I’m not a fan of Parker’s Vacumatic filling system, whichever pen it’s fitted in. I don’t care for the 51 in any form, though I think the Aerometric is rather more practical. The Vacumatic, to my mind, is unnecessarily over-engineered. There are simpler versions of the assisted bulb filler that are less annoying to service. The Vac itself, in my opinion, is a beautiful pen spoiled by an over-egged filling system.
So when Wing Sung brings out a Vacumatic-filled Parker 51 clone, why do I rush to buy one? Short answer is I don’t know – maybe because I’m a sucker for anything shiny. Longer answer is I admire the cheek of the thing. Also the pen gets good reviews. Considering the complexity of the 601 the price of less than £12 seems like a giveaway. I ordered mine from an eBay seller. It came from China in a couple of weeks. Decent delivery time.
It came in a cardboard box with some instructions, mostly in Chinese. That’s okay, I’ve filled a Vac before! The pen is very 51-like apart from an ink window which is a decided improvement. I’d chosen a fine nib and I have to say it’s a great writer. Love that nib!
However, I struck an instant problem. Having recapped the pen, I pulled the cap off again. The action pulled ink out of the reservoir and there were large drops of ink on the hood. I wiped it off, recapped and took the cap off again. Same result: ink all over the hood. As faults go I think that’s a pretty bad one! Others have reported on their experience of the 601 but no one else has mentioned this fault. Have I been unlucky? I’ll spend a little time on the pen and see if I can cure this problem.
I suppose it’s worth saying what other experience I had of the 601. The push-on cap fits very well (obviously!). The blind cap is almost invisibly well fitted. The filling mechanism works well and the pen takes a good draught of ink. I chose the blue version and it goes very well with the silver cap – which is extremely Parkeresque in appearance.
Not a success for me, so far, then but perhaps I can solve the problem even if only for the sake of that excellent nib.
16 thoughts on “Wing Sung 601 Silver Cap Vacumatic”
This looks like a very well made replica and yes the colours are pretty. However I don’t feel 100% comfortable with the copy of the trademark, the arrow clip and more generally the design, shape and mechanism of the 51 vac (I’m assuming that they did not get a license from Parker…). I’m not a fan of what Parker has become (or of what remains of Parker) and I presume that some may feel that the present day (owner of) Parker is not morally worthy of owning the historical trademark and designs, etc… but the fact is, they paid to acquire those rights. If we accept that trademarks, designs etc no longer are protected against copying/unauthorised use then it will become even harder to convince anyone to invest in fountain pens… just a thought.
sorry to hear of the problems Deb., and obviously trading on the appearance of the original for kudos.
Might the ink problem be cured by creating a hole/s in the cap – not of course that you should need to modify a new pen, but if it’s a choice between a lapful of permanent blue/black or a couple of very small holes in the cap, then perhaps the latter is preferable.
Was this the reason why older f.ps. were always provided with holes in the cap.
I think that if I did write then a 51 aero would certainly be up there in the top five for choice – the aero system is virtually foolproof, and we must always remember that mostly what really makes a pen – any pen – is the nib.
As I say so often I must bore everyone to death, I don’t like the 51. It’s the precursor of the ballpoint. I accept that it works very well but that’s not everything. Some Platignums work very well.
Yes, that’s the reason for the holes in the caps but it shouldn’t be needed here. There’s a little slot in the clutch ring which should serve the same purpose. I’m still working on it and annoyingly, it has stopped doing it but I’m sure it’s start agin!
Parker gave up making 51s a long time ago. I’m sure that by time they stopped making them they had recouped their investment in squillions. I can’t see any problem with this. What trademark did Wing Sung copy?
I have been tempted by one of these, although there are pictures in the eBay listings of a demonstrator that is not currently on sale, and that is the version I would like.
I was curious if these would provide a source of spares for old model Vacumatics. Yours is the first decent close-up photo of the filler that I have seen, and there appear to be considerable differences, so I am guessing not?
I am also curious about the process of installing a new diaphragm. It doesn’t look like a Vac-wrench will work – does Wing Sung offer any guidance on this, or is the pen essentially disposable?
It has a hex nut, so rather easier to disassemble. Interchangeable parts? I don’t know at this stage.
I am pleased that I read your review, the fault that you describe would be enough for me to regret buying the pen. – which I think I might have done.
To be fair none of the other people writing about the pen have reported this fault.
This one has piqued my interest, but I’m not a fan of the Vac filling system; as you say, too over-engineered and difficult to service. The ink window is definitely an improvement on the original!
Also, I’m quite sure any patents involved have long lapsed.
I completely agree. Of course I had to have it because it was shiny.
We are but bower birds, lining our nests with shininess. 😄
I’ve recently come full circle, away from pricier pens and back to Chinese ones. I must say that Chinese pens have improved considerably in the last couple of years, both in build and quality control. I recently picked up a clear Wing Sung 698, and I’m *very* impressed.
They are greatly improved. I have a few Chinese pens with very good nibs.
I also had the ink problem too, but I found a solution which worked. I read up on vac fillers, and found that on the final press of the plunger, the pen should be lifted out of the ink and then the plunger released, so that the excess ink is pulled back through the feed. This pretty much sorted it out after that, and I realise that the feed had previously been saturated.
Thank you, Merlin. That’s excellent advice. I no longer have the pen but I might get another. You never know!
My 601 had the same problem with ink on taking off the cap. It was resolved (so far) by tightening the hood. I also put some silicon grease on the hood threads.
Thank you, Ray.