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Why Does Sailor, And Pretty Much Sailor Alone Use 21K Gold For Their Nibs


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#1 NedC

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 23:25

I've been curious as to why Sailor use a 21K material for some of their higher end gold nibs, I've had steel and 14k nibs from Sailor that are simply superb, steel, 14K and 18K nibs from other companies are also excellent. 21K is more expensive, more difficult to make into a flexible nib and given the same nib design and geometry probably more prone to being sprung or otherwise permanently deformed than 14K, 18K and steel nibs would be.

So why? Marketing? Gold buggery? Just wanting to differentiate their product? I suppose those could all be summed up under marketing.

I do have a hunch, but as I am neither a trained metallurgist nor a goldsmith, and though I know enough to effect some basic nib repairs and regrind nibs to my liking I wouldn't rate myself any kind of nibmeister, I can't be sure of how correct it may be. Sailor is unique in the market not only in the gold composition of their nibs but also in the variety of nib styles they offer, many of which appear to made up of laminations of metal, the Emperor, Cross, Cobra, Eagle, etc.. Does the higher gold content make it easier to fuse the layers without the heat inducing distortion or damaging the temper? Does welding 21K plates to one another make a stronger joint than would 14 or 18 carat? If you know I'd like to hear about it, It's either that apprenticing as a goldsmith or getting another degree in materials science;)

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#2 raging.dragon

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 23:38

I think it's marketing, a holdover from a time when brands were competing to see who could use the highest purity gold in their nibs. I think somebody (Namiki?) mades (and possibly still makes?) some 23K or 24K gold nibs.

#3 AltecGreen

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 04:03

The Japanese big three had a 'carat' war in the 1970's. Sailor eventually won with 23k nibs. You can find 22k Platinum nibs and 21k-22k Pilot nibs. Pilot and Platinum stopped making these high carat nibs but Sailor did not.




Danitrio uses 24k #50 nibs on their Yokozuna series pens. These nibs are made in Japan unlike the Bock made nibs in their other pens.

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#4 raging.dragon

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 04:59

Danitrio uses 24k #50 nibs on their Yokozuna series pens. These nibs are made in Japan unlike the Bock made nibs in their other pens.


I believe the #50 nibs made by Pilot and also used on the Namiki Emperor.

#5 AltecGreen

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 05:26

Danitrio uses 24k #50 nibs on their Yokozuna series pens. These nibs are made in Japan unlike the Bock made nibs in their other pens.


I believe the #50 nibs made by Pilot and also used on the Namiki Emperor.



The #50 nib is used on the Namiki Emperor but is not 24k.


It is not clear if Pilot makes the nibs for Danitrio.

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#6 winedoc

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 17:52

Pilot/Namiki does not make nibs for Danitrio

Here are some pics for the 24kt #50 nibs. Why Sumo? well "Yokozuna" means "Grand Champion" in Sumo. This nib is only used in Yokozuna range pens.

Compare to 18kt nib used in Genkai, Mikado and sho-Genkai
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Close up of the nib:
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I actually tried the nib and it is softer than I expected, and no I did not sprung the tines :-)
Sorry for my lousy hand writing.
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#7 Dillo

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 19:03

Hi,

Sailor also made 24K nibs at one time. They are very rare, and I've seen one to date.

The 21K nibs are generally made to be stiffer it seems. I think that 14K is one of the better materials for nibs. Although a lot of the characteristics of gold can be controlled by tempering (Which is what they did to the 24K nibs), 14K nibs tend to be, on a whole, more predictable in the way they respond to pressure and adjustment.

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#8 raging.dragon

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 19:04

Thanks winedoc, that's the first closeup picture I've seen of a Danitrio #50.

#9 raging.dragon

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 19:09

Hi,

Sailor also made 24K nibs at one time. They are very rare, and I've seen one to date.

The 21K nibs are generally made to be stiffer it seems. I think that 14K is one of the better materials for nibs. Although a lot of the characteristics of gold can be controlled by tempering (Which is what they did to the 24K nibs), 14K nibs tend to be, on a whole, more predictable in the way they respond to pressure and adjustment.

Dillon


I suspect this is why we see so few nibs using gold greater than 18K. The higher karat gold nibs obviously work, but they're probably harder to manufacture.

#10 Navegador

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 20:05

While on the subject: I'm seriously considering a Sailor Pro Gear and I *think* my version of choice comes with a 21k nib. Since these things represent a considerable expense ($250 for a... pen?!), are sailor 21k nibs in any way intrinsically fragile?

Thanks!

Edited by Navegador, 07 January 2013 - 20:05.


#11 Dillo

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 20:27

While on the subject: I'm seriously considering a Sailor Pro Gear and I *think* my version of choice comes with a 21k nib. Since these things represent a considerable expense ($250 for a... pen?!), are sailor 21k nibs in any way intrinsically fragile?

Thanks!


In my experience, adjusting, repairing, and using nibs, they seem about as durable as most any nib I have seen. There isn't anything that feels fragile about them at all.

DIllon

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