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 Sailor 1911 Standard Review

I seem to remember that I bought this pen around 2004, possibly from Kamakura Pens.

For the previous forty odd years that I’d had an interest in pens, I’d been firmly wedded to the three big brands of Parker, Sheaffer and Waterman, with the odd foray in to some vintage English ones such as Conway Stewart, Onoto and Mabie Todd (which became an English brand). My world of pens didn’t venture outside this pretty small circle. My main love being Parker Pens, based no doubt on the fact that my first grown up pens were a Parker 51 and then a Parker 61. I still love these two models and both collect and use them.

Gradually however through my business travel, whilst passing time in International airports I picked up an interest in Cross Pens and found them to be practical and reliable instruments. I still have several, the favourite being a 1980s Matte Black Century Classic. I never had any real interest in Japanese pens in the same way that I had no interest on Japanese cars.

However, my curiosity was eventually aroused by the name ‘Sailor’ which sounded a bit strange in my conservative world of pens, so I must have started to investigate on the internet.

The model names of these pens were an anathema to me, just like the anglicised model names of Japanese cars, so my interest was still lukewarm and slow to take off. Ever so slowly I began to pick up on the fact that the nibs on these pens had a very good reputation and that maybe, just maybe they might be worth a look. This phase however lasted a long time. Anyway to cut the story short I decided that the only way to find out if they were any good was to try one. I decided upon a Sailor 1911, the profit model I think it was, I really wanted the large version but wasn’t keen on spending so much money on an unfamiliar (to me) brand.

 The pen arrived about a week later and the parcel opened with great anticipation…hmm, although it had a striking appearance, it seemed to remind me too much of the shiny Mont Blancs that everyone seemed to flash around as though it was a signal that they were important and successful. I’d always felt them to be a bit over the top and ostentatious and usually owned by people with something to prove, maybe like the owners of flash cars, although I’ve had my share…

After using it very sparsely, it disappeared in to my pen case and never saw the light of day for about five years… about a year ago I thought that perhaps I should give it another try. This time it looked classier, very striking and I couldn’t understand my previous ambivalence towards it.

The pen. The back resin is magnificent, deep and lustrous, more so than any of my other black pens, probably even the Visconti Midnight Voyager. The bright yellow, very yellow gold is a bit ‘blingy’, but I have warmed to it, even without my sunglasses. Oh yes, I forgot to mention that I’d bought it with the music nib, 21K and very yellow, on the basis that if I was going to try a Japanese pen, I may as well try one of their unusual and potentially interesting nibs.

It’s quite a light pen, fact maybe a bit too light un-posted, but then I always write with the cap on, it just feels better to me, like going out fully dressed! When posted it’s beautifully balanced.

Screw cap, needing two and a half turns to remove it, which I find ok and about seven turns to open the barrel. It has a straightforward rotating type converter that is simple and straightforward to use, without any dramas or hassle. It doesn’t have a majorly large ink capacity, but seems perfectly adequate to me.

There are twin Gold Plated cap bands, the broader one having the imprint ‘Sailor Japan Founded 1911’ and similarly plated solid clip and narrow band above the section. The 21K music nib is different to the current ones, with the imprint of the largish traditional anchor and below that 21k and the Sailor logo, and on the side it is marked, MS. Still a bit ‘blingy’ but I’ve got used to it and now view it with admiration. I now have a number of Sailor pens, all of which seem to be very solidly made, and this is no exception, build quality of a very high standard.

I think that the reason that I always write with a posted pen goes back to my school days, when if the cap wasn’t on there was a good chance that you’d lose it, but this pen definitely feels too light without the cap. When posted it feels really good, I seem to write with my fingers a reasonable distance from the nib, which also why I don’t have a problem with the metal section on the Lamy Studio which some people appear to have an issue with. Back to the Sailor 1911 Profit.

Music Nib

The music nib seems to suit my handwriting perfectly and does give quite a bit of line variation if used as it’s meant to, I just use it for old fashioned handwriting but am going to try it for my calligraphy practice. It’s delightfully smooth but with excellent feedback and to me seems to strike a perfect balance between the two enabling you to keep good shape and consistency. It lays ink immediately upon touching paper in either high position for a slightly finer line, normal position for a slightly thicker line and lower for a marginally broader line broad line. Maybe not a lot of variation though, when compared to say a zoom nib although as you would expect, horizontal lines are quite fine.


Music Nib

 This nib, as all broad nibs, seem to suit my handwriting style because it tends to exert some control, it has improved my writing considerably since I started using it on a regular basis, and unless I’ve forgotten something or someone, I would think that this is one of the finest nibs in my collection, and I have quite a lot of pens. An accolade indeed.

Review Sailor 1911 S  

UPDATE Sept 2013