To my mind, the Moonman M100 pen was a watershed. It put Chinese pens in a new league.
Where PenBBS pens are clearly the product of people who know and love fountain pens, their strength is in the engineering, manufacture and huge range of materials options.
With the M100, Moonman took a design-centric approach, combining a small set of stand-out acrylics with a classic shape and a quality nib.
While the Moonman M100 is a milestone, it's not perfect. The cap doesn't post super well. Unposted, the pen is a little bit small in the hand. The #5 Schmidt nib comes only in fine.
As much as I like the M100 (I got two), I haven't brought myself to write a review yet. I just use the pens. And over time I've come to appreciate them more and more. I do owe them a review.
The N3 is not the only pen Moonman has launched lately. Based on Moonman's numbering system, it's not even the evolution of the M100. That would be the M200. The M200 appears to be a plumped up version of it's little brother. Same nib. A little more expensive. So far I've resisted.
The Moonman N3, other other hand, is slim like the M100. It's about the same weight, though a little longer both posted and unposted. It sports a #5 nib, but of Moonman's own make rather than from Schmidt. Still no M nib available, unfortunately.
The N3 comes in just a few color options, but interestingly Moonman chose a striped material rather than the cracked ice or swirls of other pens. It reminds me a bit of ebonite.
I've been on a green pen kick lately so I had to pick that one. But I also really liked the brown so I treated myself to both. Both are fine (0.5mm) nibs.
I'd call the design of the Moonman N3 contemporary rather than classic. The lines are straighter. There are the metal threads above the section and the gold ring that remains visible with the cap on.
The cap comes off in less than 1½ turns, the section is long if a little narrow. Everything is nicely rounded, including the metal threads. In short, this pen is very easy on the hand. It also posts very comfortably - more solidly than the M100.
The top of the cap has a stylized logo which may represent Moonman in Chinese (末匠) or might not. I can't tell. It reminds me of the Atlanta Hawks emblem for some reason.
I read somewhere that Chinese #5 nibs are now as good as those from Germany, the US or anywhere. The N3 supports that argument. The writing experience with the N3 is as good as the M100. The nib is smooth and medium wet. It writes just fine.
Compared to other pens I have inked, I do prefer the nib in the Natami Inception. But it's a larger nib. The new PenBBS round nibs are also very nice.
As a writing instrument, the Moonman N3 works very well as a dual purpose pen. Unposted, it's great for jotting quick notes. It's big enough in the hand without the slight awkwardness I associate with the M100. Posted, the pen works well for longer, dedicated writing. It's comfortable, solid, well balanced. Full marks.
An arguably better pen at a cheaper price. It may not turn heads to quite the degree as the M100, but I'd be happy to tote the Moonman N3 along anywhere I go.
Moonman is getting better all the time.
More often that not, my desk is my pocket. But everyday desk items doesn't have the same ring.