Review: Lecai Acrylic Eyedropper Fountain Pen
I had never used an eyedropper pen before, so when I saw pictures of the clear Lecai acrylic fountain pen, I knew I had to try it. (I try not to buy a pen based on looks alone, but this was too intriguing to pass up!) [Note: It seems that this pen is no longer available. Please see the update at the end of the review.]
I ordered the pen on eBay for around $11 with free shipping. It took nearly a month to arrive from China. The packaging was good and the pen came in a plastic box of its own. It looks like the one the TWSBI Eco comes in. It also came with a plastic sleeve which I find quite useful, and a syringe for filling the pen. The syringe looks like the kind used in hospitals, and not the blunt one sold in fountain pen stores.
My first impression was that the pen looked good and seemed quite well-made. It's light, but that was to be expected, being made of acrylic. It's also not a big pen, but it isn't too small to be uncomfortable. It's a bit smaller than medium-sized fountain pens such as the Lamy Vista, TWSBI Eco, Faber Castell Loom, and the Pilot Metropolitan. The pen could be posted, though, which adds some length. (See comparison pictures below.)
The pen has a twist cap, which takes quite a bit of turning to open or close. It takes around 6-7 full turns to close it (measured imprecisely using my fingers as indicators). That might be a good thing, though, considering this is an eyedropper pen. It may need that extra bit of leak prevention. It doesn't have a clip, so the pen has a tendency to roll around the table. I actually had to tape it down discreetly in order to take the pictures for this review. Despite this small inconvenience, I think the absence of a clip suits the pen's minimalist aesthetics very well. It reinforces its clean, streamlined design.
The Lecai has a clear feed, which adds to the pen's fun factor.
I got the pen with a 0.5 mm fine nib. Some eBay sellers list this as a 0.6 mm fine. It is also available with a 0.7 mm medium nib. If you can't find the medium nib version on eBay, you might want to try typing "transparent fountain pen" or "transparent fountain pen for glitter ink". You would likely get more results that way than by simply typing "Lecai fountain pen". This is because some listings don't include the brand name "Lecai". Strangely, all of the listings mention that the pen is for "glitter colorful ink"! (It wouldn't be heresy to fill it up with regular ink, though.) So I inked the pen up with Pelikan Edelstein Topaz and made sure to fill it almost to the threads. A note on eyedroppers: it's best to keep it more than half full. Temperature differences, including those from your own hand, could cause the air inside the pen to expand which could make the pen "burp".
Now that I got the pen all inked up, I was ready to write! Aaaaaannnnnd that's where I found the pen's weak link. The nib I got was scratchy. I wasn't too disappointed, though. First of all, with inexpensive pens such as these, I knew that nibs were hit or miss. I doubt that these pens undergo rigorous quality control. And just because I got a bad nib, doesn't mean others would, too. Second, it wasn't so terrible to be beyond some tuning. After checking nib alignment and a bit of smoothing, I was quite satisfied with how it wrote. It lays a fine line that is comparable to Western fines, and a bit broader than Japanese fine nibs. Here's a writing sample with some profound lyrics rarely seen in songs today:
I've used this pen for more than a month now and I could say that I'm happy with it. I haven't experienced any burping problems, and it's been a reliable writer so far. It also seems fairly sturdy. I have to mention that I've only used it at home, though, so it hasn't gone through the test of getting jostled around in my bag. But if you decide to take the pen around with you, it's recommended to keep it upright. Overall, the Lecai is a decent pen. It's well-made, light, comfortable to use, and it holds a lot of ink. The nib I got wasn't that great, but that was easily fixed. (Perhaps the nib could be swapped? I haven't tried it, but if you have, please let me know or leave a comment below.) The verdict: If you like eyedroppers and clear pens, this is definitely a pen to try. March 2018 update: This particular pen doesn't seem to be available on eBay anymore. This used to be sold by a lot of sellers but I now couldn't find a single listing for this pen. There are, however, listings for an "updated Lecai pen" which is also labeled as the Moonman M2. Some eBay sellers who sell the Moonman pen write that there was (allegedly) a dispute about the use of the Lecai name. So the bottomline appears to be: this specific Lecai pen is no longer for sale, at least on eBay.