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Absolutely. It's only a matter of perception. What is it that people really want? Clones or Unique goods?

 

My gut feeling is that, as the world evolves towards further automation and the system towards "commoditization" of consumers/workers, distinctive goods provide an added value that many are willing to pay for, and actually prefer over clone goods (no matter how cheap or expensive they are).

 

Which is why, for me, this model just does not cut it. If I want something like that, at that price, I may as well get the "Real Thing", the "original", instead.

 

And what's even more, likely, even cheaper. 63€ the Kaweco Titanium Sport steel nib VAT included, and I can change the nib if I want with a large array of options; 75 € this model with steel nib, 120-140 € with gold nib, plus import taxes and only EF/F nib. Come on!

 

As I said, I think they could do better. This only tells me that if they want to produce something comparable to Kaweco, it will be more expensive. That's a no-brainer. I can't see the advantage for me in this side of the pond.

 

On the other side...

 

History, common sense, economics, strategy, power games, plain mathematics and game theory all coincide that once you get a dominant, monopolistic position it is in your best interest to stifle all innovation imposing a single product and raising prices/taxes/levies to maximize your profit. It also shows that otherwise, you are best served by innovating, for it will provide you a competitive edge and defend you from stagnant lurkers trailing you and aiming at eroding your bottom line.

 

So, pardon me if I am skeptical in believing that any company that ciphers their success in maximizing profit without innovation, and at the expense of the creativity of others, will have any interest in whatever consumers might want, once they exterminate all their competition.

 

I might feel tempted to have maybe somewhat better confidence in companies that, like say Pilot, Pelikan or Waterman, have been around for over a century, learned to coexist and, despite maintaining ancient models, keep on producing pens in a whole range of price tags and designs and continue pushing new models to the market. These have adapted to the market, the others plainly state they do not care for the market.

 

Me (sillystupid as I am), I would hate a world were I am limited to buying only cheap clones of outdated designs, with the only change (if any) being they become cheaper and lower quality each year. A new clone of the Sport? Even if it were a clone of a high-end version of the Sport (Titanium and Gold) at a lower price and, notably, quality, it looks to me like more of the same, and still going down a slippery slope leading to consumer hell.

 

That may be romanticism, or more likely, plain silly stupidity and impractical, wasteful personal economics.

 

But I think that I am a human being (many would dispute that) and refuse to be driven by purely practical, economic, mechanistic, egotistic considerations. Not everything is about domination in the life of humans. Sometimes I feel, as the Beatles sung, I might do better "with a little help from my friends". Which is, after all, why I am here.

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A Smug Dill
2 hours ago, txomsy said:

And what's even more, likely, even cheaper. 63€ the Kaweco Titanium Sport steel nib VAT included, and I can change the nib if I want with a large array of options; 75 € this model with steel nib, 120-140 € with gold nib, plus import taxes and only EF/F nib. Come on!

 

Huh?

 

Majohn RS1:

  • with titanium body, no superfluous screws, Schmidt steel nib
    = CNY 369 ⋍ EUR 48.70
  • with titanium body, no superfluous screws, Chinese 14K gold nib
    = CNY 539 ⋍ EUR 71.10
  • with titanium body, screws on all facets, Chinese 14K gold nib
    = CNY 569 ⋍ EUR 75.11

 

I incorrectly stated the EUR 75 price as being for the gold-nibbed variant without the superfluous screws in my post on the previous page, where it actually was for the variant with the superfluous screws; that one was my mistake. I don't know where you got your figures from, starting with EUR 75 for the steel-nibbed variant and going up from there.

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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Those are the prices I see quoted when searching from Europe. They are not Taobao from Australia.

 

Hence the "for me"

 

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The quote I get from Taobao is 74 EUR but I can't tell what for, it refuses to give any details. So I am stuck with the sellers that are accessible  to me.

 

Not that I care. Even at the price you quoted, it still implies it won't be significantly cheaper than the original to merit consideration when all factors are considered. Which comes to show, one has to decide what one wants: a low price/low quality "arms race" in a quest for supremacy (the old ways) or a virtuous cycle of innovation and shared profits (the modern ways). Note: modern does not necessarily imply better. That's for each to consider.

 

Not that  I care either, each one has their preferences and who am I to tell anyone anything.

