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Moonman M600S - The Duofold Reborn


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2019/07/01


The Parker Duofold is legendary for a reason. The pen represents one of the high points in the history of fountain pens.

The Duofold is the pen that actually made the Parker Company one of the greatest pen-manufacturers of the world.

ParkerPens.net

The Moonman M600s is a faithful copy of one of the modern releases of the pen, the Parker Duofold Centennial.

Duofold Centennial MKII, circa 1996. Image: Penhabit.com

PenHabit has a review of the MKII version of the Parker Duofold Centennial with useful size info for comparison.

Moonman M600S Duofold Centennial MKII
Capped 139mm 137.3mm
Uncapped 126.5mm 128.2mm
Posted 173mm 172.7mm
Barrel diameter 13mm 12.1mm
Section diameter 10.8-11.5 10.2mm
Inked weight capped 28.85g 29g
Inked weight uncapped 18.32g 20g
But What About the Kaigelu 316?

When it comes to Duofold clones, the traditional answer has been the Kaigelu 316. The pen has many fans.

Size-wise, the Moonman M600S and the Kaigelu are very similar. But check the weight. The Kaigelu is much heavier. At 32g uncapped (48g capped) it's in another league. Enough so that I could never bring myself to get one.

Moonman originally released this pen as the M600 for roughly US$60 in special checkerboard acrylics and a Schmidt #6 nib.

The original M600. Image: Taobao

Here I'm looking at the second release of this pen, the M600S, which has Moonman's own #6 nib and slightly more pedestrian acrylic. The M600S is under US$22 plus shipping from Taobao.

That Moonman #6 Nib

Since the advent of their new #6 nib, Moonman has released three pens: the Moonman M6, the Moonman C1 and now the Moonman M600S. The new release has the two-tone version found in the M6.

The first two Moonman pens with their #6 nib.
L-R: Moonman M6 & C1
The M600S may be the best pen yet with Moonman's new Nº 6 nib.

A Sophisticated Look

The Moonman M600S was released in three resins. Teal (my choice), brown and camouflage green. The M600S colors may not be as unique as the checkerboard options, but the brown and teal, at least, are still top notch. Honestly speaking, I'm not sure if I'm ready for a camouflage pen just yet.

M600S color options. Image: Taobao

The teal has plenty of variation from dark-to-light, visual depth, and sparkle. This is a pen to turn heads.

Solid Construction

The pen itself is very well made. The nib is housed in a screw-in nib unit, the section uses metal threads and the clip is solid, as are the the various bands. The fit and finish on the pen is flawless.

The pen is not designed for eye-droppering, but that's not an issue for me. The Moonman C1 is an excellent eyedropper if that's what you're after.

The cap comes off in a generous 2¾ turns. But the threads are positive and smooth. The cap has never cross-threaded, unlike the the PenBBS 352.

The cap has a liner keep to the nib from drying, though it's tough to tell if it's a separate insert or simply milled in. The A metal fastener inside the cap holds the finial and clip in place.

The engineering behind the pen is impressive.

Now Here's a First

A couple of FPN members reported receiving pens with bent caps! So far there's no clear explanation for what caused the warping. Excessive heat during a finishing process?

Image: FPN/sansenri

Fortunately, it seems very few pens were affected and the retailers who sold the pens are making things right. Good on Moonman and good on the resellers. After sales support has long been a questionable area for Chinese pens.

In the Hand

Pen enthusiasts have certainly enjoyed a crop of outstanding pens Chinese recently. The Moonman M600S fits right in.

L-R: PenBBS 456, PenBBS 355, Moonman M6, Moonman C1, Moonman M600s, Natami Inception

Everything about the Moonman M600S is spot on: size, girth, weight and balance. The section is a comfortable shape and the threads are unobtrusive. Clearly, working from the Duofold Centennial dimensions makes for a great pen. 

But Does it Post?

The Moonman M600S does post. The cap just fits on the end of the pen. It's snug enough to stay put. At just over 10g, the cap doesn't make the pen too heavily back weighted but the posted length is longer than I prefer.

At least for now, this is not a pen I plan to use posted.

Full Marks As A Writer

The pen wrote perfectly first time. It is a pleasure to write with.

For this pen I picked Robert Oster Taiwan Blue, a saturated ink that flows well. The paper is a Japanese Campus B5 notebook with 64g paper that is semi-absorbent and shows off shading.

Before inking the pen, I did take it apart, including removing the nib and feed from the nib assembly. It came apart (and went back together again) easily. Not all pens are so cooperative so I consider that a good sign.

The line is between fine and a medium. It's pleasingly wet. The nib is stiff so not much line variation.

