First Impressions—I sought out this pen because I wanted a colorful, small, lightweight pen with a high-quality nib that would cater to my rather small handwriting. It came in a nice box with a converter and two ink cartridges.
Appearance and Finish—The Sailor 1911M comes in a variety of rich colors. My original pen was the dark blue; I later bought another in red, which is really a red-orange color. This pen has a very simple design, with gold trim, cap ring, and pocket clip, and plain black, bullet-shaped end caps. Except for the very stout cap ring embossed with "Sailor 1911" the trim is flush to the pen body and cap lines. The barrel screws onto a metal threaded nib section, not plastic. The grip is black resin.
Design/Size/Weight—This is a very lightweight (3/4 oz fully loaded) plastic resin pen that comes in solid colors. It is a mere 4 5/8” unposted and just a shade under 6” posted. Very large hands may find it awkward to use unposted. The cap requires extra effort to post securely. The pen is a featherweight when used unposted, and will not fatigue even the most tireless grader. The grip flows smoothly from the barrel and the cap threads with no step. Ink residue can accumulate under the gold ring at the nib/barrel section, so this area should be thoroughly cleaned every time the nib section is flushed to prevent annoying, apparently mysterious inky fingers. When the cap is tightened, the nib section securely seals against the inner cap gasket with a satisfying rubbery resistance. The cap does not have to be screwed down with a torque wrench to get it to stay put and keep the nib from drying out: a gentle twist will do. The cap requires two full turns to remove.
Nib Design and Performance—I selected a medium nib. Nib construction is 14K gold, and has the Sailor logo embossed on it. The medium nib writes narrow, comparable to a typical fine nib. (The Sailor 1911M medium and Lamy Safari fine write lines that are almost indistinguishable in width.) The medium nib is incredibly smooth, and has a little flex to it. It will lay down a very wet, yet not too wide a line. The feed has been very reliable, once both the feed and converter were thoroughly washed out with soapy water. With Private Reserve inks, I get a lot of shading with less saturated inks, but some shading is detectable even with blue-black inks. The nib starts reliably even after long idle times. Sample variation between my two pens is minimal: one pen likes to be held at a slightly different angle to be the smoothest, but otherwise the fit, finish, and writing qualities of my two samples are identical.
Filling System—The Sailor 1911M has a cartridge/converter fill. I use the supplied converter, which can be completely disassembled for cleaning, a handy feature especially when changing ink colors. Filling the converter does not require the entire nib to be submerged (dipping past the breather hole will suffice) and the nib and grip are very easy to clean after filling.
Cost/Value—This pen costs about $120-160 new depending on the source so shop around. The fit, finish, and writing quality are certainly what you would expect in this price range.
Overall Opinion/Conclusion—The Sailor 1911M is a simply styled, well-made pen that should appeal to anyone looking for a small, lightweight writing workhorse. One or two are at home in a shirt pocket, and will not feel like a roll of coins. I use mine for writing and grading papers; the Sailor 1911M makes the former fun, and the latter bearable. Writers with large claws may not find this pen as attractive as those with small- or medium-sized hands.
Edited by chemgeek, 21 May 2006 - 03:39.