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Qianyu: New Chinese Urushi Pens With 14K Nibs



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hardly surprising, the price of any Urushi pen , very large part of it is the time, effort, labour of the finishing done on it and that, require skillful craftsman a long time period to do any , its just the nature of said finishing.

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They're indeed beautiful! Alas, neither of the (gold powder) maki-e models appear to be on offer on Taobao right now, at least not in the product listing to which the O.P. has linked.

 

...

 

Chinese industry just can't win with foreign members of the fountain pen hobbyist community, or so it seems.

Mass-produce and offer significantly cheaper options that look and function a lot like certain Western-branded pen models that are pricey for what they are, but nevertheless have their ardent fans, and a bunch of people — who I imagine have all spent $$$ on "the real thing", and suspect are primarily incensed that cheaper "knock-off" products would reduce demand for the (supposedly) "original" items and devalue their personal investment, even when they're not necessarily intent on offloading at some point, and only the ready recognition by laymen of their pens as premium and/or superior writing instruments and the prestige (as opposed to personal pride or joy) of ownership of such suffer — come out of the woodwork to complain.

Produce original artisan products — as an unabashedly Chinese brand that borrows no shine from more established Western or Japanese manufacturers — that take every bit as much expert workmanship as their foreign counterparts, and demand equal standing with the competition by way of asking prices, then even those who have been arguing that "the quality of some Chinese-produced pens can be every bit on par with Mont Blanc or Pelikan. ...‹snip›... They have some immensely skilled people there," would prefer to spend the money with other brands.

 

And, if some Chinese entrepreneur started making a range of "original" products in an already crowded market, that are aggressively priced with naked intent to undercut foreign competition, and "take" market share simply by letting consumers vote with their wallets and let their sensibilities and priorities dictate who rises and who falls, I'd imagine there's still be people who complain loudly, especially if their favourite Western brands are already teetering on the edge of financial viability and it only takes 5% of less-committed customers to desert those brands to push them over the edge. Competition is competition, and someone has to lose, even if it's not necessarily a zero-sum game.

 

(Tapping into latent consumer demand by low prices — underwritten by the deep wallets of investors — and thus expanding the overall market by 7%, while also taking 5% of the original market and effectively making it shrink for competitors and hurt their revenue and/or viability, is not "zero-sum".)

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; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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Is pretty much illustrated by the most common work bench / workshop custom technique, just the turning of the material to made a pen ... every high end custom / brand fountain pen do it but seriously it can be economically done with CNC / automation today , its the material that's costing a lot, the labour part can be economized and clearly those are shown in Moonman, PenBBS alike

 

I think with lacquer ware, 925 Sterling Silver Ware , and might be even Filigree ; the hurdle in the price is always the volume of the market on hand ; Ok you just goto any quality store that actually sell authentic lacquer ware household item like say kitchen ware .. you will realize that lacquer ware fountain pen are grossly over priced for the same kind of finishing ; the price of exotic finishing on fountain pen , very much not only reflect on its time, effort, and labour but , also, the fact that the market is small and limited

 

I had a few Chinese, Korean and Japanese lacquer ware in my household, from serving plate to desk storage box .. all of which priced way less than the pen shown but equally or even higher quality type of lacquer finishing and no less pieces of art themselves and that bring us to the point of price .. a lot of that in these custom finishing is all about the exclusiveness, branding, the perceived value over the actual time, effort, and labour

 

if a major brand come out and say they are going to do Urushi in a catalog model and just made it regular production items and keep the price relatively in check .. will it be that more of a ego boosting or enticing to some customer .. but then in fact this its happening .. just check some of Pilot and Platinum's , some of them are still pricy, but some are actually quite reasonably priced ... and dare I say many of these so call regular production catalog model are in fact no worse off in the final finishing vs the all hand crafted Namaki / Nakaya but because they are not exclusive limited production or custom item they do not evoke that exclusiveness nor that feeling ( the actual owner alone usually ) of some ego boosting prestige. But they are no less as good a pen and as good a piece of craft-work in most cases .. its the same with these individual and usually independent make Chinese fountain pen and its not just fountain pen , that extend to many other small batch production / custom made consumer goods Chinese craftsman made and less so but the same for many craftsman

, Chinese or Asian or rest of the world.

