This Just In: Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen

Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen - capped on standThe Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen in black with rhodium trim and a medium nib was my first fountain pen purchase of the 2016 DC Pen Show. It happened before lunch on Friday when I bought it from Anderson Pens before their table became packed with people.

The King of Pen has been on my watch list for almost a year. It moved close to the top a couple of months ago and I began researching it more aggressively. I like the size of the pen and love Sailor nibs. I have a couple of it’s smaller siblings and love them.

The KOP nib is springier than the Sailor nibs that I’m used to. I was concerned it would be mushy, like the Pelikan M1000 nib I tried in the past. While all the indications were that this would not be the case, I still had some doubts. My second concern was that this nib was only available in medium and broad (the bespoke nibs aren’t for me) which are not my preferred nib sizes. It is a Japanese medium so it wouldn’t be too wide. I could get the nib ground down but I don’t like doing that until I’ve experienced the stock nib for a little while, if only to see what it’s like. So I knew I wouldn’t have it worked on at the show.

A nice thing about the pen shows, besides the ability to see and touch the pen, is the ability to talk to people who have used the pen, or have one to try. So I left the Anderson Pens table fairly sure I would be getting the KOP but did some more exploration and consideration before I returned and bought the pen.

The King of Pen is an expensive pen, but this particular model is the “entry level” and therefore least expensive version. It also helps that I really like black & rhodium fountain pens.

I picked KWZ Gummiberry (non-IG) as the pens first ink. I was anxious to ink the pen so I was limited to the four inks I had purchased at the show. While I don’t like using a new (to me) ink in a new (to me) fountain pen, I wasn’t willing to wait. This ink seemed like a safe choice in a converter fill pen, plus I thought a wider nib would show off this ink better than my typical thin nib. I was thrilled with the combination. The KOP is a terrific writer, smooth and skip-free. In short, all my concerns about the nib vanished. I love it. I have a light touch so there’s really no spreading of the tines (not that the nib is flexible) and it’s a thin Japanese medium line.

I don’t have any experience with this ink so I can’t say how it affects my impression of the pen. It’s no surprise that this nib is wetter than my typical nib choice, but it’s not too wet for me. I expect to use this pen differently than an extra fine nib. My writing is a little bigger when I use it. If my writing speeds up the letters do close up so I need to slow down a bit. None of this is a huge difference and it’s a pleasant experience when I just want to write. Naturally the draft of this article was written with the pen.

As expected, the pen feels and looks solidly built. There’s a nice tall collar around the converter to help hold it straight and in place. There’s a cutout in the collar so the ink level can be viewed. The lettering around the capband and the anchor imprint in the cap finial are nice and crisp.

Black and silver is a pretty basic look, especially when compared to other KOP models but I like it a lot. It may be the new pen glow talking, but the Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen is a rival to my Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age as my favorite fountain pen.

Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen - uncapped on stand

Sailor Pro Gear KOP medium nib writing sample with KWZ Gummiberry ink

This is a post about the 2016 Washington DC Pen Show. My show summary and links to other show posts are here.

Ink and Pen Notes: Sailor 1911 Sterling Silver and Visconti Bordeaux

Sailor 1911 Sterling Silver with Visconti Burgundy ink bottleThere was a time when I had a handful of Sailor 1911 fountain pens with various nibs. They all got sold off, leaving me with this lone Sailor 1911 Sterling Silver fountain pen. I bought this pen in 2004 and it started it’s life as a medium nib. In 2013 I had the nib ground to a stub by Richard Binder at the DC Pen Show. It was rarely used except when it was new or newly stubbed yet I kept this 1911 because it was shiny and had a less exotic (for me) Sailor nib than the others. The resin (plastic) 1911’s are too light for my tastes but the Sterling Silver had a nice weight.

I did have to polish up the pen before inking it up. I picked Visconti Bordeaux for the pen and filled it on March 28th. Visconti Bordeaux is an ink I like, but haven’t used very much. I was interested in seeing how it did with a stub nib.

Being a Japanese nib it’s a rather thin medium and about the widest nib I’d use for everyday writing. The combination worked well together, no skipping or hard starts. I did use the pen a lot, but it went dry faster than I expected so I suspect there was some evaporation, but no leaks or ink splattered in the cap.

I don’t have any complaints about the combination of the Sailor 1911 Sterling Silver and Visconti Bordeaux ink. The ink just doesn’t pull me in and its no Montblanc Bordeaux. Like the ink, I’ve no complaints about the pen but it doesn’t call to me when I’m looking for a pen to ink up. Both will get some future use but neither will be frequent visitors to my rotation.

Review: Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe

Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe posted on eagle pen standI’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:

  1. 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.)
  2. 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.

Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black (left) and Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe (right)

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.

Sailor Professional Gear Regency Stripe box contents

The contents – pen, 2 ink cartridges, polishing cloth and pamphlet

The Numbers

  • 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

The Experience

Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe extra fine nib with R&K Blau-Schwarz LEI’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.

Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe extra fine with Akkerman IG Ink BottleThe 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.

Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe EF nib and Sailor Jentle Black inkWhile 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.

