I confess that I am sometimes drawn in by the allure of Chinese pens, but in my defence I maintain that they are much improved – or at least some of them are – and some, it seems to me, are not all that far behind much more expensive European and American pens in terms of quality and presentation. A case in point is the Picasso Red Flower which I bought recently.
It’s extremely well presented. It comes in a cardboard outer box decorated with a tiny image of a Picasso painting. Inside is a hard case containing the pen, a quality inspection card and a well illustrated Picasso booklet. Every bit as smart as any of the European pens I bought lately.
My one complaint about the pen would be that it is enamelled brass construction and therefore quite heavy, though so far I haven’t found that to be a great disadvantage in use because it’s quite well-balanced. The pen is very pretty, black with splashes of red in a fairish imitation of urushi. The clip is two-toned with an image that I can’t quite make out – maybe it’s a pen nib above an ink bottle, but maybe not. Have a look – see what you think.
The push on cap fits very securely with a satisfying click. The black plastic section has an embossed pattern which gives a good grip. The nib is 22k gold-plated stainless steel, and is as smooth as any pen I have ever tried. The ink flow is generous and after several pages of writing it hasn’t skipped yet. Unscrewing the barrel exposes a twist converter which works well and of course the pen will take international cartridges.
This is a lot of pen for under £20! I’m not saying that it rocks the foundations of Mont Blanc or Visconti, but it does make one wonder about the prices that they are set at. Undoubtedly, they are better pens but are they several hundreds of pounds better?