where nobody knows
Cause all you can see
are my nose and my toes.
Abbey Road died about a week before her first birthday from feline leukemia. She was an amazing kitty and loved putting on her vest and going for walks around the neighborhood and hiding in boxes.
A month or two after she died my vet called. One of their clients cats had kittens and they needed homes.They sent pictures of them taken when the kittens came in for their very first check up and they were tiny little fuzzy things. So my sister and I drove over to the vet's office to find six kittens in a pile, all climbing over each other, eyes open and amazed by the big world.
Suddenly two fuzzballs broke out of the pile and headed our way, one straight to me and then up my shirt to my shoulder, the second not far behind. The other four kittens simply went on with their game attacking those strange things that grew out of the end of the other kittens and was perfect to pounce on.
All the kittens were perfect, lovable, wonderful, cute, fascinating but two chose me.
So far this comparison has been like that. All of the pens are perfect, lovable, wonderful, beautiful and fascinating but two ended up choosing me.
The comparison begins with six Japanese fountain pens with medium nibs. To keep things simple, each is filled using a cartridge from the manufacturer. Three are from Pilot, two from Sailor and one from Platinum. I don't remember where I bought them but all except two came with a converter; the two exceptions were the Pilot Custom 74 and the Sailor 1911L. Fortunately I am not converter poor so that was not an issue for me. All of the pens have a monotone gold nib in 14K except the Sailor 1911L which has a 21K nib. The largest nibs are on the Pilot Custom 743 and the Platinum #3776 Century. The smallest nibs are the Pilot Custom 74 and the Sailor 1911S.
And so ... the Boring Details:
and the pens:
All of the pens were like the kittens, all near perfect and it would be hard to go wrong with any one of them. All had unique strengths and all had certain weaknesses. It really will come down to which chooses you; which most closely fits your needs. All cap or uncap in under two turns.
They all felt better in hand when posted...
... but they were all also long enough to use un-posted if that is your preference...
... and each of the pens had nibs that were tastefully done without being gaudy.
The six pens have far more in common than they have differences. All follow the basic Sheaffer Balance profile and all have the wide raised cap band popularized by Montblanc but of course with only two bands not three. All are moderately to very wet writers with the three Pilot pens the wettest, then the two Sailors and the Platinum while wet, not as gushing as the others.
Here are writing samples of all six pens on Clairefontaine notebook paper.
As expected, the actual lines are also pretty similar. In addition, all were very smooth writers.
So what were the differences?
As mentioned by me in the past, I find Pilot pens as shipped almost too wet. If you read my review of the Custom 845 I found it so wet I had to switch to a drier ink (Pelikan 4001) to make it even usable. These pens are not as wet as the BB nib on the 845 but were still the wettest of the Japanese pens in this comparison. All three, even the little #5 nib on the Custom 74 were wetter than the Sailors or the Platinum. They were not so wet I would feel the need to switch to something like Pelikan 4001 but they were wet enough that I never really felt I was in full control of the pens.
The Pilot Custom 743 was the largest pen in the comparison (actually the Pilot trio were all the longest in every measurement) and it also has he fanciest furniture with a raised section on the cap and body end bands and the writing on the wide cap band filled in to make it stand out.
The place the Pilot pens did all fall down is in the pocket clips. The Pilot pens have the most pocket unfriendly clips of the six pens.
The Sailor pens tested were both plain black and gold, the most tapered in looks and simply traditional. They were not quite as wet writers as the three from Pilot but still slightly more than moderately wet. The 1911L had the only non-14K nib of the group with a nice large 21K beauty. The 1911S had the smallest nib of the group, just a hair smaller than the #5 nib on the Pilot Custom 74. In use I always felt in total control with either of the Sailors.
Where Sailor really stood out is in their pocket clips. The two Sailor pens had by far the most pocket friendly easy to use pocket clips.
The Platinum #3776 Century had the biggest nib of the group with wider shoulders than even the big #15 Pilot Custom 743 nib. It also was available in the widest selection of colors but also had the smallest selection of possible nib widths and styles. Like the others it is moderately wet, smooth but with the most feedback of any of the six nibs. Platinum is also the only one of the three makers that offers an adapter that allows using Standard International cartridges in their pens. Since I have lots of them that is something I like.
Where the Platinum #3776 Century really stands out is in the nib. It really offers the best feedback of all of the pens in this comparison. It, like all the Platinum and Nakaya nibs I've tried simply feels like it was created just for me; not a separate object but rather an extension of my thoughts.
I said that Sunshine and Princess picked me. So which of these pens also seemed to choose me?
Surprisingly to me, the two smallest. The Sailor 1911S and the Platinum #3776 Century just feel the best of all six in my hand.
Edited by jar, 02 January 2017 - 17:02.