 

All I can say is that around here some people are tired of the post-WWII cold war and arms race, and yet some others are more than used to the continuous development and innovation of the modern world. I cannot say which are more, the "selfish cheapies" or the "techie groupies". For me, all I can say is I expected more from Chinese ingenuity and for me this pen felt like a disappointment.

 

And note too: all I say is from a highly subjective point of view. Let each one decide by themselves.

 

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Indeed!

 

Well, I got some 20 (more or less, can't remember now) of those to give away. They're neat, sturdy, the clip fits more tightly than in the Delike Alpha, and are dirty cheap. They use a screw-in nib unit, are a bit longer than the Alpha and the converter is of lower quality. The nib is a bit of a hit-or-miss, the plastic insert with the thread in the cap may come out loose (as it did in the first-generation Alphas) but it's trivial to replace and, in my experience, if tightened strongly when closed it doesn't come out. Limited choice of nibs too, and the units are incompatible with the Alpha or the Sport, must be locally made.

 

They close pretty air-tight which is nice to avoid spills. They hardly dried or failed to write on start. I just can't end up feeling comfortable with the nib yet, maybe it has eroded and drags. Just checked on the Alpha thread (I think I also made a separate review) where I wrote about them when new, and back then, they wrote like an F. Now they are more like an M or rather a B, so I guess the tipping is wearing out. You get what you pay for.

 

Those are the likes two of which I have carried about in a pocket for two or three years now and the coating is vanishing now. I've posted pics elsewhere. So, I suppose I do have some experience of them.

 

Interestingly, underneath they are silvery color, not goldish like brass, and last Sunday I tried the 'speed-aging' trick mentioned in another thread and, though the vinegar did turn green, the body and cap did not take any color whatsoever, so I wonder what kind of alloy are they made from.

 

Yet, for the price, they are dirty cheap, the nib is not au pair with the Alpha but otherwise they are 'nice enough' to cut it for budget-oriented buyers.

 

To be true, I only keep the two I retained for wearing in a jeans pocket, because those I do not care if damaged or lost and they are only for emergency notes. But when push comes to shove, I find I largely prefer to use the Kaweco Sport over them (or even better yet, the Liliput), and the Kawecos certainly age faaaar away better than the coated finish Chinese clones (either these or the Alphas). And I know they're there backing their products (lots of great karma in the Internet) whereas the clones are either unbranded or produced under a series of constantly changing brands (Delike, Moonman, Majohn...) and is impossible to get in touch with. What's the guarantee Majohn will still exist in four years and how do you get any support from them?

The RS1 looks like an attempt to make yet another clone that can be sold at a higher price tag with larger benefits with no cost, and no backing. I do not say it is so, but you see, with unbranded, cheap products flooding the market and a single maker changing its brand name every few years, it is difficult to know whom to trust or to which extent and for how long.

 

Let me repeat, I do not claim it is so, but my experience is, as @Karmachanic said, that you're likely to be less sorry if you bet on these cheap ones. You know you're on your own from start.

 

My final assessment after getting many cheap Chinese pens (unbranded, Jinhao, Baoer, Delike, etc...) is that I could have saved all that money and got a hand-made, artisan pen like a Wancher Sekai Urushi Sandalwood, or a BottegandoVR Ashwood Urushi pen.

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A Smug Dill
25 minutes ago, txomsy said:

What's the guarantee Majohn will still exist in four years and how do you get any support from them?

 

What was there to guarantee a brand in any price segment will still exist in four years? Omas is dead. Delta is dead. Nemosine is dead. Pelikan is looking a little wobbly. Conid, however beloved by a small minority of hobbyists, seems to be playing Sleeping Beauty indefinitely; and I wonder when was the last time an owner of a Conid pen managed to get a repair (under warranty or otherwise) done by the company?

 

Not to put too fine a point on it, but as long as the owner(s) of the Delike, Moonman and Majohn brands do not somehow incur the displeasure or wrath of the Chinese Government, given the size of their primary customer base in the mainland, and by extension Hong Kong and nearby Southeast Asian countries, I'm pretty confident the brands will still be around actively making and selling pens in four years' time, and operating no closer to how a few inconsequential casual buyers in Australia (such as myself), Europe or North America would like them to direct the enterprise's efforts and resources.

