I said a while back that I was stopping buying cheap Chinese pens. I had a few for those jobs that you don’t want to expose a more expensive pen to: Baystate Blue or red ink. So that was a decision firmly made and not to be changed.
Except I saw an advert for these Lanbitou 3059 piston fillers. Four for the price of a cup of coffee. My research suggested that the first ones weren’t very good but later they improved. I paid for four in various colours including an utterly horrific lime green.
They arrived quite quickly. No fancy boxes with these pens, just a padded bag with some bubblewrap. They were all undamaged. I inked one up right away – no flushing with soapy water and it wrote well at once.
This is the most respectable-looking one, with a black cap and turn button. I filled it up with Diamine Sargasso Sea. The flow is good but it can hard-start. I’m not too concerned about that. Sargasso Sea is quite sticky, I find, and I’m sure that the Lanbitou will start well with Quink or Watermans.
What can I tell you? It has a nib that looks like it came out of a Lamy Safari. It has a feature whereby a little extra turn of the button when filling will ensure that it is locked and there will be no accidental emission of ink. It’s quite a large pen at 14.5 cm capped. I think it would be ungainly posted but I don’t post. The section is indented for a triangular grip, similar to the Lamy pens but executed better so not so annoying. It holds a bucketful of ink.
The first Chinese piston filler was a cause of excitement and rightly so. Now there are several on the market and people say that this or that piston filler is a clone of this or that other pen. My view is that if you’re making a cheap transparent piston filler it will look a bit like any other.
My verdict: it works very well. As far as looks are concerned there is nothing much to say. I’m not fond of demonstrators. I don’t use clips but this one seems very firm. Time will tell whether this pen is durable or subject to the cracking that many of these transparent pens have developed. I’m enjoying writing with it. It’s worth the pittance that I spent on it.