This pen knocks it out of the park. Is it a flagrant 51 knockoff? Yes. Yes it is. Is it really good and easily worth your $15? YES. YES IT IS.
I've never actually owned a 51. I just don't love hooded nibs, and $100-200 for a nice vacumatic one is just odd to me, seeing as the gold nib is a nail. But I do love vacumatics, in some ways more than piston fillers. The convenience of the vacumatic fill is undeniable. And this pen just knocks it out of the park.
The design is simple, plastic body, good fit and finish (you can feel the blind cap's ridge but it's subtle) the push cap seals perfectly and doesn't dry out, the pen is usable posted or not, the cap posts perfectly, and just tight enough to feel secure. does it have the satisfying snap of a lamy 2000? no, but this thing is roughly 10% the price and it doesn't feel cheap.
The cap doesn't wobble at all and throughout a couple weeks of abuse, it's been reliable and has been knocked around a bit without any issues.
The ink window is a perfect touch, too, taking the design of the 51 and improving it in that regard. Cleaning is easy and simple, just unscrew the hood and wash the feed and nib, which slide right out. Reassembly can be a bit tricky if you pull the feed off, but is relatively painless.
Size and weight are spot on for me, it's a medium thickness and the balance is spot on. Even with the heavy metal cap posted, the balance just rests nicely in the web of my hand
Writing is perfect for me. it's toothy and a western extra fine/japanese fine, flow is medium and it never skips or hard starts. I like it. a LOT. reverse writing is smooth, dry, and needlepoint, very usable.
I don't normally go for hooded nibs. I only have two lamy 2000's and an american pencil co. venus. But this one just strikes a chord with me and I am in love with it.
My only wish is that this thing came with nib options. I'd LOVE a broad, stub, or double broad!
It's quickly becoming my go-to pocket pen for leaving the house, since it can write on receipts being medium flow and very fine, and it's quick to cap/uncap and just feels nice. I think I understand the appeal of the parker 51 now, and one (with a big juicy broad nib that I can't get for this one) may be in my future.
I really appreciate the metal plunger. the vacumatics have shown they could last, but chinese plastic is always suspect, so a metal plunger definitely shows an attention to quality and longevity.