Both pens with Montblanc Bordeaux in them went dry on Sunday which left me wanting a new red ink in the mix. I decided to remedy that situation with the Sailor Clear Candy fountain pen and a Clear Candy Reddish Brown cartridge.
The Clear Candy is only distributed by Sailor in Japan but it leaks into other markets, I bought mine from JetPens where is currently sells for $16.50 so it qualifies as a low cost pen. Sailor also has ink cartridges marketed as “Clear Candy” which JetPens sells at $1.65 per pair.
The Clear Candy pens come in 18 different colors, or color variations. All have fine nibs. They’re Japanese fines so a bit on the thin side compared to Lamy (for example). There’s eight different ink cartridge colors under the Clear Candy name. At least that’s what’s available on the JetPens website. I picked the clear black body. Despite “clear” in the name, only two of the pens are actually clear, one with black trim and the other is gold trim. The rest are bright colors. The pen came with a black cartridge (or maybe blue-black). It will take any standard cartridge and Sailor convertors work. I don’t really like the look of a convertor in a demonstrator, but the ink cartridge adds a nice splash of color.
I picked the clear one because of the demonstrator look and black because it looks much better than gold. I had hoped it might take to an eyedropper conversion. There’s no metal inside the pen so it might be possible to seal it up, but that seems far to hard and risky. The end cap plugs into a hole in the pen. I filled the pen with water and while it doesn’t pour out I left the pen in a glass overnight and there were traces of water in the cup by morning.
The pen is a basic plastic pen, nothing fancy. The colors do make it look sharp and not quit so cheap. It would make a good starter pen and is probably marketed to kids as a school pen. I have two minor complaints The cap had a sticker that was a pain to get off and left behind a bunch of goo that had to be removed. Second, Sailor has a logo screened into the cap. I’d prefer a completely free view of the nib inside. It might be removable with some careful polishing but it hardly seems worth the effort.
I picked reddish brown ink for the first cartridge, I like the way it looks in the pen. It’s dark in the cartridge but is more red than brown on the paper.
The nib is a little scratchy. It’s not as smooth as the Pilot Metropolitan (medium nib) or Lamy Safari nibs (XF, F). It’s not bad, just some noticeable friction. Until the problem I mention in the next paragraph it was a consistent writer with a thin line that’s my preference. The red (despite the name) ink is OK. It’s a subdued brownish red.
I used the pen as my primary note taker since Monday and it wrote well and was problem free. That is, until Thursday afternoon. After lunch it started skipping and hesitating, a lot. I’m not sure what changed. It’s the same paper, I even went back to previous pages and encountered skipping. The one difference is today it’s a bit more humid. Until today I was in the office, which is air conditioned, so it was fairly dry. Then today I worked from home with open windows rather than air conditioning and it’s a little more humid, but not bad and not uncomfortable, just not dry office air. I should mention the replacement pen wrote just fine and the Clear Candy had problems with all paper types I tried.
[Update: I flushed the nib on Friday and the pen wrote fine after that using the same ink cartridge. There must have been something affecting the flow that I missed when flossing the nib.]
I’m not sure I’d pick this pen over a Pilot Metropolitan, Lamy or other low cost pen, even if I didn’t have the problems of Thursday. But if you’re looking for a brightly colored starter pen it might be a good choice, assuming my Thursday writing problems can be fixed with a cleaning.