Review: Wing Sung 618
A pen that looks like a Parker 51, is a demonstrator, and a piston filler? I’ve got to try it! That was my first thought upon hearing about Wing Sung’s new release, the 618. I love the Parker 51, I enjoy using demonstrator pens, and I like the ease of using piston fillers. Trying the 618 was a no-brainer.
So I promptly went on eBay and ordered my pen. It cost around $12 plus shipping. I chose the transparent version with chrome trim and a steel nib. The pen is also available in blue, red, green, pink, and light blue, as well as in gold-colored trim. The nib options available are steel, gold-plated steel, and 12k gold. My pen came with a 0.5 mm fine nib, which seems to be the only nib size option available at the moment.
Shipping from China took nearly a month, which is the norm for my orders from there. The pen arrived packed only in bubble wrap, but a cardboard box was included in the package. The box looks exactly like the ones Lamy Safaris come in. Upon unwrapping the package, I was quite unimpressed. The pen looked flimsy and the blind cap rattled around. I moved the piston mechanism up and down and I couldn’t seem to operate it smoothly. I inked it up and it managed to take in only a bit of ink. I couldn’t understand why there was so much space left in the barrel, but I couldn’t move the piston any further. The bottom line is: I was disappointed. But, wait! Don’t stop reading just yet. I set the pen aside for a few days and decided to try using it again at a later time. When I picked it up again…voila! It worked flawlessly. It was baffling! I have absolutely no idea what changed. Perhaps the pen was jostled around in transit. It wasn’t packed that well, after all. That may have been the reason that the blind cap and other parts felt loose. Or perhaps it was me? I’m no expert in fountain pens, and I may have done something wrong the first time around.
In any case, the pen now worked well. I tried inking the pen again, and this time the piston worked smoothly. The pen also took in more ink.
The new bottom line? My first impression was wrong.
So let’s get down to business!
The Wing Sung 618 isn’t a large pen, but it isn’t a tiny one either. Capped, it’s a little longer than a Parker 51. Uncapped, their sizes are the same. The pictures below show the Wing Sung 618 and an English-manufactured Parker 51, Aerometric, Mark 1.
That’s where their similarities end, though. The Parker 51 is in a class of its own in terms of writing experience, construction, sturdiness, and ease of use. There’s a reason it’s considered a timeless classic that is held dear by many fountain pen users. Unlike the Parker 51, the Wing Sung 618 has a screw cap. The cap’s design is actually reminiscent of the Sailor Procolor series, though the clip features the signature Parker arrow. The pen could be posted, and the cap stays on securely. The 618 is comparable to other medium-sized modern fountain pens. It's comfortable to use whether posted or unposted. For comparison, the pictures below show (from left to right) the Wing Sung 698, Lamy Vista, Wing Sung 618, Parker 51, and TWSBI Eco.
The Wing Sung is a light pen, being made mostly of plastic. That makes it pleasant to hold and easy to use on long writing sessions.
The 618 has a tiny, tiny nib. It’s probably the smallest one among all the pens I own. Since the nib is hooded and only the tip is usually visible, I was quite surprised when I pulled it out. It’s minuscule!
The piston mechanism works quite smoothly (except for that first attempt). The blind cap has a cool feature that is also seen in the Wing Sung 698. It has a lock that ensures that it doesn’t get moved around. It’s great way to prevent you from squirting ink on your shirt.
And now for the million-dollar question: how does it write? Smoooothly. Much better, in fact, than I expected it to.
The nib glides on the page with very little feedback. It produces a fine, wet line. And the truth is, I don’t even like fine nibs! I prefer writing with broad or stub nibs. However, there are times I need to write with fine nibs, and for those times, this pen is a good choice.
Compared to Japanese fine nibs, though, this writes a bit more broadly. That’s something to keep in mind if you prefer really fine nibs. Here’s a writing sample with one of life’s most philosophical questions:
I’ve had this pen for several weeks now and I’ve already used three different inks in it. With each ink, the pen wrote well. Ink flow was very good and the feed kept up with fast writing. In short, writing with it is very pleasant. So once again, I was quite surprised by the writing experience of a Wing Sung pen. This is my second, after the 698. Wing Sung thus has a 2-for-2 record with me. This makes me look forward to trying their other models. (I just wish their designs were more original, though.) The succeeding pictures show both pens side by side.
What about sturdiness? Well, I no longer think of it as a flimsy pen. It’s possible that it got bounced around and some parts got loose on its way to me. (The eBay seller should’ve packed it better.) But after weeks of use, I could say that the pen seems fairly sturdy. All the parts work as they should. I wouldn't try to drop it, though! In conclusion, I’m glad my first impression was wrong. I enjoy using this pen. It writes well, it holds a lot of ink, it’s relatively inexpensive, and I get to watch the ink sloshing around inside the pen. What’s not to like? The real bottom line: The Wing Sung 618 is a fun, unique pen that’s worth adding to your pen case.