I’ve had the Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe for just over eight months. There’s been both ups and downs, so it’s a ready for a review. The Regency Stripe first caught my attention when I saw it announced on the now defunct FPGeeks website and video podcast. I immediately added it to my want list. A not uncommon event for new fountain pens. Most soon drop off, but this one remained there for over three years. I wanted the pen but the price drove me away.
In June 2015 two things happened:
- Brad Dowdy (the Pen Addict) showed a picture of the pen in his carry post. No commentary beyond his identifying the pen, but that was only a matter of time. (Even worse – from my POV – I later learned he snagged one of the few I’ve ever seen on the aftermarket.)
- Brian Anderson, on his podcast, announce that Sailor was discontinuing the model. Although as of today I still see them listed at couple retailers so they’re not gone yet.
It was time for me to make a decision. The pen was about to get some attention, at the same time it was going away. Obviously I decided to buy one.
Why I Got It
Look at it! It’s said that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Well, the Regency Stripe is beautiful in my eyes. While I wouldn’t normally go for something so shiny, this was conservative bling.
I already had a Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black so I knew I’d like the way the pen would feel in my hand. Plus, I also knew I’d like a slightly heavier version of the form factor.
What I Got
I wanted a nib even thinner than my existing Pro Gear’s fine nib. The fine nib is the thinnest factory supplied nib for this pen so I was expecting to eventually get it ground down. Then I saw that John Mottishaw (Classic Fountain Pens) would install any Sailor 21k rhodium-plated nib at no additional charge. So I got one with a Sailor extra fine nib. I had the nib tuned to provide a medium flow with a light touch.
The pen is heavier than other Pro Gear’s (and probably most Sailor pens). While I considered this a bonus, it’s my understanding this is one reason the pen didn’t sell well in Japan. By comparison the Imperial Black is about 8g lighter, both capped and uncapped.
- Length Capped: 129.27 mm
- Length Uncapped: 116.58 mm
- Length Posted: 150.28 mm
- Section Length: 16.79 mm
- Section Diameter (near nib): 10.57 mm
- Section Diameter (below threads): 11.63 mm
- Section Diameter (mid-section): 10.86 mm
- Cap Diameter: 16.04 mm
- Barrel Diameter: 13.45 mm
- Weight: 32 g
- Weight (body only): 24 g
I’m going to change up my typical review format. I’ll be less technical and more subjective. It’s a Sailor nib on a pricey Sailor pen that was check/tuned by John Mottishaw before sending it to me. Let’s sum up the technical review by saying the pen meets all the expectations of that previous sentence.
The pen arrived in a fairly nondescript oversize clamshell box protected by an outer cardboard box. The outside was covered with a dark brown felt-like material while there was a padded cloth interior with a Sailor logo embossed on the inside cover. I was conflicted. I don’t like pen companies wasting money on a box I’ll never use and probably toss, yet it didn’t re-enforce that this was a pricey (luxury) pen. This was especially true when I opened the box. Everything was on one level in the box. The pen was in a plastic wrapper and held in place by a strap, but everything else was loose. The polishing cloth was a nice touch. No complaints, but it didn’t re-enforce the thought that this was a justifiably expensive pen.
My spirits were lifted when I pulled the pen out of its wrapper. I had never seen the pen in real life so I was a bit concerned. The concern immediately vanished. The pen was gorgeous and everything I expected. The photos don’t do it justice. The barley corn pattern is intricate and well defined. The pen feels and looks solid. I was starting to feel better about the cost of the pen.
The pen had been tested and cleaned. I could see some water droplets in the converter, which was in the pen. I quickly inked it up with Rohrer & Klingner Blau-Schwarz LE ink. It’s one of my top 5 inks and I knew the dark color would work well with this thin nib. I wrote with the Regency Stripe and smiled, feeling much, much, much better about the cost of the pen. To my eyes, which are admittedly bad, this is as thin as any nibs I have calling themselves needlepoint or XXXF. I’m also surprised at how smooth this thin nib is, even on coarse paper.
I’ve developed a bit of a love/hate relationship with the Regency Stripe. The nib is ultra thin and firm with just a touch of spring to it. That’s what I love. The hate comes in because I have a tendency to write really fast with this pen. So fast that my already bad handwriting becomes even worse chicken scratch. Luckily I’m typing up this review within a day of writing the draft, otherwise I might not be able to decipher what I wrote in a few places. Not to mention that when I write too fast I make more grammar and spelling errors as my brain and hand gets out of sync. Of course, I can force myself to slow down so the hate can be controlled.
