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Chinese Pens -- Too Many Look Like Counterfeits!

fakes counterfeits chinese pens indian pens

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168 replies to this topic

#1 Moshe ben David

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 09:14

This may rile up some folks.

 

I've noted that when the subject of low cost pens comes up, more and more members will now advocate the Chinese pens.  I've also seen where some posts voice an uneasiness regarding whether or not the pens from China are out and out counterfeits.

 

On the one hand, I do know and recognize that some of the Chinese manufacturers are not in the legal sense counterfeiters.  Many we are told have or had licensing agreements with say Parker.  Plus, given that they market under their own brand name, I'd concede that they may not be legally counterfeits.  Counterfeiters typically try to name their products so that a purchaser thinks these fakes are the legitimate product.  But not always.  

 

Back in the 80's Iived in Asia when it seemed every taxi driver wore what appeared to a 'Rolex' (but wasn't).  Every shop keeper it seemed had what appeared to be an Apple II computer but wasn't.  Yes, I know I exaggerate -- did so on purpose.  I myself at that time had a 'pineapple' computer linked with a couple of 'orange' floppy disk drives.  At the time I had no choice where I was; when I came back to the US I did not bring the fakes with me!

 

What I am bothered about from surveying offerings on e-bay as well as websites from some sellers/importers (several of whom are active members of FPN) is that this approach is being used by the Chinese pen manufacturers.  Think of how many of the Chinese pens not only look like Parker 51's in general body shape, but also use the Parker arrow clip of the same design as the P-51 era.  Also how many pens are using what appear to be Sheaffer or Waterman clips.  I've seen quite a number of pen offerings that have the pen cap bevel that look like Waterman.  As well as pens having the conical cap ends looking like Cross products.

 

In short, to me these imports smack of the same approach to counterfeiting as I described above for watches and computers in the 80's.  And yet all too many of us moan about the industry dying or going off shore, while we buy the products that are stealing the legitimate manufacturers' markets.  

 

I don't object to the imported products.  But let the overseas manufacturers use their own design elements, rather than try to fool purchasers.  And we, as enthusiasts, should vow not to support these imports pretending to be what they are not.

 

Anyone else feel this way?  Comments?


Moshe ben David

 

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#2 rochester21

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 09:34

As an american, you are right to be upset about this- I would be to.  Unfortunately, i am not an american and my country doesn`t produce anything, so i don`t mind buying chinese pens that resemble american ones. I actually buy both because they represent different categories.

 

But, there are many wrong things that american companies have done to themselves, and these really have no connection with the chinese(apart from the fact that they were asked by american companies to make stuff for them and then ship them back to the US market for huge profits).

 

So relax, it`s not the chinese who are undermining the american economy- it`s the americans who are undermining the american economy.  What the chinese are doing on their own- faking watches, pens, cars it`s just a side effect of consumer society, and these things are destined for consumption in poor countries, where people can`t afford to boy a Rolex- so is it that strange to see every cab driver in Asia wearing a fake Rolex?  Don`t think so, because they can`t afford a real one.

   It`s not actually the watch they want, but the prestige- the object is the symbol of prestige(just like cars, gold, big houses and everything expensive).

 

As for parker 51 replicas, as far as i know, it was parker that set-up a factory in China, meant for producing parker pens, which was later nationalised. The chinese kept the american, high quality machinery and started making their own pens, similar with parker 51 from obvious reasons.  

 

And to conclude, the theft/reproduction of technology and know-how(let alone design) is not a new thing, or specific only to certain countries, it`s a phenomenon as old as mankind.  The fact that some people invented thngs like "patents" to prevent and control such events does not present any guarantee that they will actually prevent anything.  How can you control a phenomenon as old as time(which, by the way, all of us have benefited from in various forms) ??


Edited by rochester21, 08 December 2013 - 10:01.


#3 Moshe ben David

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 09:44

As an american, you are right to be upset about this- I would be to.  Unfortunately, i am not an american and my country doesn`t produce anything, so i don`t mind buying chinese pens that resemble american ones. I actually buy both because they represent different categories.

 

But, there are many wrong things that american companies have done to themselves, and these really have no connection with the chinese(apart from the fact that they were asked by american companies to make stuff for them and then ship them back to the US market for huge profits).

