Review: Wing Sung 698
Pen mail! My Wing Sung 698 arrived today and of course, I couldn't wait to try it out. I love demonstrators and piston-fillers in general and I've heard good things about this pen, so I was really excited to receive it. It's also an affordable pen, so this is a pen that could potentially serve as one's gateway to the wonderful world of demonstrators. The pen arrived in a simple plastic box which included the pen itself, some silicon grease, and a set of instructions.
The pen could be completely disassembled. The section could be separated from the barrel, and the feed and nib are friction fit so they could easily be removed from the section. The piston could also be removed from the barrel, but I chose not to do that today.
One of the things that stand out about the Wing Sung 698 is its clear feed. I have to say, seeing the ink go through the feed adds to the joy of using a fountain pen.
So here it is all inked up with Diamine Kelly Green.
The 698 is available in fine (0.5 mm) and extra-fine (0.39 mm), and I chose to get mine in fine. In general, it writes well. It was quite a pleasant surprise. I wasn't expecting much considering its price, but it's actually a decent writer. For a fine nib, it writes rather smoothly. I wouldn't call it buttery smooth, but there is some pleasant feedback comparable to writing with a newly sharpened graphite pencil. Some Comparisons
The Wing Sung 698 writes quite a fine line, but compared to the Pilot Metropolitan in F, it lays down a thicker line. Both are smooth writers though.
One pen that the Wing Sung 698 is often compared to is the TWSBI Eco. After all, they are both demonstrators and piston-fillers which could be fully disassembled. They are also both affordable pens which makes them attractive candidates as one's first piston-filling pen. While I couldn't compare how each pen writes as I don't own an Eco in fine, I could say that the Eco feels more solidly built. The plastic looks and feels better. The cap also screws in more snugly with the Eco. In addition, the piston itself operates more smoothly on the Eco. In terms of appearance, both pens are quite similar in size. As a reference point, I have included a Lamy Vista in the pictures below. Both the Wing Sung and Eco are slightly longer than the Vista when capped, but are of similar lengths when uncapped.
One thing that the 698 has that the Eco doesn't have is a pair of nifty little notches at the end of its barrel. These slight indentations allow the piston cap to lock into the barrel. That means you couldn't accidentally twist the piston and inadvertently squirt ink onto your shirt. (I love it when they think of these little things.)
Another thing of note is that the Wing Sung doesn't post very securely. The cap could be placed at the end of the barrel but it falls off quite easily. I personally don't mind this as I don't like posting my pens anyway, but I know that this is a deal breaker for some fountain pen users. Nevertheless, the barrel of the pen is long enough to use comfortably without posting. *Edited to add: The pen can be posted if you push the cap with a bit of force and make it go over the metal ring just below the blind cap. It will stay on securely that way, but it's a tight fit. Writing with the pen posted makes the pen too long and heavy, but I know there are people who prefer it that way.
Conclusion In general, the Wing Sung 698 is a decent entry-level pen. It writes well, and for its price, you get a piston-filling demonstrator. The clear feed is an added bonus, especially when the pen is filled with a vibrant ink. I recommend this pen to anyone searching for a first fountain pen, or a first piston-filler. I'm glad to see that there are more options for those who want to enter the fountain pen "rabbit hole", and among these, the 698 is definitely worth a try. *Update (Nov. 2017): After several months of regular use, I could say that I'm very happy with this pen. It's a smooth, reliable writer and has proven to be durable. Among the pens in its price range, the Wing Sung 698 stands out.