It’s nearly Christmas, and can I take the opportunity I wish everyone a blessed holiday season… For me Christmas is of course a wonderful time of year but one that tends to be taxing on the wallet. So I thought I would bring you a review of a fountain pen that won’t add to anyone’s financial woes during the festive period, the Jinhao 11. Jinhao are a fairly well known Chinese pen producer. I chose this Jinhao 11 because of its matte black, almost stealth look. Not to mention its cheap pricepoint. The question is whether this was a couple or three pounds well spent or wasted? Is it possible to get a fulfilling writing experience from such a small investment?
Description: This pen arrived in a nondescript plastic shell, so the packaging is nothing to shout about. It is is a fairly slim, medium sized fountain pen, similar in size to the Sailor Reglus. It is an all metal pen (aluminium?) with a matte black-lacquered finish. Indeed on the model I have the ‘stealth’ look is almost complete bar from the silver nib and the chrome rings that you find on either end of the grip.
The barrel is smoothly tapered to the rounded base and screws firmly to the grip section. The grip tapers toward the nib until it meets a second chrome ring. The nib istelf is fairly small but in keeping with the size of the pen. It is silver in colour and is supposedly a 18k gold plated steel nib. The nib has ’18KGP’ engraved on it
The slip on cap is quite large and cylindrical with a inbuilt clip. The cap band is subtely engraved with Jinhao 11. The clip itself is very tight, perhaps overly so. The finial is somewhat at odds with the rest of this smooth pen. It has a honeycomb texture with the Jinhao charioteer logo emblazoned upon it, all in the same matte black. The cap fixes firmly to the main body of the pen but allows the barrel to spin which was a little disconcerting at first.
Unscrew the thread that holds the barrel and grip section and the pen can be fitted with short international cartridges or the supplied converter can be used with bottled ink. I used the converter which was satisfactory.
Dimensions: As I said this is a medium-sized pen. The pen is 138mm (5.4″) long and 154mm (6.1″)when posted. The barrel is 12mm wide at its widest point. The section is 25mm long.
On Test: My initial expectations for this pen were low but I have to say straight up that I was pleasantly surprised. First up, and of ultimate importance, it writes! This is no bad thing for starters considering some much more expensive pens I’ve had seem to have trouble with this elementary obstacle.
The nib is small but fairly smooth and leaves a fairly fine wet line that I would gauge as somewhere between a European fine and medium. The stiffness of the nib prohibits any real sense line variation but is stable enough to facilitate easy writing. The pen is fairly slim, which some might find uncomfortable but is ideal for people with more delicate digits. Overall the pen is fairly well-balanced and writes comfortably whether posted or not.
Summary: For the price, which online is anywhere between £3 and £10 depending on your source this is a decent writing instrument. It may not win any awards but it has a sleek stealthy look about it and delivers a decent, if not exhilarating, writing experience. I have used this consistently for writing letters recently and it has not missed a beat thus far. Sure it lacks the finesse of many a more expensive pen, but its functional and the styling is nicely understated and not unattractive.
I’ve not use many Chinese pens before, sometimes being afraid of the oft mentioned quality issues. But from my experience with this pen I will certainly be on the look out for one or two more. After all the financial layout is so small you won’t even feel the pinch.
As always, foolishly yours…