Kawaii Retractable Pen

A few weeks ago I was rather taken with a very cheap retractable pen made by a Chinese firm, Kawaii. I hadn’t heard of them before but they make lots of fountain pens and other stationery items. I ordered one from an eBay seller, Wafch-74. It was ridiculously cheap at £3.50.

The pen arrived in a cellophane sleeve. To ink it, you remove the translucent cap and unscrew the nib housing. That’s easy enough but the difficult part is that when you remove it the little spring that activates the retractable nib shoots off into the wide blue yonder, never to be seen again. As the pen costs so little I ordered another. I was prepared this time and captured the spring before it took off. I filled the converter and reassembled the pen. The nib clicks in and out just as it should. It writes very well. An excellent pen in every aspect except one: there’s that translucent plastic cap. What good is the retractable ability of the pen if you need a cap? You definitely have to have the cap as there is no little door as is provided in the more expensive retractable pens! The nib dries out very quickly without the cap.

Let’s pretend that this issue doesn’t make the whole point of the pen redundant. Let’s pretend that it’s a rather good pen in most respects – which it is! It’s very light though it appears to be entirely made from metal – the site says stainless steel but I don’t know about that. The one I chose is painted or enamelled pale blue and the push-button and the clip are chromed. The nib is steel and the tipping is unlikely to be anything other than a steel blob at this price. The action of the retractable nib is very good and the cap fits well.

It’s quite a well made pen. It’s a pity that it is utterly pointless.

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3 thoughts on “Kawaii Retractable Pen

  1. The cheapness of Chinese fountain pens is deeply concerning to me. In the West, pen enthusiasts are always writing of their value for money without giving a thought to the wages paid to the people assembling the things or the conditions that they work in. China is a totalitarian country where no one gets ahead in business without the approval of the of the CCP dictatorship. In many cases, the top jobs, including factory ownership and management, are reserved for the elite allies of the Party. As we have recently seen in Hong Kong, this is a brutal and oppressive regime that will suppress all protest. Little chance then of anyone being able to campaign for better wages and work conditions, let alone (heaven forbid) democracy. Then there is the question of forced labour for political and religious prisoners detained in so called “re-education” camps. Research has shown that many cheap products that make their way to western markets come from this source. The fact that Chinese pen manufacturers blatantly rip off the designs of rival companies from all over the world just shows that it is impossible to enforce design copyright in a country without conventional civil law. Please don’t think me too pious (and I am certainly not condemning you personally), but I just think that we ought to consider who we are giving our money to when we casually buy these pens. Nobody in the pen community seems to give this issue any consideration. I love Chinese history, culture, food and art, but I think we have to face the fact that buying pens from China today is in part a moral issue. I wonder if people would have so eagerly have bought fountain pens manufactured in 1980’s South Africa (not that I am aware of any)? Anyway, have a lovely Christmas and my sincerest regards to your husband. I hope you both have a much better New Year ahead. It is wonderful to see you blogging again!

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