 

So relax, it`s not the chinese who are undermining the american economy- it`s the americans who are undermining the american economy.  What the chinese are doing on their own- faking watches, pens, cars it`s just a side effect of consumer society, and these things are destined for consumption in poor countries, where people can`t afford to boy a Rolex- so is it that strange to see every cab driver in Asia wearing a fake Rolex?

 

I understand what you are saying.  However.  These 'fakes' are being reported even on this forum to in many cases actually being pretty good pens.  Further, China has progressed in manufacturing prowess and technical capability to the point where they should be standing on their own reputation.  Instead, to my mind by using the design elements of the original manufacturers but claiming these to be Chinese products, they are pirates -- and appear to be trying to simply avoid the expense and bother of marketing for themselves!

 

In the instances where they are under contract to an American company, I do not consider the product as faked; they are being legally manufactured, legally exported under the brand name of the American company who outsourced.  I agree with you that in these instances the American companies have indeed shot themselves in the foot in many cases.

 

What it boils down to is plenty of wrong doing to share around!  Thanks for responding to my post.


Moshe ben David

 

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#4 msolok

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 10:03

I see no issue with it. The pens you are talking are about are being sold at a low price and marketed as their own brand. They aren't pretending to be Montblancs or Parkers or anything.
Sure they have taken design elements from other companies (not many of those American though, mostly German) but they aren't the first to do so. Been happening since forever and even American companies have done it / do it.

My advice is if you don't like it, don't buy them. But you can't force that on others.

Currently collection:Lamy Safari's x5, Lamy Al Star's x3, Lamy Studio's x2, A Lamy 2000, Kaweco Sports/AL Sports x7, Noodlers pens (Konrad and Ahab) x10, Noodlers Konrad Ebonite x2, Hero 616 x10, Reform 1745 x10, Sailor 1911m x2, Sailor 1911 Realo x3, Sailor Pro Gear Realo x2, Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black, Sailor 1911 Sterling Silver, Visconti Opera Club Cherry Juice (M Dreamtouch Nib), Visconti Opera Elements x3 (Amber and Black with M Dreamtouch Nib, Blue with M Gold Nib), Visconti Homo Sapiens Steel Age Maxi, Visconti Homo Sapiens Bronze Age, Montblanc 146 Le Grande... Plus I am sure I have forgotten some.


#5 rochester21

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 10:12

I also understand what you mean, and thank you for your reply..  Why copy when you can produce your own design? There are plenty of reasons:

 

1. It`s easier and more profitable to copy instead of investing time and money into a original design.

2. It`s easier to reproduce a design which is already popular in a certain country than try to introduce a new type of design and take the chance of the people not liking it.

3. I would assume that however developed China is, they have lesser good engineers and designers that say, the US. And if an american company discovers a great designer in China, they will likely make him an offer for a huge salary and bring him to work for them. I`m talking about what happens in the commercial industry.  

4. They have a different mentality. Asia and the west share very little in terms of life philosophy.  This a vast domain, so i`m not going into that.  

 

What can i say? Things are messed up. Sure, it would be better if we all cooperated for the benefit of us all, but nobody really wants to do that. It`s every man/nation for itself.  


Edited by rochester21, 08 December 2013 - 10:20.


#6 Moshe ben David

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 10:12

I see no issue with it. The pens you are talking are about are being sold at a low price and marketed as their own brand. They aren't pretending to be Montblancs or Parkers or anything.
Sure they have taken design elements from other companies (not many of those American though, mostly German) but they aren't the first to do so. Been happening since forever and even American companies have done it / do it.

My advice is if you don't like it, don't buy them. But you can't force that on others.

 

Not trying to 'force' anyone.  Just my opinion that we should not (wherein 'should' is a recommendation but voluntary).  If I had said 'shall not' it would be more like me attempting to force behavior.  Which would I know have been unreasonable on my part.


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#7 Paul80

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 10:20

Hi

 

If you think about it everything made today is a copy of something.  I have no issue with Chinese Pens as long as they are being sold as Chinese Pens at Chinese pen prices.  Its also not an issue if it even looks like something from another well known maker (Hero 616 looking like a Parker 51 or Baoer 388 looking like a Parker Sonnet or even a Jinhao 159 looking a bit like a Montblanc 149) my only issue is when they are sold by unscrupulous seller as the original or as in the case of some of the out and out fakes sold as Montblanc, Dunhill, S.T. Dupont etc at near there price of the originals, that's where I have issues with them.

