Posts filed under Sailor

Sailor Ink Studio 123: A Review

Sailor Ink Studio 123 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.)

Sometimes there’s an ink you see on the Internet in a review or on Instagram that you simply must have. It doesn’t matter if that ink is difficult to obtain or if it comes in a dinky 20ml bottle or if it’s expensive, or if you have to wait weeks for it to arrive from Japan--you buy it anyway. Sailor Ink Studio 123 is one of those inks.

I first saw 123 on Mountain of Ink’s review of Set 1 of Ink Studio inks. I was mesmerized by this strange and magical unicorn ink that shifts between gray, green, and purple depending on its mood.

Sailor Ink Studio is a collection of one hundred inks (out of 20,000 created!) that were blended by inkmeisters at Ink Studio events. Each number represents a unique blending code (source: Sakura Fountain Pen Gallery).

I purchased my 20ml bottle of 123 from an eBay seller who stocks the collection (although you’ll discover that 123 is often out of stock). I paid $21.49 for the bottle (including shipping). It took about two weeks to arrive.

Although the bottle is tiny, I am not disappointed with this ink. It really is unique and magical, but it isn’t necessarily the most practical color for writing since it can be very light and hard to read depending on the paper.

For my initial ink test, I used Rhodia paper and a TWSBI Eco with a 1.1mm stub. The ink shows up well on white paper and looks like a dusty purple with the stub nib. But, the swabs fluctuate between gray, green, and lavender. The ink is not waterproof, but it dries quickly.

Note: The ink is much more washed out in this photo than in person.

Note: The ink is much more washed out in this photo than in person.

In my Lamy Vistas (fine, medium, and broad) the ink looks more gray than lavender, but it sort of depends on the light and angle.

Sailor Ink Studio 123 Nib Comparison

On my Col-o-dex card, the swab looks like a summer storm in Texas, complete with that green tint that promises hail. The ink shades beautifully, but it doesn’t have any sheen.

Sailor Ink Studio 123 Colodex
Sailor Ink Studio 123 Shading

Chromatography reveals the complexity of this ink blend. I’ve never seen an ink separate out into so many different colors. This really is unicorn ink!

Sailor Ink Studio 123 Chromatography

Sailor 123 shines in great, big, juicy nibs. Just look at that gorgeous shading and color shifting on MD Cotton paper:

Sailor Ink Studio 123 Print
Sailor Ink Studio 123 Big Print Close

The only time the ink fell short of expectations was (much to my surprise) on Tomoe River paper. I don’t know why, but the ink comes out as a super light lavender, and all that miraculous shading and color-shifting seems lost. Maybe it’s the cream color of the paper, I’m not sure, but I got the same results in my Kanso Sasshi booklet (picture below) and my Hippo Noto journal (both Tomoe River paper).

Sailor Ink Studio 123 on Tomoe

Regardless, I am in love with Sailor 123. It looks best on white paper with wide to super-wide nibs so you can see the color shifts. But, even in wet fine, medium, and broad nibs, it’s usable (though it looks more like a simple gray-lavender ink). This is also a terrific ink to use as a wash.

I ordered Sailor 442 as well, which is a darker color than 123. I’ll be reviewing it sometime soon. It’s certainly a more readable color than 123, but it doesn’t show the range of shades that 123 does.


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Sailor Ink Studio 123 Unicorn
Posted on July 12, 2019 and filed under Sailor, Ink Reviews.

Sailor Pro Gear Ocean Fountain Pen Review

Sailor Pro Gear Ocean Fountain Pen Review

I have a strange habit of not having reviews on The Pen Addict for some of my most favorite pens. In my head, I’ve done them. I talk about the pen constantly online, or with friends, or on the podcast, so certainly I can link you to the review right? Time and time again, the answer is nope, I can’t. And I can’t figure out why!

But today, I’m logging the Sailor Pro Gear Ocean Fountain Pen into the permanent record. I looked back through the eleven plus year history of this blog and saw that I have reviewed exactly one standard Pro Gear fountain pen, back in 2015. That’s unacceptable for a pen I use and recommend so much.

Sailor Pro Gear Ocean Fountain Pen

Since that last review, my love for the brand, and specifically this pen model, has grown. Sure, I’ve had dalliances with the 1911, and rave about the King of Pen (which I haven’t reviewed yet either!), but the Pro Gear is one of my favorite all day, every day pens in my rotation.

Everything about this pen is perfect for me. The size and weight of the pen hit a perfect balance of not to small and not too heavy, while also remaining not too large. It slides into a pocket or a pen case easily, with the strong clip keeping it secure. It even posts to a reasonable writing length for you heathens out there.

Sailor Pro Gear Ocean Nib

As great as this pen feels, I have a lot of pens that feel just as nice. Two things set it apart from those other pens. First off, Sailor pens have a style that fits me and my aesthetic perfectly. There are always fun colors and combinations to choose from, including a ton of rhodium trim and nib options. The clip design is classic, the cap band is a strong, but not overwhelming, visual, and the anchor in the finial is as classic to me as the Montblanc snowcap. And don’t even get me started on all of the special/limited editions, of which the Ocean model is one of.

