Attached is my review of the new Sailor Professional Gear Realo.
Here it is online with small corrections about jpg's at flickr and embedded in reply# 9.
Sailor Professional Gear Realo
<picture posted at flickr:f8flickr and in reply #9>
My Professional Gear Realo arrived the Monday morning after my Thursday afternoon online order of the pen, solidly packed by Mel Pens staff to withstand the rigors of the long trip from Kuala Lumpur. Opening the FedEx reinforced bag and removing the insulation and cardboard packing, I slipped off the light tissue paper encircling the midsection of the gold cardboard box reminiscent of Nikon’s gold boxes to open the solidly built inner case containing the cellophaned Realo with its information tag. My initial impression was as though I were in an up-scale department store sizing up the new pen after it was removed from a clear-glass show case.
Appearance & Design 10
Appearance is very polished black acrylic resin with gold trim tipped with a 21K Bold nib, marked H-B on left side of nib. The gold rings above and below the ink window are 24K. Also available in burgundy, the Professional Gear Realo has the distinctive cut-away cap with the Sailor anchor logo on top as compared to the rounded endpoints commonly seen on many other pens as well as the 1911 Profit Realo.
With its large feed, the Realo writes a consistent solid line of ink. List price is 30,000 yen, close to the $310 for the 1911 Profit Realo when it was first introduced a year ago. But why did the Profit version precede the Professional Gear Realo by a year? The roll-out order probably stems from the fact that the 1911 Profit is a high quality pen and that it is the most successful of Sailor’s pens; that is, they played the winner first. Currently, Mel Pens retails both the 1911 Profit and the Professional Gear Realos for $295 + $16 to ship to the U.S.
The acronym Realo is a composite of Reliance for heritage and reliability of product and of Locus for clear focus on a defined path and properties of manufacturing excellence. This is reminiscent of Unisys, for united systems (referring to the two computer architectures of the Sperry Rand and Burroughs architectures when the two merged).
Construction & Quality 10
The Realo has a solid but light heft when you take pen in hand, reassuring users that Sailor diligently maintains a consistent standard across their product lines. The look and feel of the Realo is definitely that of a quality pen at ease in a professional persons hands at work or displayed as apart of their dress. Some indicate a preference for silver or rhodium trim but I am comfortable with the subtle contrast of the small use of gold appointments as trim against the larger mass of black acrylic resin.
Weight & Dimensions 10
The Realo is 21.6 g, 135 m in length with cap closed, and 150 m with cap posted. The end result is that the Realo is a comfortable pen for sustained use.
Nib & Performance 9
<picture posted at flickr:f8flickr and in reply #9>
My 21K bold nib writes a line equivalent to my Sheaffer PFM II medium nib which is why I chose a bold nib for my Realo. As a lefty, I am best served by a medium and/or bold nib. There are no signs of ink bleeding, feathering, in my experience with the Realo.
NOTE: It would be nice if there were across the board international standards for nib sizes but the next best option is to understand the choices of the manufacturers in choosing the nib size that best fits your pen needs.
Filling System & Maintenance 9
Often the subject of comment, the Realo ink capacity is 1 ml. Some have expressed concern about this capacity compared to other brands. Certainly, a comparison of pen features is convincing and with the ink window to show fill status coupled with the wish to use different inks points up the advantage of a smaller ink capacity of 1 ml because the turnover time between fills is shorter. Once the ink window is clear of ink, I can still write a page. Compared to my PFM ll, the Realo writes 9.5 pages of 8X10 paper. My PFM ll writes 8.5 pages which, for the complicated snorkel system is good. Piston fillers are simple and reliable. The Realo is tight, no leaks, and reliably repeatable in performance.
Cost & Value 10
As noted, Realo lists for 30,000 yen. I purchased mine for $295 + $16 FedEx International and I got the bold nib as standard without having to special order it. Primarily, it is a pen that will prove itself over many years of usage.
Sailor is a successful manufacturer of fountain pens. They have an extensive line of products to match market niches, for example, King of Pens, Sapporo’s, Profit Realo, and Professional Gear, among others. They build limited editions, support product performance, and actively participate in pen shows to demonstrate the quality and performance of their nibs and pens.
Comparing my Professional Gear with my 1911 Profit Realo, the 1 ml ink capacity, the piston filler, and the ink window are the same in both pens, as are the 21 K nibs, as well as the 24 K rings. This modular approach, common to many manufacturers, enables Sailor to achieve an economy of scale that delivers a solid and reliable Realo.