Long Term Review: Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen

Sailor Pro Gear KOP (M) with Montblanc Lucky Orange bottleThe Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen in basic black with rhodium trim, and a medium nib was a 2016 Washington D.C. Pen SHow Purchase. It’s been filled with fourteen different nibs since then.

I wrote about my first impressions in my “This Just In” post on August 11, 2016. I’ll recap some of that post here where it makes sense. You can revisit that post to see my very first impressions. This review covers the two and a half years since then.

A case can certainly be made that this pen is overpriced (~$740 now, only $20 less when I got it.) It’s a basic black pen with rhodium trim. It’s certainly well made, but it’s a resin (plastic) pen. It does have a 21kt gold nib. Many less expensive pens share those specifications, at least on paper. If I hadn’t been able to test it and talk to others about it at a pen show, I wouldn’t have purchased it. But I did purchase it. I have no regrets.

Sometimes I feel compelled to use a pen in order to get my money’s worth, especially at this price point. I want to use the Sailor King of Pen Pro Gear.

At the time I purchased this KOP I was very much a thin nib guy, the thinner, the better. This nib made me more open to medium nibs. I’m grateful that I resisted the urge to have it ground down while I was at the pen show.

While not ideal for all my pen needs it has become one of my favorite pens. This is attested to by the fact that I’ve used fourteen different inks with it in a little over 30 months. This is a lot for me. This is easily the most of any pen during this time. All fourteen inks were written dry, and a couple received refills of the same ink. While I’m not getting any new inks these days, it’s been my first choice for trying new inks since I got the pen.

It’s a pen I use when I plan to sit down and do some writing at a desk or table for an extended period. Extended can be as little as 10 minutes (but typically much longer). It’s not a pen I use for intermittent note-taking or as a pocket pen.

Inks Used

In general, the nib is a nice, slightly wet writer that does a good job of showing off the variations in an ink’s color. The following inks have been used in this Sailor King of Pen. I’ve included any notes I made at the time I used the ink.

  • KWZ Gummiberry – The first ink I used in this pen. It helped sell me on the pen and nib since it showed off the purple color so well.
  • Bookbinders Ground Rattler
  • P.W. Akkerman Hofwartier Groen #28
  • Robert Oster Signature Orange
  • Bookbinders Everglades Ratsnake (orange)
  • Montblanc Lucky Orange – The ink performed well in this pen. Although the feed shows signs of ink drying out, I didn’t encounter any skipping or hard starts.
  • Bookbinders Red-Belly Black – This ink was very *clingy* to both the nib and the feed.
  • Callifolio Aurora – nice line variation with this nib & ink,
  • Callifolio Teodora
  • Montblanc The Beatles Psychedelic Purple – This ink has become a favorite and this pen allows the ink to shine.
  • Athena Sepia
  • Papier Plum Burgundy
  • Sailor Sei-Boku Pigmented Blue-Black cartridge
  • P.W. Akkerman Steenrood von Vermeer

Summary

I haven’t updated my favorite five modern fountain pens since buying the Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen, but based on usage, it has a claim to replace any pen on the list, other than the Homo Sapien.

##Photos from the KOP’s past

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Ink & Pen Notes: Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe (EF) with Sailor Nano Sei-Boku (Blue-Black)

Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe (EF) with Sailor Blue-Black (pigment) cartridgesMy Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe with its extra fine nib and Sailor Nano Sei-boku blue-black ink is a holdover from last year, having been inked up in early December. That’s a long time to have a pigment ink, even a nano pigment ink, in any pen. This one is a thin Japanese extra fine nib which, on the surface, seems like a bad combination. In the 7+ months that the pen was inked the combination was completely problem free. No hard starts and no skipping, just smooth writing.

Ever since the original converter leaked a full load into the barrel of this pen I’ve stuck to cartridges. Since I prefer a dark ink with this thin nib this hasn’t been a problem since I do like the Sailor ink. It was a cartridge again this time out.

The Regency Stripe spent most of its time in my Nock Co. Fodderstack XL which travels in my shirt pocket. Any fountain pen in this roll gets limited use and the Regency Stripe got even less use. As a screw-cap pen, and one that needs about two complete rotations to uncap, it isn’t quick to use and I would often pick the Retro 51 that was next to it for any quick note. But it did get used occasionally when I sat down to write. I did like having a very thin nib always available to me. In July I moved it to my Penvelope 6 and it got frequent use during the month. The nib has a nice firmness to it with just a little spring and the ink flow is consistently good.

It was about a week before I got around to flushing out the dry pen. Again, not something I like to do with a pigment ink but in this case the pen was easy to clean out. I cleaned two other pens with it and this was the easiest and quickest by far.

I’m already missing the Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe from my rotation. I keep having this internal debate about sticking with pens I like or going with a variety. I think this one will return to the rotation in August, but this time it will be in my pen case where I’ll use it regularly.

Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe (EF) with Sailor Blue-Black (pigment) writing sample

Ink and Pen Notes: Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen (M) with Callifolio Aurora

Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen (M) with Callifolio AuroraSure enough, as I predicted in my currently inked post, the Sailor Pro Gear KOP with Callifolio Aurora had about one and a half pages of ink left this month and it went dry on it’s first outing of the month.

The Sailor King of Pen with it’s nice medium nib is my go to pen for trying new inks. It’s also a big, comfortable pen I use for longish writing sessions at a desk or table. For me, the medium nib is also wider than my usual choice which means I tend to be more deliberate when I’m using the pen. All this means I tend to use the KOP with good paper. The worst paper I use it on is probably a Doane Writing Pad and that paper is pretty good.

