Kaigelu #316 Fountain Pen

Discussion in 'The Nib' started by njpaddy, Jan 22, 2011.

  1. So I borrowed a friend's Picasso (#901) fountain pen this weekend to test out. They're cheap and some of their models have interesting designs. The Picasso seemed to write nice, but I decided it was a bit too thin and light for me. In checking out other Chinese pens, I came across the Kaigelu which appears to be slightly thicker, longer and heavier than the Picasso. The reviews I was able to find were good, except for a couple of screw top and ink flow complaints. Has anyone here purchased or tried one of these pens recently? Are they undervalued or overpriced?
  2. There are a number of reviews of that pen on Fountain Pen Network.

    They seem to agree that it's an OK pen, but that there are a couple problems. One is that the gold plating on the nib is very often misaligned or otherwise messed up. The other is that the threading on the cap is poor and doesn't work very well. I haven't personally used the pen, but it just looks so-so.

    My recommendation is this: unless you're really set on that design, get a Waterman Phileas fountain pen from eBay. They're in the same price range, and they are widely regarded as a very quality made pen. Here's one for $30, shipping included, making it cheaper than that Chinese pen. There are also nice pens from makers like Lamy that fit into your price range, though those are generally less professional looking.
  3. Thanks Groat. I nixed the Lamy because I wanted a more traditional look. I do like the looks of the Waterman, but I've been avoiding it because of the medium nib. However the price at your link is hard to pass up. At most places I've seen the Waterman Phileas, the price has been running $50 and up.
  4. Ah, yes. As they are a discontinued line, the fine nibs seem to be more difficult to find and thus command a higher price. Nibs are a very personal thing, and while I might compromise on the color of a pen I wanted I would never take a larger (or smaller) nib than I wanted.

    I found a red Phileas with fine nib for $45 including shipping on ebay. Note that it's from an international seller. I also found blue fine points just under $50 on pen boutique.

    If you're looking for a traditional style, there's also the Hero 100 to consider. It copies the style of the Parker 51, which I believe was sold from the 1940s to the 1970s. Once upon a time, there was a Parker factory in China. At some point, it was nationalized by the Chinese government. They were then using Parker equipment to pump out copies of Parker pens. It's supposed to be a pretty decent copy, though I haven't used one myself. They fall into your price range and can be found on eBay.

    I'm sure you'll enjoy whichever pen you choose. Even the original one you asked about was probably pretty decent. I'm just trying to give you some choices.
  5. I have had a couple of 100s, and although the look is nearly identical, none of them came close to a "51" in function. All of them had some kind of defect that made me not want to use them after a while. In my opinion, considering that you can find a user grade "51" for not much more than a new 100, I think it is worth it to go for the original.
  6. I have the 316 in Ivory and Black, it is a beauty. Looks like a vintage Duofold (without the caramel discoloration from the sac). Writes OK, the nib is a nail. Personally, I like a flex or at least semi flex nib so it is not my preference for writing lengthy pieces, but it is very pretty.

    Definitely undervalued.

  7. Nice looking pen LuckyR. I think first I'll probably pick up a Waterman Fine, while they are still available and under $50. My first pen, an Aurora Style, finally got here so I'm practicing with that. It's a whole lot better than the Picasso I borrowed.
  8. If you mean a Waterman Phileas, be aware that the Kaigalu has at least a medium heavy weight and feels like an expensive/impressive pen in your hand. The Phileas (as a plastic pen) is very light and when looked at closely looks like plastic, not celluloid.
  9. Thanks for that info on the weight of the Kaigelu compared to the Phileas. The solution would be to buy both, but I've got to give my wife time to adjust to my new interest.
  10. Well, as you know pens can go an order of magnitude above the most expensive super, duper badger brush, vintage scuttle, horn straight razor and English soap combined.
  11. This pen is from a vendor in France. I bought two of these...one for myself, one for my son for Christmas. Sadly I lost mine several months ago.

    It is a fantastic writing instrument, I love the EF nib. Smooth, good performance.

    I am not the vendor, just a client.

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