Sunday, August 7, 2022

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 413

In the last year, I bought a couple of really nice fountain pens from my fellow VPC member Andy--- a Conklin 'Empire' "Harlequin" and then a Laban '325'"Flame". Andy had given me a very good price on the Conklin, but I was further touched by his generosity when he included two extra pens with it. One of the two gift pens was the cool Wing Sung '601A' stainless steel fountain pen that I reviewed here , and the other was this beautiful Hongdian '920' Rose Gold Black fountain pen (which I hadn't reviewed before):

 (please click on images to enlarge)

It's tricky to capture the colour of the pen's rose gold-coloured trim, but if you remember what a brand-new Canadian penny looked like, it's exactly the same colour... and it goes oh-so-well with the glossy black of the pen's body.

I took some later shots of the pen against a white background (which I posted further down this review) so you can get a better idea of the trim colour, but here's a half-decent closeup showing the section and clip:

The pen's cap and barrel are made of glossy black lacquered metal but, because it's a slimmer writing instrument, the total weight of the pen is only 22.2 grams empty. The section, however, is made of a shiny black plastic. The diameter of the section at its widest point is about 10 mm and, although it's highly polished, I don't find the section slippery to hold. The section has two rose-gold-coloured trim rings--one near the nib, and the other at the section/barrel joint.

 The clip is an elegant shape, but it is rather tight. Since I don't clip my pens onto my clothing, it's a non-issue for me, but it might be for you. This is about the only complaint (and it's not even a complaint) that I have about this lovely pen.

The colour of the nib is slightly less coppery than the colour of the rose gold trim, but it's not a yellowy gold colour, thank goodness-- pen companies that put a yellow gold-coloured nib on a pen with rose gold trim break my heart :/ Engraved on the nib is some fancy scroll work that borders the Hongdian logo and the nib width ("EF") engraved in block letters. The #5-sized steel nib and its black plastic feed are part of a threaded nib unit.

I was a tad apprehensive about the pen's nib width because a lot of Chinese-made pens have nibs that run finer than their Western counterparts, meaning that this Extra Fine nib might be really, really narrow. When I first tried it, it laid down a very fine line, but not a needlepoint one. I then did a quick fingernail adjustment of the tines to increase the ink flow and align the tines....and wow, does it ever write great now! You can always tell if a nib writes smoothly if it writes nicely on both smooth (ie. nicer) and rough (ie. cheaper) paper...and this one does both. It's a fun nib to use :)

The pen uses a snap-cap closure (that seals with a reassuring "click") and measures 13.7 cm / 5.4 inches when capped...

...and 14.7 cm / 5.8 inches posted. The pen's gently tapered barrel allows the pen to post deeply and securely. It's nicely-balanced in my hand when posted, but I find myself using it both posted and unposted (the pen's unposted length is about 12.2 cm / 4.8 inches from nib tip to barrel end).

 It's a very attractive fountain pen that looks classy without being ostentatious. If you prefer a different colour, the same lovely rose gold trim can also be found on the lacquered white version. There are also versions with silvery trim in orange, purple and green. I believe the Hongdian '920' line came out in 2020, and it can still be found for sale online.

(The converter --which has the Hongdian name on it-- has a frosted barrel and a frosted metal collar--a nice touch)

The pen takes standard international ink cartridges, but it also accepts Lamy ink cartridge (which I never would have guessed had I not seen this in a review done by YouTuber "Inquirking Minds"). While I was writing this review, I checked my Lamy converters and found that the pen will also accept a Lamy Z24 converter and a Lamy Z26 converter. The section threads have a thin black O-ring to ensure a secure connection between the barrel and section but, since the barrel is metal, the pen can't be converted to an eyedropper-filler.

The cap finial consists of a disc made of the same rose gold-coloured metal as the rest of the trim, and features a small dove surrounded by a laurel wreath and the letters "HD" (which, presumably, stand for Hongdian, or Hong Dian--as it's also spelled) in cursive font. The bottom of the pen's barrel has a smaller version of the cap's metal disc, but it's undecorated. Both the cap and barrel finials have gently chamfered edges that are smooth to the touch. All in all, I am very impressed with the build quality of the pen.

(The cap band with "HONGDIAN" stamped on the front and the model number "920" --not shown in the photo-- on the back)

At this point, I'd like to send a big "thank you" to pen companies that stamp or engrave their pens' model numbers on their pens; I can't tell you how many hours of Google searching you've saved me by doing this! (and you also saved me from the embarrassment of forgetting the model number of my pen when someone in our club asks me what it is lol)

A bigger "thank you!" goes out to my friend Andy for this lovely fountain pen! I love using this pen, which has further added to my newly-found appreciation of extra-fine nibs (which started with the red Laban '325' I bought from Andy last Fall 😀)

Andy, thank you also for all the great reviews and photos you've sent in for our virtual "show & tell" here on our pen club's blog; they are all very much appreciated!

ellow VPCers--please feel free to keep sending in your reviews & photos; we'll continue with our online "show & tell" here at least until our in-person meeting --the first one in two and a half years!--which will be held on Thursday August 18, 2022 at the Kitsilano branch of the Vancouver Public Library in Vancouver (full details about the meeting here:

(photos and review by Maja)

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