Posts filed under Sailor

Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe Review

I don’t normally buy blingy pens, but when I do, it’s the Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe.

I first saw this pen at the 2013 Atlanta Pen Show. Mike Masuyama, who rarely sells pens, had this one sitting on his table. I picked it up, becasue, well, it’s gorgeous, and loved the feel of it. It was my first pen show, and there weren’t many Sailor’s available to purchase, so I asked Mike the price.


I put the pen right back down. Not today, but not forgotten.

I didn’t even know what the name of this particular Sailor pen was, but the design was distinctive and stuck with me. It was shiny, yes, but in a sublte way. And it had a nice heft to it, unlike the Pro Gear Slim (aka Sapporo), which was the extent of my Sailor experience up to that point.

Fast forward to May of this year. I was scrolling through the Fountain Pen Network Classifieds (bad idea for your wallet!) and ran across a Sailor pen I had seen before. And it had a name: The Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe. It looked to be in great shape, the price was fair ($350), and I had it on the way nearly as quickly as I found it. I wasn’t passing it up for the second time.

The standout feature of the Regency Stripe is the rhodium stripe and barley corn pattern that adorns the barrel. It is as stunning to look at as it is to hold. There is some weight to it as I mentioned earlier, but it’s not too much. It gives it that “just right” feel when writing with it.

Mine came with a broad nib, which wouldn’t have been my first choice, but I never have an issue getting the pen I want and worrying about the nib later. The broad was ok as-is, but I shipped it off to my friend Dan Smith at The Nibsmith to give it a little cursive italic love to fit my writing style better. Dan delivered a sharp, juicy nib that is a pleasure to write with.

Would I have purchased this pen without the opportunity to have held it in Atlanta several years ago? I think the odds are very low that I would have. That’s a lot of money to shell out sight unseen. This is why pen shows are great. You learn more than you buy, and that is valuable when it comes to making purchasing decisions in the future. This was a decision I was very happy with, and I’m not the only one.

Posted on October 5, 2015 and filed under Pen Reviews, Fountain Pens, Sailor.

Sailor Pen and Message Cigar Ink Review

(This is a guest post by Felix Jen. Felix is a fountain pen and ink enthusiast. You can find him at his blog, Inks and Pens, or at his Instagram.)

Sailor, the Japanese pen and ink manufacturer, has gotten themselves quite a reputation with their hard-to-find store-exclusive inks such as Bungbox Sapphire and Pen-and-Message inks. Sailor's Pen and Message Cigar is a brown ink with a great depth of color and a very subtle color change.

When I was first sent a sample of this ink, I didn't really know what to think about it. It seemed like a murky green in the vial that looked a bit unappealing, but once I filled a pen up with it, my opinion totally changed. The ink lays does lay down as a shade of dark green and quickly changes to a brown color as it dries. I was completely shocked as there aren't many inks that change colors so quickly.

The ink is a deep brown with some definite green undertones as well as a light blue tint. This is actually one of the nicer browns with a great deal of depth to it, unlike some inks in the color range.

A paper chromatography test of this ink confirms the presence of green and blue. The chromatography is actually all over the place, with yellow, orange, blue, green, and brown!

This review was written in a Pilot Parallel 1.5mm on HP 32lb Premium Choice Laser.

On paper, the ink behaves wonderfully. There is not a bit of feathering or bleed-through, even on the extremely wet parts of the page. There is a little bit of show-through but nothing too major. With thinner papers like Tomoe River, you can clearly see what is written on the reverse side. The ink cleans out easily from converters and does not stain, unlike some Noodler's inks.

Shading is not this ink's strong point. The ink barely has any shading, from a light brown to a darker blackish color. The dry time is a bit long, averaging at around 20 seconds on this paper and 19 seconds on Rhodia. When using finer nibs, the dry time is significantly reduced, to around 13 seconds with an Medium.

This ink's water test is also an enigma. The test was done with drops of water placed on the page for about 20 seconds then wiped away with a tissue. Strangely, much of the brown in the ink washes away but leaves a water-resistant blue-gray portion. The lines can still clearly be seen and there is barely any smearing of the brown.

Sailor Pen and Message Cigar is truly a one-of-a-kind ink with a beautiful color and outstanding behavior. You can find this ink directly from Pen and Message for 2160¥ in a 50mL bottle. They are out of stock at the time of this writing, but will be accepting "preorders" in August 2015.

Posted on August 27, 2015 and filed under Guest Post, Ink Reviews, Sailor.

Sailor Professional Gear Transparent Orange Review

Sailor Pro Gear Transparent Orange.jpg

Being the fan of Japanese pens that I am it’s no surprise how much I enjoy the Sailor brand of pens. I’ve owned or tested most of their main line products, and there is no better fit for me personally than the barrel size, shape, and weight of the Pro Gear.

