Baoer 8 Running Horses

29 05 2014

Ok, so I’m really hung up on Chinese pens. Again.

Thank you pen addiction.

This is a pen that I bought off of eBay about a year and a half ago. I don’t remember now exactly, but I think it was about $9 with free shipping from China. Typical of a LOT of Chinese pens available on the market right now. This pen is made by a company called Baoer; I’ve read that it either owns, or is part of a larger company that also owns Jinhao.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION

Ok. This is the most Chinese, Chinese pen I own. Some (a lot actually) would say that it’s gaudy. To me, it’s not – but it’s close. They make this pen in 3 finishes, silver, copper (mine) and , I think gold. The model is called Eight Running Horses. The name is from the barrel of the pen which is made of some type of metal with a clear lacquer finish with a depiction of eight horses running and some (to me) unknown Chinese characters. Here’s a little secret. Every other review I’ve read on this pen says that there are only six running horses, not eight. Well, they didn’t make a mistake naming this pen. Get out your loupe, look closely, and you’ll see that there are two steeds running beside another horse that is obscuring their bodies. If you first look at the horse bodies , you’ll see that there are two extra heads that are next to the other horses. Eight. Eight horses. They named it Eight Horses because there are eight horses running. Duh.

The entire pen is metal, with a black lacquered cap, the aforementioned copper body with the embossed depiction of the horses running, and a black end piece, with electroplate gold hardware. Actually, the pen looks to me like it was heavily influenced by the Pelikan line of pens. The pen comes with a converter and also takes the international size cartridges.

THE NIB & WRITING EXPERIENCE

As you would expect for a pen in this price range, it comes with a steel nib. What one might not expect is just how fantastic a nib it is. The nib is a two-toned job, the gold coloration a result of electroplating. Mine is supposed to be a medium, but is much closer, at least by western standards, to a broad. It is very, very smooth, and lays down a nice wet line. Only the slightest bit of line variation can be had, as the nib is fairly stiff, but not what I would call a nail. I have some nails, I know.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Chinese are producing some really fantastic pens right now and for the last several years. But there are some drawbacks. Among the brands I’m familiar with (Baoer, Huashilai, Hero, Jinhao and Kaigelu; there are probably many others as well) quality control has been very, well, loose, let’s say. It seems like every 3rd or 4th pen I’ve bought, regardless of company has been either a dud or in need of a lot of help to make it serviceable. Another issue is shipping. Expext a pen coming from China to take 4 to 6 weeks to get to your door. There are several North American vendors now who are carrying some of the more popular brands such as Jinhao. Check out Goulet Pens (http://www.gouletpens.com ). You pay only a couple of bucks more, but you’ll have your new pen in a few days as opposed to several weeks. No brainer.

In terms of value, I don’t know how you can beat these pens. Let me put it this way. My collection is at around 90 pens, most of which are vintage. I own two pens from what are generally considered “luxury-line” pens, a Mont Blanc 144 and a Pelikan M200. Both are at the low end of those companies lines, but are $100 + pens. While you can argue looks all you want when comparing those pens to this, they are no better to write with. No smoother, no more dependable, no more pleasurable, at least to me. And when you have a serious pen addiction, but not the serious money to go along with it, what’s a fella to do?





Waterman Laureat…….Writing Under the Radar

19 05 2014

Tonight’s focus is on a pen that I have a love-hate (actually more of a love-kind of dislike) relationship with, the Waterman Laureat. Here’s what I mean by love-hate. I love the way this pen writes. I mean LOVE the way it writes. Like butta. When inked, I can write with it for a bit, cap it, and then set it aside for weeks at a time. When I pick it up, uncap it and begin to write, it starts wet every time. I don’t own that many pens that I can store that long and stay “wet”. The hate part (again, hate is probably too strong a word) is that I just don’t like the way it looks. It’s just aesthetics. But, hey, did I mention how great this thing writes?

There’s not an enormous amount of information out there about this pen. In fact, prior to writing this, all I knew was what I could see looking at it.

  • It’s a metal bodied pen (brass I believe) with a lacquer paint finish.
  • Medium steel nib with gold plate.
  • Takes international cartridges.
  • It’s a Waterman from France.
  • It’s skinny. That’s an absolutely quantifiable term.
  • It’s ugly. At least mine is.

When doing my research I came across the following post at Ravens March Fountain Pens (http://dirck.delint.ca/beta/?page_id=5209 ). By the way, if you haven’t already, you should check out the Ravens March blog, it’s really good! This is simply copied from that site – no plagiarism intended.

Lauréat

Maker: Waterman.

The Lauréat was one of Waterman’s nearly-fine pens of the 1990s; not one which lay on the bottom of the heap, but which was not out of reach of the average buyer.  Like the Super Master, it is less notable for its superb writing abilities than for its power to resist damage.  It is reasonably close in looks to Waterman’s iconic Le Man series, a move likely aimed at the same sort of combination of vanity and inability to either scrape up money or justify spending a lot on a pen which Parker served with its 21.

The Lauréat in use is something like the Expert II; the point is of very similar construction and performance.  It is perhaps a little better balanced, and is a somewhat more slender object overall.  The cap-station on the tail is another echo of the Le Man, and while it doesn’t have an actual gripper mechanism like the more expensive pen, it does make for very secure posting.  It is wide enough in the body to avoid my frequent accusation of over-slimness, and balances well with the cap posted or set aside.

Update: I’ve been shown a pre-1990 catalogue showing that this model and the Super Master were both in production at once, at least for a while.  It thus is not only of the 1990s, as the first sentence indicates, but also a little bit of the 1980s.

Production Run: c. 1985 – c. 2000

Cost When New: Based upon someone else’s public remembrance, it was $125 in 1992, but this seems too much based on the overall feel of the pen.  A 1999 catalogue shows it at $85.00 which seems nearer the mark (for modern values, try this calculator).

Size: 13.8 cm long capped, 17.0 cm posted, 12.4 cm uncapped.

Point: Plated steel.

BodyBrass, generally lacquered.

FillerCartridge, capacity approx. 0.6 ml or 1.4 ml (international pattern).

 

 

 

 





Another Chinese example of awesomeness! The Jinhao X750

2 05 2014

This will never happen again. Three posts within a week of each other. Something’s wrong here….

My first video review (imagine hearing a huge crowd like in a football stadium cheering in the background)! The Jinhao x750. I just looked at this and realized – I just did a commercial for the Goulet Pen Company. Well that wasn’t my intention……but…….I’ll be sending out my bill in the mail.

Here’s the review: