I have recently written a post about the Visconti Opera pen that I have recently acquired possession of. This is a model of pen that I have lusted over since the beginning of my time collecting fountain pens. The Jinhao 1200 is somewhat similar in that respect, as it signifies something about the beginning of getting into the fountain pen hobby. Indeed, this is the pen. This is the pen that started it all. I found Stephen Brown’s review of it and was hooked. I needed this pen and any other pen that came my way.
This is an ostentatious and gaudy pen, and to be honest part of the reason why I love it so much. It’s so ridiculous, how can you not think “aw”? Sort of like a pug, and this isn’t the first pen I’ve described in this way. It’s gold and has a damn dragon with red eyes. Obviously they’re genuine rubies at this price (I’m kidding). There’s even a dragon on the nib.
I’ve run into issues with these pens before because I bought one for someone else a long time ago, and as well as having flow issues with mine. In both cases I had to perform work on the nib/feed to get it writing. Sort of what you expect from a pen of at this price point, though not an excuse by any means. I would suggest this is one of Jinhao’s earlier pens and why we see this sort of behaviour with this pen, but not (say) other models like the X750 or 159, both of which are greatly more popular.
Oh, there is also a dragon on some of the models.
As mentioned, this is one of the earlier releases in Jinhao’s line up (though, I don’t know if they’re actually up to anything nowadays) and it was typical for Chinese pens to be cartridge/converter filled pens – this is no exception. No nonsense, it works, I’m happy with it. You get a converter supplied and it’s standard international so if you want to ue one of your own, or a cartridge, you’re good to go. No quibbles here.
This is a weighty pen, and there’s no two ways about it. A different feature about this pen is the fact that the cap is very heavy, so I wouldn’t recommend posting (not that it needs to be). Yet even without the cap, the pen is still noticeably heavy. If this was a more expensive pen I would suggest trying it out before buying, but because they’re so cheap (and you’re probably buying it for the gimmick rather than something serious), just go ahead.
Which brings me on nicely to the price of the pen. You can find these on eBay for different prices. You can get it (including shipping) for about £5 from China, but you can pay a premium for buying it domestic, essentially to expedite shipping. If that’s something that’s important to you, then cool. But it will be a mark up of about 150pc, making it closer to the £15 mark. An advantage of this is that you can have better and closer contact with the seller, should you have any issue, and it’s still not an expensive price to pay anyway. But if you can get it for a cheaper price and it turns out to not write the way you want, this could be a good opportunity to, at your own risk, play nibmeister on your own pens and work on them. You can even purchase replacement feeds on eBay for these pens and get a pack of 5 for about two quid – and I am sure nibs aren’t too hard to come by. Again, at your own risk.
If not this then what?
A good question. I really don’t know anything that comes close to this. I do remember an occasion in which I was in Harrod’s, London, visiting The Great Writing Room and a member of staff saw the pen in my hand (as I was showing my pen case to another staff member at the time) and asked if it was a Cartier pen that they had in their range. Now, this pen costs significantly more than the Jinhao 1200 (and I mean I wouldn’t be surprised if it approached the thousands). So.. There’s that?
Basically, if you’re considering this pen it’s because it is very unique in its own right and I don’t think that there’s anything that could substitute it. Not in this price point, not in any price point.