I do stupid things sometimes. So do you, I expect, but you don’t then sit down and write about them in your blog.
A few weeks back I read somewhere about these good deals that were to be had at Xfountainpens. I went and had a look. Sure enough, the pens cost half nothing and for very little more you could have a supposedly improved nib fitted. Even broad and double-broad obliques were available. I selected a couple of X450s, paid the paltry sum and forgot about it.
A week later the postman delivered a package. By the weight I thought it must be at least a part for the car or maybe somebody had bought me a new bench vice. But no, it was the two cheap pens I bought. Each weighs an astounding 39.7g! A proper pen like, for instance, a Waterman 52, weighs about a third of that at 13g. Now I understand that some people – for whatever foolish reason – equate weight with quality, but brass pipe ain’t quality.
Once I got over the shock of the weight I tried filling one. A messy business. The converters the pens came with don’t exactly fit securely. However, once I got some ink into the things, they wrote. Quite adequately well, too, though their manufacturers’ idea of an oblique and mine don’t quite match. What this is is the normal round bead of tipping material with one side ground down a bit and rounded off!
I have bought the odd cheap Chinese pen before (recurring fits of madness) and it has been my experience that they write quite well for a fortnight and then bits fall off. These, I believe are made by Jinhao and re-badged as Bulow. The “improved” nibs are marked “Knox, Germany” but which bits of that are true – if any – I know not, though I have my suspicions.
The pens are solid if uninspired. The castings of the clips are somewhat vague, quite unlike the precision castings we’re used to in the west. The clutch on one pen is fine, on the other it takes such a grip that a mighty effort is required to pull the cap off, which is only accomplished to accompaniment of a fine spray of ink being jetted from the nib.
They make good paperweights, though.