Showing posts with label Zande-Phondex. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Zande-Phondex. Show all posts

08 June 2011

Low Cost in Spain

The already described Zande-Phondex’s copy of the Sheaffer’s No Nonsense pen is not the only inexpensive pen in the Spanish market.

From left to right, Zande-Phondex "Pluma estilográfica", STYB "Compact", and Auchan. All of them below €5.

Their nibsunmarked that of the Zande-Phondex.

French supermarket chain Chain offers its own brand of pens. The company does not declare which company actually manufactures them. This Auchan pen uses short international cartridges and could easily be transformed into an eyedropper. Actually, its translucent body makes it especially suitable for the transformation. The rigid steel nib –engraved with the company logo— is iridium tipped and performs admirably.

The Auchan's pen in green. Other colors available.

STYB is one of the few examples of pen companies in Spain. It is the successor of the historical brand Jabalina, founded in 1948 in Albacete (Spain) by Juan Sánchez Navarro. Several fountain pens can be found on its catalog, the cheaper of which is the model Compact.

Auchan's pen nib, engraved with the company logo.

Quite similar to the Auchan pen, its construction quality is clearly cheaper. A major difference is the nib—the STYB’s is just folded and uses no iridium. As a result, this pen’s feeling is rougher than the competitor. Both pens have similar prices—slightly below €3.

STYB's folded nib.

STYB Compact pen presentation.

Therefore, the Zande-Phondex remains as a much better deal than the rest—much lower in price while performing very well.

Zande-Phondex's version of the Sheaffer's No Nonsense.

The market of inexpensive pens —say, below €5— is very reduced in Spain. The distribution of these products seems to be quite erratic, which is very different with the usual presence of cheap Japanese pens in supermarkets and stationery shops in Japan.

(Aurora 88K – Diamine Evergreen)

Bruno Taut
June 6th, 2011
[labels: STYB, Auchan, Zande-Phondex, España, mercado]

29 May 2011

Matching (IX)

The controversy is always there: Is that pen original or a copy of another? Which company did father that idea? Sometimes, the answers are clear…

The user in me has some fascination for cheap, or rather inexpensive, fountain pens. After all, if the main purpose of a pen is to use it and most of what we do with them is taking notes, there is no need to spend big bucks on them. And we also know that price and performance are barely correlated—we all know of terrible examples of expensive pens with very poor performance.

Therefore, I always have an eye on low cost pens. In the past I spoke about those found in Tokyo, either by the big three Japanese companies or marketed by some chain store.

Today’s pen, found in Madrid, is branded as Zande-Phondex. I bought it in one of those bazaars, usually run by Chinese people, where you can find almost anything. This pen is an obvious copy of the Sheaffer’s No Nonsense student pen, modeled after the 1920’s flat-top design.

The main differences between the Sheaffer’s original and the Zande-Phondex copy are the rugged gripping section and the slip cap of the later. Both are cartridge-converter pens—standard for the copy and Sheaffer’s proprietary for the original.

Neither of them is a expensive pen, but the Sheaffer’s price is about ten times that of the Zande-Phondex, whose price is only €0.90. Its construction quality, however, is also cheaper—the cap band easily slides off, and the plastic material shows some non-smooth points.

But performance-wise both pens are even. They are indeed functional no-nonsense tools. Rigid and reliable steel nibs. Nothing fancy, but always ready for the action.

So, the question is obvious and pertinent—why should we spend more than a couple of euros in any fountain pen?

(Pilot Vpen, M nib – Pilot Black)

Bruno Taut
May 25th, 2011
[labels: Sheaffer, Zande-Phondex]