If you buy vintage fountain pens on eBay, as I frequently do, you’ll notice the many brand new pens from China from marques such as Jinhao, Duke, Picasso, Baoer and so on. The Baoer 507 Xubeihong “The Eight Horses” is one such, and it’s a beast. At only £3.20 (with free postage!) you might not expect much, but this is a big shiny black and gold pen with an embossed copper barrel decorated with Chinese characters and horses. The design and build quality is great.
The 507 looks good and feels good, although it is hefty at 31 grammes. The grip is ridged vertically so that no slipping is possible and the pen feels balanced when “posted” ie, with the cap on while writing, although it is much lighter without the cap. The snap-cap fits with a satisfying click or posts firmly. Combined with a protrusion under the strong clip, this pen should be very secure in a pocket.
Many of these Chinese pens are tributes to earlier designs; this heavy stick seems inspired by the Pelikan Toledo but does not feature the clear green ink window of the original.
I tested the 507 with Noodler’s Black eternal bulletproof ink—it seemed apt. It’s a smooth writer on Clairefontaine 90 gsm paper with no skipping. The ink flow is fine, not too wet, but sufficient to push me to write larger on cheaper paper to ensure legibility.
The nib is medium-sized with no discernible flex. There’s a little give: the nib is not as hard as a nail.
Inside the pen is a cartridge convertor equipped with a piston. Thus it’s a dipper, not a changer.
Overall, this is an impressive pen that would not look out of place signing a naval treaty. Just don’t tell anyone it cost five dollars. It’s a keeper.