So far, no reviews on FPN, so I had my lame excuse to buy yet another pen. (You know how it goes: if there is a good review on FPN – that justifies buying the pen; if there is no review, well someone has to contribute to the greater good and check it out, right? As Dr Seuss put it: “somebody, SOMEBODY has to, you see – then she picked out two somebodies. Sally and me.”)
I am always on the lookout for a cheap and sturdy pen to use in the chaotic hustle at work and without having too much worry about damage or loss (been there, done that – it really hurts when it’s a quality pen).
My work-horse models: a Lamy Safari (EF nib) and a Platinum Preppy F nib, with cameo performances by a Lamy 2000 EF and occasionally a Pelikan M600 EF that pushes the price-risk envelope. Yes, I like smooth and extra-fine.
I haven’t seen any other low-end Sailor refillable pens and this particular range is borderline kitsch, especially for a dog lover who struggles to project a bit of machismo: there are 5 models, all with a cartoon cat and New York theme, designed by artist Takashi Kuge. They lean towards the “cheeky” and “fun” end of the spectrum, if not quite chic.
Fortunately my chosen model has a relatively conservative appearance: small black cartoon cat heads on a white plastic background – details that are only really clear on close inspection. If you like bright colors, there are red, pink(!) and blue themes as well. If you want to project a love of cats and fun, these are worth looking at.
Easy on-line ordering from JetPens as usual, and prompt delivery.
Packaging; a simple plastic sleeve – that’s OK, keeps the cost down and less rubbish.
The cap has a white “cat head” logo on a black background at the Tassie end that loosely evokes a Mont Blanc cap logo. The black plastic clip has a stylish white dot and holds firmly. The cap screws on to smooth threads.
Ink: Sailor proprietary cartridges (I haven’t tested these) but fits the standard, average-quality screw-mechanism Sailor converter (this point wasn’t clear from the website).
Posts firmly. The pen sits comfortably in the hand and feels well-balanced. It feels light but not fragile.
Fine F-2 steel Sailor nib has a hint of flex, feels solid and writes smoothly with a consistent “Japanese Fine” / “European Extra Fine” line using Noodler’s Marine Green & Black. There doesn’t seem to be a wider nib option. It tends to run on the dry side, especially if writing fast – but suits me well. It dries out quickly if left uncapped but starts readily fresh out of the cap. The smooth threads and barrel transition are comfortable to grip (unlike a Pelikan, for example) and the barrel diameter is average.
Comparisons: Preppy pens are larger, much cheaper (excellent value), write a wetter, wider “Fine” line and feel more sturdy - but one of mine cracked at the edge of the tight-fitting snap-on cap.
The Lamy Safari is bigger, very sturdy and reliable with an excellent converter - and bold colors – but an unusual grip. It is more expensive (by a few dollars) and would be the pen of choice if I could only have one pen … yes, apparently, there are people out there with just one pen. But I suspect that not many of them are reading FPN, though.
Cost $21.00 (includes one free ink cartridge – black)
Cartridges $1.50 a pair: colors black, orange, green, pink (!), sky blue.
Length capped 5 3/8” – 135 mm
Length uncapped 4 13/16” – 122 mm
Length posted 6 1/8” – 155 mm
Diameter at the threads 7/16” 10.5 – 11.5 mm
Weight loaded (convertor, ink): 15 gm
Overall, a suitable alternative pen for my preferences: light, something different – in a cheeky style, quality focused on the nib, producing an extra-fine line, reasonably priced. It will join my routine rotation for work, despite the risk of derision from colleagues at the “dog’s best friend” end of the spectrum. Now there’s a thought, Sailor: what about a dog theme? Or even a simple stylish non-cartoon model in this price range? Woof!
- New Yorker magazine: no implied affiliation (apart from me being a subscriber to that excellent journal) – I couldn’t resist the apt cover, I hope that New Yorker will understand. Cover art by Gurbuz Dogan Eksioglu.
- Dr Seuss quote from “The cat in the hat comes back.”)
Edited by MYU, 06 December 2009 - 16:36.