What would be the one Sailor pen within my budget, which I could keep even if I would let go of all the other Sailors? Having not quite a smooth experience with a few Sailor nibs, I decided upon the exciting & costlier option of a Nagahara tuned speciality nib, instead of taking another pen with the stock 14k or 21k nib.
Below is a link to the review on my blog:
My last Sailor was a Pro Gear Sigma Slim which is reviewed here.
However, for these speciality nibs, you can have a long waiting period of not less than 5-6 months. I asked my Japanese dealer Raul (Engeika) to arrange for one as quickly as possible. Two things came out of it: he gave me a superb deal on the pen itself (not supposed to discuss the price) and told me to wait while he can add another to their current speciality shipment order to Sailor company. Within a month and a half, my pen was sent from Japan, customs paid off and it finally arrived at my address. Immediately I opened the package with immense excitement and flushed the pen/converter with plain water before plugging in one of the complementary black cartridges. The pen of course wrote like a dream !
The pen comes in a blue gift box, packed with two black cartridges, a converter and papers.
DESIGN - THE TAPERED CIGAR (5/6)
The Pro Gears with Speciality Nibs come in two standard designs - Gold and Silver Accents. I opted for the Gold Accented Pro Gear with the Naginata Togi nib, one out of the 19 or 20 Sailor speciality nib variants. The name Naginata is an anecdotal allusion the shape of the nib which resembles a Naginata Long Sword originally used by the Samurai Class in Feudal Japan.
The body is light and sturdy. It is made up of PMMA resin or Polymethyl Methacrylate which was developed by a group of scientists way back in 1928, which is easier to mould with heat. However PMMA is initially transparent when synthesised from petroleum, later dyes are added to impart various colours. Besides, it’s resistant to normal scratches with a hardness of around 4 in Mohs scale. So, technically you would probably need some iron or steel to make a good scratch on it. A keychain might work just fine in case you plan to test!
The lustre of the pen is chiefly manifested by the gold plated accents, though the resin does have an alluring gleam itself. The rings at either ends along with the clip and concentric cap bands deliver the golden convergence to the black beauty. I do feel that the pen has an understated look.
The cap is light and unscrews with two complete turns, revealing the dazzling nib gleaming in gold. A loop of glitter does mark the start of its grip section.
The cap band carries an imprint of SAILOR JAPAN FOUNDED 1911 and has a thin loop just above it for the pure aesthetics part. The finial carries a distinct raised anchor logo, painted in gold. The tension-fit clip elegantly rests on the cap, carrying their classical design. I like the classical clip compared to the newer Pro Gear 2 clips.
FILLING SYSTEM (4/6)
As a CC filler, the supplied convertor is limited by a volume of 0.6 mL. As of now, I am using ink cartridges which have around 1 mL of capacity. It does give an advantage to frequent ink-swappers or cartridge users. But the nib sprays ink like a water jet and it does not last long. The barrel unscrews from the grip section with four turns and reveals an usual metallic thread section on the grip and a threaded resin barrel. The nib and the front part of the grip have to be completely immersed inside ink to have proper converter suction.
NIB - ALL THAT MATTERS (6/6)
The Naginata Togi nib section is also friction-fit like others and it comes in a 21k monotone - silver & gold (and stunning!) finish across three speciality widths - NMF, NM & NB. Sailor does make absolute stunners here. The silver accented one sports a rhodium coated nib.
The tail end specifies carries the brand imprint of Sailor with the traditional elongated S and and the nib-composition (21 K, 87.5% Au) rests above it. 1911 and the Anchor logo are embossed near the circular breather hole. The scrollwork runs in between the body and the shoulders which well enhances the decor. And the tines elongate themselves to form the famous Naginata sword.
These nibs are tuned by Yukio Nagahara personally and you can also observe that some gold plating has come of the tip. All I can say is the pen is phenomenally well tuned with a wet flow. The tip has been designed with a semicircular cross section, to write two relatively varying withs - thinner verticals & thicker horizontals. And the overall thickness can vary with the holding angles from 0.4 mm to 0.6 mm. You can see the nib size NMF (Naginata Medium Fine) imprinted on one of the faceted shoulders.
A tight black plastic feed with closely spaced fins allows to maintain balance against air-pressure with a good buffer capacity of ink and even with the cap open for quite a while, it does not take any effort to lay a nice wet line. The feeder hole provides the ink suction for the converter.
The nib lays a smooth and wet line writing super smooth across multiple angles and widths, once it touches the paper.
PHYSICS OF IT (6/6) – RELATIVELY SPEAKING
The cap needs to be posted else it seems to lack both length and weight. The grip section is about 1.2 cm thick and is quite comfortable for extended writing. I like posting the Pro Gear like some of my pelikans. The pen feels very comfortable and posts securely.
- Capped Length ~ 12.9 cm
- Uncapped Length ~ 11.6 cm
- Posted Length ~ 15.1 cm
- Nib Leverage ~ 2.3 cm
- Overall Weight ~ 22 g
Capped, uncapped and posted comparisons with a MB146 run below for your reference.
ECONOMIC VALUE (6/6)
The Pro Gear with Naginata Togi speciality nib retails round US$ 298 and it is available at much lower prices if you source it directly from Japan. The only problem with these speciality nibs is the lead time of six months or so. I was lucky to have this pen in 45 days. I feel that it’s a value for money pen with an added advantage of having a nib tuned by the Nagahara lineage.
This stunning 21k nib is quite smooth at a normal 45 degree angle with a really wet flow. The horizontals run border than the vertical lines. The nib lays lines with widths in the range of 0.4 - 0.6 mm according to Sailor. At high angles the nib is smooth lays thinner lines and quite smoothly so. At really low angles the ink flows like water from a fire hose with the smoothest of experiences. On cheaper papers, I found some feedback at higher angles, which is quite acceptable and common across my other smooth nibs.
The NMF nib and is not as rigid as the H-M nibs. It has a bit of spring and a relatively softer touch. Being a wet writer out of the box, the Sailor NMF nib puts a line which takes around 35 seconds to dry Sailor Black ink on Tomoe River Paper. What I really like about the nib is the balance it is capable of drawing between wetness and smoothness. May be I will take up some class on Kanji sometime later to use the pen well upto its potential. Obviously it’s a fun nib to use and I have no qualms using it as my daily writer these days.
Thank you for going through the review.
You can find some more pen and paraphernalia reviews here.
Edited by soniknitr, 29 October 2015 - 04:37.