 

Paul



#8 Moshe ben David

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 10:21

I also understand what you mean, and thank you for your reply..  Why copy when you can produce your own design? There are plenty of reasons:

 

1. It`s easier and more profitable to copy instead of investing time and money into a original design.

2. It`s easier to reproduce a design which is already popular in a certain country than try to introduce a new type of design and take the chance of the people not liking it.

3. I would assume that however developed China is, they have lesser good engineers and designers that say, the US. And if an american company discovers a great designer in China, they will likely make him an offer for a huge salary and bring him to work for them. I`m talking about what happens in the commercial industry.  

 

IMO, your points 1 and 2 go together; and in my experience whilst posted to Asia, it reflects the local manufacturers taking the easy lazy way out.  Hence my description of them as pirates.

 

There is hope though.  For example, IBM did manufacture personal computers for a long time; one of their highly respected products was the Thinkpad line of notebook computers.  They exited the business; sold it to a Chinese company.  That company now manufactures and sells notebook computers (with latest new design features etc) under their own brand -- Lenovo.  It is doing well in that competitive market.

 

 I believe also there are some appliance manufacturers in China now exporting such things as air conditioners and refrigerators under their own brand name.  These are their own products.  Though I don't think they're exporting these to US at present.

 

So I know it can and will change.  I'm just personally against supporting the more blatant pirates.


Moshe ben David

 

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#9 c4bb0ose

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 10:27

Part of me likes the idea of it, alot of company's sell fountain pens at very high prices and some of those are from america and it kind of feels like a bit of a middle finger to America (but I mean I have bias because they try leaning on our laws and very successfully get them implemented(spy bill, pirate bill etc etc)).

I think it is more the people who resell them that are trying to pass them off as legit pens that are the scumbags in this story/



#10 owend

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 10:28

You could also say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery - the Chinese pens often resemble Western designs (often with added bling, which seems to be what the very large Chinese domestic market likes) because the Western pens are better (Sonnet and P51 particularly?).

 

I recently got a couple of Chinese pens, largely for fun. They were very low price and probably good value for that money, but the Kaigelu 356's quality is nowhere near the Sonnet which it resembles, and it needs a shake to get started. I wasn't fooled into thinking it was a Parker.

 

I think the Chinese pens are a novelty, I'm not sure how many Western buyers would repeat the experiment. I know I won't! I don't think they seriously threaten the US/German/Japanese etc makers who sell under their own names.

 

It would be totally different if they were marketed with "Parker" or whatever on them - THAT would be counterfeit and damaging to the real Parker company. Does anyone have details about how many counterfeits are out there? My gut feeling is not many, but.......



#11 Mesu

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 12:24

I don't object to the imported products.  But let the overseas manufacturers use their own design elements, rather than try to fool purchasers.  And we, as enthusiasts, should vow not to support these imports pretending to be what they are not.

 

These imports are not trying to be Parkers or any other brand for that matter. They have the company name printed on it and the buyers are aware that they are purchasing a Hero or a Kaigelu.

 

If you look around the internet, Hero 616 has its own set of fans. Why these FP users don't purchase the Parkers? Same reason why not everyone purchases a single brand: Personal choice.

 

Parker 51 is no longer in production and if some other company is offering that model at fraction of the price, no wonder people purchase them. I have both Parker 51 and a bunch of Hero 616. Both write equally well. I modified the Hero nibs so that i have an F, medium stub and B nibs. Would i be able to do that with Parker 51s? No, because i cannot afford so many.

 

Why focus only on the look alikes? There are hundreds of Chinese models which are original too. 


#12 Pickwick

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 12:50

It all comes down to the consumer not the manufacturer. No one is compelled to buy a look-a-like product. But all the time there are ones out there willing to buy them, then the demand will be met. The consumer should be in control.

 

The consumer has a choice, to buy or not buy? that is the question!


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#13 Edwaroth

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 13:48

+1 to Pickwick.  Well said. If Chinese pens bother you, don't buy them. It doesn't seem to bother Parker, there's no suit I am aware of. BTW... not even in the fossil records has there been a wolverine in Michigan. I've no idea where my state got that notion.


Edited by Edwaroth, 08 December 2013 - 21:18.


#14 Pickwick

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 14:11

I found this quotation from John Ruskin 1819-1900

 

There is hardly anything in the world that someone cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider the price alone are that persons lawful prey It's unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little. When you pay too much you lose a little money - that's all.