The nib in this pen is as good as those that came with the C1 and M6. I figure I could swap nibs between pens and not tell the difference. Another good sign. Moonman's new nib is impressive. 

Go Moonman

At just under US$22 plus shipping on Taobao, the Moonman M600S is in the same price range as the new PenBBS 352. It's quite a bit less than other PenBBS offerings like the 456 and 355.

Head-to-head, I think the Moonman M600S bests the PenBBS 352. It's more substantial and better made. To my mind, the Moonman M600S is an outstanding pen and a great value. PenBBS better watch out. They have competition.


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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
2019/07/01
1  

Another good review.  I too found the 352 threads finicky.  I have an brown acetate 600S from Bobby on Etsy.  Should get the blue (could be teal) acrylic version (different colors) from eBay seller industrialmechanical this week.  Have you noticed recent pen photos appear to show facets, but pens are round?  The acrylic pen did.  I also continued to be amazed at the #6 Moonman nib.  Now they just need different sizes.  I find myself reaching for the C1 the most, love the feel & look.

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Long time fountain pen user, sci-fi reader & tennis player
2019/07/01
1  

PS:  As for Duofolds, I find myself enjoying the International (great size) with an italic nib & my vintage jade (lighter with excellent nib) more than my Centennial models with medium nibs.  I call the Centennial models desk pens.  Look great on a desk, but don't feel that well in my hand.

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2019/07/02
cr, on 2019/07/01, said:
I too found the 352 threads finicky. ...

Others have also confirmed the 352 threads. That's too bad. I hope PenBBS has a think about it. Overall, I think the 352 hits it out the park for versatility and usefulness - what I hear you saying about the Duofold International vs Centennial. I keep thinking of it as PenBBS's most Japanese pen. I want to see that pen in shiny black.

cr, on 2019/07/01, said:
I also continued to be amazed at the #6 Moonman nib. 

I wonder about Moonman's plans for more nib sizes. After looking at the Kanwrite Desire, I had the thought that Moonman was sourcing from them. But then suiyi2005 - the guys who make pens for Moonman (and others) - confirmed they make the nib.  I wonder how long until Chinese pen makers are able to match the range than Jowo, Schmidt and Bock offers. Given the quality of the Kanwrite nibs I got, maybe it will be them!

cr, on 2019/07/01, said:
Have you noticed recent pen photos appear to show facets, but pens are round?

With my pro-facet bias, it's easy for me to see them where they may not be. I think it's an artifact of the LEDs folks can use to light shots. Straight lines of lights make for straight lines on pens. The marketing guys probably see it as a plus.

When it comes to facets, the Natami Inception really does have them. One of the least recognized pens of the year (also made by suiyi2005 or so they say).

cr, on 2019/07/01, said:
I have an brown acetate 600S from Bobby on Etsy. 

The Taobao seller I use is out of brown M600S pens now. They only have the camo version that doesn't appeal to me. If they had stock, I'd probably order one now. I'll wait until they restock. Bobby's new AliExpress store doesn't work for me for some reason.

In researching the M600S I came across the Conklin Durograph. It appears similar size-wise but quite a bit lighter. Have you had a chance to look at one? I'd be curious to see that comparison.

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Long time fountain pen user, sci-fi reader & tennis player
2019/07/02
1  

No Conklins for me.  Had some a few years ago & quality was not good.  They may be better now but I have a long memory.

Wasn't suiyi2005 they one that said they made PenBBS  Beini said no.

Just got a Centropen 10014 (because of that Squirrel) it is beautiful & well made.  Was a steal on eBay.

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2019/07/02
cr, on 2019/07/02, said:
Wasn't suiyi2005 they one that said they made PenBBS  Beini said no.

I sort of recall. I do remember some comments about partnerships PenBBS was less happy with. Certainly no PenBBS pens in the suiyi2005 IG feed. The Namisu ebonite is there, however.

cr, on 2019/07/02, said:
Just got a Centropen 10014

Thanks for the heads up!

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2019/07/03
1  

Firstly, I really like the work you are doing on Scrivinor. I also got a Moonman M600s and my first reaction was "wow, I can't believe this cost $21!". And I still think that, however I did not have the good

