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Parker Big Red Centennial For $224 On Amazon


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149 replies to this topic

#141 Honeybadgers

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Posted 08 January 2020 - 09:41

 

I wish you luck with the Wancher nib.  I asked for a Fine 18K, and while it said that on the nib, it wrote like a Western medium or broader (along with hard starts and skipping).  I sent the nib back to be reground, and what I got back wasn't that much better.  That pen is now fitted with a Diplomat steel fine which writes finer, smoother, and more reliably.  YMMV.

 

I ordered a broad (they're currently out of stock in F and M) so If I don't love it, I'll just have it custom ground.

 

https://www.wancherp...n-maki-e-dragon

 

Gorgeous true (not single artist but in-house studio) maki-e, 18k in-house nib, and a red ebonite feed for $480 shipped was not a bad deal. I've wanted a true maki-e pen since I started the hobby. I'm a sucker for asian dragons (I'm a year of the dragon in the Chinese zodiac, and my grandmother always enjoyed giving her grandkids' things related to their chinese zodiac) so I couldn't pass this one up. It's more than I want to spend, but I'm going to sell a few of my smaller pens soon anyways.


Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)


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#142 A Smug Dill

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Posted 08 January 2020 - 10:30

Newell Brands got back to me earlier this morning, apologised for "the mix up ... and lack of communication", and issued me with an RMA number so I could send the pen back at my expense to let their technicians examine the pen.

What's sad about it is:

  • They still can't (or won't) tell me, by looking at the company's records, which nib is now fitted on my pen — so how can they claim there was a "mix up", instead of actually having fitted a nib of the "required" type that just happened to be incompetently made?
  • They still can't tell me whether Parker produces, and/or has the capability and willingness to produce, 18K gold Fine Italic nibs for the Duofold "hand-made in France on demand" at all.
  • I have to wear the return postage yet again because, "Parker normally uses UPS and will send the customer a prepaid shipping label, but UPS does not offer domestic delivery service in Australia." Other companies that operate here (e.g. Under Armour, New Balance) has no issue with organising Reply Paid returns through Australia Post for their customers.

... Wancher may (I'm actually confirming this right now) be fitting their pens with an 18k nib that's in-house made (or made custom for them). They also offer standard JoWo 18k nibs.


I would have a lot more "respect" for Wancher if it had been fitting its fountain pens with Sailor or Pilot nibs all along, in the absence of an in-house nib production capability. Some other Japanese boutique pen manufacturers offer exactly that, and Wancher has worked with Sailor on "collaborations", so there must be some sort of established business relationship that can be leveraged. I'm sure Taizo has good business reasons for not going down that path and I don't question his judgment on that at all, but from my perspective as a fountain pen enthusiast Wancher products are downgraded for prospective purchase. The only Wancher product I have bought — from Engeika way back — is a leather pen case that didn't feel premium to begin with, and held up pretty poorly over time, so that hasn't helped raise my esteem for the brand either.
 

I wish you luck with the Wancher nib.  I asked for a Fine 18K, and while it said that on the nib, it wrote like a Western medium or broader (along with hard starts and skipping).


That's a worry. Even though every company may produce dud nibs as anomalies for their brands, this sort of thing just raises red flags in my mind. There should be "nothing easier" than to produce a nib at the factory, test it (i.e. write with it), and start grinding it down to become finer if it isn't quite there — then rinse and repeat. It's not as if they made the nib too fine upfront and the only way to remedy involves re-tipping it. For a company that seems to have pretty labour-intensive production processes and close attention by expert workmen as its chic, failing to deliver a fine enough nib befitting the (Japanese?) Fine nib width grade is a poor showing.
 

I ordered a broad (they're currently out of stock in F and M) so If I don't love it, I'll just have it custom ground.


That's absolutely your prerogative. It just isn't my approach to buying fountain pens. Even if I never expected to like, or want to keep, the Fine nib that came originally fitted on my Parker Duofold Centennial Big Red Vintage, I still expected it to write like a (Western) Fine leaving lines that look sharp and crisp; and I would send it back to Parker in good condition, in exchange for an Extra Extra Fine nib that is two width grades finer; or, better still, a Fine Italic that writes no wider than the original Fine nib for downstrokes, but produces hairlines for cross-strokes.

Anyway, I'm not entirely against giving small, boutique pen manufacturers a go, so I've ordered a pen from Santini Italia. What I ordered is a piston-filler made of ebonite with an ebonite feed, but frankly none of those things earn extra points with me. That the company makes its gold nibs in-house, and is prepared to customise the nib on request prior to dispatch, is what sealed the deal. I've sent then writing samples produced with very narrow italic nibs that Dan Smith customised for me, to make sure my expectations are well understood. We'll see how that goes.


