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Sailor King Of Pen In Crimson Urushi


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Sailor King of Pen in Crimson Urushi



Sailor King of Pen resting on a Nakaya three-pen pillow in Kuro-Tamenuri. Lacquered tamenuri ink bottle rest is from Nagasawa Pen Style Den in Kobe, Japan. Writing pad is from Midori.


Having owned this particular pen for four years already, I thought it was high time that I reviewed it. Since many great reviews of the Sailor KOP have already been written, I'll just focus on the aspects of this pen that make it special for me.



Back in 2009, like many fellow FPN-ers I was swept up by the great Nakaya wave, especially after the inaugural Nakaya fountain pen clinic in the Aesthetic Bay shop of Singapore. I bought way too many tamenuri-lacquered Nakaya pens and became enamoured of urushi in general. Then I saw the Sailor KOP in Aesthetic Bay. It was love at first sight - the size, shape and balance of the pen was just perfect. And the crimson urushi was simply sumptuous...! But the price was quite untenable. After dreaming of the pen for a few weeks, I managed to purchase the pen off Tay's Pensinasia.com website for a much better price. My pen originally came with a medium nib. It did not write well out of the box (skipping, hard-starting etc.), so I sent it to John Mottishaw for adjustment. He did his usual nib wizardry and it came back writing much better. Now I could enjoy the pen!


Writing Experience (Medium nib)

After testing a few inks in this pen, I quickly found Aurora Black to be my favourite ink with the medium nib. With this ink, I would describe the writing experience as being bouncy and forgiving, similar to riding in a Mercedes-Benz rather than in a sports car with very rigid suspension. On certain types of paper (Kokuyo, Rhodia, Clairefontaine), the nib is close to glassy-smooth for me. Although the pen is large by any standard, it is so well-proportioned that it never feels uncomfortable to hold, even for extended writing sessions. The ink capacity provided by the Sailor converter is adequate for my usage.


Writing Experience (Crosspoint nib)

The medium nib provided a great writing experience, but after a few years I became slightly bored with the predictability of its performance and the fixed width of the line it put down. I thought about selling the pen, but then I had a brain wave! I contacted nibs.com and for a small fee and the cost of the nib John Mottishaw agreed to exchange my medium nib to a Crosspoint nib. Now I had the best of both worlds - the flagship of the Sailor pens, together with one of their legendary nibs! It took a while for me to get used to writing with this nib, but after the learning curve I fell in love with this pen again. Most people here probably know how the special Nagahara nibs work: the line they put down gets broader the more acute the angle is against the paper. At my normal writing angle, the nib writes a medium-to-broad line, just right for my needs. Should I need to highlight something or use my pen like a Sharpie marker, I just write with the nib at a lower angle. Flipping the nib upside-down yields an extra-fine line, perfect for marginalia in scientific papers or very fine corrections in the manuscripts I edit occasionally. After a while, positioning the nib to get a desired line width becomes second nature, much like shifting gears on a bicycle to get to the sweet spot between pedal cadence and effort. I have tested a few inks in this pen and now I prefer to use Sailor Blue-Black with the Crosspoint nib. Performance is no longer glassy-smooth with this ink but I actually prefer having more control over the nib on paper.


Crimson urushi finish and pen construction

The main reason why I bought this pen was because of the exquisite crimson urushi finish. Having owned several other lacquered/maki-e pens (Nakaya, Namiki, Danitrio, S.T. Dupont), I can confidently say that the urushi lacquer on this pen is of top-notch quality. The fact that Kato Seishou, a famous maki-e artist in Japan, hand-lacquers each pen with twelve layers of urushi lacquer probably adds to the quality of the finish as well. To be slightly more provocative, subjectively I feel that the Sailor urushi finish is slightly superior to that used for Namiki pens. I am by no means an expert on urushi lacquering, but I would describe the urushi finish on this pen as being thicker and more grippy, which gives it a very pleasant feeling in the hand. After four years of ownership the lacquer finish remains as flawless and perfect as the day I bought it, a testimony to the durability of urushi. Moving beyond the finish, overall construction of the pen is beyond reproach. The base material of the pen is ebonite, and the lathe work is excellent. Everything fits together perfectly. One thing I really appreciate about this pen is the inner sleeve within the pen cap. This inner sleeve rotates together with the nib section as the pen is capped in order to ensure an air-tight seal, minimising ink evaporation from the nib.



