I was drawn to the Sapporo after reading glowing reviews here at the Fountain Pen Network. I was impressed by the almost reverential tone adopted by owners toward their Sailor pens. Being a huge fan of all things Japanese and drawn to cult items, Sailor struck a chord with me. The Sapporo seemed to be the ideal entry-point, seemingly offering the full Sailor experience for a reasonable price. Having used this pen intensely now for several months, I'm happy to share my impressions.
Appearance and finish
I opted for the pared-down classic looks of the black pen with rhodium trim. With its distinctive chiseled looks, the Sapporo strikes all who see it as a quality item. Yes itís plastic, but impeccably finished acrylic of the type you might find in bullet-proof windows. And just as another reviewer suggested, hold it against a bright light and youíll notice that it is actually very very (very) dark red.
Design and size
The Sapporo is a smallish pen (124mm/4.87 inches capped) and needs to be posted (at 142mm/5.6 inches) to be comfortable. While users of larger pens may find it underwhelming, in my hand itís ideal. When posted the pen feels very well-balanced (at 19.7 grams). The cap screws-on in two and a half turns with a smooth and secure action.
Nib design and performance
Just as it should be in any fountain pen, the nib is the highlight. Big and beautifully finished, the Sapporo uses a solid 14k gold nib, plated on this model with rhodium. Itís easily the smoothest and most consistent writer I have used, laying down an exceptionally dark and saturated line that contrasts beautifully against quality papers. Casual users are always very impressed when they try this pen. The nib Iím using is a medium, which at approximately 0.5mm is equivalent to a western fine. Itís not dry and itís not wet, but feels just right. As with the weight, Sailor has achieved an excellent balance. Itís easy to believe, as some have suggested, that every Sailor nib has been tested by hand at the factory. The nib is quite stiff, with the slightest hint of flex, providing a very precise writing experience. Ink flow is unerringly consistent, never faltering or failing even after long periods without use. I have never noticed the slightest leakage, even with regular flying.
The filling system uses cartridges or the piston-type converter included. The converter is rather meager, holding (by my measurements) approximately 0.6ml. Cartridges (proprietary Sailor system) offer slightly greater capacity. Having used a wide range of inks, the Sapporo writes equally well with them all. Unsurprisingly, Sailor Jentle inks and Kiraguro (nano) black perform flawlessly.
My pen was purchased from Pen Gallery in Malaysia (good communication and swift delivery) for just over a hundred dollars. To my mind the Sapporo is the best value fountain pen in the Sailor range, offering a superb writing experience for moderate money. The slightly larger models with 21k nibs (such as the 1911 and Professional Gear) sell at more than twice the price. All in all the Sapporo offers excellent bang for your buck.
The Sailor Sapporo is an accomplished and exceptional fountain pen. The writing experience is smooth and luxurious, the appearance and finish are in themselves a source of pleasure. For the driving enthusiasts out there, if I had to compare the Sailor writing experience with an automobile it would be a 5-series BMW. And as just like the big BM, the only downside to this ride is that it can sometimes seem so effortless that the driver isnít needed at all.
Sailor Sapporo Specifications (with thanks to www.nibs.com)
Weight: 19.7 grams
Closed length: 124mm/4.87 inches
Posted length: 142mm/5.6 inches
Barrel length: 90mm/3.56 inches
Barrel width: 12mm/0.481 inches
Section diameter 10mm/0.407 inches
Edited by 1000km, 02 December 2008 - 01:40.