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Sailor Compass (Aka Profit Jr.)

sailor compass profit jr olive lime mf medium fine steel nib oblation

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#1 ahtzib

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Posted 07 September 2020 - 21:43

I was definitely not looking to acquire a new pen! But when local letter press and stationer oblation papers & press in Portland's Pearl District posted about the "new" Sailor 1911 Compass in their IG feed, I immediately decided to order one. I'm usually careful not to make impulse purchases when it comes to FPs, so why the Compass? Lots of reasons:

  • First was the color, which made an immediate impression on me. Though billed as "olive," it looked to me from the picture like it was a flavor of "lime." The picture was true to the real-life color, and I was ultimately pleased to add this olive-lime (??) pen to my collection.
  • I have a 1911M with a F nib and have been curious about the Medium Fine (MF)--the only nib option for the Compass, it turns out--but unsure about buying a 14k version as an experiment. This seemed to present itself as an opportunity to try the MF out with relatively little risk.
  • The Compass has some interesting features, like a clear feed and a matching converter, that made this budget model especially appealing.
  • Finally, I miss regular visits to oblation in these covid times. Sometimes a Saturday morning destination in its own right, sometimes an interesting and friendly stop on the way to a Thorns FC match, this PDX institution is just awesome and I was happy to find a random reason to place an order. (As an aside, I originally discovered oblation looking for a vintage typewriter and only then discovered it had a lot of pen stuff. Cool place, for sure!)

 

50283222398_7c7c178284.jpg

 

Since it was an impulse purchase, I did not immediately realize that the Compass is really just a re-branded Profit Jr. and not actually a new offering, per se. That detail doesn't really matter to me but I found it interesting. I did pay the full $49 retail, but with some additions to my order got free shipping. In addition to the afore-mentioned matching converter (interestingly, marked "lime green"), the pen also includes a couple of cartridges. Upon arrival, I was surprised to see how bulky its gift packaging was--seems like a bit of overkill, but I guess helped ensure that the pen arrived completely undamaged.

 

50284056687_038592669d.jpg

 

50283902876_a62cc4db7c.jpg

 

The pen itself did not disappoint: As part of Sailor's 1911 lineup, it's the exact same size as my 1911M (see photo above). The olive/lime acrylic is a really neat color and its minimalistic design is appealing. That said, there is no doubt that it's an economy model: except for the nib, clip, and thinly-plated cap band, it's an all-plastic affair. The acrylic, though beautiful, is very light and does feel..."intrinsically fragile." (Is that a euphemism for "cheap"? Yes, it is.) I have no doubt that a single careless drop will result in critical damage, and I suspect I may not have the opportunity to pass it down to future generations. This one lacks the FP heirloom factor and is reminiscent of the likes of a No-Nonsense. That said, what I feared to be a catastrophic crack in the section proved after a quick evaluation to simply be a crease in the acrylic from the molding process and, structurally speaking, quite sound.

 

 

50284055407_87010664db.jpg

 

 

The most interesting part of the Compass, of course, is the nib. (As it should be!) Though, again, with a simple minimalist steel design, the medium fine (MF) nib was instantly recognizable as a Sailor once I wrote with it. This was the gamble, and it totally paid off. I inked the nib using the converter and started writing: no alignment issues and really no sacrifice in writing quality that I can tell by going the steel route rather than gold. The flow is perfectly medium. (I will say that it took ~5 days to fully write the nib in, but I did not need to make any adjustments whatsoever.)

 

50284055347_9aa3684ace.jpg

 

The biggest question is whether the pen is a good value for what it is. The street price puts it at ~$39, so it's directly competing with the likes of the venerable Safari and the opaque Prera (both favorites of mine), which are both solidly built pens. So with that in mind...

 

Pros 

  • Cool color! (Whether "olive" or "lime.")
  • Distinctive Sailor medim fine (MF) nib.
  • Clear feed.
  • Solid clip.
  • Matching converter included.
  • Good size.
  • Lightweight.
  • Posts securely.

