I’ve been hearing lots of good things about the Jinhao 159, from folks talking on Youtube and the FP Geeks forum, to Brian Goulet’s video about this inexpensive Chinese pen. Goulet Pens offers them in Black, Orange and Yellow, for $12.50. I had previously purchased a Jinhao X450 on ebay in June of last year, and it was ok. So I bought this 159 for around $5 including shipping on ebay. It took a long time to arrive – nearly 6 weeks – and I was beginning to lose hope. I really enjoy using this pen, although not for long periods, which I will discuss later. And in doing the research for this blog post I realized I didn’t do an actual review of the Jinhao X450 so I will compare the two pens in this post.
Here is the 159. Of course one is put in mind of a Montblanc 159 and it is definitely an homage to that iconic pen. It’s not an exact knockoff though as it has Jinhao on the silver band on the cap, and no white star on the top of the cap. I have never held a Montblanc so I have no idea if it’s close in the feel or not but it certainly looks like one.
The pen takes international cartridges (short and long) and comes with a converter. I always prefer the performance I get out of a pen using a converter and this pen is no exception.
The pen weighs 50 grams and believe me you can feel it. It’s an extremely big pen and I would not recommend it for long writing sessions. My hand got tired after writing for about five minutes. But I love the look of it and the weight of it, to be honest. When posted the pen feels perfectly balanced. The nib is smooth and the flow is super wet. I put J. Herbin’s Bleu Pervenche in it and it’s a gorgeous combination.
Here’s a closeup of the nib. It says Jinhao but also 18K. Brian Goulet explains in his video that the nibs are all stamped 18K but only some of them are gold plated (the two tone ones). The nibs on the 159 are stainless steel.
Here’s a writing sample. A great writer but I found after just one page my thumbnail was digging into my index finger. It just wasn’t super comfortable. This made me think of my X450 and I wondered how the writing experience compared.
In June 2014 I bought the Jinhao X450 on ebay. I can’t remember how much I paid but currently these pens are available on ebay for just over $5. And I think it’s good value for the money, for both the X450 and the 159.
The pen is a rich royal blue with gold coloured accents. And the nib is a beautiful two-tone. I don’t see 18K anywhere so it may not be gold plated. It’s lovely to look at and great to write with. This pen is much smaller in girth than the 159 and notice the grooves on the indented section. Those grooves really enhance the writing experience for me.
When I first got this pen I put a J. Herbin Eclat Sapphir cartridge in it and I wasn’t pleased with the results at all. Perhaps the cartridge was old or something but the pen skipped and went dry almost immediately. For this post I put a standard converter with Waterman’s Serenity Blue in it and the writing experience has been the exact opposite: great flow with smooth writing. A good writer indeed.
I wanted to show you the caps and bands because the pens don’t even look like they come from the same manufacturer. The X450’s band has a written Jinhao while the 159 is printed. The clips are not the same size, nor do they have the same design. The 159 sports a chariot driven by two men brandishing a whip while the X450 has three simple dots. The X450 has a snap cap and the 159 is a screw top. Interesting pens that’s for sure.
And finally a size comparison. From left: Pilot Metropolitan, Jinhao X450, Cadence, Jinhao 159, Monteverde Prima in Purple Swirl, Lamy Al-Star and Visconti Rembrandt. The 159 is the biggest and heaviest pen I own. Thank goodness it’s fun to write with.
Please let me know your thoughts on the Jinhao 159 or the X450, or even just the brand in particular. At these price points it’s fun to experiment. 🙂