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I'm curious what you think of pens made in China


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I didn't have the chance to talk to people all over the world about pens until I found this forum, so I'm curious what people think about Chinese pens (pros and cons)

Please share your opinion if it is convenient:)

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I received a WingSung101 in junior high school and it got me interested in fountain pens, and since then I have started collecting pens, and in the days that followed I received a Hero100 and Hero200A, I remember buying them at the time with less than $27, and now the Hero100 costs about $45, but it hasn't improved much, so my friends and I don't think it's a good development. And in China many people will think that some Hero100s in the past will be of better quality than what is produced now, and the constant decline in quality is also one of the reasons we feel sad, at the same time WingSung and Jinxing (sorry I don't know what his foreign name is) It was also acquired, which made many models discontinued (eg WingSung101 and Venus 103), although we now have WingSung 601 and WingSung 629 but many people would think that their quality is not as high as their price (WingSung 601 sells for $37, WingSung 629 sells for $62---$84 depending on the nib)

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In my opinion Chinese pens sold to the Western market have changed greatly in the past five or so years. The pens are no longer primarily modeled after a Parker 51 and have moved up in both quality and price. I have been delighted with pens like the Wing Sung 699 and the recently introduced piston fillers. The main feature lacking is more variety in nibs-- I don't know of a single Chinese pen that comes with a broad nib, for example, let alone my favorite an oblique broad.

Children think adults have all the freedom and adults think children have
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To me, there is a distinction between (mainland) Chinese branded pens — most, if not all, of which are made in China, of course — and those pens of established foreign brands, e.g. Cross, that are produced in mainland Chinese factories.

 

By default, I consider Cross and Parker pen models, for example, that are made in China to be inferior in value (i.e. what I get from it) than models of the same brands not made in China. (I also greatly dislike Parker and consider its pens to be second-rate anyway, irrespective of where they're made; but there's still a distinction between poor and poorer.) Such Cross pens could still be good pens and competent writing instruments; but if a Cross Peerless 125 fountain pen has a Chinese-made pen body and a gold nib made by Sailor in Japan, then not only do I consider the pen to be of inferior value to gold-nibbed Cross pens wholly made in the US or Europe, but I also consider it to be of inferior value to a gold-nibbed Sailor pen wholly made in Japan. If Cross's asking price is higher than that of a comparable Sailor pen in material and/or specifications, then I'll just “tell him he's dreaming”. If I want a pen with a Sailor nib at that price or cheaper, I'd do much better by just buying a Sailor pen; the Cross name has nothing to offer me, and I'm certainly not sentimental about what the brand may have in terms of history, heritage, or being “an American brand”.

 

As for Chinese branded pens, these days it covers a broad range of price points and levels of quality. I wouldn't pay US$100 or more for a Chinese branded pen, even if it offers a gold nib and what-not, if again I can get a wholly made-in-Japan Sailor, Platinum, or Pilot with a more respected name, better trusted gold nib in terms of performance delivered, and more consistent quality control. In the sub-US$25 segment, better examples of recent Chinese branded fountain pens (e.g. HongDian, PenBBS) ‘kill’ just about all the foreign competition in terms of what is on offer. Some Chinese pens offer incredible value, and are well put together writing instruments that are a joy to use. On the other hand, there are also plenty of duds, as models (e.g. Moonman M6, Lanbitou 3088) that are problematic on the whole, or individual units of good models (e.g. HongDian has a consistency issue with piston assembly at the factory, across all of its piston-filler models so far, including the N1-S, N6, and N7). So one ought to be wary, and have a very clear idea of what to expect (including if a pen may require some sort of ‘fixing’ once in the hand of the end-user), when buying Chinese branded pens, in my opinion; far more so than just taking a punt and buying yet another Sailor or Platinum model with which one is entirely unfamiliar.

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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13 minutes ago, OCArt said:

In my opinion Chinese pens sold to the Western market have changed greatly in the past five or so years. The pens are no longer primarily modeled after a Parker 51 and have moved up in both quality and price.

I'm glad you think that Chinese fountain pens are constantly improving, there are indeed many Chinese fountain pens that are no longer based on the Parker 51 (but will be more like the Montblanc 146/149)

 

16 minutes ago, OCArt said:

The main feature lacking is more variety in nibs-- I don't know of a single Chinese pen that comes with a broad nib, for example, let alone my favorite an oblique broad.

