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Duke D18 or D19 - finish with tiny porcelain squares


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#1 dandelion

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Posted 14 November 2008 - 22:23

Review of Duke, model might be D 18or D19 – some stores say D18 and some D19 – with tiny “porcelain” squares in a very greyish-green khaki colour.

This is my very first Chinese pen and I bought it out of curiousity and because it had a finish (the porcelain pattern) that I’d never seen before and it looked nice.
However: the price for the pen (including shipping from Hong Kong to Europe) was about $15. I had no particular expectations except curiousity. I thought the pen looked very fine on the pictures on Ebay, but I was mostly curious.

First Impression – Weight!

When I put it on the scale it showed 44 grams, which I think is very much on the heavy side. To my surprise the heaviness is well balanced and when you write – both posted and unposted – the pen doesn’t feel particularly heavy; more of a well balanced pen that weighs very well in my (neither tiny or very big hands – maybe on the bigger side for being a female, but not BIG) hands. There is no effort needed due to the weight when you’re writing. It doesn’t have a clumsy feel to it. It’s very well built.

Second Impression- Finish!

The finish is much fancier than I had imagined. My pictures don’t do justice to this pen. The greyish-green is in a very nice shade with a bit of a metallic lustre in it. Its lacquer over – what I think is – solid brass. I’m also impressed that the manufacturer seems to have paid attention to even the tiny details. The pen has a much classier look than I had thought. No flimsiness at all. So far is everything good. I’m starting to feel a bit worried that this cheap pen will outclass my darlings…

Third Impression – The Nib!
…but it doesn’t. The nib is an M/F I should say. Even here everything looks and feels fine and solid. The nib is inscribed with 22KGP which I believe means that it is gold plated in some way, but I’m not sure. I decide to ink it with Noodlers Widow maker Red simply because I need a pen with red ink since I’m writing an essay with quite a lot research and – consequently – notes in the margin. I ink it and put the pen to a paper. It is not a bad writer, the nib is smooth enough, but it is a little on the dry side and – most unfortunately – very stiff with a bit of a numb feeling to it. I think it is the stiffest nib I’ve ever used. It is not a bad nib, but it lacks very much regarding fine tuning.

GRADES

Value for the money: 6/7

This pen gives extremely good value for the money. It is almost ridiculously well made according to the price.

Finish & Design 5/7

This is a very fine pen. The “porcelain” finish is something extra for such a pen which gives it an extra plus.

Weight and Balance: 5/7

It is well balanced – especially in relation to its heaviness

Performance: 4/7

It was hard to decide this. I don’t like the stiff nib, but it is a fair writer.. The nib lacks the finetuning (and also some mediumtuning) and therefore it gets 4 out of 7, which is more like 3,5 out 7 than a real four, but not as bad as a 3. Instead the nib gets an own grade.

Nib. 2/7
For the stiffness and lack of response, smoothness.

Will I use it?

As a pen for margin notes and "field" cool.gif use– yes – there it can have a niche of its own. bunny01.gif

In all
An impressive pen according to the price.

Weight/length

Weight: 44 grammes/1,55 ounces
Capped: 13,5 cm/5,25 inches
Uncapped: 11,5 cm/4,5 inches
Posted: 15 cm/6 inches

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#2 MYU

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Posted 14 November 2008 - 22:47

Thanks for your informative review, petraplutten. Interesting pen design, reminding me a little of the leaning tower of Piza (the angled grooved lines). As for the nib, it is 22kt gold plated. But one has to wonder how much plating is there. 22kt is very soft. You may want to exercise caution on wiping the nib too much! wink.gif






Edited by MYU, 14 November 2008 - 22:57.

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#3 lovemy51

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Posted 15 November 2008 - 00:47

nice review and pen.

... i've seen these at goldquills.com for $19 USD, so i guess your price was very good (unless you paid in Euro).

how's the section? does it feel slippery because it's metal?

#4 Ondina

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 11:47

I was going to ask the same....metal grips are slippery and I can't get adjusted to write comfortably with them. The rest of the pen looks lovely, Thanks for reviewing it.

#5 dandelion

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 11:58

It ought to be a bit slippery, but it's fairly easy to get a good grip. I haven't tried it for writing letters and more intensive use, though.
Nice to hear that I got a good deal - I paid 15 dollars, not euros. smile.gif
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#6 adallak

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 16:42

I have got a Jinhao which is exactly the same body except the porcelain. Very well made pen, will serve for many years for sure, but is not comfortable to write with because of the metal section. It IS slippery. Some plastics can be slippery as well. The best choice of finish is mate IMHO.

Attached Images

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Edited by adallak, 16 November 2008 - 16:45.

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#7 morleron

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 16:56

I have a Duke "Carbon Fibre" pen in the Blue finish and am also very impressed with it. The other Chinese pens that I have are of generally the same level of quality. I think that the European manufacturers are going to have get their act together so far as quality goes or the Chinese will eat their lunch in the long run. I'm planning on purchasing a few of Duke's higher priced pens, which are still on the light side of $100, from HisNibs, simply because of the nib tuning that he does prior to sending out the pens. If, as I expect, the quality remains high for the price, it will only reinforce my thesis concerning the European pens.

Thanks for a good, thorough review. In comparison with my Carbon Fibre I have to agree with everything, except for the nib issue. The nib on mine, while stiff, is not what I would call numb. It does a good job of transmitting the feel of the paper to my hand as I write. From my experience I'd have to recommend Duke pens to anyone looking for an inexpensive "starter" fountain pen.

Just my $.02,
Ron
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#8 lovemy51

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 18:45

i got the carbon fibre duke too and i like it

hmmm! funny how all these chinese pens body designs look alike!!

PS. mine has a lacquer section.

Edited by lovemy51, 16 November 2008 - 18:47.


#9 PenTieRun

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 02:50

No doubt Duke makes very good pens. My Silver Rings is always on the desk. It's built like a tank, and writes well with whatever ink I put in it. petraplutten is right about Duke's stiff nibs, but I kinda like that. For the price and performance, I'm not sure how you beat this. As morleron observes, the Europeans better get their QC in order or the Chinese will start to dominate the pen business.

#10 dandelion

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 09:57

Since I read your comments on my review (thanks for being so kind, by the way) I think I made some judgements too fast. The grip IS a bit slippery and the nib is better than I stated in the review. I think it should have 3-3,5 out of 7. I was a bit to hasty. I still don't think it's comfortable to have long writing sessions with this pen, so I still believe that I will use it for short messages, notes and on the "field". cool.gif
Thanks for uploading the pics of your pen, Adallak. I really like the colours and the pattern on the cap. biggrin.gif
Petra
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#11 adallak

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 17:54

Wrapping the thicker part of the section with a layer of mate Scotch tape makes it less slippery.
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#12 adallak

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 17:27

QUOTE (PenTieRun @ Nov 16 2008, 09:50 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
No doubt Duke makes very good pens. My Silver Rings is always on the desk. It's built like a tank, and writes well with whatever ink I put in it. petraplutten is right about Duke's stiff nibs, but I kinda like that. For the price and performance, I'm not sure how you beat this. As morleron observes, the Europeans better get their QC in order or the Chinese will start to dominate the pen business.

The pocket clip has not returned to its initial position after I put it in my poceket just once... Wrong metal I guess. You better keep it on your desk not in the pocket if you want it to keep its shape.

Edited by adallak, 04 December 2008 - 05:45.

“Be nice to people on your way up because you meet them on your way down.” Jimmy Durante quotes (American Comedian, Pianist and Singer, 1893-1980)






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