nib experience both of you did. Mine was very dry out of the box and wasn't really writing and this was after a good cleaning and flushing as I do with all new pens. After about 1/2 an hour of working on it I got it to behave well but I had to widen the tines and go at it with micro mesh. I often wonder what folks without rudimentary pen tuning skills do. If I had to nit pick the pen I would say that I wished it posted a bit deeper and better but it is an improvement over other Duofold clones like the Kaigelu I have and the Conklin Duragraph. And as you noted the Kaigelu, while a nice pen is a total brick to use at over 46 grams. I actually have a cracked ice Duragraph I like very much but I had to swap the nib for a Jowo. The Conklin nib is rather crap but the pen part is nice. I have another one with their stub which I do use. Aside from the posting issue with the Moonman M600s, it also has that rather chemically unpleasant smell similar to that of my Moonman M100. I'm wondering when its going to dissipate but its hanging in there pretty long now I must say. In any event, I do prefer the new Moonman #6 nib over the Schmidt. I lasted about 10 minutes with the Schmidt in my Moonman M100 before I swapped it for a Jowo #5 and now its a rather sublime writer and I really love the brown material. Lastly I agree with Chrisrap that the material of the Moonman M600s is not exactly the best looking marbled acrylic we have seen lately out of China. Its nice and all, but when you look at it next to a Wing Sung 626 in brown, there is no contest. For that matter, I have an almost identical acrylic on a Namiki Impressions (late 90's pen) in brown, and the Wing Sung actually holds its own against that pen, which is saying something. 

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2019/07/04
Jetson, on 2019/07/03, said:
Firstly, I really like the work you are doing on Scrivinor.

Thank you! I'm far enough along now that it feels like there's a bit more there there. It's great to have your contribution. I think Scrivinor is useful for more in depth conversations.

In one of ChrisRap52's videos he shows using a feeler gauge to floss the tines of a nib to increase flow. That seems like a perfect tool for working on nibs.

Other folks use brass sheets. I have a tool that was tossed in with a pen purchase a while ago that's basically just a metal rectangle with curved sides so it doesn't slice fingers.

But you're right, tinkering is built into this interest. I think sooner or later everyone jumps in learns that it's not that hard. Just means inky fingers more often. Maybe one or two ruined pens. Hopefully cheaper ones. I broke one of the tines on my one and only true Parker 51. That was unfortunate.

I don't really find that my Moonman M600S has a smell that's lingered. The two pens in my collection that do have a lasting (more or less unpleasant) smell are both PenBBS models: 1) 308-10SF Jasper and 2) 469-81 (I think) Bright Moon over a Blue Lake. Some resins are like that. Hard to tell just looking at pictures!

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2019/07/04

It's funny you mention the feeler gauge because I JUST received mine from China and I need to remove the "pen fixing" sizes and get the oil off of them as you don't want to transfer oil to a nib. I've heard pros say that's not what they use/do and it can create vertical scratches inside the tines that can create nib creep but since I've used brass shims I thought I would try it. Of course you never use steel on a real gold nib, just on steel nibs only. I think I will only try this only on lower cost pens for now, like PenBBS. Yes, i did see Chrisraps video on this which inspired me to buy them. My best writers are still my gold nib Pilots and i collect some Watermans from the 80s 90s period like the Man 100 and 200, but I'm having fun with the new breed of better Chinese pens although I have already bought too many. My favorites in order are 355, 456, 308/309, WS 626, and Moonman M100 and M600s. I'm starting to like the 352 Niango Medium I just got as well.  

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Long time fountain pen user, sci-fi reader & tennis player
2019/07/05

Just inked up my Moonman M600S Emerald Blue (same as EDC) with Noodler's Navajo Turquoise, a perfect match.  Nib writes well, just a touch of micromesh & writes even better.  My 4th #6 & all have been great.   Pen is a great steal for < $21.  And the Acrylic is beautiful..Will publish video review soon.

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2019/07/05
cr, on 2019/07/05, said:
Just inked up my Moonman M600S Emerald Blue...

Nice! Look forward to the video.

cr, on 2019/07/01, said:
PS:  As for Duofolds, I find myself enjoying the International (great size) with an italic nib & my vintage jade (lighter with excellent nib) more than my Centennial models with medium nibs.  I call the Centennial models desk pens.  Look great on a desk, but don't feel that well in my hand.

This is interesting. Seems you're not alone in landing on the International as the better size. Is anyone making a pen that size currently? Maybe the PenBBS 352?

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2019/07/05

On flossing nibs...

Jetson, on 2019/07/04, said:
Of course you never use steel on a real gold nib, just on steel nibs only.

Right. Brass for for gold nibs. I don't have many so haven't spent time considering this before.

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2019/07/05

Loose Moonman #6 nib units have gone up for sale on Taobao. Hopefully, on Etsy soon too.

@US$1.5 / ea.

Silver and gold. No two-tone. 175 pieces total in stock.

image: Taobao

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2019/07/06
cr, on 2019/07/05, said:
Will publish video review soon.

Great look at this pen along with its cousins.

Moonman M600s Emerald Blue Acrylic Fountain Pen chrisrap52 — YouTube

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