Cons

  • (Likely) fragile plastic.
  • Only available with MF nib. 
  • Thin plating on the cap band.
  • Bulky extra packaging.

In conclusion, I think the Compass is a great addition to the "entry" or "student" class of FPs. It's really different than either the Prera or the Safari, with a focus on the character of the nib rather than the durability of the construction. But the overall quality of the construction is still good and I feel that attention to detail makes this a pen a surprisingly good value--definitely at street price, but I would argue even at full MSRP. I honestly have not been able to put it down since I got it. That said, I would consider it an alternative or complement to--rather than replacement for--either a Safari and/or Prera. Highly recommended!

 

 

50283903021_5d0d3b4ace.jpg

 

A quick (positive) note on some inks: I've tried several inks in the Compass so far with fun results. The Compass seems to be reasonably ink-agnostic. I started with Sailor's blue-black (see brief writing sample above) but quickly branched out. I've had awesome results using Pilot's 100th Anniversary Hoteison, a saturated but nuanced green-brown ink. This ink looks unremarkable in many of my pens (which generally run wet) but is shown off to great effect when writing with the Compass. Pilot's iroshizuku Yu-yake (orange) actually looks great in the pen: you can see it in the converter and especially the clear feed. It is a perfect complement to the green acrylic and really pops!


Edited by ahtzib, 08 September 2020 - 21:04.


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#2 corniche

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Posted 08 September 2020 - 04:47

Hi Ahtzib,

While I'm not a fan of transparent pens; I am a fan of Sailors (and Pilots) - I'm sure there is an off-color joke to be found somewhere in that. :D

Is the Compass available in solid colors?

Sailor nib quality has always been excellent and I'm glad to see that spirit lives on with their budget models, too.

Enjoy your new pen. 👍


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#3 ashutoshthakur

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Posted 08 September 2020 - 14:51

Nice review! This looks like another pen based on Jinhao 992 or Monteverde Monza, mainly due to the bulb at end of the barrel body.

#4 ahtzib

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Posted 08 September 2020 - 18:39

Is the Compass available in solid colors?

Sailor nib quality has always been excellent and I'm glad to see that spirit lives on with their budget models, too.
 

 

As far as I can tell, the Compass is currently only available in the translucent color range. (At least it looks like US retailers are only selling this style at present.) But, again, this was basically an impulse buy for me, so I didn't really research the options...this is the color I would choose every time!

 

In looking back to find more info on the Profit Jr., I didn't learn much about other non-translucent colors...but it seems that the rebranding and US distribution also triggered a price hike. (Not really a surprise, as these things tend to go.) Here's a FPN review of the clear Profit Jr. from a couple years ago, indicating an absolutely bargain price when buying direct from Japan. (I'm not sure if the domestic price is still that low or what shipping to the states might add to that.) Certainly at that price, I'd have to concur with the previous reviewer's assessment of the Profit Jr./Compass: "I think it would be difficult to beat for pens in this price range!"


Edited by ahtzib, 08 September 2020 - 18:40.


#5 ahtzib

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Posted 08 September 2020 - 19:50

Nice review! This looks like another pen based on Jinhao 992 or Monteverde Monza, mainly due to the bulb at end of the barrel body.

 

Thanks for the response--glad you liked the review!

 

Just a clarification (since my title is missing the "1911" element): The Compass/Profit Jr. is technically part of Sailor's long-standing 1911 line (same dimensions as the gold-nibbed "standard" variety, which I tried to illustrate in one of the photos above). So, this particular design has basically been in continuous production since Sailor introduced it around 1981.

 

Speculation about influence on the "cigar"- or "torpedo"-shape pen design is a topic of long and wide-ranging debate around here (see for example this thread from 2011), but the idiom has definitely been a part of the FP design milieu for a long time and it's often a little tricky to determine who is influencing whom!


Edited by ahtzib, 08 September 2020 - 19:56.


