Experiences with buying Chinese fountain pens

I love fountain pens. Indeed, I love them so much that, shortly after rediscovering them, I stopped being able to write with anything else; so much so that attempting to write with a regular ballpoint pen seems to strain my wrist significantly, as the amount of pressure one needs to apply for the ink to flow appears much greater with ballpoint pens. Therefore, I own a handful of fountains pens which I use for different occasions; some I have at work, some I only use at home, some at college etc. Yet, this business of buying fountain pens is, obviously, rather expensive and thus, I started researching what kinds of pens one can buy that are not too expensive.

This search quickly ended with my discovering Jinhao pens, the cheapest of which can be found for a few dollars, shipping included. This is why I thought I would buy one and see how it writes; and should it not write satisfactorily, I could then practice my nib-mending and adjusting on it, as I have not had a whole lot of practice with that yet.

I ordered it amid the SARS-CoV-19 pandemic, in the middle of March, which meant I was prepared to be required to wait a long time before the pen would finally arrive; and arrive it did, nearly two months later, in a grey-ish envelope made out of plastic with Chinese writing on it.

The pen itself, a Jinhao X450, was much heavier than I had initially expected and lies nicely in one's hand without the need to post. Posting would, theoretically, be possible, but this results in the pen becoming much too back-heavy for any serious use, in my opinion. Besides, it comes bundled with a converter, one which appears to be of decent quality considering the entirety of the pen cost roughly €3; indeed, the proprietary converters of other prominent pen companies I shall not name herein sell for around €5 — for just the converter.

Hence, I decided to ink it up with some Diamine Oxford Blue — my favourite blue ink — and was taken aback by how it wrote. Indeed, it was amongst the smoothest pens I had ever used. This stems, I presume, from the amount of ink it draws, as it is also the wettest pen I have used by a large margin; there exists barely any paper on which the pen's ink does not shine through and I ran out of ink within a week of sparse usage.

The only nib-size available for this model is M which is, unfortunately, too large for my personal taste as I tend to prefer F or even EF; and considering Jinhao's Medium could very well be considered a European and definitely Japanese Broad, it really is a rather thick stroke.

Conclusion

For €3, this is one of the best fountain pens you can buy as far as my knowledge is concerned, as long as you are aware of the rather broad nib and its wetness. Yet, as mentioned previously, this was mainly intended as a pen I could tinker with and I shall be attempting to fix the ink flow over the upcoming weeks and report back with the results.