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  • 3 weeks later...

They're indeed beautiful! Alas, neither of the (gold powder) maki-e models appear to be on offer on Taobao right now, at least not in the product listing to which the O.P. has linked.

 

...

 

Chinese industry just can't win with foreign members of the fountain pen hobbyist community, or so it seems.

 

Mass-produce and offer significantly cheaper options that look and function a lot like certain Western-branded pen models that are pricey for what they are, but nevertheless have their ardent fans, and a bunch of people — who I imagine have all spent $$$ on "the real thing", and suspect are primarily incensed that cheaper "knock-off" products would reduce demand for the (supposedly) "original" items and devalue their personal investment, even when they're not necessarily intent on offloading at some point, and only the ready recognition by laymen of their pens as premium and/or superior writing instruments and the prestige (as opposed to personal pride or joy) of ownership of such suffer — come out of the woodwork to complain.

 

Produce original artisan products — as an unabashedly Chinese brand that borrows no shine from more established Western or Japanese manufacturers — that take every bit as much expert workmanship as their foreign counterparts, and demand equal standing with the competition by way of asking prices, then even those who have been arguing that "the quality of some Chinese-produced pens can be every bit on par with Mont Blanc or Pelikan. ...‹snip›... They have some immensely skilled people there," would prefer to spend the money with other brands.

 

And, if some Chinese entrepreneur started making a range of "original" products in an already crowded market, that are aggressively priced with naked intent to undercut foreign competition, and "take" market share simply by letting consumers vote with their wallets and let their sensibilities and priorities dictate who rises and who falls, I'd imagine there's still be people who complain loudly, especially if their favourite Western brands are already teetering on the edge of financial viability and it only takes 5% of less-committed customers to desert those brands to push them over the edge. Competition is competition, and someone has to lose, even if it's not necessarily a zero-sum game.

 

(Tapping into latent consumer demand by low prices — underwritten by the deep wallets of investors — and thus expanding the overall market by 7%, while also taking 5% of the original market and effectively making it shrink for competitors and hurt their revenue and/or viability, is not "zero-sum".)

 

 

Some features of it just don't jive with the price.

 

the scrollwork on the nib looks cheap and the nib looks a bit small on the body.

 

Overall, it looks like a $200 pen. Not a $500 one.

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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the scrollwork on the nib looks cheap and the nib looks a bit small on the body.

 

I disagree with you on both counts — with the understanding that we're both arguing from (different) subjective points of view and frames of references, not a single agreed and common one — and especially whether the nib looks small, considering there is neither a (de facto?) standard for physical nib size compared to either section diameter or barrel diameter. Larger nibs have yet to be proven (to me) to be generally, inherently, or functionally superior to a smaller nib when it comes to precision and regulation of ink delivery; and I don't think the ratio I see on the Qianyu urushi pen is so noticeably different than on the Platinum Izumo Tamenuri pens, of which I have two and they write very nicely in my opinion.

 

If a larger nib promises explicitly to deliver more precision (with or without being "a nail", or thicker in the body, etc.) than a smaller nib of the same nib width grade, and then delivers, great! If a large nib promises to deliver more "flex" than a smaller nib of the same nib width grade, without putting down a thicker line when it's written with almost no downward pressure applied by the user's hand, and then delivers, great! If a larger nib promises to help the owner win any nib-swinging contest against users of equally expensive, recognisable and/or iconic pens fitted with smaller nibs by design, and then delivers, great! But I haven't seen any of those promises made by the pen manufacturers, much less seen them deliver on such promises expressly made.

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; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Honeybadgers

I can definitely see how someone may prefer the smaller nib's proportions.

