(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)
Anyone who knows me knows that I am absolutely obsessive about blue fountain pens. If a fountain pen is blue, I probably own it. I do not know the origin of this obsession, but blue is my favorite color for both fountain pens and inks.
Lately, the Sailor Fresca has been featured by most fountain pen dealers. It’s a North American exclusive color, and I almost bought one. But, I own a Sailor Pro Gear in robin’s egg blue (an exclusive from the Morita Pen Shop in Osaka, Japan), and it’s almost the same color as the Fresca.
So, I decided to purchase the Sailor 1911 Azure which is an exclusive Fountain Pen Hospital edition with only 100 pieces worldwide.
Packaging for this exclusive edition is indistinguishable from other Sailor editions: a clamshell box inside a cardboard sleeve. Inside, the pen is presented on faux velvet. Underneath you’ll find the converter, two cartridges, and a small pamphlet.
The 1911 Azure is the large-sized Sailor. It measures 5.5625 inches capped, 4.875 inches uncapped, and 6.125 inches posted. I would call this a medium-sized pen, and it weighs only .9 ounces. It’s certainly larger than a Pro Gear, but not as big (or weighty) as a Montblanc 149.
The pen is made of resin and has chrome-plated accents and clip.
The cap band is engraved with “Sailor Japan Founded 1911.”
This is a cartridge/converter pen. The converter is rather disappointing, holding only .5ml of ink, and I can never seem to get a complete fill with this converter.
The best part of the pen is, of course, the nib. The Sailor 1911 large comes with a 21k rhodium-plated nib. The medium writes like a western fine and is nice and wet.
Sailor nibs are stiff and exhibit distinctive feedback. I wouldn’t call this a scratchy nib, but it’s not butter smooth either. There’s definitely no bounce or flex with this nib, but it is a terrific writer. I inked the pen with KWZ Azure 3 which is a good match for the pen.
I absolutely love the color of this Sailor 1911 from Fountain Pen Hospital. There’s just not another blue quite like it. However, you do pay a premium for this exclusive color. It costs $350 as opposed to the new Sailor Fresca 1911 (large) which most retailers are offering for $288.
- The Sailor 1911 large is a pen most users will find comfortable. It is light because of the resin but well balanced. It is excellent for lengthy writing sessions.
- The azure color is exclusive to Fountain Pen Hospital, and it’s very unique. It reminds me of china blue.
- The 21k nib is an excellent writer with distinctive Sailor feedback. It’s not scratchy but it’s not butter smooth either. These nibs are definitely Japanese sizes, so if you like western fine nibs, you’ll want to order at least a medium nib.
- You will pay a premium price for this exclusive edition. $350 really is a bit much considering that this pen is unnumbered, plastic, and comes in regular packaging. But, if you’re crazy about distinctive shades of blue like me, it might be worth it.
- The converter on this pen holds only .5ml and I’m not sure it’s really even that much since you can’t get a complete fill. You’ll get better mileage out of cartridges, but I’m too lazy to refill cartridges.