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Sailor nib choices in higher-end pens


Paul-in-SF
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Elsewhere on this board there is an announcement from a retailer that Sailor King of Pen Urushi is coming out with 12 different colors and a more regular schedule of production. The retailer is offering these pens only with Medium or Broad nibs. 

 

My question may be old news to others, but it is curious to me. Is this Sailor's limitation, or the retailer's? If it's Sailor's limitation, it seems a very curious (and counter-intuitive) marketing strategy, when nib variety is one of Sailor's strong suits. I would expect more choices at the higher end rather than fewer, especially if (for example) the retailer has the ability and authority from the maker to swap nibs in individual pens.  It would certainly discourage me from buying more than one of these in different colors, if I am stuck with the same blah nib choice.

 

Full disclosure: I am unlikely to buy even one of these, let alone several. But there are those who could and would, and my WAG is that this is not an insignificant number. Anyway, my question is driven by mere curiosity rather than real disappointment.

 

So, Sailor, what's up with this? (further disclosure, which should be able to go without saying but probably isn't: I don't expect Sailor to answer, and fully understand that answers from members are likely to be unauthorized guesswork, but they will probably be better informed than what is in my head so far.)

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totally unaware, and having not ready Karmachanic linked info, and even not considering special nibs, it especially strikes me as odd, given that most western users of Sailor pens appreciate them for the fine and extrafine nibs that cannot be found "that fine" here...

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18 minutes ago, sansenri said:

most western users

 

Ahh.  But Sailor is a Japanes company, and they do things the Japanese way for the homogeneous Japanese market/people, according to Japanese culture.  Ever had success buying a spare Sailor nib?  No. Because that's not the way of Japanese pen companies.  And that's just the way it is.  They are happy to sell their products in the West, but best not to expect them to adopt Western views, or bend to Western expectations.   Different ancient culture, habits and behaviour.  Of course, there are exceptions.  Producing cars with steering wheels on the left for countries that drive on the right for example.

"Simplicate and add Lightness."

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31 minutes ago, Karmachanic said:

 

Ahh.  But Sailor is a Japanes company, and they do things the Japanese way for the homogeneous Japanese market/people, according to Japanese culture.  Ever had success buying a spare Sailor nib?  No. Because that's not the way of Japanese pen companies.  And that's just the way it is.  They are happy to sell their products in the West, but best not to expect them to adopt Western views, or bend to Western expectations.   Different ancient culture, habits and behaviour.  Of course, there are exceptions.  Producing cars with steering wheels on the left for countries that drive on the right for example.

well, that was obvious of course... :)

but is there a reason also for the Japanese? with their writing characters they need the finer nibs...

Could we say that the pen is so big that it commands a wider nib? :wacko: :unsure:

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30 minutes ago, sansenri said:

Could we say that the pen is so big that it commands a wider nib?

 

 Seems logical to me.  Wider line and larger.  Sailor describes it as oversize.

"Simplicate and add Lightness."

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30 minutes ago, Karmachanic said:

 

 Seems logical to me.  Wider line and larger.  Sailor describes it as oversize.

could be, I tend to put wider nibs in my bigger Rangas... :)

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2 hours ago, sansenri said:

but is there a reason also for the Japanese? with their writing characters they need the finer nibs...

Could we say that the pen is so big that it commands a wider nib?

 

For this to be the case, one or more of these would need to be true:

 

"Oversize" pens are only used to write in Western alphabets; and/or

"Oversize" pens are only used to write in Japanese in a larger format than everyday writing.

 

In other words, these pens are not intended or expected for Japanese people to use them as everyday writers. They are largely decorative and used for special purposes, like signature pens are for some Western people. This could be analogous to having some small brushes for everyday, and a large brush for important symbolic writing. Is that the general consensus?

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I have no idea, Paul :)

it would sound sort of silly from one point of view (to buy such an expensive pen just for decorative signatures) and logical from another... (isn't it happening with some expensive and heavily blingy pens here?) :D

 

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4 hours ago, Paul-in-SF said:

"Oversize" pens are only used to write in Japanese in a larger format than everyday writing.

 

In other words, these pens are not intended or expected for Japanese people to use them as everyday writers. They are largely decorative and used for special purposes, like signature pens are for some Western people.

 

That sounds more plausible than anything else. In some Asian cultures, pulling an oversized pen out to write would be about optics and gravitas, and not ergonomics or comfort. You're signing a contract, or approving something from a position of authority, or otherwise issuing succinct orders and/or making terse comments as a man of stature (figuratively), so the size of the writing should be larger than everyday writing to reflect the nature of such.

