One day in early summer I was browsing Japanese web pages, and came across the web site of Morita Fountain Pen Store in Osaka. They sell the Professional Gear in light blue, inspired by the roof of Saltzburg Cathedral. Apparently the owner of the store is a Mozart fan, and 2007 is the Saint of Music's 250th birth anniversary.
I contacted Morita and they said they can send the pen to the U.S., as long as I can figured out how to send money to them. They do not take credit cards to keep their cost low. I looked for a way to send money easily about a week, to no avail. Finally I ended up asking my family to transfer money into Morita's bank account. Once they received the money the pen was here in less than a week.
The little blue pen was sent in a big generic Sailor pen box. It almost looked like a little kid in Mom's or Dad's shoes when I opened the box. I thought the color might look cheap, but it is a nice, tasteful light blue. I immediately fell in love with the color. I've heard someone described it as "Tiffany box blue". I think that's a good description. The trim is silver colored, which I love. The ring is engraved with a phrase "Sailor Japan Founded 1911", just like other Professional Gear pens.
(Photo by KCat)
I was a little worried that the pen might be too small, but with the cap posted it's a perfect size for me. The girth around the section is about the same as Pelikan M400. I can use it unposted if I have to, but it's more comfortable. I usually don't post caps but I do with this one. It is meant to be posted and there are threads on the back end so that the cap is secured while writing, a feature I really like.
(Photo by KCat)
The Nib (5/5)
Some people might think "smooth" and "fine" are mutually exclusive. That is not the case with this Sailor nib. My Mini came with a very wet and smooth 14K F nib. I might have gotten an F, but Morita version is available only in F, FM, and M. On smooth papers such as Clairefontaine and Rhodia it practically glides across the paper. It is rigid and has no flexibility whatsoever, but that is to be expected.
Filling System (4/5)
This pen uses cartridge only, and converter won't fit due to it's short barrel. Personally it does not bother me at all. I happened to like Sailor Blue-black cartridges that came with the pen a lot. I've also refilled empty cartridges with other ink. But for some people that is not desirable. The section thread is metal and "eye-dropperization" is probably not a good idea. So I took a point off.
MRSP of Professional Gear Slim Mini is 10000 yen in Japan. Morita sells their original as well as the regular Pro Gear Slims at 8000 yen. I also got a discount on shipping as I ordered two. So I paid about $70 per pen with shipping, due to the favorable dollar-yen exchange rate at that time. How many gold-nibbed pens you can get for less than $100 nowadays? I know Sapporo Mini costs a little more here, but still I'd say it's a very good value, considering how good the nib is.
Before I got my Mini I constantly had at least a dozen pens inked. Once I started to use this Sailor I just did not feel the need to have so many pens inked any more as this one is pretty much all I use. I flushed out most of them, and now I only have three or four pens inked including Mini. Like many people I tend to go through phases, and I maybe just in a mini-pen phase. But I think this Sailor Professional Gear Slim Mini is here to stay with me for a long time.
(Thanks to KCat, who also got this pen and provided the photos for this review.)
Edited by Taki, 29 September 2007 - 11:34.