As anyone who has dipped into this site will have worked out that I am a fan of Chinese fountain pens; indeed, the very first pen I bought when I started collecting a few years ago was a Jinhao 159.
Since then I’ve bought many Chinese pens but the one thing that has always irked me a little bit is the lack choice where nibs are concerned; it’s always struck me that Chinese manufacturers have always had a bit of a Henry Ford approach to nib offerings until now. When I noticed that the 2018 version of the Wing Sung 698 was being offered with a medium nib (0.7mm). I like the Wing Sung 698 it’s always been a reliable well-built pen, so I decided to order one and find out if it really was a medium nib.
I placed my order and about a week or so later the pen arrived. It comes in the same basic packaging as its predecessors, so no change there. However, whilst the pen appears to be the same as its predecessors I don’t think it is; there is something about the 2018 version that is different.
It’s that indefinable something you feel when you look at something and just know there is something different about it and in this case this iteration of the 698 looks and feels better built than earlier versions.
The materials and the overall finish of the pen have been improved and I would hazard a guess and say that the piston mechanism also shows improvement as well; in use it felt a lot smoother and I got a perfect fill first time. A feat I have never been able to achieve with any pen; but I am prepared to concede that it might just have been luck on this occasion, time will tell.
Ok, for anyone not familiar with the Wing Sung 698 demonstrator let me give you a quick run-down on the 2018 version.
Starting at the top; the cap has a nice chrome finial and sturdy clip engraved with the word ‘LUCKY’ and just above the bottom edge of the cap is a metal band. ‘Wing Sung’ is engraved on the front of the band directly below the end of the clip and on the rear of the band you will find 698 engraved, on older versions you will also find Chinese characters engraved, the band also serves to conceal the thread. Internally the cap also has a slip cap to help stop the nib drying out and so far this has worked very well.
When you remove the cap it reveals a Wing Sung nib stamped with ‘M’ for medium (approximately size 5) with a clear plastic feed which means the colour of your ink will change the colour of the feed which is a nice touch. What’s impressive about this nib unit is how easily it can be removed when cleaning the pen; piston fillers, I find, do require extra effort when cleaning and this makes it so much easier and by leaving it out it improves the drying time as well.
The barrel contains the piston mechanism which like most is a simple wind up and down mechanism, however, to achieve this you have to give the blind cap a gentle pull to unlatch it; you then click back into place once you have loaded the pen. If you forget to reseat the blind cap don’t worry the pen will work just as well without it.
So, there you have it, a quick tour of the 698.
Going back to my title for this review the question has to be, “Is this a Chinese fountain pen that has a genuine medium nib?”
Yes, I believe it is, but don’t take my word for it, check out the image below.
This is a simple writing sample comparing my TWSBI Go and the Wing Sung 698; as you can see both medium nibs both approximately size 5 and both produce similar results, if anything the TWSBI might be very slightly finer.
So, is the Wing Sung 698 (2018) it worth your pennies?
Yes, it is.
I paid $15.99 plus $2.00 shipping from the eBay seller office_supplies_pen, delivery was quick, and I would happily recommend him; his eBay store is often my first call when shopping for Chinese fountain pens.
In conclusion I am very happy to recommend the 2018 698; it is a good quality piston filler that has a decent medium nib and is very easy to clean. So if you are in the market for a new everyday pen and fancy a demonstrator then I would urge you to consider this pen; I certainly intend to buy a couple more over the coming months.
Disclaimer: this pen was purchased with my own funds at retail price. The opinions expressed in this review are my own; and I am not connected with either the retailers or manufacturers in any way.