Because of the Chinese language, many Chinese use the most EF/F nib (0.38---0.5mm). Few people use M nib, so manufacturers will not try to make broad nib. As far as I know, WingSung629 provides B nib, this is the widest nib I know of a Chinese fountain pen

Thank you for your reply:)

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17 minutes ago, jw20147 said:

As far as I know, WingSung629 provides B nib, this is the widest nib I know of a Chinese fountain pen

large.1091014936_Chinesepenswithbroader-than-Mediumnibs.png.2256421698e626c6974da01813b8f1f4.png

 

Wooden-Smooth-Fountain-Pens-Mahogany-Pencil-Metal-Pen-Clip-Ink-Refills-Fine-Nib-Calligraphy-Signature-Stroke.jpg_Q90.jpg_.webp

 

Then, there are different grades of ‘art’ (aka Fude) nibs that are broader than any Western B nib.

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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18 minutes ago, A Smug Dill said:

If Cross's asking price is higher than that of a comparable Sailor pen in material and/or specifications, then I'll just “tell him he's dreaming”. If I want a pen with a Sailor nib at that price or cheaper, I'd do much better by just buying a Sailor pen;

Yes, some Chinese pens have this problem too, in my opinion some pens are not as good experience as Japanese pens but they are the same price,it's hard for me not to choose Japanese pen directly.

 

19 minutes ago, A Smug Dill said:

the Cross name has nothing to offer me, and I'm certainly not sentimental about what the brand may have in terms of history, heritage, or being “an American brand”.

As a person who has used the Hero pen since childhood, even though I have some bad memories, I still have feelings for it, but the way of Hero in recent years is destroying my goodwill towards it(I found out this morning that I couldn't even find Hero100 on Hero's website, which made me very sad, I don't know what they're doing).

 

25 minutes ago, A Smug Dill said:

As for Chinese branded pens, these days it covers a broad range of price points and levels of quality. I wouldn't pay US$100 or more for a Chinese branded pen, even if it offers a gold nib and what-not, if again I can get a wholly made-in-Japan Sailor, Platinum, or Pilot with a more respected name, better trusted gold nib in terms of performance delivered, and more consistent quality control.

 

25 minutes ago, A Smug Dill said:

So one ought to be wary, and have a very clear idea of what to expect (including if a pen may require some sort of ‘fixing’ once in the hand of the end-user), when buying Chinese branded pens, in my opinion;

Yes, the biggest problem with Chinese pens in my opinion is that many people get the same pen but have different experiences. In my opinion, this is quite a serious problem but Hero and WingSung have not solved it.

Thank you for your reply:)

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4 minutes ago, A Smug Dill said:

Then, there are different grades of ‘art’ (aka Fude) nibs that are broader than any Western B nib.

Sorry I didn't notice, because people don't talk about 'art pens' together with normal pens in Chinese discussion forums (because these nibs are hard to use in Chinese)so I forgot about them

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Hello.

 

I had only one Japanese export version of Hero329. Since it is a Japanese version, the writing size is automatically XF and it was a good pen for writing kan-ji.

 When I posted for the first time in this sub-forum, I was told that "the Chinese pen that was once exported to Japan is a special version".

 After that, I bought a lot of low-end iridium dark tip pens, that were once imported from China, in the Japanese second-hand market and 1990's pens including Hero100.

 

 The writing size of Chinese low-end vintage pens in Japan is all XF, but maybe it is because it is a used item, the lines are different and there are variations.

 Every pen is a very good pen.

 I haven't heard good rumors about pens these days, and I haven't bought them because all the pens I want at AliExpress are only available in F size.

 

 Is Jinxing "金星"?

 If so, it is a "golden star". How is it different from "Venus" in terms of operation? I have also seen a sack guard that says "kin-sin".

 I thought they all represented the same manufacturer.

 

In the case of "金豪", it is "Jinhao".

 

Thankyou. 

 

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2 hours ago, Number99 said:

I had only one Japanese export version of Hero329. Since it is a Japanese version, the writing size is automatically XF and it was a good pen for writing kan-ji.

 When I posted for the first time in this sub-forum, I was told that "the Chinese pen that was once exported to Japan is a special version".

Yes, China has exported some pens to Japan in the past period, and the quality of the exported products will be relatively good,I'm glad you like it.

2 hours ago, Number99 said:

The writing size of Chinese low-end vintage pens in Japan is all XF, but maybe it is because it is a used item, the lines are different and there are variations.

I think part of the reason is second-hand, and part of it is because the quality control of Hero and WingSung has not been very good

 

2 hours ago, Number99 said:

Is Jinxing "金星"?

 If so, it is a "golden star".

Thanks, I meant "golden star", unfortunately they don't seem to be producing any more at the moment

Thanks for the reply

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5 hours ago, jw20147 said:

Sorry I didn't notice, because people don't talk about 'art pens' together with normal pens in Chinese discussion forums

 

Just to be clear, the straight broad-edged nibs shown in the images I posted above are Italic nibs. ‘Art’ nibs are bent nibs.

 

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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11 hours ago, jw20147 said:

I didn't have the chance to talk to people all over the world about pens until I found this forum, so I'm curious what people think about Chinese pens (pros and cons)

Please share your opinion if it is convenient:)


A lot of my daily writers are Wing Sung piston-fillers.  Great for ink testing, and it's cool to see the ink color in there.  Wing Sung 601 emulate the look of Parker 51, very nice pens and easy to clean.  Jinhao Sharks are fun.  And the ones that look like Lamy Safari.

 

I started out with Hero 616s.  And so on.

My other pen is a Montblanc and...

 

My other blog is a tumblr.

 

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On 5/15/2022 at 3:31 AM, A Smug Dill said:

<snip>

 

(I also greatly dislike Parker and consider its pens to be second-rate anyway, irrespective of where they're made; but there's still a distinction between poor and poorer.)
<snip>

and I'm certainly not sentimental about what the brand may have in terms of history, heritage, or being “an American brand”.

<snip>

I greatly enjoyed your post and agreed with much of what you wrote. Parker hasn’t made a good pen since the 75; those historic brand names mean nothing now. Cross and Sheaffer are no different than Monteverde now. The WS 601 is a better 51 clone than any of the THREE different 51 clones Parker has introduced in the last 20+ years. Anyone even remember the Parker 100?
 

I have been dismayed in recent years at seeing steel nibbed cart/converter pens commanding $100 plus prices, sometimes several hundred dollars. I don’t care how nice the design or finish is, I am resistant to purchasing a pen for that much without a gold nib. I’m not pretending a gold nib writes better, just that it adds value. 
 

The pen market in China, probably like many other manufacturing areas in China, is full of innovation at extremely reasonable prices. I’ve been delighted by pens I’ve bought from China because they are so different than many current pens yet capable writers. It’s the first time I’ve been genuinely excited by new pens in a long time. 
 

I will be watching for new introductions from Chinese pen makers even while I become more and more disinterested in the rest of the pen market, which is mostly occupied in introducing new colourways of old models. 

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I have a Jinhao (identified as a "Classic"), metal with a floral pattern that I purchased from a Chinese vendor on Ebay in 2020 for $1.80 US that I love. It was listed as having a medium nib but writes more like a Western fine. I, too, have found that the quality has increased in recent years.

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I have a few inexpensive Chinese pens, and my opinion of them is mixed.

Early on, I bought three Guanleming pens (back when Todd Nussbaum still had his e-store).  A couple of them are pretty decent for being $5 pens.  The Guanleming 193 Calligraphy pen has a nice writing fude nib (it was nice to use with the original formula of J Herbin Rouge Hematite, with the big gold flakes); and the 978 Accountant?  If I had been able to find more in other colors I would have bought them in a heartbeat -- that was a great deal for a pen I paid only five bucks for.  The 2001 Demonstrator, though?  Ehhhh.  It was my original "Bay State Blue" dedicated pen because at that price I didn't care if it got stained.  But I caught the cap on the elastic band in a pen case and snapped the finial off.  Really cheap plastic (as opposed to the other two Guanleming pens, both of which are metal bodied).

Someone gave me a Jinhao 599 (a knockoff of a Lamy Safari or al-Star).  It writes okay, but it really is a hideous color (sort of matte metallic gold) and I had to constantly play with adjusting the piston on the converter because I had flow issues.  Mainly, though, it was useful in that I learned I COULD get used to the triangular section on a real Safari/al-Star/LX.  

The Hero 616?  That was also a freebie.  Someone that used to be in my local pen club ordered a 10 or 12 pack and handed them out one night to anyone who wanted one.  And truthfully?  I'm not sure it isn't a fake (yeah, that's right, a Chinese fake of a Chinese knockoff of a Parker 51... :huh:).  I think the guy ended up paying a buck a piece for the pack.  And mine?  Well, it writes like a pen that cost/is worth a buck....

A couple of weeks ago a friend gave my husband a Hongdian pen (I forget offhand what the model number on the cap finial is -- the box it came in had a different model number but I think the cap said 6013).  He hasn't used it yet.  It's nice looking, but quite heavy (heavier than the Monteverde Strata she gave me -- and THAT's reportedly 40 grams capped).  And the barrel has some sort of coating on it that makes me think of the rubberized grips on the two Parker Reflex pens I started out with and ended up tossing into a "Pick a Prize" raffle a number of years ago at something I was at, and also to some extent the rubberized section on the Sheaffer Star Wars Pop Yoda pen.  My husband hasn't used the pen yet -- it's still in the bathroom in the votive candle holder with paper toweling in the bottom that I use for draining out pens after they've been flushed.  It's nice looking but way too heavy for me (although it did come with a converter already installed).

