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Pens From N9 And A Company Called Ban-Ju


basterma
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Here are some links from WeChat about pens from two companies off the beaten track for many. These posts appeared today along with others from Lamy and Online Pens in the build up to the 11/11 shopping festival. I have bought pens from both companies and I have inked the N9 pens, but not the Banju Shark.

 

https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/5PH8nDD9qhWpExRsceNBXQ


https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/rQXB0a0rn26ATcYCEx7LpA

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N9 is Beifa`s brand. The company is the largest pen maker in China. And Beifa produce every compounents by itself. But, it seems out of its own ability.

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well both of them I've experienced them myself first hand , OK , I shall say decent working pen , some with interesting and some with less than inspiring element on the design. But I wager just trying hard slapping a designer tab onto the pen and wanting to sell it at a price is not condoning to the business.

 

The Banju Black Shark , US, and Dore , all are priced more as fashion item but unfortunately the brand is not a name known among the fashion market and price clearly out of touch with the market who are buying fountain pen. Their latest Candy finally price it more inline with the market , but in the end , its no more just as other gift market pens brand and offering nothing really unique or which to excite ..

 

N9 is kind of in the same mode of operating thoughts ... trying to made an up market push, but I must say they again made it wrong in the pricing part, again just trying to sell on brand imaging ( when the N9 brand was practically unknown ) and fashion .. I mean even Hero been doing a better job at that and Hero is not really well known for its marketing anyway. Again they keep trying to sell us mid range and slightly up market from the starting grade pen at a price that's inflated to try to incite a designer branding image .. decent pen they are , but for the same price I can buy plenty of nice Chinese fountain pen with equal or even better quality with equal or better features. Their ONE fountain pen is really really nice and its perhaps the only that priced somewhat inline with their intent and also the market. Their latest " Li Yue " ( aka carp ) is truly a good try at ergonomics but constrained by the triangular grip. They should really made that in ABS and just a round grip. I shall say N9 at the very least do infuse some nice designer element into the pen but that's all it is.

 

Both brand suffer from the typical Chinese fountain pen metric, in sort , sure some designer element here and there but the core product still no different than the like of Hero's range in the same market sector and Hero surely had the history and the name to back it up ( and their pen at these range and price bracket are pretty good pen also ). They fail to establish their own brand identity .. and yet they still try to sell the pen at premium fashion oriented market price .. which is what limit them ( and many other new start up brand in China ) For any new brand with a new pen to offer, either it had to offer something new, something unique, something different, something that simply excite or simply a good buy ... and for N9, Banju, and many others they fail to do that .. so they remain lesser known , lesser in quantity delivered and certainly doing less business. There is no substance that sustain the price asked under that beautiful Designer exterior so to speak.

Edited by Mech-for-i
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  • 1 month later...

I agree that the designs aren't offering much other than not being Hero. I tend to think that the use of design elements and all from Hero is not much different than what you see with manufacturers in the West. How different are the brands except for maybe a clip, the filling mechanism, or the materials? Design wise there is not a lot of variety. Nibs aren't much better, with most using Bock, Schmidt and Jowo nibs. The difference to me is that the nib makers in the West have bought out or absorbed smaller companies and have a greater variety of nibs to offer to manufacturers, but it is still a limited pool that seems to be stagnant. In contrast there are more companies competing in China which may offer more incentive for someone to make new nibs or try something different. The number of users in China is incentive enough for people to try, and the economics of China favor the domestic brands.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Speaking of suc, I finally get my N9 ONE fountain pen out for a photo shoot , for the price currently asking I think its one that is inline wit its quality, workmanship and all. Thogh I had to say there is pretty little ( bland ) character in the writing part ..

N9-ONE.thumb.jpg.6b35dfa9deb1882024fbd84444b9c8cd.jpg

 

The pen itself is a clipless ABS construction with a similar colour aluminum round section, typical no.5 , C/C fill, the barrel and cap taper from the mid circular cross section to a domed, rounded eclipse end. The finishing on the ABS is satin , but there's some little quirky parts, like the step down from barre to section, the barrel having sometime not screw in align with the nib ( they should made a seat lock or made the thread single entry ), the cap just snap on so it does not always align as in the photo. in 4 colour option, dark green, dark blue, Maroon / Burgundy , and Black.

 

I think this pen very well illustrate the dilemma many of the independent / smaller / designer brand Chinese fountain pen sector had, while they look the part , the actual pen part, well its kind of bland , boring and sometime sacrificed for the sake of the DESIGN so to speak. Their home market , still their largest market and that market is polarized and not just in a bipolar situation, and too many of the new ones try to capitalize on the market but fail to be able to target THE sector that they could actually sell and most fail on the marketing part dismal

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  • 7 months later...

I have the same pen and found it to be fine for writng lesson plans and routine documents, but the nib really didn't deliver on the Caligraphy aspect. The upturn on the nib was so slight that it was indistinguishable from a pen with a large tipping ball, except it had less material used in the tip.

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