 

You don't do that in the workplace as any ordinary salaryman who just happens to have physically large hands, and you don't do that when writing a chatty letter to family. The average user who needs to write larger can do so with a Broad, Coarse or Zoom nib on a Sailor Profit Standard or Professional Gear Slim already; and, in the boardroom, you would not want to be seen wielding a physically larger pen than the one the man at the head of the table is using.

 

There's a good reason why the KOP models are so much more expensive, when there isn't that much more material (including gold) that goes into them, compared to slightly smaller ones; they're not intended to be common or ‘affordable’ for everyday use, and so the official pricing conveys that idea.

 

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; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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The theory of the KOP being made as an Important pen for Important people seems to be in accord with the presence of coarse, semi-flex "Signature" nibs in 1960s Pilot Super 250s and E 250s (the high end of regular line models in their day). Big Bosses need Big Signatures!

 

Another way to look at it is that a broad nib can be reground into quite a few configurations (stub, oblique, architect, etc.) and either width could be reground to your favorite profile in a fine or extra fine width.

At the prices these pens command, a regrind is probably less than the sales tax...

David-

 

So many restoration projects...

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5 hours ago, A Smug Dill said:

 

That sounds more plausible than anything else. In some Asian cultures, pulling an oversized pen out to write would be about optics and gravitas, and not ergonomics or comfort. You're signing a contract, or approving something from a position of authority, or otherwise issuing succinct orders and/or making terse comments as a man of stature (figuratively), so the size of the writing should be larger than everyday writing to reflect the nature of such.

 

You don't do that in the workplace as any ordinary salaryman who just happens to have physically large hands, and you don't do that when writing a chatty letter to family. The average user who needs to write larger can do so with a Broad, Coarse or Zoom nib on a Sailor Profit Standard or Professional Gear Slim already; and, in the boardroom, you would not want to be seen wielding a physically larger pen than the one the man at the head of the table is using.

 

There's a good reason why the KOP models are so much more expensive, when there isn't that much more material (including gold) that goes into them, compared to slightly smaller ones; they're not intended to be common or ‘affordable’ for everyday use, and so the official pricing conveys that idea.

 

 

Okay, fair enough. Now I wonder how we fit into that model the expansion of colors to include Sunflower, Teal and Lilac, among others. Maybe female executives? There are a few around, I guess. I can't see any male CEO whipping one of those colors out at the board meeting. I have a nephew-in-law who is owner of a large chain of hair salons, and he wouldn't either. 

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45 minutes ago, Paul-in-SF said:

Now I wonder how we fit into that model the expansion of colors to include Sunflower, Teal and Lilac, among others. Maybe female executives?

 

‘We‘?

 

Those colourful Sailor King Of Pen Urushi models are for overseas markets only.

 

https://en.sailor.co.jp/category_product/fountain-pen/?taxonomy-detail=king

large.683718137_SailorKOPColorUrushimodelsareforoverseasmarketsonly.jpg.116401e08f974d65dc8386880e859a44.jpg

 

My earlier reply was specifically addressing why there are no finer nibs for KOP pens, and @sansenri venturing that it's silly to buy an expensive pen for a very limiting range of applications of putting pen to paper. It's not silly from a Japanese outlook, and so Sailor just don't bother making them at all, at least not for the domestic market.

 

Why the company couldn't be bothered offering finer nib options for overseas-only models is really a different question. Perhaps the company doesn't believe all that many Westerners want to write in European languages with such fine lines of ink, especially if they're buying such large and expensive pens.

 

It has certainly stopped me from buying a KOP for myself, although my wife has one (in that form factor, anyway) with a Medium nib, and that was the first Sailor fountain pen I ever bought.

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; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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The lack of nib options has stopped me from buying some of these high-end pens, but it's the same thing from the Big 3 and their "show pens." These are executive pens in the classic tradition designed to appeal to a type of executive/collector that doesn't get a lot of press over here anymore. I think Sailor is just starting to capitalize on the increased market for these sorts of pens by introducing the different colors but adding new nib options would be quite labor intensive, and they already had to go through issues with getting their specialty nibs back up and running. I'm sure that we could get some great nibs from them, but these pens don't need those nibs to sell in the markets they are targeted to. 

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10 minutes ago, arcfide said:

The lack of nib options has stopped me from buying some of these high-end pens, but it's the same thing from the Big 3 and their "show pens."

