A wonderful, extra-fine nibbed, demonstrator fountain pen from China
The Wing Sung 698 is a new-to-the-market, Chinese made, demonstrator fountain pen. It is pretty much a knock-off of the TWSBI 580, which is a "replica" of Pelikan fountain pens. The Wing Sun 698 can be found listed on eBay but is not available locally, and would not typically be something that I purchased as I have been disappointed with cheap fountain pens in the past. However, based on my most pleasant surprise of the Lecai eye-dropper pen from a couple of months ago, and the recommendation of a couple of Vancouver Fountain Pen Club members I thought I would give it a try. At about $20 including shipping, I didn't have a lot to lose and my expectations were not high.
I ordered the pen from a well-reviewed eBay seller, in a extra-fine 0.5mm nib. Nibs are the area that I am usually disappointed with from inexpensive Chinese pens as they are often a crude medium nib, which I find too thick for my daily use. This pen arrived in about four weeks, shipped from China, which I consider being excellent service. The seller sent the pen in a plastic case to keep it safe in transit, which is much better than the usual pen in an envelope shipping that I have seen often with Jinhao pens.
Opening the package, I was pleasantly surprised. The pen is a nice sized, similar to the TWSBI 580, and appears to be very well made. The extra-fine steel nib is a number 5 size, and also has an attractive clear feed, which looks really pretty when inked. The body of the pen is made of clear plastic with chrome metal details. I liked the metal cap finial which adds an element of fine finish to the pen. The word *lucky* is engraved on the perfectly sized clip, and the cap band is engraved *Wings 698* with some Chinese characters. The pen has a piston fill mechanism with a double o-ring design and is a lovely pen.
I filled this pen with J. Herbin’s sparkly purple Amethyste de l’Oural ink, mostly as the pen and ink arrived at the same time. I have been using this combination of pen and ink for over a month now. Inking the pen for the first time even showed an improvement in the design over the TWSBI - the piston screw must be pulled open to twist the plunger thus preventing any possible accidents from the piston moving and releasing unwanted ink during regular handling. This pen carries a **LOT** of ink, so make sure that you fill it with ink you want to use... I still haven't made much of a dent in the ink despite having this pen in my daily carry rotation for the last six weeks.
Disappointingly, this pen does not post - the cap will not fit on the back of the pen to write. I do prefer to write with my pens posted, but the generous size of this pen meant it was still comfortable in my had, even with the cap. The weight is good too, not too heavy or light, even without the cap and it is well balanced for non-posted writing.
The nib is excellent. The fine tip is more of a Japanese sized fine, which I find even narrower than a TWSBI fine nib (as TWSBI use JoWo German made nibs). This steel nib wrote smoothly right out of the box. Usually, I tune and smooth my nibs and still haven't touched this one. Ink flow is excellent, even with a particulate filled ink, such as the J. Herbin, and the pen has not dried up or hard started once.
I am impressed with this pen, and it is a great starter pen and almost made my Top 5 recommendations; except for the fact it isn't available locally in Canada. If you want to try a beautiful pen, with a nice fine steel nib, at a very affordable price, I highly recommend this pen. This $20 pen has displaced gold nibbled pens worth 10x its price in my daily carry case.