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Which 616? (And How To Differentiate Them?)


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I'm interested in playing with my first Chinese pens. One of the ones that interests me is the Hero 616, but I've been told by a few people that there are different variants, of varying quality or writing smoothness.

 

Which are the better variants? And is there any way to tell which is which?

“We could be heroes/Just for one day” ― David Bowie

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The 616 comes in two sizes; regular and big-- the latter is sometimes called "doctor" pen. There is also a 616 model 2 but I know nothing about them except that they are billed as regular in size.

 

As unlikely as it sounds there are many "fakes" of this inexpensive pen that are not made very well. Your best chance of getting a real Hero 616 is to pay a little more and purchase from a reputable seller. I have used eBay seller jewelrymathematics with good results

"It's funny; in this era of email and voice mail and all those things that I did not even grow up with, a plain old paper letter takes on amazing intimacy."  Elizabeth Kostova

 

 

 

 

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Two different people told me that there are "good" and "not great" 616 models. Is that your experience?

 

Is the inkflow the same? The nib smoothness?

“We could be heroes/Just for one day” ― David Bowie

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tvradio,

 

Also bear in mind that the 616 is quite extensively counterfeited, and they did a great job getting its reputation tainted.

 

To be safe, get one built in Shanghai rather than the other official plant at Lishui.

 

There are other options too: the Hero 612 is a discontinued model, a tiny bit smaller, but as far as I know, never been counterfeited; all my examples are superb, and supply is still plentiful at modest prices. Another option I can think of is the Wing Sung 612 which has been re-introduced by Victo; it's been a very well-liked pen for decades, the only safe way to avoid getting a counterfeit is to go for a brand new current one; price is a little more for obvious reason.

No, I am not going to list my pens here.

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The 612? Hm, never heard of that model. (Of course, I haven't heard of most of the models.) Just found a 99% seller with 17,000 ebay feedbacks who is selling six 612s for $9.90 shipped. Wow.

 

Downside for me is they're all Fine (which from looking at ebay sales in general they all are), and I was actually looking for a good M or B pen. (Although I'm a rank beginner my Pilot Metropolitan is a Japanese M and I'm over the moon for it and I wasn't really looking for anything narrower.) Then again, before now I has just assumed the 616 was available in M or B, and a quick googling suggests that was a bad assumption on my part.

 

Maybe I need to go about this a different way and instead ask about the best quality Chinese pens that have good M/B nibs....

“We could be heroes/Just for one day” ― David Bowie

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I, also am having my first investigation of Chinese pens. Got some Hero 616's coming over.

 

It baffles me how they can be so cheap - just over £1 per pen, including shipping from China!

It could take up to 30th March before they arrive here (UK), but still, it's ludicrously cheap! How can they make any profit?

 

I hadn't realised that there were counterfeits of this pen, which is itself a copy of the Parker 51. Fingers crossed I get something decent. I'm not expecting the moon and will be happy to work on them.

 

tvradio: I also wanted a broader nib, but think I'm getting fine nibs, for the most part. I may experiment with a bit of nib grinding and see what can be acheived.

 

I will update this post when they arrive.

 

Thanks.

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I also wanted a broader nib, but think I'm getting fine nibs, for the most part. I may experiment with a bit of nib grinding and see what can be acheived.

 

I will update this post when they arrive.

 

Great!

 

For me, I'm trying to train myself to write larger. I tend to write very small, and this has actually been exacerbated by my use of 5mm dot pads, within which I tend to write inside. By using 6mm and 7mm lined paper I am starting to write larger, and I found I was able to reinforce that by using 0.7 and 1.0 gel pens. So the thought was to get a smooth M or B nib fountain pen to force myself to write larger.

 

The widest nib I have is my Metropolitan M, which I surprisingly found to be similar to a Safari M and only slightly narrower than a Lamy LX in B. (I bought and then gave away the Lamys the day after they arrived because I immediately discovered that the triangular grip did not work well with my lefthanded grip.)

