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fpn_1463862031__huahong-bluebelter-hero2

The Hua Hong blue belter, vaguely Pelikanesque, stands on its own design. Also available in red

 

The Hua Hong blue belter raises as many questions as it answers. We can start with the answers, because that’s a shorter list.

 

The Hua Hong is a medium-sized, cartridge-converter pen with a black lacquer barrel and a snap cap. The barrel is lightweight, probably brass, and provides nice balance while writing. The manufacturing standards are high, with tight tolerances, and the finishes are smooth, glossy, and durable. I’ve had the pen for nine months, and it holds up well.

 

The pen's proportions are vaguely Pelikanesque, but it stands on its own design. The cap's blue twisting pattern offers the pen’s most striking visual element. The sword-like chrome clip is thick and well-constructed in two pieces, and does not seem to have been stamped. Capped and uncapped, the belter is about the size of a Platinum Preppy.

 

fpn_1463867405__huahong-bluebelter-hero-

 

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The Hua Hong sword-like clip is constructed from two pieces, and does not appear to be stamped.

 

The Hua Hong’s medium nib writes beautifully and bears a charming imprint of a joyous human with outstretched arms. The imprint is even more impressive because the human figure is created with just two simple versions of the letter “H”, one nestled inside the other. And more impressive still -- this imprint was probably conceived by a Chinese designer operating in a foreign language.

 

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The Hua Hong imprint combines two versions of the letter 'H'

 

The small letter H of the human's head also resembles a stylized version of the circular “shou” motif common in Chinese art and design. A Chinese scholar friend points out that this character, representing longevity or immortality, regularly appears throughout China, on bowls in restaurants, on pottery, placemats, clothing, wall hangings, and in other places. A translation obtained by brg5658, another FPN contributor, indicates that the Chinese characters for “Hua Hong” mean “China Grand.” Unfortunately, some versions of the Hua Hong logo now resemble an alarming combination of a gas mask from World War I, a warning exclamation point, and the symbol for a nuclear fallout shelter from the Cold War. This rendition, anything but joyous, raises one of the first unanswered questions -- does the company understand the designer's original intent?

 

fpn_1463863729__huahong-logo.jpg

Recent version of the Hua Hong logo

 

fpn_1463863956__hua_hong_logo_from_brg.j

 

 

Translation of characters from another Hua Hong pen model, presented in a review by FPN contributor brg5658

 

Like many Chinese fountain pens available recently on eBay, the Hua Hong is extremely reasonably priced. It typically sells for between $2.5 and $5 – about the price of a Preppy. The blue belter is also offered in red. I use the pen almost daily because it writes so reliably and well, and the nib imprint is so contagiously happy. The cap is too heavy, but unposted, the pen is nicely balanced.

 

This is where the bulk of the unanswered questions start. A Scottish contributor to the Fountain Pen Network, Ian the Jock, is one of Hua Hong’s greatest brand ambassadors. This is important, because no one seems to have any idea of the company’s back story or marketing strategy.

 

What is the name of the pen? Ian named the pen “blue belter,” because this, in Scottish, signals something that punches above its weight. But the belter doesn’t really have an official name, and its model numbers change regularly. Right now, it’s going by HH-8, but it was previously sold as Y-7, Y-5, and Q-5.

 

Are the pens new, or new old stock? We think they are new old stock, because they are not available in a Hua Hong current catalog. But we honestly have no idea.

 

How does one buy the pen? We know of only two sales outlets, both on eBay. There are no other Western retailers.

 

Who are the eBay retailers? One eBay seller, xiongfu1990, was based in Hangzhou for most of 2015, and the name on the return address of the shipping bubble envelopes was Wang Wei Jie. But in 2016, the name changed to Wu Kun, with a return address in Shanghai. The other eBay sales outlet, mizukushi, is based in Hong Kong, and lists similar pens at much higher prices.

 

How can the quality standard of the pen be so high? The pen exceeds recent Jinhao standards, which are high to start with. The Hua Hong has a smooth, custom-imprinted nib, a high-quality clip, a smooth lacquer finish, and an efficient feed and converter. We realize that shipping is subsidized by the Chinese government (and, by extension, the postal service of the receiving country). But even at the low recent prices of Chinese pens, $2.5 is extraordinarily low for this pen.

