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Pilot Or Sailor


Jay Jay
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I have been dithering around for a little while trying to decide whether the buy a Pilot or Sailor pen, neither at the cheap end nor overly expensive, and a pen that would be something I could use regularly (I use my pens to write a lot, all of them get inked and used).

 

My price range is (in Australian dollars) anything from $150-250, which currently in US dollars is, say $130-$230, or thereabouts. I joined this forum recently as it was good to know there are others that have my peculiar obsession with FPs and I saw the advice as useful and friendly.

 

I have a number of pens (my cheap pen obsession has got me a little stable of preppies, a couple of pelikanos, stypens, pilot 78G etc) and I have bought or been given over the years various Parkers (incl 51), an Omas 360, a couple of Pelikans (200, 300), Lamys etc. But it's a good Japanese pen that won't break the bank that I'm now after.

 

I've done a bit of research and think that it's either a toss-up between a Pilot 742 or a Sailor 1911. However, I'm also attracted to the slightly cheaper Sailors, Sapporo or 1911 medium. My main worry with these latter pens is that perhaps they are too small for prolonged writing. I don't have large hands and cope OK with the Pelikan 300 or a Parker 45 or 75 but prefer the feel of a larger pen though it's maybe width, hence grip, rather than length that's the issue. I say this as I also have a quite lovely Elysee pen which is long enough but very slim, which is why I don't use it as much as I'd like. And the Omas is a touch over the top for me, though I do love its shape.

 

So, I wanted to know what other people's experience was, to make a reasonably informed choice. Because of where I live, there's no way I can actually find a shop that sells Pilots or Sailors, apart from the odd Pilot VP which I'm not interested in. I can order through the Malaysian-based pen shops at reasonable prices (or HK) and they seem to carry all these pens. But that means I always have to factor in postage charges. The SE Asian stores will nearly always be cheaper for me than US or UK-based ones, or even Japan.

 

I also was wondering, if I went in the Pilot 742 direction, whether the FA nib was the go. I've noted various opinions, including that it can skip a bit, which would annoy me greatly. My preference is for nibs towards fine but not so fine they become toothy and not too wet either.

 

OK, slightly long post, but any input greatly appreciated.

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I am in the Pilot camp myself. I can tell you I own many pilots, 78g's, Prera, Ecrino's, 74's, 91's 98's, 742's, a 743, a 823 and an 845. I have found my daily pens are the 74's and my nib taste has change over the years. The FA in a nice nib, but I personally lean more towards the SMF or the SF.

A gentleman is one who puts more into the world than he takes out.

 

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Both the Pilot Custom 742 and the full-sized Sailor 1911 are excellent pens. I have owned them both and wouldn't want to choose between them. I don't think you'll go wrong picking them out of a hat. I also have a Sailor Sapporo. I have small chubby hands and it's a tad small for me unless I post it. I don't post my pens but the Sapporo feels better posted. I have used the Pelikan M320s and I didn't even post them. As far as the FA nib is concerned, my 743 has it and, frankly, I have not been able to master it. I do better with a vintage pen with slight flex. YMMV.

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I am in the Pilot camp myself. I can tell you I own many pilots, 78g's, Prera, Ecrino's, 74's, 91's 98's, 742's, a 743, a 823 and an 845. I have found my daily pens are the 74's and my nib taste has change over the years. The FA in a nice nib, but I personally lean more towards the SMF or the SF.

 

 

Thank you for that. Of course, the Pilot 74 is even cheaper than the ones I was contemplating, which can only make my Aussie wallet happier. Therefore, given my current preferences, perhaps I should factor in a Pilot 74 M nib. I can see the 74 can be had in a demonstrator style as well as the standard black model.

 

Do you think, given that it is a Japanese nib, it would write finer than most M nibs of the US and European-made pens I have? It appears to be the rule in what I've read.

 

Re the FA nib, as you say it is nice, can I presume you did not have any problems with it, ie. that it's simply a matter of preference rather than any inherent flaw in the performance of the nib itself?

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Hi Jay Jay, and a great big Welcome to FPN.

 

This pen isn't one you mentioned, but I thought I'd share my experience, in case it might be of interest. After staying away from Japanese pens for years because I thought I would find them too light, I went for the Pilot Custom 823, the vacuum filler model. It's a pen with a reasonable amount of girth, for people like me who require that. It is the most wonderful pen to write with. My nib has a Medium point, which is very smooth, and tolerant of rotational drift and meandering writing angles. Out of eight pens I currently have inked, it is the one I reach for most often. I'm not sure, but I think I smile every time I pick it up. It never disappoints. Good luck on your search.