Inks Used.

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.

Wrapping Up.

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.

Additional Reading

Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe Review — The Pen Addict

My This Just In post: This Just In: Sailor Professional Gear Regency Stripe

My Ink Notes about the pen:

Ink & Pen Notes: Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe and R&K Blau-Schwarz LE

Ink & Pen Notes: Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe with Akkerman #10 Ijzer-Galnoten

Ink & Pen Notes: Sailor Regency Stripe and Toucan Bright Green

Ink & Pen Notes: Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe with GvFC Carbon Black

Ink and Pen Notes: Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe with Sailor Jentle Black

Gallery

Ink and Pen Notes: Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe with Sailor Jentle Black

The Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe is one of the pens I consider worth replacing. So I like it. It’s had a bit of a run of bad ink choices on my part, and a bad converter on Sailor’s part. So when I inked it up back on December 27th I picked a Sailor Jentle Black ink cartridge. A nice dark easy flowing ink for the very thin extra fine Sailor nib. A choice I knew would be problem free.

They worked well together and when the first cartridge was empty I popped in a second. Two cartridges in less than three months is actually pretty fast for me, especially considering how thin the line is.

I should have a full review up in a few days so I won’t make many comments here. The pen will take a break for a bit. I have 13 pens still inked, including an XXXF also with black ink, so the Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe will take a break to give the other fountain pens a chance.

Ink and Pen Notes: Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black with GvFC Garnet Red

Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black with GvFC Garnet Red bottleI filled the Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black with Graf von Faber-Castell Garnet Red ink back on October 14th. It’s been four months and I still haven’t written the fountain pen dry. So it was time to flush it out.

There’s nothing wrong with this combination and I can’t explain why it got so little use. Some of it is because I typically only use red for marking up documents or to emphasis certain notes. Plus the Sailor fine nib is thinner than just about every other fine nib that I have so it’s stingy with ink. Still, I often picked other pens and this combination was ignored once I inked up another pen with red ink.

I don’t have any complaints about performance. Even when it went unused for days it wrote without hesitation or skipping. Flushing the pen out was also quick and easy without any traces of staining.

The Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black is a stunning black pen, yet these days I reach past it for a brighter pen that catches my attention. So for now this fountain pen will be returned to storage.

Ink & Pen Notes: Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe with GvFC Carbon Black

Sailor Professional Gear Regency Stripe

I inked up the Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe with Graf von Faber-Castell Carbon Black back on October 24th. At less than two weeks this pen went dry rather quickly, at least for me. Unfortunately there was a reason for that.

I did say unfortunately. Today I found that ink had leaked from the converter into the barrel of the fountain pen which explains why it went dry sooner than expected. It’s a converter that I had to pull apart for cleaning after past fills. The ink had obviously leaked from the top of the converter, not from down near the feed. The converter was tightly put together and there weren’t any obvious gaps or loose parts. The last time I pulled it apart I didn’t use any silicon grease when I put it back together. That may have been a mistake that allowed the ink to creep out.

Flushing the ink from the feed was quick and easy, just a couple flushes with the bulb syringe. Cleaning the ink from inside the barrel was a different story and took considerable time.

I did use the pen a lot. Enough so that I wasn’t expecting a problem when it went dry. The Regency Stripe has a very thin Sailor extra fine nib which I love.

There’s no writing sample or ink photos since the pen leaked before I did them. Once the pen dries out I plan to refill it with the same ink since I really did enjoy this combination. I have had this pen over three months so I’ll probably be giving it a full review soon.

Ink & Pen Notes: Sailor Regency Stripe and Toucan Bright Green

Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe with Toucan Bright Green in a bagThe Sailor Professional Gear Regency Stripe fountain pen has a very thin extra fine nib. It’s a nib I really like, but it needs a dark or vibrant ink that’s visible with that thin line. I picked Toucan Bright Green as the third ink for this pen. The name includes Bright and it looked dark in the pouch. (The ink is made in Australia and ships in plastic pouches to save on shipping.)

Unfortunately the ink did’t live up to my expectations. It was hard to read unless it was on white paper and in the best of light. I wrote the first draft of this article with the pen & ink and it was hard to read as I transcribed it. I kept having to move closer to the paper to be able to read it. The ink performed well, it’s just that such a thin line looked more yellow than green.

Because the line was so hard to read I wasn’t using the Regency Stripe, so after a month I decided to flush out the fountain pen. The ink flow was great, no skipping or hard starts, so I look forward to trying this ink in with a wider nib.

Flushing the pen was quick and easy until I got to the converter, which seems to be a theme with this pen. The converter does come apart and while I hate routinely disassembling it for cleaning, I did take it apart in this case. There wasn’t any staining but the ink clung to the piston so I finally gave in a pulled it apart.

Toucan ink is made in Australia. I bought mine from Anderson Pens which I believe is the only retailer in the U.S. for the ink. The ink is sold in plastic pouches to save on shipping. This means it needs to be decanted into a bottle in order to fill a pen. Or, like I did, you can use a syringe to fill the converter.

The Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe will be back, with a darker ink, and the Toucan Brilliant Green will be back in a wider nib.