 

Whether you can get satisfactory, or any, support from the company that owns the brand in four years' time — when your pen will be long out of any reasonable term of (express or statutory) product warranty for a sub-$100 consumer product — is a different matter altogether. But, considering the quality of ‘support’ I got from Parker for a new Duofold Centennial (sold by Amazon, which Newell Brands told me is an authorised retailer), costing me infinite frustration and disappointment as well as $40 in postage, without any satisfaction, that was $40 I have ‘squandered’ and could have spent on two, three or four well-performing Chinese pens instead; I have enough cheap Chinese pens to know what $40 can buy me (both in terms of the actual products, and my subjective satisfaction with such).

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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Or, in other words,

 

One is better served by a low-quality cheap Chinese pen than by this model?

 

Support and quality are unnecessary for sub-100$ products?

 

And it all depends on not crossing a specific government?

 

That's an odd business model to me (but I ain't a biz-wizard). I guess we are basing our arguments in very different starting premises here and doubt we can go any further down this road.

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A Smug Dill
9 minutes ago, txomsy said:

One is better served by a low-quality cheap Chinese pen than by this model?

 

There is no hyperlink I can follow from the underlined word, so I don't know which model you meant. Assuming you were referring to the Kaweco Titanium Sport fountain pen with steel nib, which you mentioned before…

 

but, wait. You claimed the Majohn RS1 is not cheap, so “low-quality cheap Chinese pen” would exclude it from the category. Furthermore, neither you nor I have used the Majohn RS1, nor (I assume!) came across and read any trusted product reviews of it, so there would be no grounds for concluding that it is low-quality. Therefore, that wouldn't be the comparison you are inviting me and other forum members to make.

 

14 minutes ago, txomsy said:

Support and quality are unnecessary for sub-100$ products?

 

Support? I personally don't think so. Quality? I'm pretty happy with the quality of US$5–$15 HongDian pen models (1850, 6013, 517D, 525, etc.), US$25(±$5) Sailor Profit Jr. and Lecoule (caveat: that's what I paid for them, and I have eight or ten of those all up), US$50 Lamy cp1 and (14K gold-nibbed!) Platinum Vicoh PTL-5000A, etc. and I do indeed expect quality writing instruments. As far as support goes, I'm Australian, and Australian Consumer Law prescribes that it's the retailer that's primarily responsible if there is any claim under (manufacturer's or statutory) warranty; taking the issue up with the manufacturer for resolution is a last resort. Furthermore, if the customer is not happy with a product that nevertheless meets the published specifications (and is there “as advertised” or “as described”), then by rights it's his/her mistake that nobody else is saddled with the burden of alleviating, no matter how frustrated or hard done by he/she may feel as a person. Don't like the ink flow or the narrowness of the ‘sweet spot’? Too bad.

 

26 minutes ago, txomsy said:

And it all depends on not crossing a specific government?

 

You were questioning the longevity of Chinese companies and brands. I'm saying they don't have any inherent problems with staying power or time-bomb hazards to the enterprise, other than the extrinsic and overwhelming influence that the Chinese Government can choose to exert, whether we're talking about HongDian or Alibaba, regardless of the wealth held by the company or its founder and/or shareholders.
 

29 minutes ago, txomsy said:

That's an odd business model to me (but I ain't a biz-wizard). I guess we are basing our arguments in very different starting premises here and doubt we can go any further down this road.

 

Not to put too fine a point on it, but the core premise of my argument is: one's personal values, whether aligned to a minority (or region, or culture, somewhere in the world as a segment of the total market) are meaningless and irrelevant to how the market ‘should’ and will align itself, and operate when equilibrium is reached. The point is not to generate maximum end-user satisfaction and feeling that their values and priorities are ‘respected’; but to give due respect to rights and entitlements that nobody is questioning or contesting, but with full understanding of where those boundaries lie, play it to the bone (so to speak) for one's own advantage in the game.

 

As consumers, we're not even in the game ourselves; but our play (in my opinion!) is in how to ride on the coattails of the players and get ourselves some (or the most) material satisfaction while businesses and moneyed folk duke it out and we watch with popcorn in hand from the sidelines.

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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