Last week when I visited London for Writing Equipment Show, I played a little with Wing Sung 698 . I have seen many comments about this pen before, but actually I never had one in my hands (thanks Vijay!). All people who are familiar with TWSBI pens will quickly find out that Wing Sung 698 is reminiscent to TWSBI flagship model 580 Diamond and maybe a little to TWSBI Eco. I was very positively surprised by its performance, so just after LWES meeting I decided to pull the trigger and I ordered one from Ebay to give it a go.
The model I ordered is a clear demonstrator. There are other options available too. As I mentioned the first impression is: gosh this looks like TWSBI!…and indeed it does. They are not exactly the same fountain pens but striking similarities are obviously there.
Similarly, to TWSBI Diamond 580, Wing Sung is a piston fill fountain pen. This seems to be incredibly interesting aspect, because piston filling mechanism is not what you will be expecting to see in a pen which costs between £ 10.5 -14.00 (incl. shipping!). The pen is made from clear plastic material which does not feel very cheap but is still it does not feel lik TWSBI 580 or Vac 700, however is not much different from TWSBI Eco.
Length. Wing Sung 698 is not designed to be posted, but the good news is that this is a long pen anyway Capped – approx.. 14.2 cm (almost the same as TWSBI 580), uncapped is about 1mm shorter than TWSBI- approx. 13.0 cm.
Weight. Capped – 24.0 g, uncapped – 12.0 g, cap -12.0g. Capped and inked – 26.0g, uncapped and inked- 14.0g
For comparison, TWSBI 580 weight is 30.0 g (inked/capped), whereas Eco is 22.0g, which places Wing Sung somewhere in between.
The cap is also made from clear plastic. Finial on the cap is made from ‘chromed’ plastic rather than metal but I may be wrong. Clip feels secure and in fact feels better than in TWSBI which are known to be loose and wobbly over time. I have Wing Sung 698 too short to justify that. There is an imprint on the clip which says ‘Lucky’. The bottom part of the cap contains chromed ring, which surprisingly is not located at the end as most manufacturers do but 5 mm above. This may rise question if cam may crack over time. There is a WINGS 698 and some Chinese characters I cannot read (sorry), etched on a ring, again done in a very similar fashion to how TWSBI 580 and Eco have. Another similarity to TWISBI 580 is the smoky inner cap, which I believe many users would like to see completely clear instead. Personally, I do not mind. Again,it is very similar to one in TWSBI, which I used to. No big deal here.
The piston filler knob is located at the end of the pen barrel. As expected the overall shape of the knob (outside) and the chromed separation ring is like in TWSBI diamond 580, but here is one thing which differentiate these two pens and works in favour of Wing Sung. This is a piston filler knob lock, which is very simple but does great job preventing accidental ink leakage. To ink the pen, you simply need to pull gently knob out, then twist it clockwise to fill out the pen and then when it is done, the know needs to be pushed back to secure position. Quite simple but neat idea. I am hoping it will survive pen inking process for long.
The grip section is also transparent, which looks very pleasing with the ink inside. the section and the barrel are separated by a small metal chromed ring. The section may be unscrewed it needs clean. The thread on a barrel which holds a cap in place is not sharp, but noticeable under the fingers. Pen itself feels balanced and is comfortable to hold. No complains here. The ink container has nice capacity (slightly smaller than TWSBI) and can hold a lot of ink.
The pen I ordered came with stainless steel (#5 I believe) EF nib. Nib itself writes pleasantly smooth out of the box, which is great bearing in mind that it is a simple steel extra fine nib. There is a little bit of feedback against the paper surface, but the nib is not scratch by any mean. It writes well. When I inked pen first time it wrote OK, but it felt more on the dry side. I opened up gently tines a little bit, which improved ink flow greatly.
One of the coolest aspects of Wing Sung 698 clear demonstrator is transparent feed which adopts ink colour. This is a nice touch and it looks pretty cool indeed.
The quality of inexpensive pens made in China vary and usually pens are lacking on finish and quality control, but I must admit I am really impressed by Wing Sung 698 Clear demonstrator (2017). The materials is made of feel fine and the built quality is there also. I had no problems with piston filler mechanism and it works smoothly (no problems with pressure). The EF nib works strikingly well and to be absolutely honest after simple tweak the writing experience is better that many more expensive pens I tried. Taking into account that this is a piston filler pen (which works) for so less money, in my opinion Wing Sung 698 is an excellent value for money. If I have to recommend a ‘starter pen’ for anybody, I would recommend it with no hesitation. This is also a very good all-rounder and everyday carry pen. It looks cool and it performs well.
- Good built. Possibly plastic is less brittle than this used in TWSBI 580
- piston filling system which works
- cool look (section and transparent feed)
- decent size
- Hardly anything…not at this price. I shall do an update review after few months of using it.