Not long ago there was some controversy (or rabid discussion) about the Visionnaire Fountain Pen Kickstarter Project (already funded and closed). When I looked at it the first thing I thought was “Chinese Pen”. Not because it was made in China, but because of the over the top marketing.
The minimum pledge level at the time was $35 so I decided to see what I could get for the $35 minimum pledge level. I should point out, Brad Dowdy, the Pen Addict found a similar pen for $4.00 (delivered). Also listen to that podcast if you want info on the Visionnaire project. I wasn’t looking for that exact pen since I didn’t really like it, but rather any pens I liked the look of. I ended up with theses four pens, costing $37 including shipping.
Like most inexpensive pens, I flushed them with water and a couple drops of dish soap to remove any oils or manufacturing residue. Other than that, the pens are used as received.
The pens are all very similar. They’re lacquer over metal, probably brass, that makes them heavy pens. All are medium steel nibs and were surprisingly smooth. Not Faber-Castel Emotion smooth, but a rather nice nib. Better than the out of the box experience for some more expensive pens.
All the pens are comfortable to hold and to write with, except for the weight. They may become tiring after writing for awhile.
All four of the pens did experience some minors skipping although not enough to be frustrating. All four of the pens suffered from surface tension in the converter that kept the ink from flowing in the convertor. A tap broke the tension. This isn’t uncommon with converters and some now include a metal ball to keep the ink flowing. All the pens take short international cartridges. I don’t have any long cartridges to see if they fit, but they might, there’s a lot of room on there.
The pens are available from numerous eBay sellers, most with Buy It Now pricing. Just search for “Chinese Pens” or get brand specific. HisNibs.com also sells many Chinese pens and they say they inspect/align nibs before shipping (I’ve never bought from them).
Kind of boring, but here’s a sample from each pen. (Click picture for full size)