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.
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.
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?