 

I could buy a Kaweco or TWSBI M or B for $30ish (and my still), but I was hoping that I could play and learn with some of the Chinese pens at (much) lower prices for now. Too bad I hadn't counted on the unavailability of Chinese pens with broader nibs. And I'm not really up to doing nib grinding at this point in time.

“We could be heroes/Just for one day” ― David Bowie

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There were initially 3 main variants of hero 616 : small variant or student pen , regular variant that is thicker and longer with a longer grip section and the jumbo variant that has the same general dimensions as the regular version but it has a smaler grip section and a biger ink capacity and of course it would be the jumbo version with a golden cap .

 

Nib thickness :

Hero 616 small - (M)

Hero 616 Regular - (F/M)

Hero 616 Jumbo (stell cap) - (F/M)

Hero 616 Jumbo (golden cap) - (X/F)

I love Fountain Pens, with hooded nib in the classic style, Parker 51/61 type .



Ionut - Marius

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Actually there is only 2 version of the 616 at any given time ...

 

616 Medium ( this is the official designation, medium referring to general pen size ) ; its been referred to as Big, Jumbo etc etc but Hero only eve referred to it as Medium

616 Small ( again referring to general pen size )

 

However the pen was released way back in the earl 60's ( specifically June 1961; sorry no price for guessing why its numbered so ) and between then and now there is some minor change due to needed re-tooling, molds but more so during the early 90's a major re-design of the pen going from a single piece ink coupler / collector to 2 piece design, that's where the slight difference in section profile between different production 616 Medium. The 616 small go through the same re-design but the section remain the same as the change is in the section inner profile.

 

Over time there is some variant , the 616-1 which is a 616 small with a slightly more slender cap individually boxed for export, 616-2 which is released 2012 and still around, this is the more up to date 616 small colored version with a longer cap topped with a gold plated clip and a plastic cladded jewel color matched to the jewel. 616A, released 2014 which is yet another 616 small but now in youth friendly colors.

 

The 616 Medium had no specific variation other than the one wit so call gold cap, the cap in earlier ones are actually TigP finished , and the later or current ones are gold plated. They are no different than normal 616 other than that they had a differently finished cap.

 

The 612 is a totally different pen , though having a hooded nib its not a 616 varian

 

The 666 is the 616 variant with the Calligraphy nib ALWAYS

 

The 225 /226 is the Dual use pen variant of the 616 small and medium respectively with a smaller ink sac and a shortened twist to extract Ballpoint at the barrel end

 

Doctor the brand is Hero's sub brand specifically targeting school / student market and the 616 Doctor is no more than re batched 616 , usually sold in individual vac sealed card package tha's suppose to hang on store shelf. There was always a myth that certain variant of 616 is better than others but over time and a large amount of samples this had never proven right. There is indeed a variation of quality mostly due to batch variation as well as where the pen is produced.

 

And finally of course there is variant of 616 vintage ones that were produced in old days that exhibit specific cue that's not around now , say double jewel , or those elusive vintage colors. And then of course Hero pretty much license ( or in those days its likely called cooperative sharing ) the 616 pattern to almost all 2nd / 3rd tier local / independent pen manufacturers and many had their own 616 variant and many are equally or even more interesting than the original. Some are even totally re-styled and one would not recognize its a 616 variant as only the innards remain.

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.... thought was to get a smooth M or B nib fountain pen to force myself to write larger....

 

.....unavailability of Chinese pens with broader nibs. And I'm not really up to doing nib grinding at this point in time.

 

Actually there are plenty of Chinese pen in M or B or even sub .. The Hero 856 can be had with Fude or a Medium M nib , the Hero 5028 calligraphy set can be had with 3 sized nib. The Wing Sung 698 now can be had with an M nib .. there are others tough I would not be recommending as they are kind of hard to get unless you actually live in the country ( or at least in Asia ). The New Moon / New Moon 2 as well as all the PenBBS models can be ordered with the typical slightly up turn WA type nib which writes like M when you use it for cursive ( technique allowed )

 

The thing about nib grind is that Chinese home market really almost never NEED a M or broader nib, as such nib do not help in writing the language, for quasicalligraphy / calligraphy / better daily handwriting they have their calligraphy nib aka Fude to others and they have multiple variant of that

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There was always a myth that certain variant of 616 is better than others but over time and a large amount of samples this had never proven right. There is indeed a variation of quality mostly due to batch variation as well as where the pen is produced.
And finally of course there is variant of 616 vintage ones that were produced in old days that exhibit specific cue that's not around now , say double jewel , or those elusive vintage colors. And then of course Hero pretty much license ( or in those days its likely called cooperative sharing ) the 616 pattern to almost all 2nd / 3rd tier local / independent pen manufacturers and many had their own 616 variant and many are equally or even more interesting than the original.

Very interesting. Thanks.

“We could be heroes/Just for one day” ― David Bowie

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Actually there are plenty of Chinese pen in M or B or even sub .. The Hero 856 can be had with Fude or a Medium M nib , the Hero 5028 calligraphy set can be had with 3 sized nib. The Wing Sung 698 now can be had with an M nib .....The thing about nib grind is that Chinese home market really almost never NEED a M or broader nib

Yes, that's what I figured. But thanks for the tip about the Hero and Wing Sung models. Price on the Wing Sung is beyond the 616 models I was originally considering, and not so much of a price savings over a TWSBI Eco, so I'm not sure about that one.

Edited by tvradio

“We could be heroes/Just for one day” ― David Bowie

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616As I know, there were more than one Factory produced hooded nib pen and named 616.

Of course, the most famous one is Hero's.

 

In 1980s, according to hero's ad, 329(p51 size nib) is better than 616 in China.

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616As I know, there were more than one Factory produced hooded nib pen and named 616.

Of course, the most famous one is Hero's.

 

In 1980s, according to hero's ad, 329(p51 size nib) is better than 616 in China.

 

I tend to agree with them, overall, my collection of the 329/33X family generally exhibit better performance than the 616.

 

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I tend to agree with them, overall, my collection of the 329/33X family generally exhibit better performance than the 616.

 

329 was described that it had reached the world standard.

616 was the first class in chinese standard.

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Doctor the brand is Hero's sub brand specifically targeting school / student market and the 616 Doctor is no more than re batched 616 , usually sold in individual vac sealed card package tha's suppose to hang on store shelf. There was always a myth that certain variant of 616 is better than others but over time and a large amount of samples this had never proven right. There is indeed a variation of quality mostly due to batch variation as well as where the pen is produced.

 

Thank you for the clarification, this picture of a Hero 616 "Doctor" is not a riddle anymore.

1262609268778_hz_myalibaba_web17_353.jpg

 

Picture found in this online store I saved a while ago. No affiliation whatsoever, just providing the source.

fpn_1502425191__letter-mini.png

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Thank you for the clarification, this picture of a Hero 616 "Doctor" is not a riddle anymore.

1262609268778_hz_myalibaba_web17_353.jpg

 

Picture found in this online store I saved a while ago. No affiliation whatsoever, just providing the source.

Doctor is the first Chinese Fountain Pen manufactor's brand, and with the combination and possion transfer, it finally became Hero's sub-brand.

 

Hero in a document said it inherited the four earliest Chinese fountain pen manufactor those are Doctor, Rockman, Wolff(Hero) and Kinsin.

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Here is a more unusual variant, of the Hero 616 made in the 90's , with an aluminium body .

post-134601-0-25683200-1516426948_thumb.jpg

I love Fountain Pens, with hooded nib in the classic style, Parker 51/61 type .



Ionut - Marius

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Here is a more unusual variant, of the Hero 616 made in the 90's , with an aluminium body .

It was named 616晶彩(lit. 616 Crystal Color)

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