After my recent review of the Black Luster Sailor 1911 that Mr. Dowdy loaned me, I knew that a Sailor pen was on my short list. How short? Well, it happened pretty quickly so I'd imagine it got shoved to the top... the real question was, which model to choose?
I've used two Sailor models thus far: the 1911 Black Luster (via Brad) and an Pro Gear Imperial Black a co-worker has (which I helped enable) which I feel are on two ends of the spectrum as far as styling. Although, both share excessive amounts of ion plated black metal, glossy black, and matte black which makes for amazing results. And, these two pens happen to be on the higher end of the "1911" price list...
The 1911 is more of a traditional style with rounded edges and a strong hint of class while the Pro Gear is a bit edgier, has flat surfaces on the top and bottom, and seems to be a bit more of a modern look. They really are both fantastic which made me torn in my decision.
Well, I surely didn't go with either of their models (nor a model in matte or gloss black for that matter), but decided to step a bit out of my comfort zone and sprung for the 21k Pro Gear...in orange. I picked this one up from Pen Chalet who has a large variety of Sailors to choose from.
I could not be happier with this pen and I find myself wanting to use it all of the time.
Upon putting Brad's 1911 to paper I instantly fell in love with the Sailor nibs and brand. I even went as far as to say that if I was forced to choose a fountain pen at that moment that I would have to use forever, the Sailor could be it. That is quite an impression, wouldn't you say?
Honestly, I'm not really sure what made me choose the orange? While perusing all of the models on Pen Chalet's site (seriously, peruse...), the color series just popped out at me and I knew it was it. Now, not to say I may not expand my Sailor collection further in the future, but for a first I feel it fit perfectly. The orange color was like a breath of fresh air into my collection of black, silver, and other metallic barrels.
The majority of the pen is kind of a candy shell orange, but does have some glossy black accents on the cap, grip, and the end. Just enough shiny. The pen is also adorned with some rhodium/silver furniture and touts the standard sleek Sailor clip found on many models.
I opted for a 21k medium nib as it is the one Brad has and I loved it. Upon receiving mine I felt like it had a bit more flex to it than Brad's and even inquired about it on Instagram. I was reassured by the community that things seemed normal. It wasn't unpleasant by any means and wrote fantastic, but as it seemed different I wanted to turn to the experts. Thanks everyone that helped!
Upon returning to work, my friend also let me write with his Pro Gear Imperial Black and his nib felt about as mine. So, after over analyzing for a day I decided that the pen was perfect and haven't thought a second about it since.
I'm finding that the way the Sailor nib writes is just how I like. It puts down a wet line (but not too wet), is smooth, but has a slight feedback that lets you feel that the pen is touching the page. When nibs are so smooth or springy that it is difficult to tell that you are even hitting the paper I find it less comfortable, although, not unenjoyable by any means.
The Pro Gear is a cartridge/converter style and takes only Sailor proprietary sized product.
As I've tried more and more fountain pens (and pens in general), I think I'm starting to feel like I'm refining my likes/dislikes a bit more. It is hard to explain, but the easiest way to know what you like is to be aware of what you find yourself using everyday. Primarily, what you find yourself WANTING to use everyday. When I said before that I find myself wanting to use it all of the time it probably means that it passes this test.
The only "downside" to Sailors is that they aren't necessarily cheap. Although, Pen Chalet offers some great competitive pricing on their inventory (also 10% off with the CLICKYPOST promo code).
This orange model normally has a retail sticker price of $310, but with discount (and before taxes) you can pick one up for under $225. Based on my experiences with them I feel they are worth their price point. The quality of the experience earns some of the right to be expensive and a bit of a luxury item, but is something worth working towards as a "some day" or even "Grail" type pen.
If you couldn't tell, I really can't say enough about how much I enjoy this pen... and I love the color.