The X450 is a fairly conservative, almost generic, design of fountain pen. If it has one stand-out feature, it’s the weight– it is, for its size, surprisingly heavy. The weight is at least well-distributed, with the cap-off point of balance lying almost exactly mid-length. I can’t comment well on the posted balance, as my example refuses to allow the cap to settle on the tail. This may be a feature rather than a bug, but those who hate writing with the cap separated from the pen will not be easily convinced to enjoy it if that’s the case. Apart from the heft, the most radical feature of this pen is the mildly ergonomic shaping of the section, with three lightly-textured oval cut-outs to ensure good finger placement.
Like any low-price Chinese pen, there are concerns about quality control. Looking at other reviews online, my example seems a good representative of what can be expected. The finish of the trim is good, although the durability of the lacquer is suspect. The two-tone masking on my point is a little out of alignment with the impression, but this is only evident under magnification– something I could say of some other, more expensive makes, were I inclined.
It is in the writing that trouble may develop. The usual problem is one of dryness, and mine definitely shared this failing. This sort of thing is fairly easy to put right, and in looking at the opinions of others I suspect that there’s not a lot of venom spent on the problem because the pens aren’t very dry, because users at this end of the market tend to be used to ballpoints (pushing down opens the channel) and the cost of the pen is so low some small annoyance is almost welcome as a fulfillment of expectations. I have a more substantial grumble to direct toward the converter in this pen, which will not draw or hold ink properly– clearly a problem with the seal– but once again, the cost of the whole pen keeps me from becoming petulant on the matter. There are a lot of converters which can take their place in an international fitting, after all.
As a final note– I’m surprised with how well the cap on my example seals. This may, again, not be consistent, but I find the pen a lot less given to drying than many other Chinese low-cost pens of my acquaintance.
Production Run: Unknown start, in current production.
Cost When New: LOW. Dealers on eBay offer them for less than $5.00, and extremely reputable online fountain pen stores carry them at under $10.00.
Size: 14.2 cm long capped, 16.4 cm posted, 12.5 cm uncapped.
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