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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I have been looking at Chinese pens (and buying them) for a while, since the explosion of better-quality and inventive pens by mainland Chinese companies.  I own Moonman (Majohn) , PenBBS, Delike, Lingmo Lorelei, and Narwhal pens.  

 

I have found that the quality varies and few are as good as European, U.S., or Japanese pens (Indian and Taiwanese pens are a different story).

 

The pens I have been most impressed by are from Narwhal; I have a number of their Nautilus models.  I find these to be equivalent to most European brands.  

 

Chinese pens have come up a lot in this world, at least outside of China.  I especailly like it when they do their own models rather than imitating other pen models.  What I find mostly lacking in all but Narwhal is a focus on the nib and making sure that they are the absolute best.  But in terms of styling, soem Chinese pens are almost at the same level than non-Chinese pens.

 

Erick

 

Using right now:

Parker 51 "F" nib runing PR Tanzanite

Narwhal Nautilus "F" nib running Montblanc Racing Green 

Edison Comet "F" nib running Leonardo Officina Italiana Blue

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1 hour ago, langere said:

What I find mostly lacking in all but Narwhal is a focus on the nib and making sure that they are the absolute best.

 

Pelikan doesn't do that, either. Nor Visconti, nor Leonardo Officina Italiana, to name a few.

 

The fact of the matter is, the vast majority of users do not care if the nib is the absolute best. Passable as a writing instrument is good enough; and when you're trying to appeal to the wallets for Chinese pen buyers or Leonardo buyers, styling and pretty materials will secure the market/wallet share far more effectively than nib supremacy would.

 

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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Oh, that is not correct!  Certainly Visconti has a wide range of nibs and they do specialize in nibs.  In fact, the vast majority of them are absolutely fantastic.  Leonardo pens also have better nibs than most Chinese pens.  Different league.

 

Erick

 

Using right now:

Parker 51 "F" nib runing PR Tanzanite

Narwhal Nautilus "F" nib running Montblanc Racing Green 

Edison Comet "F" nib running Leonardo Officina Italiana Blue

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4 hours ago, langere said:

Oh, that is not correct!  Certainly Visconti has a wide range of nibs and they do specialize in nibs.  In fact, the vast majority of them are absolutely fantastic.

 

You tell that to the numerous hobbyists who have complained about receiving terrible nibs on their new Visconti pens out-of-the-box. We're not talking about “the absolute best” as in most pleasing (only) aesthetically, but actually putting careful and consistent quality control into every single nib, no matter how pretty or plain it looks.

 

4 hours ago, langere said:

Leonardo pens also have better nibs than most Chinese pens.  Different league.

 

The nib on my first-generation Leonardo Momento Zero Blue Hawaii had lopsided tipping that put more pressure on one tine than the other. The nib on the Leonardo Musis Oplontis was also defective, even when it was far more expensive than the Leonardo Momento Zero. I ordered a Leonardo Momemto Zero in Abyss Celluloid, and it ended up getting cancelled by the EndlessPens because on inspection, the nib was not good enough, but the retailer was unable to get Leonardo to deliver a fit replacement gold EF nib after three months of trying; and EndlessPens told me they were discontinuing carrying Leonardo because there were too many problems and returns, all due to the nibs.

 

So, never mind whether the pen is Italian and the nib was made by Bock in Germany; the QC defines whether the nib is good, and I personally have not seen one good nib out-of-the-box on Leonardo pens I've ordered. Even the Majohn T5, which has design and quality problems with the piston mechanism, has better nibs than that. (I bought six of them all up. The nibs were not the problem with those pens.)

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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Unfortunately I had to agree with @A Smug Dill , my cache of Italian fountain pens show similar inconsistency and general QC issues despite them all of rather premium priced bracket

 

Chinese fountain pen suffer a issue with craftsmanship as well as the QC issue. A lot of the time a pen's mechanism and individual parts are all decent but just not out together well , this is both a case of low quality or even lack of QC as well as low quality of workmanship with little or no concern over tolerance , spec etc ...

 

Though , yeah , contemporary and current production improvement are shown , we can still see the problems here and there especially on budget priced bracket pens. There are some brand that simply work on the mass quantity over quality model , and there are those on the other side of the spectrum

 

Some brands today return overall better quality and consistency in workmanship , some shown mixed bag regarding. Overall though if one shine away from the low price bracket one can avoid a lot of WTH moments

 

 

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