The wide nib and dark ink did result in some annoying show-through on some thin Staples sugarcane paper that I use. This show-through is hardly unique with this combination and it’s more common than I would like with this paper.

The ink is made by (or for) l’Artisan Pastellier in France. The ink doesn’t claim to be waterproof although I didn’t test that trait, either by accident or on purpose. The ink has some nice shading to it, at least with this nib. I’ve seen the ink described as having a dry flow. I like inks/nibs less than wet (ok, dry) so I didn’t consider this a dry ink, it had a nice consistent flow to it. Dry time was fast enough to avoid accidental smudges. There wasn’t any bleed-through or noticeable feathering.

Distribution in the U.S. seems to be limited. I got my 40ml bottle from Vanness Pens which also has it in 50ml pouches along with ink samples. The pouch is the best value but you’ll either need to decant the ink or use an eye dropper to fill a pen. JetPens also has the 40ml bottles. The bottle is a nice wedge shape which is the same bottle as the Diamine Anniversary inks which forms a circle when placed side-to-side. This does point to Diamine being the manufacturer of the ink.

I really, really like the color of this ink and it’s well behaved. I bought it when I went on a terra cotta themed ink buying binge that coincided with the announcement of the Visconti Brunelleschi. So the next fountain pen for the Callifolio Aurora will be the Brunelleschi. I have a second Callifolio ink that is still unopened, so it will be next for the Sailor King of Pen. It’ll be a week or more since I want to write a couple more pens dry before I ink up anything new.

Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen (M) with Callifolio Aurora

Additional Reading

Callifolio Aurora Ink: A Review — The Pen Addict

Ink & Pen Notes: Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen with Bookbinders Red-Belly Black

Sailor KOP with Bookbinders Red-Belly Black ink bottleI inked up my Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen (M) with Bookbinders Red-Belly Black ink back on January 30th. I wrote it dry the evening of February 28th. Yes, I know it was in my March 1st currently inked post, but that’s what happens when I write posts on the weekend and schedule them for during the week. It was March 1st in some parts of the world.

Continuing my current practice, the Sailor KOP was my inaugural pen for this ink. The ink was a bit clingy as I filled the pen, forming a film on the nib and section that was harder than usual to wipe off. But once it was in the pen it behaved well. I expected a little nib creep or ink clinging to the converter, but neither happened. The ink was also easy to flush from the pen. The ink and pen were well behaved from fill to finish.

Bookbinders Red-Belly Black puts down a wet, thick, dark black line. Dry time was about normal and I didn’t have any accidental smudges while using the pen. Others have mentioned a red sheen in the ink, but I didn’t notice any during regular use of the pen. There was a little hint of red in places where the ink was heavier than normal, such as making two passes when writing, or with a swab.It will probably show more red color in a wetter or flex nib.

Bookbinders Red-Belly Black is a nice black ink that I wouldn’t hesitate to use again, but at the same time I’m not rushing to get it into another pen. As for the Sailor King of Pen, it continues to show why I like it so much. It’s already been filled with another new (to me) ink.

Sailor KOP (medium) with Bookbinders Red-Belly Black writing sample

Additional Reading

Reviewed on FPN

 

Ink & Pen Notes: Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen (M) with Montblanc Lucky Orange

Sailor Pro Gear KOP (M) with Montblanc Lucky Orange bottleLucky Orange is Montblanc’s latest Limited Edition ink and a recent addition to my ink accumulation. I picked the Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen with a medium nib as the inaugural fountain pen for the ink. It’s the sixth ink for this pen and it’s third straight orange.

I have to say, Montblanc Lucky Orange is my favorite orange ink so far, although it hasn’t been perfect. I admit to having a bias towards Montblanc inks since they usually perform consistently well in my pens, especially my typical thin nib, and I expected (and want) to like this ink.

Dried Montblanc Lucky Orange in the feedAs usual the Sailor KOP performed well. Lucky Orange is a straight-on, vibrant orange. There wasn’t any real shading or line variation with this nib. The flow was consistently good. This was despite the feed showing signs of the ink drying out more than usual. I didn’t have any problems with the ink drying out on the nib when I was using the pen, even with pauses of about 2 minutes. The ink was easy to clean from the pen.

The ink seems to go onto the paper nearly dry but that’s an allusion. I had a few accidental smudges while taking notes as the dry time is longer than I expected. I needed about 30 – 45 seconds to avoid smudges, depending on the paper. The drying time is my only complaint about this ink.

The ink lasted well over a month. I typically used the pen to write headings as I took notes. I did use it for regular writing on occasion, but a full page of this bright orange is a bit bright if I (or anyone else) wants to read the page.

I considered giving it a second fill of Lucky Orange but decided to try the ink in a thin nib next. I already know I like it with this one and I’m curious about how the ink will do in a fine or extra fine nib.

Montblanc Lucky Orange is a Limited Edition ink, but like most LE inks there’s not much of a clue as to how limited it is (or isn’t). Since Montblanc doesn’t have an orange in their ink lineup I decided to risk a purchase of two bottles. I don’t regret the purchase.

Both Montblanc Lucky Orange and the Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen will soon return to the rotation, just not together.

Sailor Pro Gear KOP (M) with Montblanc Lucky Orange writing sample