 

Cheers,

Joe

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My Pilot 74 with an F nib writes like my Lamy Al-Star with an EF nib. It would follow that one with an M nib would write like a western F.

Edited by raigne
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Both the Pilot Custom 742 and the full-sized Sailor 1911 are excellent pens. I have owned them both and wouldn't want to choose between them. I don't think you'll go wrong picking them out of a hat. I also have a Sailor Sapporo. I have small chubby hands and it's a tad small for me unless I post it. I don't post my pens but the Sapporo feels better posted. I have used the Pelikan M320s and I didn't even post them. As far as the FA nib is concerned, my 743 has it and, frankly, I have not been able to master it. I do better with a vintage pen with slight flex. YMMV.

 

 

Thank you for that. I *do* post my pens, automatically almost - my little writing tic - so, OK, a Sapporo could be on the cards. My paws are smallish and medium, if you like ...

 

Part of the reason I'm asking about the FA is that both the Malaysian sellers appear to either only offer that nib only, or, more specifically, to not offer the plain medium nib, which is my preference. If it is hard to master, maybe a Sailor of some kind, or Pilot 74 is what I should be considering.

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Hi Jay Jay, and a great big Welcome to FPN.

 

This pen isn't one you mentioned, but I thought I'd share my experience, in case it might be of interest. After staying away from Japanese pens for years because I thought I would find them too light, I went for the Pilot Custom 823, the vacuum filler model. It's a pen with a reasonable amount of girth, for people like me who require that. It is the most wonderful pen to write with. My nib has a Medium point, which is very smooth, and tolerant of rotational drift and meandering writing angles. Out of eight pens I currently have inked, it is the one I reach for most often. I'm not sure, but I think I smile every time I pick it up. It never disappoints. Good luck on your search.

 

Cheers,

Joe

 

 

Hi Joe, thanks for the welcome. It's a nice space to talk and share.

 

The 823 is a touch out of my price range - but it's a fair point about the pen that makes you smile when you reach for it. The nib tolerance is also worth my consideration. I can write smooth and neat at times but sometimes meandering scribblish-ness is what my thinking writing process requires. OK, and oh dear, more to factor in. Perhaps the Aussie rouble might rise a bit (it is lifting as of last night's close).

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My Pilot 74 with an F nib writes like my Lamy Al-Star with an EF nib. It would follow that one with an M nib would write like a western F.

 

Cool. And Lamys do seem to go broader than others. So, that seems a confirmation on that score.

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I do have to note that, of my two Pilots w/ ~ traditional nibs (74 demonstraor and VP. I am excluding the M90 - which is FANTASTIC, but not what you are looking for, from what I can tell), both are M nibs and both write wider than expected. I would say they are more close to a Western M than an F. The Pilot Fines, however, are quite fine. I really wish more of their pens had the MF nib option, as I imagine that is what would suit me best.

 

That being said, Pilot nibs are to die for, and QUITE reliable.

 

I only have one Sailor - a Sapporo Fine. My first impression when I received my Sapporo was wow - that is small. However, it is a superbly made pen - great o-rings that give the pen a sturdy and reliable feel. Moreover, when posted, it is a solid comfortable size.

 

good luck. as others have said, you really can't go wrong.

Brian

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I am in the Pilot camp myself. I can tell you I own many pilots, 78g's, Prera, Ecrino's, 74's, 91's 98's, 742's, a 743, a 823 and an 845. I have found my daily pens are the 74's and my nib taste has change over the years. The FA in a nice nib, but I personally lean more towards the SMF or the SF.

 

 

Thank you for that. Of course, the Pilot 74 is even cheaper than the ones I was contemplating, which can only make my Aussie wallet happier. Therefore, given my current preferences, perhaps I should factor in a Pilot 74 M nib. I can see the 74 can be had in a demonstrator style as well as the standard black model.

 

Do you think, given that it is a Japanese nib, it would write finer than most M nibs of the US and European-made pens I have? It appears to be the rule in what I've read.

 

Re the FA nib, as you say it is nice, can I presume you did not have any problems with it, ie. that it's simply a matter of preference rather than any inherent flaw in the performance of the nib itself?