Since I bought this pen, it has remained inked and travels with me wherever I go in the world. The fact that I still own it after four years probably means that it will stay in my collection for a long time - much like a treasured companion which I can depend on everyday. It will be interesting to review this pen again after another few years to see how much of the above remains the same. Anyway, I hope you have enjoyed reading this review!



Unveiling the exquisite Crosspoint nib, contrasted against the beautiful depth of the crimson urushi lacquer finish.



Closeup of the Crosspoint nib.


Side profile of the Crosspoint nib.



Upside-down view of the Crosspoint nib. Note the "hammered" indentations and rough finishing on the reverse side of the nib. I have speculated on the existence of these indentations and think that it might be to promote ink flow to the tip. Any thoughts?



Superlative finish of the Crosspoint nib. I love the cross slit!



The obligatory writing sample from the Crosspoint nib. Ink is Sailor Blue-Black, paper is Kokuyo Campus. From left to right, the Chinese characters on the bottom read: extra-fine, medium, broad, extra-broad.



The Sailor KOP in Crimson Urushi juxtaposed with the Namiki Yukari Royale in Black Urushi.

Edited by shuuemura
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Thank you for this thorough review, but I would like to give you an extra special thank you for the caption on the photo that reads

"Sailor King of Pen resting on a Nakaya three-pen pillow in Kuro-Tamenuri. Lacquered tamenuri ink bottle rest is from Nagasawa Pen Style Den in Kobe, Japan. Writing pad is from Midori."

as I have been wondering what those pillow-things are and most of the time I see them and only the pen is mentioned.

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It is a really nice pen :thumbup: What has prevented me to buy one was and is the small capacity ink converter

Pens are like watches , once you start a collection, you can hardly go back. And pens like all fine luxury items do improve with time


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Great review of a really beautiful, unique pen!


It is a wonderful example of 'simple elegance' in design at its best....


Gorgeous color too! and that nib!.......


Thanks for sharing......




PS. As for the hammered underside of nib....think ol' Takumi in the factory came back from his yakisoba lunch break and forgot to finish that part..... ;)

FP Addict & Pretty Nice Guy




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simply executed elegance...in a bright red dress...but so much for my Wife (the love of my life!)...the pen is outstanding too! :D

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Thanks to all for the kind words! I'll continue writing reviews of the pens I own in the coming days - there's a huge backlog to overcome. :D

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A great review of a beautiful pen! Of all the urushi colors, I believe red is my favorite.

Currently using:Too many pens inked to list, I must cut back! :) I can guarantee there are flighters, urushi, and/or Sheaffer Vac-fillers in the mix!!!

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You have excellent taste in pens. I'm really tempted to get one. Even if my KOP Pro Gear seems a little bit big at times, the urushi is very seductive.

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Absolutely beautiful pen. I am exceedingly envious!!! Thanks for your great review :D

Mike :D


"If you're going through hell, keep going!" - Sir Winston Churchill.

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What a beautiful pen! I know I can't afford anything close to your Sailor but having someone as articulated as you describing the experience of using & owning one is the next best thing for me. Thank you so much :D



Edited by izad
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Wonderful review!


Regarding roughness of nibs, here are some before-after pictures of how the sailor specialty nibs look:


all taken from http://members.jcom.home.ne.jp/fullhalter/index.html









There are many more superb pictures on that website.




Edited by hari317

In case you wish to write to me, pls use ONLY email by clicking here. I do not check PMs. Thank you.

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A really nice review of one of my favourite pens - and in a fabulous urushi finish too. What not too like?


I certainly see an urushi KOP in my future...

D A N i T R i O f e l l o w s h i p

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  • 4 weeks later...

Stunning pen, for sure. I continue to believe that Sailor is doing this model an injustice by fitting it merely with a cartridge/converter, as opposed to a piston-filler, which would leverage its large size. I've been told that Sailor is conservative and won't change though. If they did, they'd likely steal business from the MB 149, IMO.

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