By Michael Wakin
When I first got into fountain pens, I found myself looking into the absolute best in order to find what really appealed to me. One thing led to another, and I found enough here-unnamed pens that cost a few car payments each that I quickly figured I would settle for less because, let’s be honest, I can’t pay the bills with pens. What a world…
Anyway, I was definitely interested in finding pens for a good value but avoided Chinese brands in favor of the bigger Japanese and European names. I was haunted by the sense that “Made in China” would mean they’d just feel cheap and would ultimately disappoint me. Well, I recently gave in on eBay, and boy am I glad I decided to branch out.
First up of my Chinese pens was a Jinhao X750, a fine-enough-looking pen with a positive reputation. Jinhao is one of the biggest names in the Chinese pen market, and with quality pens readily available online for under $5, it’s not hard to see why. I plan to cover a number of newer Chinese pens here in the future, but I’ll start here.
Jinhao offers their own cartridges and converters, but like most Chinese pens, the Jinhao X750 accepts standard international ones. While I’ve read online that their converter works fine, I’ve opted for my go-to Schmidt converter.
This is a sturdy-feeling pen. The body and cap are lacquered brass. Nothing on or in the pen rattles around, and the cap on this thing fits incredibly snugly. When I first got mine, I tugged on it for a while before wondering if I was supposed to screw it off. I finally got a good grip on it, and sure enough, with a pop! it was off, then later with a snap!, I had it back in place. I have a thing for good auditory feedback from my pens, so that’s a plus in my book. The cap does rotate pretty easily while in place on the pen, and I’ve found it’s even possible to loosen the section from its seating.
Despite the cap’s hold when closed, though, it won’t post on the pen well at all; even then, it’s likely to wiggle loose again, and the posted cap makes the whole thing so top-heavy that it’s hardly with the trouble. I have longer hands and generally post my pens, but I’ve found this one feels just fine without.
Each color offering of this pen has chrome appointments: a round, narrow band adorns each end of the pen, and a broader band bearing “JINHAO X750” in block letters marks the cap’s base.
Jinhao states in their marketing that they balance traditional design with modern tastes, or something along those lines, and there’s certainly something classically Chinese about the design – especially in the cap band. I can almost imagine it on the hilt of an ancient sword or staff...
The simple clip bows out, in, and back out to its bulbous end.
I originally bought the glossy, “bright black” version of the pen. With black ink in a silvery metal converter, the only colors visible on this pen are black and silver metal, and there’s something nice to me about a pen so visibly simple. Of course, there are several other options available for the body color, such as champagne, checked, and “lava red”. Compared to Jinhao’s X450, the X750 has fewer design options, but they tend toward a more professional look.
The nib is stainless steel with simple, geometric scrollwork, Jinhao’s logo, and “JINHAO / 18KGP”. The latter line ostensibly refers to an 18-karat gold plating, but unless it’s white gold, I have no reason to think it’s anything but stainless. Still, it looks nice.
The X750 writes surprisingly well, so much so that it’s one of my go-to everyday pens. I believe it only comes with a medium nib; it’s smooth – buttery smooth on my Maruman paper and with just a bit of feedback on Rhodia – and writes pretty wet.
The pen puts down a line on par with some European mediums and is surprisingly flexible – it’ll flex to a broad line or a bit beyond, though it does take a pretty good amount of pressure. My nib wrote dry out of the box, but quickly developed into a wet pen with the flow to keep up with my faster flourishes. I’ve been using it with Platinum Carbon Black ink, and aside from rare hard starts, I’ve had fantastic results.
The Jinhao X750 has something of a reputation as one of the best value fountain pens on the market, and it absolutely deserves it. I seriously paid less than $5 for this pen? Don’t get me wrong: this isn’t a luxury pen. It is, however, a sturdy and well-performing instrument that will, with a bit of luck, last me for years of regular use. This pen is a great choice for someone who wants a handsome, well-performing pen without breaking the bank.