Jinhao: A Chinese Wonder

I like a good pen. I like writing with them but I also like looking at them. I admire them as a feat of miniature design and engineering. And good pens don't usually come cheap. But I may have found an exception.

Someone mentioned the name Jinhao to me and I was curious. I went to www.ebay.co.uk and typed in Jinhao - dozens of results came up, most priced at between £4 and £10. Most shipped from China but shipping was free. They all looked 'expensive', although some designs were a bit over the top for my taste. I did some more research and here is what I discovered.

Jinhao is a leading Chinese brand. People in the west who have purchased pens are almost always positive. Most people rave about the build quality and finish, the weight (they are heavy), the smoothness of the nib. Quality seems a bit more variable than our ISO9000 culture might tolerate and a small number of people report problems with their pen. These are mostly 'dead on arrival' problems: the pen simply doesn't work, presumably because of a blockage in the nib.

Just for fun I purchased a Jinhao 500 Brown Marble 18K Gold Trim. It cost £2.95 including shipping (in this case from the UK) so I took the 18K with a pinch of salt. It arrived in a couple of days in a plastic bag inside a padded envelope. It certainly felt like a quality pen: fairly heavy and nicely balanced in the hand. It looks good, seeming to take some design cues from Pelikan whilst very much having its own style.

I filled up the converter with some decent ink and started writing - and was surprised how well it wrote. It's certainly as good as my favourite Waterman. For £2.95 it must be worth it. I like the fact that it's not a fake, not pretending to be a Mont Blanc or some other famous brand (although there are plenty of those on the web too). Rather, it is a nice pen at a silly price and a worthy addition to my collection.