As always:  1. Implicit in everything and every instance I write on FPN is the invitation for you to judge me as a peer in the community. I think it's only due respect to take each other's written word in online discussion seriously and apply critical judgment.  2. I do not presume to judge for you what is right, correct or valid. If I make a claim, or refute a statement in a thread, and link to references and other information in support, I beseech you to review and consider those, and judge for yourself. I may be wrong. My position or say-so carries no more weight than anyone else's here, and external parties can speak for themselves with what they have published.  3. I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable. If it is something you can test for yourself and see the results, I entreat you to do so.


#143 sansenri

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Posted 08 January 2020 - 21:34

 
I don't know how Amazon.it prices products sold by Amazon, but it certainly looks like you can order the pen from Amazon.it with free delivery (on the basis of having Prime membership?) to Italy.

 

When I ordered the pen sold by Amazon US on Amazon.com.au, with "free delivery" because I have Prime membership, the price I paid was effectively Amazon.com's price in US dollars plus about US$7 in shipping, then add 10% Australian GST (Goods and Services Tax) to the whole lot, and then converted to Australian dollars. I also got about 5% "cashback" from a third-party scheme on the purchase.

 

still fun to watch this :)

I did at the time check amazon.it, price was 340 euro... not a bargain despite I have Prime free delivery

today price is 331 euro for the red or the blue, the other colours are more costly, the chiselled is 420 euro...

Amazon prices can sometimes be interesting (and I agree they have some kind of sofisticated algorithm which is certainly governed by complex financial analysis).

As you also experienced, I got a few nice prices on some usually high priced pens, latest was the Pelikan M101N blue grey for less than 300 euro (full LE box with ink).



#144 Honeybadgers

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Posted 08 January 2020 - 22:33


I would have a lot more "respect" for Wancher if it had been fitting its fountain pens with Sailor or Pilot nibs all along, in the absence of an in-house nib production capability. Some other Japanese boutique pen manufacturers offer exactly that, and Wancher has worked with Sailor on "collaborations", so there must be some sort of established business relationship that can be leveraged. I'm sure Taizo has good business reasons for not going down that path and I don't question his judgment on that at all, but from my perspective as a fountain pen enthusiast Wancher products are downgraded for prospective purchase. The only Wancher product I have bought — from Engeika way back — is a leather pen case that didn't feel premium to begin with, and held up pretty poorly over time, so that hasn't helped raise my esteem for the brand either.
 

 

 

Well, actually, they did exactly what you are describing man. Their earliest maki-e pens were actually just housings that were made specifically for a king of pen section (they couldn't get them from sailor so they just made the bodies at really good prices)

 

And since then, they now offer sailor nib units on their more expensive pens. But I don't imagine they get a particularly great deal from sailor, otherwise there'd be no point using the JoWo stuff.

 

You're backpedaling again. You said you would respect them more if they made in house nibs. They do. Now you're saying that you just don't respect them when they were using a standard, well known nib that a small retailer would be able to get its hands on when they were trying to grow their premium line initially.

 

If it's not for you, it's not for you. But don't fabricate reason on reason why you think they're beneath you. Your language is treading hard back towards confirmation bias.

 

Also, when I said I ordered a broad, I meant in the wancher. That was just because I really wanted the dragon mak-e. If it wasn't a dragon themed maki-e, I would have likely waited until the F stock came back.

 

I'll report on mine when I get it. But I have had two experiences with wancher in the past, one warranty work that they couldn't possibly have handled better, and they're literally restoring a nearly priceless antique pen for absolutely free just because. Soooooooo, my personal experience is the absolute antithesis. But if the B nib stinks, I'll report on it. 

 

But we're derailing this subject. Let's not talk about wancher anymore. Y'all can talk about it when I get mine and I post a thread about it.


Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)


#145 A Smug Dill

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Posted 08 January 2020 - 23:59



You're backpedaling again. You said you would respect them more if they made in house nibs. They do. Now you're saying that you just don't respect them when they were using a standard, well known nib that a small retailer would be able to get its hands on when they were trying to grow their premium line initially.

 

If it's not for you, it's not for you. But don't fabricate reason on reason why you think they're beneath you. Your language is treading hard back towards confirmation bias.

 

You're misrepresenting me again. I said I'd have more respect for Wancher if, as a Japanese boutique pen manufacturer, it only fitted Sailor and/or Pilot nibs in the pens it offers in the absence of an in-house nib production capability. Choosing JoWo or Bock — pedestrian, stock standard German nibs — is what I expect manufacturers such as Ranga to do for its sub-$100 pens, not a Japanese brand that wants to boast about how it employs expert and/or traditional craftsmen to produce pens worthy of a >$300 price tag. Wancher isn't making all its nibs in-house now, and neither is it sourcing other reputable Japanese nib manufacturer's products to cover where its in-house capability cannot reach.

