Review: Wing Sung 3003
It looks like a Pilot Prera, but does it write like one? Quite frankly, no, but it’s still a decent fountain pen for everyday use.
In previous reviews, I was quite impressed with the Wing Sung 698 and the 618. The performance of those pens made me curious to try other Wing Sung models. Enter: the Wing Sung 3003. As with my other Wing Sung pens, I ordered the 3003 from eBay. A single pen costs between $1 to $2, with free shipping. This is insanely cheap compared to the Prera, which retails for $30 to $40 in the United States and other places outside of Japan. Since the 3003 shipped from China, it took around a month to reach me. It arrived without a box but was securely packaged in bubble wrap.
Upon opening the package, the differences between the Wing Sung 3003 and the Pilot Prera were immediately apparent. The 3003 is considerably longer than the Prera. It is a medium-sized fountain pen while the Prera would be considered a small pen. People with large hands may find the Prera unwieldy whereas the 3003 could be used comfortably posted or unposted.
Upon inking up the pen, I noted perhaps the most important difference between the two: the 3003 couldn’t compare to the writing experience of the Prera. Neither could it live up to the writing experience of the Wing Sung 698 or the 618. Don’t get me wrong, the 3003 writes just fine, but it didn’t make me go “wow” as the 698 or 618 did. Neither does it amaze me with its smoothness and needle-point precision, as writing with the Prera’s nib does. (This fantastic nib could also be found on the Pilot Metropolitan, Kakuno, Plumix, and Pluminix.)
The 3003 beats the Prera in one respect, though: it comes with a better converter. The Pilot Con-40 (which can be used in various Pilot fountain pens such as the Prera and the Metropolitan) has the distinction of being the converter I dislike the most. It takes in so little ink and is nearly impossible to fill completely. Trying to fill it to maximum capacity often feels like an exercise in futility. The Wing Sung 3003 converter, in contrast, functions as a converter should. It’s easy to fill and it takes in a reasonable amount of ink. (Con-40 rant over.)
On its own merits, the 3003 is a decent, no-frills fountain pen. It’s the equivalent of that car that will bring you from point A to point B. It writes well -- though a bit dry -- and its EF nib yields a fairly thin line, similar to a European EF. The writing sample below shows that the 3003 EF is similar to the Prera’s F nib. It isn’t as fine as Japanese EF nibs, such as the Platinum Carbon Desk Pen.
Aside from being a satisfactory writer, the 3003 is also sturdy enough to be a knock-around pen. Leave it in your purse and it’ll be fine. The cap stays on the pen quite securely, so there’s little worry of ink leakage. (The cap also closes with a very satisfying click!) Another plus is that it’s quite an attractive pen. It comes in a variety of colors and is available in demonstrator and opaque styles. It also has a clear feed to show off all that inky goodness. Who doesn’t like clear feeds?!
Perhaps the biggest advantage of the 3003, though, is its price. Compared to other basic fountain pens on the market, the 3003 is one of the cheapest models available. This is a pen a young student could afford. This is a pen you could buy just to check if you like using fountain pens. This is a pen you could purchase in bulk to give away to friends. This is a pen you could leave strewn around in different places at home for easy access. This is a pen you wouldn’t mind leaving on your office desk. This is a pen…
…you get the idea.
It’s hard to beat the Wing Sung 3003 when it comes to value for money. In that respect, it’s like the BIC ballpoint of fountain pens. You might not sing it praises, but it will get the job done. Cheaply and effectively. And with a clear feed, to boot!