 

Who was the designer of this nib imprint? Where did she or he learn graphic design? Why is it so difficult to learn about these pens? Why does the company appear to be so clueless about marketing? Does the company realize that, with some reasonably authentic marketing shtick, it could quadruple its prices?

 

These questions could continue, but what we do know is that Hua Hong offers a well-crafted pen at an astonishingly low price. The other models in the Hua Hong portfolio, none of which are named (except by Ian and by other soldiers in the Honger army) are equally well-made. Some are in beautiful, ruby-like resin, some come with twist caps, and some with elaborate illustration.

 

Thank you, Hua Hong, Wang Wei Jie, Wu Kun, and Mizukushi, for offering these great pens. If you can hear us, we would like to learn more about you.

 

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Writing sample from the Hua Hong blue belter, inked with Rohrer & Klingner verdigris

Reviews and articles on Fountain Pen Network

 

CHINA, JAPAN, AND INDIA

Hua Hong Blue Belter | Penbbs 456 | Stationery | ASA Nauka in Dartmoor and Ebonite | ASA Azaadi | ASA Bheeshma | ASA Halwa | Ranga Model 8 and 8b | Ranga Emperor

ITALY AND THE UK

FILCAO Roxi | FILCAO Atlantica | Italix Churchman's Prescriptor

USA, INK, AND EXPERIMENTS

Bexley Prometheus | Route 54 Motor Oil | Black Swan in Icelandic Minty Bathwater | Robert Oster Aqua | Diamine Emerald Green | Mr. Pen Radiant Blue | Three Oysters Giwa | Flex Nib Modifications | Rollstoppers

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Lovely to see cheap pens being loved and having been put through the same paces as their more expensive counterparts standing their own.

 

I'd never heard of Hua Hong before now. :mellow: Thank you.

 

I own a Huashilai that looks very similar and that I have much respect for too.

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@Bobje: Very nice write up, and great photography. Over the past year or so, I have gleaned a few morsels of information about the Huahong pen company. I give them below (translated from their original Chinese sources). Some of the Huahong products can be found on site like taobao.com, but they seem to be a "fringe" brand in terms of their marketing. I agree with Bob, their products are very high quality -- and with even a little marketing I think they could be a "household" name of Chinese pen like Jinhao, HERO, etc.

 

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http://i1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb364/brg5658/Pens/2007_huahong_Website_graphic_zps94tzstiq.jpg

 

The Shanghai Huahong Golden Pen Co., Ltd. was established in 1996 in Shanghai, China, with a plant and production floor area of 12,000 square meters. In June 2004, the company expanded with an additional 7,000 square meters of space for a new plant. The company employs around 200 permanent employees, and manufactures metal ball point pens, roller ball pens, fountain pens, mechanical pencils, and various kinds of pen boxes made of paper, plastic, wood, and other materials. As a part of their research and development, the company introduced the "LALO" brand of gel ink. The company operates under strict quality standards, and in July 2004 passed the ISO 9001:2000 certification. In 2003, the Huahong brand was named the "China Pen Industry Brand of the Year" by the Chinese Writing Instrument Association. The company's products are exported all over the world, including Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, North and South America, and Africa.

 

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Lovely to see cheap pens being loved and having been put through the same paces as their more expensive counterparts standing their own.

 

I'd never heard of Hua Hong before now. :mellow: Thank you.

 

I own a Huashilai that looks very similar and that I have much respect for too.

 

 

Never have I. Actually I know little about Chinese pens. Anyway this one looks nice.

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Lovely review Bob..I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it and your simple style of writing..

Sagar Bhowmick

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Bob, what an excellent review! I have been purchasing select Chinese fountain pens for the past 12 yrs. In 2012 I was about to leave FPN because I could not afford MB's and all the other high-end pens. Estie1948 encouraged me to stay, and to be proud of what my budget could afford. Glad you liked the Duke Bamboo! The word 'cheap' is inappropriate. Cheap implies something that will not hold up; made of cheap materials; or of poor quality. I think the term 'inexpensive' would be more appropriate. My Jinhao pens have never failed me. They have held up and continue to perform 5-12 yrs after purchasing. No, they are not the MB 149 or a high-end Sailor, etc, etc, etc, but they have been good performers. The Hua Hong Blue Belter - love this name!