#6 inkstainedruth

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Posted 08 September 2020 - 20:24

Thanks for the review, ahtzib.  I've seen the e-ads for these from a couple of different vendors.  Like corniche, I'm not a big fan of translucent pens (they always seem to look "cheap" to me).  But I do kinda like some of the colors, and the pens are certainly inexpensive enough (certainly a LOT less expensive than the Pelikan M200 SE pens designed to go with the Edelstein Ink of the Year selections).  Do you know what nib widths these come in? (I'm presuming not the more exotic nibs like zoom or music).

I'm glad that you posted a photo with the other two pens.  I have a couple of Safaris and like them, and that gives me a good feel for what the size and weight of the Compass will be.

@ ashutoshthakur -- "Cigar"/"torpedo"-shaped pens are a long standing design; it's basically the same shape as vintage Sheaffer Balance, Snorkel, and Touchdown pens, and there are probably other vintage makes and models as well.

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#7 Olya

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Posted 08 September 2020 - 20:50

Nice review! This looks like another pen based on Jinhao 992 or Monteverde Monza, mainly due to the bulb at end of the barrel body.

Sailor was first though. The "Compass" (US name)/ "Profit Jr" (everywhere else) has been on the market in different iterations, e.g. the ProColor/Shikiori is the same and has had a blue demo forever.

 

The Compass is an extension of that, just with another nib (same as Lecoule).

They seem to be expanding their line into school kid stuff, to better compete with the Preppy/Prefounte and Kakuno/Prera etc.

 

This same design is also used for the more expensice 1911s/l.

 

So, Sailor was first and the others came later.



#8 ahtzib

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Posted 08 September 2020 - 20:53

 Do you know what nib widths these come in? (I'm presuming not the more exotic nibs like zoom or music).

 

Only nib size available: medium fine (MF).

(I wish there was an option for music, too, but alas!)

 

I've updated the review to make that clearer.

Thanks for the feedback!


Edited by ahtzib, 08 September 2020 - 21:05.


#9 A Smug Dill

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Posted 09 September 2020 - 00:28

Is the Compass available in solid colors?

 
Not branded as the Compass, no.
 
If it's the actual writing instrument and not the marketing name (or an authorised local dealer for the model), then yes:
https://www.sailor.co.jp/lineup/fountainpen/12-0222

By the way, those are new colours for that product line; in the past there was only the totally transparent (toh-mei-kan) and translucent coloured models with the Profit Junior name, and opaque black and opaque red with the Professor name (that was more expensive than the Profit Junior and not in the standard catalogue in Japan, and I'm not sure whether production has since been discontinued).
 

Here's a FPN review of the clear Profit Jr. from a couple years ago, indicating an absolutely bargain price when buying direct from Japan. (I'm not sure if the domestic price is still that low

I directly ordered from Japan. Rakuten.
The name of the shop is “you STYLE”

 

¥1,485 inclusive of domestic consumption tax. (MSRP is ¥2,200.)


Edited by A Smug Dill, 09 September 2020 - 00:32.

As always:  1. Implicit in everything and every instance I write on FPN is the invitation for you to judge me as a peer in the community. I think it's only due respect to take each other's written word in online discussion seriously and apply critical judgment.  2. I do not presume to judge for you what is right, correct or valid. If I make a claim, or refute a statement in a thread, and link to references and other information in support, I beseech you to review and consider those, and judge for yourself. I may be wrong. My position or say-so carries no more weight than anyone else's here, and external parties can speak for themselves with what they have published.  3. I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable. If it is something you can test for yourself and see the results, I entreat you to do so.


#10 corniche

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Posted 09 September 2020 - 13:22

Hi all,

I've never "consummated" a deal with these guys, but I did buy a couple pens over the weekend and I got shipping notifications, so I'm encouraged. :)

Here are the Compass pens for $10 less:

https://www.truphaei...11-fountain-pen


- Sean :)
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#11 inkstainedruth

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Posted 09 September 2020 - 18:34

Hi all,

I've never "consummated" a deal with these guys, but I did buy a couple pens over the weekend and I got shipping notifications, so I'm encouraged. :)

Here are the Compass pens for $10 less:

https://www.truphaei...11-fountain-pen


- Sean :)

That's roughly the same US price as at Goulet Pens and I think Pen Boutique (so far).