 

I use the 74 for price for performance. The nib selection took some time to find one that suited me.

 

A Pilot M writes about like a western F pending on ink and paper, but close enough. I currently tend to lean towards a soft Medium Fine or soft fine. They just work better with my style of everyday writing and use. I just had a 74 reground to an Medium italic for occasional letter writing, but would not conciser it for everyday use, just not a fast enough nib for me.

 

You can also find them in blue and the rare red 74's as well as the demonstrator. I have seen the Blacks with more nib types than I have any others. They are also the least expensive. But the demonstrator with a Con-70 in it is a really nice everyday writer, especially if you load it with a nice bright blue!!! Like Baystate that is loaded in mine (two years no problems)

 

 

Have fun in your search.

A gentleman is one who puts more into the world than he takes out.

 

http://clipart.usscouts.org/library/BSA_Character_Counts/thumbnails/cub_scouts_char_counts_co.giffpn_1364474496__woundedwarriorlogo03.jpg

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I have a Sailor 1911 21K (full size) with F nib, and a Pilot Custom 742FA. Very similar size, nibs completely different. I love them both. Never tried a 742 with F nib against the Sailor, but I have other Pilot pens. I have more Pilot pens than any other brand, although all but the 742 are lower end Pilots, and I only have 3 Sailors, one of which is a semi-disposable School Pen. If you get an opportunity, try one of each you are considering.

 

Donnie

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
Edmund Burke (1729 - 1797)

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I do have to note that, of my two Pilots w/ ~ traditional nibs (74 demonstraor and VP. I am excluding the M90 - which is FANTASTIC, but not what you are looking for, from what I can tell), both are M nibs and both write wider than expected. I would say they are more close to a Western M than an F. The Pilot Fines, however, are quite fine. I really wish more of their pens had the MF nib option, as I imagine that is what would suit me best.

 

That being said, Pilot nibs are to die for, and QUITE reliable.

 

I only have one Sailor - a Sapporo Fine. My first impression when I received my Sapporo was wow - that is small. However, it is a superbly made pen - great o-rings that give the pen a sturdy and reliable feel. Moreover, when posted, it is a solid comfortable size.

 

good luck. as others have said, you really can't go wrong.

 

 

Sturdy sounds good, maybe that's what I could work with. I do like the range of colours in the Sapporo, not that that's the main focus of my search.

 

There seems to be quite a strong vote for Pilot nibs, generally.

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Few things to note, Pilot's F is considerably finer than a western F, if you're not into hairline F, get a medium.

 

I have a Pilot Grance in M and F, also a 743FA. They each have their distinctive qualities:

 

The F is great for posting, sketching, or crappy paper writing.

The M is great for all types of usuage, my utilitarian pen.

The FA for me is a pen to be used with flair, because it has the ability to flex to a certain degree without much pressure, which makes writing/doodling fun. However, like a lot of people noted, the feed can't catch up with the demand so railroad tracks are often laid.

 

742/743's are pretty good sized; they're comfortable whether you post them or not. There's an ebay seller that sells 742 in all variety of nibs for $179 or is it $189 plus shipping, if you're interested you could go look for it.

 

Another alternative is to look for a Sailor Pro Gear-- I have no experience with that particular model, but they seem to have good reviews. They might be a bit small unposted though (I had a Sapporo, the smaller version) because they're only a tad size bigger than the Sapporo.

"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." -- A. Einstein

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I use the 74 for price for performance. The nib selection took some time to find one that suited me.

 

A Pilot M writes about like a western F pending on ink and paper, but close enough. I currently tend to lean towards a soft Medium Fine or soft fine. They just work better with my style of everyday writing and use. I just had a 74 reground to an Medium italic for occasional letter writing, but would not conciser it for everyday use, just not a fast enough nib for me.

 

You can also find them in blue and the rare red 74's as well as the demonstrator. I have seen the Blacks with more nib types than I have any others. They are also the least expensive. But the demonstrator with a Con-70 in it is a really nice everyday writer, especially if you load it with a nice bright blue!!! Like Baystate that is loaded in mine (two years no problems)

 

 

Have fun in your search.

 

 

I'm a bit restricted in what's available to me if I stick with reasonable postage and time frames, basically those Malaysian sellers and the guys in Hong Kong. They do black and demonstrator models only. And the nib size availability also seems restricted. As soon as I look at other sellers, either the postage seems almost as expensive as the item or the exchange rate (say, British pounds, tho' less so recently) isn't so hot.

