Mitochondria are my favourite organelles. They have their own DNA, which is independent of the genetic material within the rest of the cell. The mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is passed down to you from your mother. As it’s independent, if you use the mtDNA from a donor, the individual would technically have three parents.
Wing Sung is a Chinese brand that makes, what I consider, decent pens but also at a decent price. I have tried a number of Wing Sung pens, but this is actually the second one that I’ve added to my collection; the other is the 235 and you can read that review here. The 618 is on the expensive side for a Chinese pen – and by that I mean it costs about £10 – and that’s including price of shipping! However, what you get with that, for lack of a better term, premium is a piston filler and I believe Wing Sung is the only Chinese company to use pistons on a number of their models (I word it like this because there is another company, Lanbitou, who make a pen with a piston: the 3059, but I don’t think they make any others). Shipped with the pen is a converter full of silicone grease, which I personally find far more useful than what TWSBI offers.
As well as using pistons on a number of their pens, Wing Sung also quite like to make as much of the pen transparent as they can. This includes the feed, such as on the brother to this pen, the 659 (so many numbers..!). When using a light ink in the pen, it looks really cool (I currently have it inked with Diamine Autumn Oak because Autumn’s coming, yo).
I’m fascinated by the design of this pen, and I have a nice little analogy for it, and I hope the text at the very top of this review doesn’t seem so random afterwards. There are three brands that I can see within this pen: Parker, TWSBI and Sailor. The nib and the clip are very much like what you’d find on Parker pens, and in particular the 51 in regards to the nib (I go into more detail about this in my review Attack of the Clones where I look at various Parker 51 style pens). The piston and demonstrator nature of the pen gives it a very TWSBI styled vibe. Finally, you have the cap band and that reminds me of Sailor.
So this is my analogy:
The Wing Sung 618 is the love child of a TWSBI Eco and a Parker 51 but with the donated mitochondria from a Sailor 1911.
You can buy this model in 4 designs. I have the clear demo with gold trim but you can also buy it with silver trims and recently a blue demonstrator or red demonstrator which are the new designs that have recently been released. I think that aesthetic makes it feel even more like a Sailor as I think of the 1911 demonstrator model – though that’s a c/c and not piston. I think this is a beautifully designed pen.
Another thing that Wing Sung do that other Chinese manufacturers don’t is offer a gold nib – and only for ~£30 more. I’ve never used one of these nibs but I know on other models it’s 14k and with the 618 you can get a 12k nib. I’m reviewing the standard steel nib, however.
I believe there is only one nib grade and even though it’s not marked on the nib, I would say that it’s a fine. It’s pleasant to use and very well tuned. The feed keeps up well, even during fast writing and the line it puts down is quite wet.
However, if line variation is something you’re looking for in this nib then you’ll probably be rather disappointed. You can just about squeeze some out but it’s really not much and I’d describe the nib as a nail – which is something you’d expect from a hooded nib like this. You can reverse write with it though – it gets a bit scratchy but it isn’t unbearable (actually quite a nice feedback, come to think about it). Because it’s a hooded nib I wouldn’t expect the gold nib version to be much more forgiving, but as I said I haven’t used it so I might be wrong there. I do know, however, that Parker 51s are quite stiff.
Don’t let the price tag fool you, I am very impressed with how this feels in the hand. It’s perfectly balanced and reasonably weighted (though I might like it to be a smidgin heavier). I also enjoy the length as I tend to prefer larger pens. It does become difficult to use posted, though (at 150mm – you can find lengths and weights of the pen at the end of the review)
There are two things that I don’t enjoy about this pen, however. The first is in regards to the piston unit. I think Wing Sung was trying to be innovative and while I can appreciate it, I think it’s ultimately unnecessary. I use other piston pens and don’t need this. What I am on about is the locking mechanism on the piston turning knob. To fill you have to ‘unlock’ it by pulling it out slightly. If it is locked then you won’t be getting proper fills and the piston unit screws out. I have been told by the seller that this is for security so you don’t accidentally expel ink. I think mainly it’s to add to the accessibility, such as making it easier to clean. At any rate – I think it is more annoying than useful. Especially as it took me a day to figure it out and I had to ask the seller why my pen wasn’t filling properly. It’s a simple fix and I probably should have been able to figure it out myself. Hindsight is 20:20.
The only other thing that annoys me about this pen is that the hood will sometimes twist around as you uncap the pen. Which means you will have to twist it back round to make it flush again with the nib. It’s a minor inconvenience but one I wish I didn’t have to deal with, though far less annoying than the issue with the 235. However, what I do like is that the section is large and even though the threads aren’t sharp, you don’t have to feel them because they’re quite a way up.
I would hate to end on a negative note, because this pen really is fantastic. I’m off to university in a few days and I’m beginning to think of which pens I should take to with me (as I don’t fancy taking my entire collection) and I have a strong feeling that this one might be one of those pens that I bring with me. The large ink capacity is useful, the aesthetic is very pleasing and the way the nib writes makes it a pen that will probably ensure its place as a regular in my rotation.
- Weight: 22g
- Weight cap: 8g
- Weight body: 14g
- Length capped: 135mm
- Length posted: 150mm
- Length uncapped: 130mm