I’ve waited some time before writing this review. This has been my go-to pen for about a month now, making lists, jotting notes and annotating life as it goes by. The regular stuff.
The long and short of it is: this is a high-quality writing instrument. If you’re looking for some of the best that the modern pen industry has to offer, get yourself one. I don’t think you’ll regret it one bit.
My first impressions of the pen were not actually all that positive. The pen is rather unassuming.
- Compared to the Wing Sung 618, this pen doesn’t offer much bling.
- It’s not unique like the Moonman M1 or PenBBS 308. Let alone anything from TWSBI.
- It’s not particularly big or chunky, so no check there.
- The design is clearly a throwback to the Parker 51 via the Hero 616. Been there done that. I have more than one 616 in pen storage (along with a lonely stricken 51 with a busted nib).
- It’s another hooded nib pen, which to my mind puts it on the tame side of the street. For me, hooded nib pens don’t invite tinkering the way regular nibs do. I’m always concerned I won’t be able to get them back together again correctly.
So where’s the interest? It’s the filling mechanism!
I’ve never been that much of a fan of aerometric/squeeze converters. They seem a low-budget and inelegant solution. If I’m going to invest my time in a pen, I want it at least to embody some engineering savvy. Give me a nice piston filler any day. It even took me a long while to accept that cartridge converters were OK.
In this case, it’s a piston draw filler, based on the idea of the original Parker Vacumatic. It has a blind cap and everything.
So Wing Sung has taken it upon themselves to resurrect a filling mechanism made famous by an American legend of the pen business. And they’ve improved the design. And they sell the pen for under US$10.
I like the idea that Wing Sung actually made two generations of this filling mechanism. The first used a rubber diaphragm which, while close to the original Parker design, was less efficient and potentially less durable.
The revised design uses a piston à la Edison's Draw Filler which performs better and should last longer. Wing Sung moves beyond the Edison design by included a spring in the mechanism, making it possible to fill the pen with one hand.
Along with the improved filling mechanism, the second generation updates the collector, feed, cap, ink windows and blind cap finish. Frank Underwater's April 2018 post has the story behind the filling mechanism and other enhancements. I like the name "Auto Draw Filler" name that Frank coins.
Chrisrap52's excellent video on this pen goes through the differences between the two generations of the pen, including a spiffy demonstration of how much more efficient the piston-based filling system really is (at the 6:00 minute mark).
This long Fountain Pen Network thread has a great deal of information about the pen and experiences using it.
- Diaphragm filler
- Rounded ink windows
- Metal cap jewel
- (Piston-based) Auto Draw Filler
- Square ink windows
- Plastic cap jewel
The pen is very similar in length to the Wing Sung 618 but a bit slimmer because the cap isn't threaded.
- Length: 138mm
- Uncapped: 128mm
- Posted: 152mm
- Section diameter: 11.2mm
- Weight inked: 20g capped / 12.9 uncapped
Upon closer inspection, it looks as if the 601 may share the same section as the Wing Sung 618. The two pens already share common nib and feed. Perhaps the collector assembly is also shared. It would make sense.
My writing experience with this pen has been outstanding.
The pen is reliable and fits well in the hand. I prefer writing with the pen unposted, but the cap is light enough and posts deeply so that writing with the cap posted is certainly doable.
The 601 is comfortable for quick notes or extended writing. It’s not particular about writing angle and offers a solid sweet spot with just a bit of feedback. The nib is hard so there’s no line variation to speak of, but that’s to be expected. It does reverse writing pretty well.
The nib and feed write moderately wet and put down a fine line. The nib feels finer that than the nib on my Wing Sung 618 but that is likely the ink. Or just me. I’d expect the 618 to write more boldly than the 601 on looks alone.
At the end of the day, the pen is on the conservative side of the spectrum. One might even say boring. Not sexy at all.
Maybe I didn’t help things by getting it in gray.
But I love the idea of this pen.
A thing that is very good at its intended purpose that advances the art in ways that aficionados can appreciate but regular users just find useful.
And maybe Wing Sung is looking to spice this pen up a bit. In addition to the demonstrators they have available, they've just released a sparkly blue edition to juice up the pizzazz. No doubt there's more on the way.
More often that not, my desk is my pocket. But everyday desk items doesn't have the same ring.