 

It doesn't have to even go all that high-end ,in the case of Platinum. Outside of the ‘entry-level’ gold-trimmed and silver-trimmed #3776 Century models (with single-colour resin barrels that are otherwise unadorned), you typically only get F, M, and B as nib options. No EF, never mind UEF; no SF, and no C. Essentially, if you need one of those nibs for the particular writing characteristic, then Platinum knows (or is at least counting on it that) you'll buy an ‘entry-level’ pen fitted with it, when you have to fulfil the technical requirements for a particular (‘business’) application or use case. Outside of that, buying a #3776 Century pen with a wooden, celluloid, ebonite, or gold leaf-covered model is just for show and/or enjoyment of owning and handling something pretty.

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; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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Another possible/likely reason for limited nib selection in these ultra high-end "production" pens is that they're likely made in extremely small numbers. If they're only making a small (50-500?) run of each style in a production year, how would they accurately forecast how many of each lower demand nib profile to make?

The reality of making all nib types available in these pens would be the potential to wind up with dead stock of some nib types *every* run, or alternatively the requirement of creating a custom ordering system to accommodate interest in these profiles without the potential for stock overruns, but with the increased cost of production that entails.

 

Obviously the larger makers have chosen to offer fewer options in order to make their production management easier, while other sub-brands or small makers have opted to offer all or most of their pens as made to order, or at least customizable products tailored to each buyer's preference.

 

 

David-

 

So many restoration projects...

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8 hours ago, A Smug Dill said:

 

‘We‘?

 

Those colourful Sailor King Of Pen Urushi models are for overseas markets only.

 

https://en.sailor.co.jp/category_product/fountain-pen/?taxonomy-detail=king

large.683718137_SailorKOPColorUrushimodelsareforoverseasmarketsonly.jpg.116401e08f974d65dc8386880e859a44.jpg

 

My earlier reply was specifically addressing why there are no finer nibs for KOP pens, and @sansenri venturing that it's silly to buy an expensive pen for a very limiting range of applications of putting pen to paper. It's not silly from a Japanese outlook, and so Sailor just don't bother making them at all, at least not for the domestic market.

 

Why the company couldn't be bothered offering finer nib options for overseas-only models is really a different question. Perhaps the company doesn't believe all that many Westerners want to write in European languages with such fine lines of ink, especially if they're buying such large and expensive pens.

 

It has certainly stopped me from buying a KOP for myself, although my wife has one (in that form factor, anyway) with a Medium nib, and that was the first Sailor fountain pen I ever bought.

 

you always take things very seriously, ASD (which is probably a virtue!), but I was making fun of the fact that it might be silly to buy an expensive pen just for signatures, and on the other hand I know and have met a relevant number of people also here in EU that use their costly LE Montblancs exactly for that only purpose! In the end, nothing is really silly to each individual according to his personal reasons. :)

 

On a side note, the KOP is still an option for me!, I do have a Sailor with a B nib and I find it's wonderful! (a very smooth "western M" which sees frequent use for my purposes).

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I do agree with your thoughts regarding not introducing many nib options for the larger king of pen. I still don’t know why they don’t introduce standard nib sizes like f or zoom for the KOP model, even tho as mentioned above, the KOP would usually be used for signature and a zoom would be beneficial. They did start producing naginata nibs for the KOP, but nothing as interesting as bent nibs or even stacked nibs. In my opinion, producing the annual ( 3rd time till now) sailor special edition KOP with a naginata is kinda useless or unappealing. It would have been so much better if they Introduce exotic nibs for the KOP in limited quantity and edition, I feel this way their higher end models would be more appealing instead of just changing colors and such. I think producing a limited number of bent nibs and stacked nibs like the cross and cobra would not haunt their production pace and make put them ahead of their competitors that only produce their high end pen in Mf, M and B (like the pilot custom urushi).  

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47 minutes ago, awa54 said:

Another possible/likely reason for limited nib selection in these ultra high-end "production" pens is that they're likely made in extremely small numbers. If they're only making a small (50-500?) run of each style in a production year, how would they accurately forecast how many of each lower demand nib profile to make?

The reality of making all nib types available in these pens would be the potential to wind up with dead stock of some nib types *every* run, or alternatively the requirement of creating a custom ordering system to accommodate interest in these profiles without the potential for stock overruns, but with the increased cost of production that entails.

 

Obviously the larger makers have chosen to offer fewer options in order to make their production management easier, while other sub-brands or small makers have opted to offer all or most of their pens as made to order, or at least customizable products tailored to each buyer's preference.

 

 

But why don’t they produce more exotic nib in limited quantity which would not hurt their production rate and put their brand ahead of competitors.

 

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