Maker: Wing Sung
I would be easy to lump the 618 into the general category of “another Parker “51” replica” and not completely incorrect. Everything ahead of the joint is consistent with the Wing Sung 601, the Parker “51”, and a zillion other pens. Also in common with the 601, it has a fixed filler that is not a squeeze-bar type.
Unlike the 601, the 618’s filler is not an update/improvement on the early “51”‘s Vacumatic system. It is almost the familiar piston filler that is the most common fixed filler in use by most modern pen makers from TWSBI to Montblanc. There is, however, a variation which I find extremely clever, however hampered it might be by the economics of Wing Sung, which tends to pursue the sub-TWSBI end of the spectrum.
Most piston-fillers you’ll encounter have a little play in their mechanism, with the purpose of allowing a small inadvertent twist of the filling knob to happen without any ink shooting out the other end. The knob is held in place either by the inherent fiction of the system or by a set of secondary threads which provide extra friction at the start of moving the piston down. The knob invariably becomes more distant from the barrel during the piston’s run… but not in the 618.
Instead, the knob has a couple of inner studs which mate to slots in the barrel-end trim ring. The connection between the driving screw and the knob includes a clutch which holds the knob firmly into the slots until the user gives a tug on it; the mechanism has a positive lock, which I don’t believe I’ve seen on any other pen. Once that lock is released, the knob remains where it is relative to the end of the barrel. There are pictures and a video at the bottom of this page showing how it works.
As clever as this is, I mention that the actual production of it has some cheapskate-y problems. The one which was instantly obvious to me when I got it is that the trim ring itself relies on the friction of its threads to remain in place, and there is almost no friction in them. Even after the pull-out knob is released, the trim ring comes out more easily than the piston goes in. The easy and quick solution is to keep a finger on the ring to hold it in place, but this is slightly awkward. A dot of superglue on the threads would do the trick for a permanent fix, but that would force future relubrication of the piston to be done through the front. One might say “If it’s good enough for Pelikan, it’s good enough for Wing Sung” but Pelikan doesn’t have the tedium of realigning hood and point as part of the post-lube operation. Most of the temporary fixatives I’m familiar with will look terrible in a clear barrel, so at the moment I don’t have a strong suggestion for the majority of 618s– for non-transparent examples, I’d use a resin-based pen sealant without hesitation.
The other problem comes from imagining worst cases: the knob clutch relies upon the ability of plastic to flex, much like most snap-on caps. Since plastic loses this ability as it ages (like many people), I suspect one day it will fail.
Returning to the reasons why this isn’t just another fake “51”, we need to look at the cap. Not only is it plastic rather than metal, it is a screw-cap rather than a slip-on, with the body threads lying on the barrel just below the trim ring which doesn’t really have a function in the absence of a cap clutch. These threads are smooth enough and far enough back on the body that they are unlikely to interfere with using the pen.
The cap is more reminiscent of a Montblanc or a Platinum pen in general shape. It also invokes Parker with the clip, but it’s a modern Parker; the shape of the clip is similar to the Sonnet and Frontier (and thus also the Baoer 388). My example, in common with many Chinese pens, has an extremely stiff clip; once it’s in a pocket, it does not want to come out.
The writing performance is adequate. Firm, as all pens the shape tend to be, and usually enough ink for the purpose. I have found (and it may again just be my one example) that the collector drains with astonishing efficiency went the pen is point-up, and doesn’t fill with any alacrity during writing; the result is that it eventually becomes starved for ink, and needs a good shake or a small move of the piston, both of which might lead to a mess.
It is a really neat mechanism, though.
I should note that there is a variant with a gold point. If it is otherwise exactly the same… I don’t know if I would recommend it or not. A point that’s proof against corrosion would be a boon for this pen, but given the other considerations I’m slightly hesitant (but only slightly) to accept that it’s worth the extra cost.
Production Run: 2017 (probably) to present.
Cost When New: in 2021, someone living in North America can get the regular version for somewhere between $15 and $20, depending on source and shipping costs. The deluxe version runs $70 to $80.
Size: 13.9 cm long capped, 16.1 cm posted, 12.9 cm uncapped.
Point: Steel or 12K gold.
Body: Some sort of plastic, which seems to be a better quality than the 3008.
Filler: Piston, capacity approx. 1.5 ml
If you are relying on the preceding information to win a bet or impress a teacher, you should read the site’s scholarly caveat. Remember, this is the internet, and it’s full of bad information.