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Very interesting, and useful; it's a good looking pen, although for me to buy a Chinese brand they would have to show its reliability and ease of use; your hand writing is very clear, reminds me of my dad's.

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

 

B. Russell

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This pen looks pretty damn gorgeous. Definitely punching above it's weight for something so affordable, though I'm not familiar with the brand.

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Pretty!

 

My only Hua Hong pen is one of the most well made Chinese pens I've seen and also looks good (although it does annoy me that they try to create the impression it has a gold nib when it doesn't). Too bad the nib is way too wide.

STR:11 DEX: 5 CON:5 INT:17 WIS:11 CHA:3

Wielding: BIC stick of poor judgment (-3,-5) {cursed}

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Ian the Jock

Great review and write up Bob.

Unfortunately, or rather, fortunately, I am on holiday and can't really contribute more, but what I will say is that this is an outstanding pen especially when they can be had at such low prices.

I have found the entire Hua hong range to be very well made, very reliable, excellent value pens.

 

Much has been said (with pictures) on the Chinese pen forum about Huahong pens, by Bob, myself and several others, and if you aren't familiar with them, they are certainly worth a look.

 

Good job Bob.

 

Ian

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Have to say that I bought red and blue versions of these pens on Bob and Ian's recommendations and so far have only inked the red one, but it has been an excellent performer. Nib was very smooth from the word go. Incidentally, there is a homophone of Hua (rising tone) which means smooth according to this http://dictionary.hantrainerpro.com/chinese-english/translation-hua_smooth.htm

 

The section and body of the pen are very sleek and nicely designed. The cap colour and texture is good, but the clip is slightly incongruous IMHO.

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Bob, what an excellent review! I have been purchasing select Chinese fountain pens for the past 12 yrs. In 2012 I was about to leave FPN because I could not afford MB's and all the other high-end pens. Estie1948 encouraged me to stay, and to be proud of what my budget could afford. Glad you liked the Duke Bamboo! The word 'cheap' is inappropriate. Cheap implies something that will not hold up; made of cheap materials; or of poor quality. I think the term 'inexpensive' would be more appropriate. My Jinhao pens have never failed me. They have held up and continue to perform 5-12 yrs after purchasing. No, they are not the MB 149 or a high-end Sailor, etc, etc, etc, but they have been good performers. The Hua Hong Blue Belter - love this name!

 

Thanks for a well written and interesting review. Your handwriting is superb in its simplicity and minimal adornment.

 

I knew nothing about these pens until this review. I shall have to look into them.

 

I must agree with Helen. (Emphasis in her quote is mine.) I still have a great deal of fun sitting down with some of my better school pens like the Pelikano Junior. There are indeed "cheap" pens, and there are inexpensive pens that are excellent tools. In fact, some poorly made pens are actually not cheap in price. Something I think most of us have experienced.

 

I wager the vast majority of us here have budgetary constraints. I know I do. But even within a budget, one can find a good or great writing instrument and have fun with it. Back in the mid-'70's I was stationed in (then West) Berlin. All of my German neighbors wrote with fountain pens, which encouraged me to stick with FP's. Those were my days as an enlisted man, and I could not afford most of the better German FP's. But neither could most of my German neighbors. I found the most common FP among them was the Diplomat. At the German Mark equivalent of about $10 USD I could afford a couple. They were marvelous writers!

 

I continued to buy Diplomat pens even after I returned to the States. I liked them and they were durable and fun to use. Even when I could afford some moderately "better" pens, I always kept a Diplomat inked and close at hand. That experience has kept me open minded about pens - and many other things. Hence my openness of the Hua Hong offerings.

 

Oh, Helen, I'm glad you stayed.

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Thanks for the nice review. After buying a few nice Jinhao Fpens, I realized it's time to move on to the next level of Chinese pens, the Hua Hong. :)

There are not many for sale though, how come?

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  • 7 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Where did you get this? I can't find any on ebay at all.

 

The seller on eBay has not sold any of this style since mid-December. They may or may not come back into his listings, but he tends to take some "breaks" at various times of the year. Here is a link to the most recently sold example of this style.

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