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Moonman C1 - Simplicity Finely Wrought


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Mostly pens
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2019/05/26


Moonman has released a second pen featuring their new #6 nib.

This time it's an acrylic demonstrator that looks to be the successor to the popular Moonman M2.

Moonman M2 above, C1 below

Aside from a larger nib, the C1 is designed as an eyedropper or a converter filling pen.

It's safe to say, however that at heart, this is an eyedropper filler. Both the nib unit and the section come with o-rings for proper sealing. Then there's the massive reservoir for the ink to slosh about.

The Moonman C1 comes with the works: o-rings, converter and a dropper

But beyond the M2, the Moonman C1 brings to mind another recent pen: the excellent PenBBS 471 pocket eyedropper.

The Moonman C1 is not a pocket pen, so that's a major point of difference, but deployed and ready to write, the Moonman C1 and the PenBBS 471 start to look very similar.

In hand, the feel is remarkably close. The PenBBS is a shade longer. The barrel of the Moonman C1 is a fraction larger in diameter and the section of the PenBBS 471 tapers down a bit more at the front. According to my scale, the Moonman C1 is 0.8g lighter than the PenBBS 471. 

But close your eyes, these pens are kindred spirits.

A splash of color

The section is a gorgeous cranberry swirl with purple, red and sparkliness. It looks like a purple version is also be available, but wasn't an option when I ordered. I would have picked this color anyway.

The cap comes off in a shade less than two turns. The cap threads are actually relatively course with no cross threading at all (unlike my Moonman M2 that cross threads all the time).

There's no cap-liner or ledge machined into the cap to mate with the section. Time will tell if the nib has a tendency to dry out.

Overall, the fit and finish of the pen is flawless. It feels well made: light but strong. I like the symmetry of the conical finish on both the cap and the barrel. That reminds me of the opposing ink chambers on the PenBBS 469.

Mind the step?

The step on the barrel may be something people find objectionable. It is noticeable and the corner is sharp - as these things go. On the other hand, the step is back quite far so it's still easy to grip the pen to the front or rear of the section comfortably. I am becoming less allergic to steps.

Wait. It's not actually round.

What's not evident at first glance is that there's a flat spot machined down the length of the cap and body of the pen to keep it from rolling around. It's a nice touch, especially since there is not clip. Definitely a cut above the Moonman M2.

The flat on the cap and the body line up perfectly every time. It appears that the threads are design such that you can't get it wrong.

Oh, and the ends of the pen are flat so you can stand it on end if you like - if you've picked up that habit from your PenBBS 471.

The pen doesn't post.

Filling recommendation

Moonman recommends leaving 5-10mm of space when filling the pen. This must be to prevent burping when the pen warms up in your hand.

Image: Taobao - Leave a little room at the top.
By the numbers

The Moonman C1 is a comfortably-sized pen with a fairly large diameter barrel. The section is about what you'd expect. The diameter, length and gentle hourglass sweep are almost exactly the same as the PenBBS 469.

Above: PenBBS 469, Below: Moonman C1
  • 129.1mm uncapped
  • 138mm capped
  • 14.7mm barrel diameter
  • 11mm section diameter
A mostly meaningless number since the pen does not post.

Light but not light weight
Nice, nice nib

I talked about the Moonman 35mm (#6) nib in my reviews of the Moonman M6 and the Kanwrite Desire. Suffice it to say that I think this is one of the best things since sliced bread.

Moonman M6 nib unit - no o-rings here

The Moonman C1 wrote perfectly out of the box so my sample size is up to two.

For this pen, I decided on Platinum Violet, an ink I love for the vibrant color - and the amazing price.

My recent experience with eyedropper pens has been great: Moonman Wancai, Moonman M2, PenBBS 469 and 471 and now the Moonman C1.

Flow is generous and consistent. The pen is wet but not a gusher. It writes with no pressure at all. The 0.6mm nib (marked F) is at a place between fine and medium that I enjoy.

The pen is well balanced and nimble, suitable for long writing sessions or jotting down notes. It's fun to write with.

The Moonman C1 was just under US$15 plus shipping on Taobao as part of a special launch offer. It's just over US$17 now. On Etsy it is available for around US$20.

If you've never tried an eyedropper, this could be a good place to start.

One more thing...

If there is one thing I'd recommend Moonman work on, it's their English tagline.

末匠,感受书写的温度!

The idea in Chinese isn't bad. The English version falls pretty short.

Postscript - About that Shinobi
After hitting publish on this article, I discovered this FPN thread talking about a possible successor to the Moonman M2 (i.e., this pen). Among other things, folks noted the striking resemblance between the Moonman C1 and the Shinobi model produced by Shawn Newton at Newton Pens.
The Shinobi story is interesting in itself. The design was originally proposed by one of his customers. And a good idea it was. By 2016, Shawn was reporting that the Shinobi was one of his most popular models.
Image: Inguz72
While the Shinobi is available is a bunch of materials and sizes, the Moonman C1 definitely resembles the transparent acrylic version. No doubt about it.
Image: Newton Pens
So there's a brouhaha about whether Moonman is stealing the design. But, then again, it wasn't a Newton design to begin with (although it's clear Newton has evolved the original concept.) To his credit, Newton seems to be taking things in stride. Who knows, maybe he'll be adding o-rings to his future Shinobi models.
All this to say, it's always wise to be an informed consumer. Or reviewer.


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Created at: 2019/05/26, updated at 2019/05/27.


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More often that not, my desk is my pocket. But everyday desk items doesn't have the same ring.




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Long time fountain pen user, sci-fi reader & tennis player
2019/06/26
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Enjoyed reading your Postscript on the Shinobi.  It disappoints me when some fixate on what they see as copying.  They are very selective & subjective in what the see.  A pen is a pen, something to put ink on paper, which the C1 does very well.

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