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#12 Paul-in-SF

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Posted 09 September 2020 - 20:06

I just looked up Sailor Profit Junior on Rakuten Global Market (which actually brought up https://www.fromjapan.co.jp/en/rakuten), all I could find was clear, 7 translucent colors, and solid red or solid black. The shop you STYLE is carrying them at under $15, and the shipping estimator showed shipping would be under $7. That might be more if the packaging is as big as the one the OP received. 

 

There was also a note about a curious prohibition against shipping anything containing ink overseas from Japan. First I've heard of it. If the pen includes a cartridge as well as a converter, one may be out of luck. I didn't try actually ordering one. 



#13 corniche

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Posted 09 September 2020 - 21:18

That's roughly the same US price as at Goulet Pens and I think Pen Boutique (so far).
Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth


Hi Ruth, et al,

Ok, good. Yeah, I only checked Truphae because I happened to be there anyways, buying a couple pens I couldn't find elsewhere, so it seems $40 is the going rate - money well spent for a Sailor nib - if you ask me. :thumbup:

ETA: IF you can get around the translucent plastic. :D The darker colors probably aren't so bad - I enjoy my 3776 Century's and their translucent. :)


- Sean :)

Edited by corniche, 10 September 2020 - 07:43.

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"Every one therefore that shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father Who is in Heaven." - MT. 10:32

"Any society that will give up liberty to gain security deserves neither and will lose both." - Ben Franklin

#14 Dimy

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Posted 10 September 2020 - 09:35

That looks nice. I personally like green color with demonstrator when made ED. So what do you think can it be converted into one plus the price value for sailor nib sounds fair to me.

 

Nice review thanks for that.



#15 A Smug Dill

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Posted 10 September 2020 - 10:58

So what do you think can it be converted into one

 

I thought the whole point of filling the barrel of a c/c-filled fountain pen with ink directly is to avoid 'converting'.  :)

 

But, yes, you can use the Sailor Profit Junior in such a manner.


As always:  1. Implicit in everything and every instance I write on FPN is the invitation for you to judge me as a peer in the community. I think it's only due respect to take each other's written word in online discussion seriously and apply critical judgment.  2. I do not presume to judge for you what is right, correct or valid. If I make a claim, or refute a statement in a thread, and link to references and other information in support, I beseech you to review and consider those, and judge for yourself. I may be wrong. My position or say-so carries no more weight than anyone else's here, and external parties can speak for themselves with what they have published.  3. I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable. If it is something you can test for yourself and see the results, I entreat you to do so.


#16 corniche

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Posted 10 September 2020 - 12:39

That looks nice. I personally like green color with demonstrator when made ED. So what do you think can it be converted into one plus the price value for sailor nib sounds fair to me.
 
Nice review thanks for that.


Hi Dimy,

Yes. As long as the section, section threading and barrel, (dont forget to look inside with a penlight), are all plastic, with NO metal parts; you can convert the pen to an eyedropper. Just make sure the barrel doesn't have a breather hole. ;)

Naturally, this one meets those parameters; as do many others.


- Sean :)
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"Every one therefore that shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father Who is in Heaven." - MT. 10:32

"Any society that will give up liberty to gain security deserves neither and will lose both." - Ben Franklin

#17 A Smug Dill

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Posted 10 September 2020 - 16:20

That might be more if the packaging is as big as the one the OP received. 
 
There was also a note about a curious prohibition against shipping anything containing ink overseas from Japan. First I've heard of it.


You Style (on the now-defunct, English-language Rakuten Global Market, as opposed to Rakuten Ichiba which is the domestic-facing Japanese-language marketplace) stopped offering to directly export/ship online orders internationally late in 2018. Rakuten Global Express — the affiliated forwarding service that customers were, um, "strongly encouraged" to us, caused me plenty of grief over the ink issue early in 2019, costing me money and opportunity and left me ultimately not receiving what I ordered.