 

Personally, on a pen that big and flashy, I'd prefer it to be about 10-15% larger in size.

 

Also, I definitely think the scrollwork on the nib looks cheap. It's not crisp and looks badly (well, bad for a $500 pen) stamped. And aesthetically (subjective here) I don't like the logo in the middle of the nib, it doesn't flow well with the design.

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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There's a review here: https://zhuanlan.zhihu.com/p/214173472

 

Google Translate does a reasonable job of translating it into English.

 

Can't say I'm favourably impressed with the writing sample from the Qianyu's F nib; and the technical quality (as opposed to the design) of the nib markings on the unit being reviewed does look quite mediocre.

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; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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My ability to read simplified Chinese isn't very good, and my reading comprehension is further hampered by not being across slang and turns of phrase that have become common or popular since the Internet age, but it seems the Qianyu product is getting a bit of a bashing on this thread on Zhihu (which I'm guessing is the Chinese contingent's answer to Quora; I've never heard of the site before today). Notably, (someone purporting to be) the owner of the Qianyu brand replied in that thread.


https://www.zhihu.com/question/415702518

 

I'd say the gist of the sum of the comments is that the product — at least the basic black variant — is priced reasonably for what it is, but its finer points and overall quality are not ready for the big league, so to pitch the product as a worthy head-on competitor against Pilot (which the brand owner has allegedly done in his marketing of Qianyu) invites ridicule.

 

I always prefer to see comments from unsentimental product owners and/or users who apparently have neither love nor consideration for companies, brands, history and/or ideals unrelated to discernible traits of products in a blind 'taste test', but it seems (unsurprisingly!) that some of the comments are (self-)moderated by advocacy of one or more of the following:

  • buy locally (i.e. wholly Chinese) made products
  • support small businesses
  • it's not a bad first go at it
  • it's primarily a labour of love to make and sell something original in a niche market, so let's not be too harsh in judging the actual product being sold

My rant: Why can't more consumers in this hobby come right out and express, as some have done in that thread, "Your product is only OK, not nearly good enough (for these specific reasons) for the pretensions, posturing and positioning you tried on for size in its marketing; but since I advocate supporting (Chinese, small and/or niche) business ventures, I'm going to throw some money your way by way of my custom, suggest others hobbyists who just buy stuff because they can to do the same, and hope you persist and do better next time around," without talking up either the product or the brand, or the entrepreneur behind it all for that matter? 'Punish' the business enterprise (owner) by loss of 'face' in public (i.e. on social media and/or the Internet) for its failures and shortcomings, but allow room for survival to fight another day.

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; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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I actually don't think the review was that negative. The person did mention while the design was pedestrian, the urushi was not bad. They were more critical of the design being ordinary. But they liked the pen more when the pen was uncapped. I was surprised by the assessment of the nib. They said it was smoother than the Pilot and also the tipping veered toward a round ball. Maybe this person can't be relied on for their writing assessment because their writing seem very pedestrian. But I don't know the reviewer as I have not seen their other assessments.

Interesting pen, but not enough for me to want to take a plunge. BTW the price is around $276 or so USD if you purchased it in China.

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I'd say the review was reasonably positive. It's in the discussion thread on Zhihu that the product got a real kicking, for lacklustre and poorly ground nibs and for the quality of the maki-e; but mostly for Qianyu daring to talk up his product in direct and allegedly favourable comparison against Pilot/Namiki.

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; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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And to top it off - they couldn't put a more distinct looking feed into it? I wouldn't even mind if it was still plastic, it just looks identical to the feed on a jinhao.

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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  • 10 months later...

I have one of these pens. I think it is very nice. Comparable to Nakaya portable in size. The nib is #6ish, so it is not small. The writing quality is similar to a modern pilot fine (a little bouncy, not bad at all. But it is not for every one. I am not a fan of the modern pilot nibs, so the nib is just so so for me). The ebonite is sourced from eboya (as far as I know) and is of high quality.  

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