 

When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it is bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot - it can't be done.

 

If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.


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#15 Mt.Roll

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 14:56

Just wanting to chime in here but when you say:

 

 

And we, as enthusiasts, should vow not to support these imports pretending to be what they are not.

 

Are we not aware that we are buying a Chinese pen or a Chinese pen which incorporates elements from other manufactures?

 

When I bought a Hero 616, I knew it was a Hero 616 and definitely not a Parker 51. I know what a Parker 51 is, I've got one.  I know that the Jinhao 159 looks similar to the MB 149, but I'm not deluding myself into thinking that it is one. But I suppose I do somewhat agree with you on these points, I dislike how Hero or some subset of Hero is manufacturing their own 'Safari'. 

 

But of course that manufactures in the States have also copied each other. I don't quite recall exact models but I think Waterman had a pen on offer which had a semi-hooded nib designed to be similar to the popular 51. There's plenty of others, I'm sure of it. Would you consider a pen made with a Waterman-shaped clip, a conical cap shaped like a Cross pen and a Parker barrel to be legitimate on its own?  

Edit: Oh, a good example is all of those Parker Big Red clones... 

 

However, I sincerely believe that you discredit the entire Chinese pen industry of any semblance of originality. I'm sure there's models on offer that have a largely unique design.

I'm not so sure about the legitimacy of this claim that I'm going to make, but the Chinese fountain pen market is specially targeted to the Chinese audience. That is, we as enthusiasts are simply not their target and that our impact on their sales are ultimately miniscule. 


Edited by Mt.Roll, 08 December 2013 - 14:57.


#16 richardandtracy

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 15:22

In the early 1900's all sorts of people stole ideas in pen manufacturing, and it took deep pockets to preserve patents. China is in pretty much the same situation now, but without the legal system to preserve intellectual property.

 

I do like a number of the Chinese alternatives to Parker pens. The K356 - my one at least - is as good as my Sonnet. Now that I have fixed a couple of defects, my K316 is as good as my Duofold Centennial. In neither case has Parker been denied a sale, I would not have been able to afford another of the real thing.

 

What angers me is when counterfeiting is done, and someone tries to pass off a fake as the real thing. This is outright fraud & I hate it.

 

Regards,

 

Richard



#17 rcksil

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 18:00

Since I am just starting out collecting pens I never really know about counterfeit pens. Good info for me. Now I just have to be careful who I purchase from. The funny thing is I am looking for a Parker 51and i probably will be paying more than I should but I just hope I do get a Parker 51.

 

Rick


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#18 lynxcat

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 18:12

copying an original that is no longer available except as vintage or NOS does not bother me at all. the Parker pen company still exists and still makes pens, but it has not made nor sold the model 51 in i don't even know how many years; so long as there's some way to tell that the Hero 616's or 110's were not, in fact, made by Parker just yesterday --- so long as there's some way to distinguish them from an outright forgery --- it matters not to me how much they superficially resemble the original. if i want a real Parker 51, i might buy it, but whether i do that or buy the Chinese copy i can't deprive Parker pens of any sales revenue; they no longer sell that which i want to buy.

 

copying an original that's still on the market is a whole other issue, for me. Hero's knockoff of the Safari rubs me the wrong way; that's direct competition in a way that would be an insult if the corporations involved were natural persons. Lamy's still selling that, and Hero could darn well make something equally as good that wasn't a lookalike.



#19 Ink Stained Wretch

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 20:16

For me the really amazing thing is that there are counterfeit copies of the Hero 616 :wallbash:!

 

Yeah, I bought three of them, not knowing :headsmack: .

 

Now I know :angry: .

 

 

 


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#20 Paul80

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 20:55

rcksil is quite right, if they can make such good copies why not just make their own unique pens and sell them around the world under their own proud banner.  even if they have to snap up the name of a well known but defunct company just to use a well known name from the pen world if they don't think their own is good enough.

 

Some of the pens produced today under the names of Jinhao, Kaigelu, Duke, Hero Baoer etc easily hold their own against the vast majority of the production from the likes of Parker, Waterman and Sheaffer.  Its only against the topend stuff that any real differences start to show.  Nibs being a fine example, but for what is being asked compared to what you are getting, give me a Jinhao any day over a Parker Vector even though it costs 3 times the price of a x450.

 

Paul







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: fakes, counterfeits, chinese pens, indian pens



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