What an odd coincidence occurred this week. I had just recently come across the “replica” Parker 51 pens made in China called the Hero 616 only to find an fascinating article on counterfeit pens on the Tiger Pens Blog. The article discusses the manufacturing of knock-off pens that ranged from fake Sharpies to counterfeit Mont Blancs.
So, I wonder, is there any harm in buying a Hero 616? Parker no longer produces the much-coveted Parker 51 pen and most of the user information suggests that the pens are made from cheaper plastic and gold tone versus 14K gold nibs. Currently, Ebay seller YesPen sells a pack of three Hero 616 for less than $13. That’s considerably cheaper than even the worst quality vintage Parker 51.
And the irony? There are mentions in some of the listings for Hero 616s about how to spot a fake. Yep… even replica pens get counterfeited. Who knew?
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Do you want one for testing? I bought some back when I thought I might like fountain pens.
I use the Hero 616 as my general use fountain pen. It is a smooth writer and very comfortable. While it is true that the Hero does not use as good of materials as the original Parker 51s, they are still sturdy pens and hold up well. There is a slight difference to the Heros, they have a small ink window so you can see when the pen is running out of ink. The Parker 51 does not have this window. There are fake Hero pens out there, so be careful when purchasing. I understand the fakes do not write well even with plenty of tuning.
I just took delivery of 3 Hero 616’s, bought on Ali Express. The site offered me a $3 coupon and the purchase price was $4.13, so I paid a grand total of $1.04 per pen, including postage from China to the USA! Even more shocking, I filled one of the pens and it writes really well. No idea how well it or the other two will hold up, but so far so good. I really didn’t need them but I used the sac from a Chinese 616 once in the past to replace the sac on a Sheaffer Tip-Dip that had a disintegrated sac and the replacement worked better than the original (and still does). So, I actually wanted these three dollar-priced Heroes for parts and the annoying thing is that they’re actually good.