The Sailor Pro Gear Slim is smaller, lighter, and narrower, as is the 1911 Standard. The 1911 Large is similar in feel and weight, but the rounded end caps aren’t as aesthetically pleasing to me. The only one I haven’t compared side by side to the Pro Gear (King of Pens excluded) are any of the Realo models, which are similar in size to its Professional Gear and 1911 conterparts but use a piston filling system.

All of this is to say that everything about the Pro Gear fits what I am looking for in a pen to a tee.

The Transparent Orange model has been on my shopping list since I became interested in fountain pens several years ago. It’s loud and scary and breaks every traditional fountain pen mold. And I love it for that. The pink and green models are just as vibrant and I would be happy to own any or all of them and flaunt them whenever I could.

Goldspot Pens kindly loaned me this pen with a medium 21k gold nib for review. I inked it up with one of my favorite inks - Sailor Jentle Blue Black - and it wrote perfectly right out of the box. Japanese medium nibs are a sweet spot in my opinion. Fine enough to maintain nice line control, and wide enough to show off the ink on the page. And just look at that nib - it’s beautiful!

Being the fan of demonstrator pens that I am, I’m used to seeing converters and other internal mechanics inside pen barrels. With this Pro Gear, I have to say seeing the converter inside isn’t the greatest visual. Would I prefer a piston mechanism instead? Sure, but this is a small con in what is a pen full of pros. When I’m writing with it I don’t notice it at all.

All in all, borrowing this pen from Goldspot has only confirmed that I want to add one to my collection. It looks great, writes wonderfully, and is an excellent example of a Japanese brand having fun with a traditional writing instrument.

My thanks to Goldspot Pens for loaning me this pen for the purposes of this review.

Posted on July 27, 2015 and filed under Pen Reviews, Sailor.

Sailor Bung Box Hatsukoi "First Love" Sapphire Ink Review

(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)

I can't remember where I first saw a photograph of Bung Box Sapphire–Twitter or Instagram or a Web site–but I immediately fell in love with it, apparently a common experience with this ink. The minute I got the email from Vanness Pens that a box had arrived I ordered some. It's a good thing, too, since their entire stock of Sapphire sold out the same day.

A little history about Bung Box Sapphire: apparently, the owner of the Bung Box store fell in love with Parker Penman Sapphire, so she tried to recreate the color. She called it Hatsukoi, which means "first love" (Bung Box Facebook Page), since that is the emotion the color evoked in her. I think most fountain pen lovers can relate to this experience, whether we fall in love with a particular ink color or a specific pen (or several).

An insert included with the ink tells the story of its name

An insert included with the ink tells the story of its name

The Bung Box Sapphire ink bottle is a work of art. Compared to the usual Sailor Jentle ink bottles, these glass bottles are like miniature vases or containers for fancy perfume. I know I won't throw mine away when I've used up all the ink.

One of the best characteristics of Bung Box Sapphire is its excellent shading. As always with inks like this, the shading is most visible with wider nibs. I used my widest nibs (Pilot Parallel 2.4 and 1.5), my Nakaya music nib, an italic, a couple of flex nibs, and one fine nib to write samples.

The shading is fabulous, ranging from deep blue to a lighter, almost turquoise blue. If you look closely, you can even see shading with the fine nib.

Although the ink sparkles, I only detected sheen in my splash samples not in my writing samples. You can see a bit of magenta along the edges.

I compared Bung Box Sapphire with some of my other blue inks. All of them have distinctive characteristics. I would say Sapphire and Asa-Gao are the closest in terms of chromatography. Both have a little bit of magenta in them. But I think Bung Box Sapphire stands out (along with Akkerman Shocking Blue) as the most vivid color.

Bung Box Sapphire is an exquisite ink. It flows well and its dry times are in the normal range, at least with a fine nib on a Rhodia dot pad. With wider nibs, the dry time is longer. The ink is not waterproof.

One thing I've noticed about all my Sailor inks is that they have a distinctive odor. Apparently, they contain the chemical phenol to prevent mold or other contaminants from growing. In his glossary, Richard Binder says, "Phenol is an effective fungicide, acting as a protoplasmic poison, and was used for this purpose in ink until prohibited by law. (It is also toxic to forms of life other than fungi and is regulated as a Class B poison.) Phenol has a sweet, tar-like odor that is readily detected in inks containing it." I need to do more research on this ingredient as it can be rather caustic. I wonder if it can damage vintage pens, especially celluloid ones? Just in case, I'm not planning on using Sailor inks in any of my celluloid pens until I know more.

Sailor Bung Box Hatsukoi Sapphire is a unique, vibrant blue with excellent shading and some sheen. You can purchase this ink at Vanness Pens for $35.65 plus shipping, but only if you're really fast and lucky.

Posted on June 26, 2015 and filed under Bung Box, Ink Reviews, Sailor.