Last year, Jinhao launched its new pen, the Dadao 9019, and it quickly gained traction in the pen community. Many have compared it to the X159 from the same brand. It’s about the same size and both have #8 nibs, but there are also some notable differences. While the X159 is strongly inspired by the Montblanc Meisterstück 149, the Dadao 9019 rather resembles some of the high-end Namiki pens.
It annoys me a bit that Jinhao has chosen a design that is so similar to the Namiki pens. They don’t try to resemble the materials, and there are clearly differences here, but the basic shape and the clip is almost exactly the same. Jinhao once again balances on a knife’s edge whether this can be said to be a copy or not. I’m torn in both directions about this. They could have easily avoided this comparison by simply choosing a different design on the clip, for example. Then the other similarities wouldn’t have been as evident.
On the other hand, Jinhao 9019 doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not. They haven’t tried to imitate the urushi lacquer or the ornate maki-e motifs of the Namiki pens. Rather, they’ve taken the basic shape of the pen and made it their own. The pens are not made of exclusive materials, but it is done in a proper way, and with plastic resins that appear sturdy and of good quality.
The Jinhao 9019 is a large pen, and needs a large nib. Jinhao has equipped it with a #8 nib, instead of a more standard #6. Apart from the size, it’s not a very exciting nib. There’s no special characteristics in the way it writes, and there’s little to no line variation. But it glides really comfortable across the paper, and is an excellent writer. This is definitely one of the better Chinese steel nibs I’ve tried.
I found that it wrote a bit dry initially. It didn’t have poor ink flow by any means, but I wanted a little more juice from such a girthy pen. I adjusted the nib by bending it up a tiny bit from the feed to make it write a little wetter. After this small modification, the Jinhao 9019 actually became one of the pens I used the most during last year’s NaNoWriMo, much to my own surprise. The pen is incredibly easy to write with, and the fact that it is quite thick, but at the same time light in weight, meant that I could write both quickly and for a long time without getting tired.
The nib ran dry a few times when I wrote with it for a long time without stopping, even though there was plenty of ink in the converter. It seemed that the feed couldn’t quite keep up with the nib for long writing sessions, and after a while it struggled to deliver enough ink. But this problem didn’t show itself until I had written several pages with the pen, and it was only a matter of priming it a little, and it worked as it should again.
The converter is worth a special mention. We’re used to Chinese pens coming with converters that almost fall apart when you breathe on them, but this one feels really solid. The converter is also one of the things that’s much better in the 9019 than the X159. It has a metal knob, and there’s no wiggle to the knob and piston, and the whole converter seems to be of really good quality. It also has a big ink capacity, and it is screwed into the back of the section, so that there’s no risk of it coming loose. When it comes to converters, it actually doesn’t get much better than this one.
The Jinhao 9019 comes in 7 different colors as far as I’ve been able to find out, and four of them are demonstrators, so you can see the inner workings of the pen. The nibs come in three widths: extra fine, fine and medium. I myself bought three pens to test all the nibs, and all three work very well. These are also quite cheap pens, as one would expect from Jinhao. The prices vary somewhat, but you can find them on AliExpress for well under ten bucks apiece. THAT is a lot of pen for the money, and maybe one of the best pen purchases you can make right now.
In my eyes, the Jinhao 9019 is a solid step up compared to previous pens from this brand, which have always felt cheap to me. The 9019 both looks and feels more like a proper and well-designed pen, which to a greater extent can compete with Western pens on more than just price. This is a quality pen, which, despite certain similarities with Namiki pens, stands on its own. It’s a pen that I can safely recommend to all pen enthusiasts, whether you’re completely new to the pen hobby and still in exploration mode, or you’re a more seasoned pen aficionado with a number of exclusive pens in your collection already. Jinhao Dadao 9019 will bring writing pleasure no matter which of the categories you belong to.