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Wing Sung 626 - Fountain Pen Time Machine


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    More often that not, my desk is my pocket. But everyday desk items doesn't have the same ring.

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Pens, knives & other stuff
2018/08/08
490   2   1  


Spring Scattering Stars - 1927, Edwin Blashfield

Part of the pleasure of vintage pens is thinking about what it was like to experience the the golden age of fountain pens.

The drawback is it’s an impossible task.

NOS (new old stock) and vintage pens in near-unused condition is a game for folks with very deep pockets. They are hard to find. You wind up spending tons of clock cycles fretting over the deals.

For the average punter, chasing classic vintage pens come down to tracking down used pens in various states of repair and all the issues that entails.

Penhero Sheaffer Advertisement Gallery

That’s what makes the Wing Sung 626 interesting. Squint your eyes and you can imagine that you have your hands on a brand new Sheaffer Balance, circa 1929. Or at least a facsimile of the Balance revival series Sheaffer offered 1997- 2003.

That’s what I tell myself.

Not surprisingly, the pen is not without its detractors. Frank Underwater talked about the controversy in the April 2018 edition of Chinese Pen News You Need to Know. Despite the uproar in Chinese pen circles, his bottom line is positive:

“My reckoning on the 626 is that as long as Mr. Zhang can surpass the quality of the Sheaffer’s attempt to revive the original Balance in the end, he’d be fine.”

But the pen has also attracted a fair amount of positive attention. Chrisrap52 has a couple of excellent videos on YouTube. His initial review is thorough and compares it with with both the original Balance and the Balance II. His second video helpfully shows complete disassembly.

My experience with this pen has been overwhelmingly positive.

If you haven't guessed yet, I'm a sucker for the historic connection.

The acrylic is fantastic. Construction, fit and finish on the one I got is top-notch.

It is a wonder to hold and write with. Long writing sessions are a pleasure.

The pen is an intuitive and rewarding writer. The nib is smooth and generously wet. It performed flawlessly out of the box with no tuning required. The sweet spot is large and friendly. 

That said, the Wing Sung 626 is a pen that fits a role. It's not perfect.

  • The nib does tend do dry out, causing hard starts if the pen has been uncapped for an extended period. The phenomenon is ink dependent. Rohrer & Klingner Scabiosa (an iron gall ink) makes things worse. Diamine Majestic Blue minimizes the problem. Private Reserve DC Supershow Blue is somewhere in between.
  • The cap takes something under two full turns to remove. That makes the pen less than ideal for jotting incremental notes, in meetings for example. This pen is best suited for dedicated writing.
  • The nib is on the delicate side. Too much pressure and it will bend. Reasonable care is in order. 
  • The nib is also a proprietary size. It's smaller than a standard No. 6 but larger than a No. 5. Nib swapping doesn't appear to be in the cards at this time. There is a gold nib version available but it's quite a bit dearer. The nib is only available in fine width (0.5mm).
An easy 10 pages on a fill

The Wing Sung 626 fits admirably among my current writers.  I'm still in the thrall of my Aurora 88, but the smaller size and lighter weight of the 626 make it a close competitor. Plus I love looking at it in my hand.

Left to right: Lamy 2000, Aurora 88, Wing Sung 626, PenBBS 308

At under US$18 from Taobao, the Wing Sung 626 is edging toward the higher end of the new crop of Chinese pens. It's hard to call it a luxury item per se, but that's the frame that comes to mind for me.

From a practical point of view, the Wing Sung 601 with the outstanding auto draw filling mechanism is a superb workhorse and, at about half the price, a fantastic value. The PenBBS 308, at the same price as the 626, is a more modern pen offering arguably even more value. Gotta say, lots on offer with Chinese pens these days.

However, I wouldn't give this pen to a complete newbie. I doubt they'd appreciate what they have in their hands.

They'd probably throw up their hands in frustration the first time it didn't write directly after sitting open for 15 minutes. Then they'd spring the nib.

Who knows, they might even break the clip off playing with it.

But in the hands of someone who's been in the hobby a bit, the Wing Sung 626 can be something of a revelation. It really is possible to close your eyes and imagine you're back in time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author

More often that not, my desk is my pocket. But everyday desk items doesn't have the same ring.



Tags: sheaffer balance x 1 wing sung x 2 fountain pens x 7

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Long time fountain pen user, sci-fi reader & tennis player

    Watch me on YouTube - chrisrap52

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Long time fountain pen user, sci-fi reader & tennis player
2018/08/09
1  

Excellent review.  I enjoy reading your pen experiences.  I wrote a multiple page letter with my green 626 with white dot.  Worked flawlessly.  I find they dry out capped. After setting for a week or more need some priming.  A few months need to re-ink.  But I do love the pen.  Feels great in the hand and looks beautiful.  The soft nib requires some care by the writer but rewards you with a great writing experience, unlike the nail in most Sheaffer Balances.  A true homage to the Balance.

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Edc3

    More often that not, my desk is my pocket. But everyday desk items doesn't have the same ring.

Latest published articles:
  • Wing Sung 627 - A System is Born
  • PenBBS 469 - Variety is the Spice of Life
  • Kaco Edge - Now that's What I Call Makrolon!
Latest comments:
  • Wing Sung 627 - A System is Born
  • Kaco Edge - Now that's What I Call Makrolon!
  • PenBBS 469 - Variety is the Spice of Life
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Pens, knives & other stuff
2018/08/11

Thanks. I learn so much from your videos. I bet I'd never have gotten the nib assembly apart if I hadn't see you do it first!

Good point about the nib drying out even when the pen is capped.

We'll have to see if the maker continues to revise the pen and come out with more colors and nib options. I don't have any inside info, but it does have a bit of a feeling of a one-off project at this point. I hope not. It would be nice to see this pen have a run like PenBBS is doing with their models. 

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