 

In the same way, I have little respect for Leonardo Officina Italiana as a brand; but at least its pens are far cheaper, and have time and time again been sold discounted at around the US$125 mark. Even so, EndlessPens has stopped ranging Leonardo pens — at least for now — because the defect and return rates are unacceptably high, and QC and after-sale service are poor, according to Michael who runs the show there.

 

Now what @JosephKing wrote points to Wancher's in-house nib technicians not being up to the task of delivering for the company what the customers want, just as I'm discovering that Parker's in-house nib production capability in France is not confidence-inspiring either. While it isn't "all about the nib", and the quality of the nib isn't "everything", at MSRPs of over $300 I expect better; and those who fail to deliver better gets no respect from me as fountain pen manufacturers.


As always:  1. Implicit in everything and every instance I write on FPN is the invitation for you to judge me as a peer in the community. I think it's only due respect to take each other's written word in online discussion seriously and apply critical judgment.  2. I do not presume to judge for you what is right, correct or valid. If I make a claim, or refute a statement in a thread, and link to references and other information in support, I beseech you to review and consider those, and judge for yourself. I may be wrong. My position or say-so carries no more weight than anyone else's here, and external parties can speak for themselves with what they have published.  3. I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable. If it is something you can test for yourself and see the results, I entreat you to do so.


#146 A Smug Dill

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 14:47

So much for Newell Brands's (unsolicited) promise to give me some answers in writing by close-of-business on Thursday, after I quickly followed up on the phone with the representative who wrote to me on Wednesday morning. I sent another email at noon on Friday, just to remind him I still want answers before sending the pen back at my expense yet again, but so far that reminder has gone unacknowledged and I haven't heard back.

 

This just isn't looking good at all.


As always:  1. Implicit in everything and every instance I write on FPN is the invitation for you to judge me as a peer in the community. I think it's only due respect to take each other's written word in online discussion seriously and apply critical judgment.  2. I do not presume to judge for you what is right, correct or valid. If I make a claim, or refute a statement in a thread, and link to references and other information in support, I beseech you to review and consider those, and judge for yourself. I may be wrong. My position or say-so carries no more weight than anyone else's here, and external parties can speak for themselves with what they have published.  3. I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable. If it is something you can test for yourself and see the results, I entreat you to do so.


#147 Penryn87

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Posted 20 January 2020 - 18:51

Well an update from me. I did get my pen back. My initial experience was pretty good. Parker sent me an email with the tracking number and it arrived within 2 days. The pen was shipped in a branded plastic tube, within your standard bubble wrap envelop, and put in a piece of cloth within that tube. 

The nib code itself is 98, and this means italic fine. So far so good. 

I generally like to ink up my pens first to see how they write before looking at them under magnification.

To begin there was skipping... Lots of skipping. I figured the nib was out of alignment.. and it was lol. Beyond that, the down-strokes were pretty thick for an "fine" nib too; under the calipers, the nib measures at 1.12 mm. 

I did notice when I put the pen in the sonic bath, that there was ink left in the feed.. so they do ink test nibs. Figuring a french person who did all this used french paper, I pulled out some rhodia and there was some improvement. The fact that the nib is so wet can disguise any alignment issues if you write hard enough me thinks. 

Working in the nib with some micromesh did yield a significant improvement, but the nib is definitely too thick. It wouldn't be soo bad if the grind was actually italic. The nib writes like a stub.. even saying cursive italic would be generous. You can see this is much of the "slower" cross strokes that are prettty thick. 

Oh and the barrel has a lovely scratch in it..  :rolleyes: I sent them an email with an image of the scratch and a request for a replacement barrel. 

All that said, does anyone know how to remove the nib from the pen? The nib itself is really still out of alignment and fixing it will be easier with just the nib itself at this point.  Nevermind. Got it loose. 

Beyond that, I plan on having the nib ground at the upcoming Atlanta pen show. Or doing it myself.. we'll see lol. 

Photos for reference - https://imgur.com/a/VB7NIq4


Edited by Penryn87, 20 January 2020 - 19:19.


#148 Penryn87

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Posted 20 January 2020 - 20:04

Update - I got the nib off the pen was able to make some adjustments there.. Now the pen is properly wet.. maybe too wet. But then again, it's also thick soo it's gonna be really wet when flowing properly. 

Photo - https://imgur.com/a/wEH8Mvu



#149 MSA

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Posted 20 January 2020 - 23:36

Got one for $217 plus tax today.


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#150 MSA

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Posted 20 January 2020 - 23:55

https://www.amazon.c...043437532&psc=1


Mohammad Salahuddin Ayubi






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