Part of the pleasure of vintage pens is thinking about what it was like to experience the the golden age of fountain pens. The drawback is it’s an impossible task.
That’s what makes the Wing Sung 626 interesting. Squint your eyes and you can imagine that you have your hands on a brand new Sheaffer Balance, circa 1929. Or at least a facsimile of the Balance revival series Sheaffer offered 1997- 2003.
That’s what I tell myself.
My experience with this pen has been been positive.
The acrylic is fantastic. Construction, fit and finish on the one I got is top-notch.
It is a wonder to hold and write with. Long writing sessions are a pleasure.
The nib is smooth and generously wet. It performed flawlessly out of the box with no tuning required. The sweet spot is large and easy to master. The pen is an intuitive and rewarding writer.
An easy 10 pages on a fill
That said, the Wing Sung 626 is a pen that fits a role. It's not perfect.
The nib does tend do dry out, causing hard starts if the pen has been uncapped for an extended period. The phenomenon is ink dependent. Rohrer & Klingner Scabiosa (an iron gall ink) made things worse. Diamine Majestic Blue minimized the problem. Private Reserve DC Supershow Blue was somewhere in between.
The cap takes something under two full turns to remove. That makes the pen less than ideal for jotting incremental notes, in meetings for example. This pen is best suited for dedicated writing.
The nib is on the delicate side. Too much pressure and it will bend. Reasonable care is in order.
The nib is also a proprietary size. It's smaller than a standard No. 6 but larger than a No. 5. Nib swapping doesn't appear to be in the cards at this time. There is a gold nib version available but it's quite a bit dearer. The nib is only available in fine width (0.5mm).
The Wing Sung 626 fits admirably among my current writers. I'm still in the thrall of my Aurora 88, but the smaller size and lighter weight of the 626 make it a close competitor. Plus I love looking at it in my hand.
Left to right: Lamy 2000, Aurora 88, Wing Sung 626, PenBBS 308
At under US$18 from Taobao, the Wing Sung 626 is easily accessible, though it is edging toward the higher end of the new crop of Chinese pens.
However, I wouldn't recommend this pen to a complete newbie. There's a risk they'd throw up their hands in frustration the first time it didn't write directly after sitting open for 15 minutes. Then there’s the chance they’d spring the nib.
But for someone who's been in the hobby a bit, the Wing Sung 626 can be something of a revelation. It really is possible to close your eyes and imagine you're back in time.
If you haven't guessed yet, I'm a sucker for the historic connection.
More photos and comments here.