The thin nib also dries out quicker than most other nibs when I pause during writing, although the ink also affects this. The R & K Blau-Schwarz LE ink survives pauses of a couple minutes while the Sailor Jentle Black that’s in there now is lucky to survive a minute. This is the one characteristic of this pen that’s a strike against me using it as a daily writer. I don’t use it when I know there will be a lot of pauses which would require me to cap and uncap the pen. The cap takes nearly two complete rotations to attach or remove, although even a loosely affixed cap keeps the nib wet long enough for an extended pause.
The R&K Blau-Schwarz LE ink was a great way to introduce myself to the Regency Stripe. They combined for a great writing experience that reinforced my decision to buy the pen. I like to try different inks in my new pens and this is where things took a turn for the worse.
The next ink was P.W. Akkerman #10 Ijzer-Galnoten which is an iron gall ink. The ink performed ok. Not great, just ok. It was a little light for the thin nib on many papers, especially with fast writing. Being an iron gall ink I flushed it out after two weeks. The cleanup made me hate the ink. I don’t like the clingy ink enough to justify the effort needed to get it out of the converter. While I didn’t blame the pen, my mood became a bit cloudy.
Next I went for the Toucan Bright Green ink. It looked dark in the bag (not bottle) and was called “bright”. It just wasn’t saturated enough for the thin nib. It survived a month in the pen but I didn’t like the experience, so I used the pen less and less over time. Eventually I flushed the ink before writing it dry.
It was time to get back to a nice dark, saturated ink that would be easy to read. I considered returning to the tried & true Blau-Schwarz but decided to keep trying new ink. The pen got a couple weeks off then I filled it with Graf Von Faber-Castell Carbon Black. I again smiled when I used the Regency Stripe. That lasted five days, at which point I noticed that the converter was leaking from the top. It was an absolute mess inside the barrel. The pen got a thorough bath inside the barrel and six weeks to dry off. I now know that leaking sailor converters, even new ones, are not as uncommon as they should be. Much of that six week break was to allow the bad reputation this pen was getting to subside a bit.
While I intellectually knew it wasn’t a bad pen, I was begining to think it was jinxed. To hopefully eliminate the drama I picked a Sailor Jentle Black cartridge as the ink to begin 2016 in this pen. While unexciting, Sailor Jentle Black is dark enough for this thin nib, dries quick enough, and is very well behaved with a cartridge that was unlikely to leak. I was not disappointed and when the cartridge went dry I popped in another and kept on going. The flow is great, no hard starts and skipping is non-existent. The ink evaporates off the nib a little faster than I prefer but that’s my only complaint. I just have to remember to cap the pen anytime I set it down, even if I don’t tighten the cap. It survives long enough for me to pause and gather my thoughts between sentences or paragraphs. But it’s a bit tedious to use for meeting notes or online research where there could be a several minutes between anything worth noting, yet enough action to require keeping the pen in hand.
That second cartridge went dry on March 15th, the day after I used it to write the draft of this review. With 13 other pens inked at the time I decided to give the Sailor Regency Stripe a break.
The Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe is shiny and reflects light, but unless I’m someplace with direct and harsh lighting it doesn’t bother me. It’s not a pen I stop to admire while I’m using it, so it doesn’t distract me from writing. (Well, except when writing this review since I am thinking about the pen.) Occasionally a light will reflect off it and distract me. There was one time I moved seats in a coffee shop because the light over me kept reflecting off the pen as it moved. Despite this the pen hasn’t attracted any comments in public, unlike some other fountain pens. (As a side note – the more vintage looking fountain pens are the ones that usually draw comment.)
Cleaning the Pen.
It’s a cartridge/converter pen so it’s easy to flush. I did have issues cleaning the Akkerman IG ink from the converter, but it was easily flushed from the feed. This is the one ink I used the ultrasonic cleaner for the nib and feed after flushing it, just to be safe, and I didn’t notice any traces of ink in the UC water.
I wrote about all the inks in the Writing Experience section. The thin Sailor extra fine nib prefers dark or saturated inks since the line is so thin. So that’s what I’ll be using in the future.
I’m not going to try and justify the price of the Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe. I don’t think I could. It took three years to convince myself it would be worth it and I already knew I liked size the Pro Gear pens. It was FOMO (fear of missing out) that finally made me jump off the ledge and buy the pen. That said, it remains one of the few fountain pens I would buy again for the same price. I love the aesthetic of this pen. A conservative, business-like black and silver with an added flash of design provided by the barleycorn pattern. The barrel is mostly rhodium barleycorn but with enough black to avoid looking like an aluminum baseball bat.
The bottom line is that the Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe will be a regular in my rotation. It’s a keeper.
My This Just In post: This Just In: Sailor Professional Gear Regency Stripe
My Ink Notes about the pen: