Jinhao 1200: Enter the Dragon!5 min read

When I saw this pen in my auction trawling, the seller piqued my curiosity with promises that this would be a mysterious pen. Is this pen some avatar of Eastern mysticism?

While this pen did not conjure any actual dragons (yet), it’s been quite a treat so far. It’s actually a rather challenging pen to photograph because my God, the bling! This isn’t just a gold colored pen, or a shiny pen. But this is a pen that mysteriously seems to be beaming myriad lasers into your eyeballs whenever you try to gaze upon it in any sort of light. To call it shiny or shimmery would understate just what Jinhao pulled off here; this pen is obnoxiously shiny, and I love it.

Photo Jan 10, 8 27 05 PM
The mystical dragon clip will amaze your friends and hypnotize your lovers. OK, probably not. But it’s pretty unusual!

I’m not sure if Jinhao was going for something classy here, but they ended up making something of an Eastern kitsch pen that will make you consider for a moment if this Chinese manufacturer was playing on “Oriental” stereotypes to troll western pen collectors. But I’m not sure that Jinhao ever makes a pen just for Western buyers; I’m sure this fountain pen has to be selling in its native China, as well.

If the almost entirely gold look isn’t for you, Jinhao also makes this in two other colors: an equally blingy silver with gold trim, and a very formal (read: “booooring”) smooth glossy black with gold trim. The only hint of danger with the black pen is that it retains the mystical dragon clip that the proper blingy variants also rock. For the sake of the review, we’ll just pretend that the black version of the 1200 never happened. So basically you can get this pen in silver or gold and really impress that one person you want to get with.

Photo Jan 10, 8 30 01 PM
My own Jinhao 1200… with a “Broad” nib. Don’t spend any more money on the Broad thinking it will be any different than a Medium nib. If you want Broad, you’re going to need to go aftermarket.

I’ve seen these with the Jinhao nibs in Medium and Broad sizes. Since I already have a bunch of pens with the Jinhao #6 Medium nib, I decided to live dangerously, like a dragon, and get the Broad nib.

The 1200 is pretty substantial in length as well as girth… like a dragon. It looks pretty big, and were it made out of the same materials as the popular X750, this would be a heavy pen. I’m very glad to finally share a pen with you that will appeal to those who like large but lightweight pens. Being made of mostly plastic, the Jinhao 1200 isn’t going to wear out your hand from excessive weight.

The cap doesn’t really post securely, but most of the weight is in the cap, anyway, so if it could post securely, it would be a terribly back-heavy pen. Just put the cap on the desk and let the mystical dragon clip admire your penwork from a resting position.

You’d think that Jinhao would keep all of the kitsch on the outside of the pen, but then you’d think wrongly. The converter in this pen is not the typical low-end converter I’m used to seeing in Jinhao pens; it seems to be a more direct knockoff of the converters you might see coming out of Europe, but with some gold trim and Jinhao’s name on them. They work very well, actually.

The nib was a disappointment. Oh, it works fine, but if you’re expecting Jinhao’s Broad nib to be any wider than the Medium, forget about it. I actually paid a bit more for this pen just to see what the Jinhao Broad nib is like. It’s hard to tell them apart at all. If you want anything other than a Jinhao Medium nib, just get a pen with the Medium nib and upgrade the pen with an aftermarket nib. Like with many Chinese pens, the Jinhao’s nib could benefit a lot from a few minutes of nib tuning when it arrives in the mail.

Writing with this pen was surprisingly not bad at all! I did notice it was a little thick for me to enjoy writing with for very long (it’s very close to the Jinhao X750 in this respect), but the weight was actually surprisingly light for such a large pen. I attribute this to generous use of plastic throughout the design.

I paid $9.99 for this pen, and that price included shipping. This pen is available for lower prices than that. As I explained earlier, this pen only cost me as much as it did because I spent a little more to try out a Broad nib. The lowest prices I’m finding right now are $6.62 for Silver, and $8.69 for Gold.

They are also available pretty reasonably and with shorter shipping times from Amazon.

Writing Sample

This is about the pen, not about my writing, Nancy. With a small amount of nib tuning & wetting, this would be a very competent pen.

Vital Statistics

  • Length, capped: 139.3mm
  • Length, uncapped: 122.6mm
  • Length, Posted: N/A
  • Diameter, Cap: 14.6mm
  • Diameter, Body: 13.9mm
  • Weight (total): 50g
  • Weight, uncapped: 27g
  • Nib: Jinhao #6 Broad
  • Filling Mechanism: international standard cartridge converter

Is this the good shit?

Friends, not only is this the good shit, but this is the noblest shit. Do a search for fountain pens on eBay sometime and add the word “noblest” to your search. This pen should come up a few times. It seems to be a curious use of the English language by Chinese pen sellers that copy one another.

I carry this pen in my backpack most of the time, which means when I’m at work I’m always nurturing the mysterious possibility that I may, without provocation, reach into my bag and wield this pen at any point in time. Though I feel like I should warn people first. Maybe I should suggest that they put on sunglasses before I pull my pen out. Or make it clear that brandishing this pen does not convey a welcomeness to their romantic overtures. I know, I know, writing with such a sexy and mysterious pens sends out mixed signals.

If you’re a Scorpio, as I am, I think there is a law somewhere that says you pretty much have to have this pen. Hey, I don’t write the laws.