and finish is remarkably high. Note: I did not say 'Remarkably high for a Chinese pen' and also did not say 'Remarkably high for a pen of this price'. It is a remarkably good quality pen on any scale of reference, the low price is absolutely amazing for this quality pen.
The overall construction method has baffled me somewhat. The filigree is overlaid on a painted brass tube, but how the filigree is made, I cannot entirely decide. There are a couple of possible methods.
- Stamp a flat sheet, roll it and then seam it and slip over the inner tube. I don't think this is the construction method as you would expect to see a seam - and I can't.
- Laser cut the shape from a seamless tube. Probably not the construction method because it's too slow unless massive machines are used.
- Die cut a seamless tube by slipping it over a mandrel and rolling over a cutter. Possible, but doesn't explain the etched sections.
- Die cast a filigree tube over a mandrel, polish the surface and slip over the inner tube. This is possible as it explains a couple of little bits of casting flash in the filigree cutouts, and the engraving could be the unpolished finish from the diecasting process.
The finials on the cap and barrel are painted metal.
The c/c is a deluxe piston c/c, of below average quality. There is a part of the piston movement where it's possible to see the seal completely losing contact with the side walls of the c/c. It's not a real problem as international c/c are easily available.
The nib is sharply engraved and the bi-coloured plating accurately stops at the edge of the engraving. This is precision work.
There are two areas of durability problems I can see. The first is the gold plating - for the price, the plating cannot be more than 'Gold Wash' rather than plating, and it's inevitable that it will wear away quickly. If you want the pen to look gold for long, get it re-plated by a jeweller and take a hit on the price. The second area is likely to be the painted coating on the brass finials. I imagine that it will start to wear away like it did on my Jinhao Century pen before too long.
Other than the problems identified above, I expect the pen to be a long lasting one and keep writing well for years.
Writing with the Pen
I have already mentioned that the pen is beautifully balanced. Despite its weight, it is lovely to write with whether posted or un-posted.
The nib was not very smooth when I got it, having one tine displaced relative to the other. After re-setting that and doing 30 seconds of smoothing on three grades of micromesh, it writes beautifully. The point is possibly an American Medium - in other words a bit on the fine side to UK eyes.
When writing with the pen, it is very nice to write with. I find I can write all day with pens under 25g, almost regardless of the section design. However for pens heavier than 25g, the section design must be good for me to be able to write all day with them. This pen is pretty well designed, and despite it's weight, it can be used for a large part of a day before the weight becomes an issue. The filigree doesn't cut into your hands at all when writing, and is very comfortable to hold.
The nib is very, very stiff. There is no hint of flex, and if you press hard enough to flex the nib, it moves far enough from the feed not to be fed with ink. So no flex. Ah well. Cannot have everything.
Value for Money
!!!!!!! You get a lot of pen for the money.
Comparison with other pens
The Jinhao is a nice, slender pen, as shown in comparisons with a Kaigelu 316 (Parker Duofold Centennial copy), Parker Duofold International and the Jinhao Century pen:
And against a Parker 51:
This is another very good, Jinhao. It's a classic shape, wearing a gorgeous overcoat, that works well. Jinhao have a very good reputation and this pen has done nothing to reduce it. It's a great pen, but I think it needs to be kept for special occasions to keep the gold wash over the filigree intact.
This pen is quite amazing, and it feels really good to write with due the the superb balance and pretty good nib.
I hope this is useful,