 

Thanks for the heads up on the 74 nib. Close to western fine sounds right enough, if I go in that direction.

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I have three Sailors....all have sub par nibs. They include a Sapporo (FM), Sapporo Mini (M), and a Professional Gear (M). They were all purchased fairly recently, so I think Sailor's quality control is in the toilet. (I'll never buy another.)

 

But, I also have some wonderful Pilots: 78G (F,M, and CI) ; Custom 74 (M), Custom 742 (M), Falcon (M). Every last one of them has an outstanding nib, especially the Falcon. The Falcon is moderately priced and a great writer. You really can't go wrong with Pilots.

Edited by dsatco
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Thank you for that. I *do* post my pens, automatically almost - my little writing tic - so, OK, a Sapporo could be on the cards. My paws are smallish and medium, if you like ...

 

Pilot 74 may not be for you then. You can post it, but not reliably, and you may scratch the plastic on the barrel. I don't post mine. The pen still has decent weight to it and feels balanced to me without the cap, but I have small hands.

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I have a Sailor 1911 21K (full size) with F nib, and a Pilot Custom 742FA. Very similar size, nibs completely different. I love them both. Never tried a 742 with F nib against the Sailor, but I have other Pilot pens. I have more Pilot pens than any other brand, although all but the 742 are lower end Pilots, and I only have 3 Sailors, one of which is a semi-disposable School Pen. If you get an opportunity, try one of each you are considering.

 

Donnie

 

 

Hi Donnie, I'd love to be able to try, but no cigar here in Adelaide. There is one pen retailer left here and the only Japanese pen they have is a Pilot VP. I had one of those once, lost it (my bad), but was never entirely happy with the clip grip thing so I've never been inclined to shell out the cash again for another. Even in the other Australian cities I visit I haven't seen either the Pilots or Sailors I'm contemplating in any pen shop or pen section. The Kinokuniya bookshop in Sydney carries the Preppies and some slightly more expensive Japanese pens, but not these, at least not in any of my recent visits. Living on the edge of the known universe has both its advantages and, in this instance, disadvantages.

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Few things to note, Pilot's F is considerably finer than a western F, if you're not into hairline F, get a medium.

 

I have a Pilot Grance in M and F, also a 743FA. They each have their distinctive qualities:

 

The F is great for posting, sketching, or crappy paper writing.

The M is great for all types of usuage, my utilitarian pen.

The FA for me is a pen to be used with flair, because it has the ability to flex to a certain degree without much pressure, which makes writing/doodling fun. However, like a lot of people noted, the feed can't catch up with the demand so railroad tracks are often laid.

 

742/743's are pretty good sized; they're comfortable whether you post them or not. There's an ebay seller that sells 742 in all variety of nibs for $179 or is it $189 plus shipping, if you're interested you could go look for it.

 

Another alternative is to look for a Sailor Pro Gear-- I have no experience with that particular model, but they seem to have good reviews. They might be a bit small unposted though (I had a Sapporo, the smaller version) because they're only a tad size bigger than the Sapporo.

 

 

I've never dipped into eBay. And have no interest in the bidding thing. But if that seller does 'buy now' at a reasonable price, that could work. If they shipped over this way (a lot of people won't). Do you recall the seller's name? Or I'll gett googlin'.

 

And I also wondered that about the Pro Gear. But if I posted the pen, and it was a tad bigger than the Sapporo, maybe to add to list ...

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I have three Sailors....all have sub par nibs. They include a Sapporo (FM), Sapporo Mini (M), and a Professional Gear (M). They were all purchased fairly recently, so I think Sailor's quality control is in the toilet. (I'll never buy another.)

 

But, I also have some wonderful Pilots: 78G (F,M, and CI) ; Custom 74 (M), Custom 742 (M), Falcon (M). Every last one of them has an outstanding nib, especially the Falcon. The Falcon is moderately priced and a great writer. You really can't go wrong with Pilots.

 

 

That's interesting, and worrying, about quality control. I do wonder about a lot of quality these days. My experience with Pelikan has been less than wonderful with their more expensive pens. Though my Pelikanos are fine. I bought one at a discount/cheap shop in Berlin for less than 5 euros and it writes as smooth as, just a touch too thick for my heart-of-heart preferences.

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