Sailor Pro Gear Ocean Fountain Pen Barrel

Secondly, and the thing most people think of when they think of Sailor, is the nib. If I can tell you one thing about Sailor nibs and how they compare to their Japanese counterparts it is that they are firm. Sailor stock nibs come in a wide range of sizes, from Extra Fine, to Zoom and Music. I ordered a Medium Fine for my Ocean, and had Dan Smith stub it before shipping - an awesome service he offers by the way. (Disclosure: I paid full price for this pen with my own cash money.)

Sailor Pro Gear Ocean Fountain Pen Writing

Even with the nib modification, this thing writes like a nail. And I love it. A quick look at the writing samples in this review will tell you why. This is my normal writing style and size. The output on the page is tight and clean, and the ink flow is perfect.

For years, people have asked “Why fountain pens?” when questioning me about why people choose to write with certain pens. And my answer is always “Customization.” This Sailor Pro Gear Ocean is the epitome of that for me. It’s the feel I want, the color I want, and the nib I want, all wrapped up in one neat package. Add up all of those wants, and all I want to do is use it. There is no higher praise I can give a product than that.


Enjoy reading The Pen Addict? Then consider becoming a member to receive additional weekly content, giveaways, and discounts in The Pen Addict shop. Plus, you support me and the site directly, for which I am very grateful.

Membership starts at just $5/month, with a discounted annual option available. To find out more about membership click here and join us!

Sailor Pro Gear Ocean Review
Posted on February 18, 2019 and filed under Sailor, Pro Gear, Pen Reviews.

Sailor 1911 Large Stormy Sea: A Review

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

Sailor has been producing the 1911 model for thirty years in a variety of colors. The most recent iteration (available only in North America) is Stormy Sea.

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Stormy Sea is a gorgeous deep blue with silvery chatoyance.

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The rhodium-plated 21k nib and rhodium trim complement the color perfectly. The large version is 140.5mm/5.53 inches capped, 122.7mm/4.83 inches uncapped, and 153.6mm/6.05 inches posted. I think of this as a medium-sized pen, especially since it’s slightly smaller than a Montblanc 146. A large pen (to me) is one that is comparable to a Montblanc 149.

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I bought my Stormy Sea from Dan Smith and had the medium nib ground to an italic.

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This gives the nib a bit of line variation and a lot of character, though you definitely have to find the sweet spot to avoid scratchy writing and corner snags.

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If you prefer a smoother writing experience, I’d suggest a stub, but I’m really enjoying the crispness of this italic grind.

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Stormy Sea comes in a typical Sailor dark blue clamshell box—no super fancy packaging for this pen.

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One cartridge and a converter are included.

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The pen is a typical cigar shape with rhodium trims on the cap, grip, and barrel. The cap sports Sailor’s simple clip and a large ring engraved with “Sailor Founded 1911.”

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The 21k nib is decorated with scrollwork and the Sailor anchor logo. I think Sailor produces some of the most beautiful nibs available today (though Aurora nibs are my absolute favorite).

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Although most of my Sailor nibs are unyielding, this nib has a tiny bit of give to it, which I like.

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I inked my Sailor Stormy Sea with an ink brand that is new to me: Krishna, purchased from Vanness. The color is called, appropriately, “Sailor’s Blue” and it’s a perfect match for this pen. I’ll be reviewing several Krishna inks soon.

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Many retailers offer the new Sailor Stormy Sea 1911 in large or standard sizes, but I highly recommend purchasing from Dan Smith since you get a complimentary nib grind along with your purchase. The pen (with nib grind) costs $288 plus shipping.

Pros

  • The Sailor 1911 Large is a comfortable pen and will fit all but the largest hands well. Because it is made from resin, it is not heavy (24.5 grams capped), and, in fact, it might be too light for those who prefer hefty pens.
  • The Stormy Sea color is one of the most beautiful Sailor colors I’ve seen. I absolutely love the silvery sheen and deep sea blue color.
  • As you would expect, the nib is outstanding. Sailor nibs do have some feedback, but if you don’t like that, you can have them ground into a smoother tip, such as a stub. If you plan on having the nib ground, I highly recommend purchasing from Dan Smith since a nib grind is included with the purchase.
  • Even though the Sailor converter doesn’t hold a ton of ink (1.1mm), I like converter fillers because they are super easy to clean.

Cons

  • Sailor pens are on the expensive side, especially since they are made from resin and the cigar shape isn’t especially unique. But, the price includes a solid 21k nib.
  • If you prefer weightier pens, the Sailor 1911 (even the large model) will probably be too light for you.
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Posted on May 25, 2018 and filed under Sailor, Fountain Pens, Pen Reviews.