Pensachi had no issue with sending me bottled ink from Japan in August and September 2019. However, it has stopped shipping ink to customers overseas some time since COVID-19 became a global crisis, citing that even the more expensive "expedited shipping" service provider is refusing to provide carriage for ink.
 

If the pen includes a cartridge as well as a converter, one may be out of luck. I didn't try actually ordering one.


I'm pretty sure you won't get a converter in the package if you're ordering a Sailor Profit Junior (11-8022-xxx) from Japan. (I ordered five of the coloured translucent ones, as well as a colourless transparent one, from Amazon Japan last year. No converter, just two ink cartridges in the retail box with each.) That's one of the reasons why the domestic pricing for entry-level, "school pen" grade products and middle-tier pens are often low in Japan. Even the 'basic' gold-nibbed Platinum #3776 Century and Sailor Professional Gear models don't come with converters as 'standard' in their respective retail packages.


As always:  1. Implicit in everything and every instance I write on FPN is the invitation for you to judge me as a peer in the community. I think it's only due respect to take each other's written word in online discussion seriously and apply critical judgment.  2. I do not presume to judge for you what is right, correct or valid. If I make a claim, or refute a statement in a thread, and link to references and other information in support, I beseech you to review and consider those, and judge for yourself. I may be wrong. My position or say-so carries no more weight than anyone else's here, and external parties can speak for themselves with what they have published.  3. I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable. If it is something you can test for yourself and see the results, I entreat you to do so.


#18 Dimy

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Posted 11 September 2020 - 02:37

Hi Dimy,

Yes. As long as the section, section threading and barrel, (dont forget to look inside with a penlight), are all plastic, with NO metal parts; you can convert the pen to an eyedropper. Just make sure the barrel doesn't have a breather hole. ;)

Naturally, this one meets those parameters; as do many others.


- Sean :)


Thanks sean, I thought as much too, its quite important for me if I want to use the pen daily (which I do for such pens). As much as I like sailor nibs I hate the convertors with their low ink volume and proprietary system making me stuck with small volume converter and cartridge (I know many like small volume but for me its refills between my writing sessions, I enjoy refilling after writing or before...not in between).....sigh this is ranting honestly but I wish they made a large capacity converter already.

#19 A Smug Dill

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Posted 11 September 2020 - 03:29

As much as I like sailor nibs I hate the convertors with their low ink volume and proprietary system making me stuck with small volume converter and cartridge


Sailor does have Realo piston-filler models in both the Profit (aka 1911) and Professional Gear product lines; and of course their 21K gold nibs are superb.
 
In any case, even if the connector specifications on Sailor feeds (for c/c-filled models) are were not proprietary but "international standard" 2.4mm bore, I doubt whether the random (say) German-made "international standard" converter of larger volume would fit inside the pen barrels as-is.


Edited by A Smug Dill, 11 September 2020 - 05:32.

As always:  1. Implicit in everything and every instance I write on FPN is the invitation for you to judge me as a peer in the community. I think it's only due respect to take each other's written word in online discussion seriously and apply critical judgment.  2. I do not presume to judge for you what is right, correct or valid. If I make a claim, or refute a statement in a thread, and link to references and other information in support, I beseech you to review and consider those, and judge for yourself. I may be wrong. My position or say-so carries no more weight than anyone else's here, and external parties can speak for themselves with what they have published.  3. I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable. If it is something you can test for yourself and see the results, I entreat you to do so.


#20 BlueJ

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Posted 11 September 2020 - 05:30

Sailor cartridges and convertors are definitely not Standard International; the Sailors have a much wider mouth.

 

The cartridge holds more than the converter and can be refilled with the ink of your choice using a broad syringe or fine-tipped eyedropper. After installing the cartridge you can saturate the feed with ink from the eyedropper to establish capillarity and get the maximum possible capacity in this mode.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: sailor, compass, profit jr, olive, lime, mf, medium fine, steel nib, oblation



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