Company Back Story
Kaigelu is a brand of Lanxivi, a subsidiary of Shanghai Hero Pen Company. Hero has been manufacturing “high-quality” fountain pens since 1931. Initially known as Wolff Pens, they changed their name to Hero in 1966. Their pens are renowned for their quality in Asia and are extremely popular with users in China and India.
I consider Kaigelu to be a “high-end” Chinese-manufactured pen. I call them high-end because the typical Chinese pens sell for $7-$10 and this one sold for $26.
The Kaigelu 316 was initially released in 2014 and closely resembled the Parker Duofold Centennial. The pen is available in a variety of color schemes; however, I was interested in two, golden brown/grey swirls called ‘Tiger Eye’ and white/black swirls called ‘Century Stars.’ I choose the white/black swirl. I am more inclined to say it resembles marble or pearl.
The pen is made of acrylic celluloid (so they claim), something you don’t often see in contemporary pens. The celluloid has a lot of depth and complexity plus to my surprise it is semi-transparent. The pen clip, cap band, and other accents are gold plate. The cap band contains an imprinted design with black inlay. The cap is topped with a jewel containing a kangaroo surrounded by a wreath, both in gold plate.
My pen is model 316A, the “A” designation I believe indicates a newer model, incorporating improvements over the initial pen. The seller called mine an “office gift pen.” I did a Duck-Duck-Go search and all of the 316 pens I found had black blind end caps and a black section, while mine has blind caps and section made of the same material and color as the pen. Maybe it is a “special edition.”
Other reviewers mention their pens are too heavy, tipping the scale at 46g, while mine weighs in at a mere 28g with a converter. As I prefer pens with some heft to them, 28g is perfect. The pen feels solid in hand, and the construction seems sound.
The seller claimed it came with an iridium nib but it is stainless steel with gold-plated accents. A kangaroo-like the one in the jewel on the cap, scroll accent work, and the name “Kaigelu” is etched on the nib. The section is metal or brass, gold plated with “Kaigelu” and the model number etched into the opposite side.
The nib is labeled as Fine and it writes accordingly on 100gsm or better paper. On cheap paper the ink will flow.
The converter is attractive as far as converts go. It screws into the section but doesn’t appear to hold as much ink as other converters and contains a steel ball. I assume this keeps the ink “stirred, not shaken” which makes the pen rattle. The pen also accepts international converters as well as long international cartridges.
- Capped length 137mm,
- Barrel diameter is 13mm,
- The cap diameter is 15mm,
- Pen and converter weigh in at 28g,
- The cap weighs in at 10g.
My complaints are: removing the cap did require 3 full turns, unscrewing the barrel from the section took a week (ok I exaggerate a bit), and the rattle the pen makes because of the steel ball in the converter. This is a feature to keep the ink from thickening up – a common occurrence for ink in Asia because of the heat and humidity.
Unlike the experiences reported by others, the pen did not leak, it is not too heavy, and the nib did not require smoothing or other fine-tuning. I like the feel and weight of it in my hand. It wrote smoothly when I initially inked it up. I like it and for a mere $26 you can say I love it. Would I buy another – absolutely, maybe the tiger eye pen next.
In short, I liked the pen
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