This Just In: Sailor King of Pen Royal Tangerine

Photo of the Sailor King of Pen In its boxThe Sailor King of Pen Royal Tangerine has been on my radar for a while. It was on my list of things to seek out at the pen shows I’d be attending this year. I have a King of Pen (KOP) in black, but for a pen at this price, I really want to see it in person. My other KOP was a pen show purchase for the same reason, I needed to see it to be sure. Unsurprisingly, since the Long Island Pen Show is small, I didn’t come across one. So, with additional pen shows becoming less and less likely, I went ahead and ordered one from Classic Fountain Pens (CFP). I ordered a factory medium, but to be ground to an oblique tip. Often called a left-footed oblique because the nib slants the same way as the toes on our left foot toes.

Photo of the Sailor King of Pen NibI love the way the KOP feels in my hands, likely the most comfortable pen I own. I can write with it for hours at a time. But, I’ll never have as many as I want because it’s obscenely expensive for what it is. Even the base models, like my first KOP, sell for over $700. It’s a basic resin pen. Yes, of outstanding quality and workmanship, and with a large 21kt gold nib, that’s glorious, but the price still causes me to gag a bit. The price is one reason I couldn’t justify (to myself) getting a KOP with the same medium nib that I already had. A broad nib, from experience, is not something I would use more than occasionally. These are the only two nib sizes available, which meant a nib grind would be required.

The Royal Tangerine KOP is a North American exclusive. I haven’t seen any mention of it being limited (it’s certainly not numbered), it does seem to be out of stock most places. Although it is still listed for sale, so Sailor may be planning to eventually nake another batch. I appear to have gotten the last one at CFP as it went out of stock after my order. Good timing on my part, unless I ended up not liking the pen.

The Royal Tangerine King of Pen has the classic cigar shape design. This is a nice contrast with my other KOP, which is a Pro Gear model. I have a slight preference for the Pro Gear style, but that wasn’t an option. Even if it was, I might have still gotten the cigar style (a.k.a. 1911 style) just for variety. My current trend toward variety would outweigh my aesthetic preference in this case. But like I said, it was the only option, so no decision was needed.

Photo of the Sailor King of Pen uncapped in its boxThe pen arrived relatively plain, although slightly larger than standard, Sailor branded pen box. The box is more than sturdy enough to protect the pen during shipping. It’s distinguishing feature is the wrap-around magnetic cover. Sailor uses a proprietary filling system and includes two black ink cartridges and a converter.

Photo ofeverything received with the Sailor King of Pen

My recent practice has been to avoid waste and use any included ink cartridges first. I couldn’t bring myself to do that this time, so I picked Robert Oster Signature Orange ink to inaugurate this pen. It seemed like a logical choice. Logical or not, I was happy with the choice. The pen & ink performed well together. I’ll use those cartridges eventually and won’t waste them. My black KOP and the Regency Stripe are both in the queue to be inked up and would be suitable choices.

I wrote the pen dry and put it aside to give other pens a chance. But, I soon missed it and returned it to the rotation with Montblanc Bordeaux ink.

Oblique nibs sit perfectly on the paper when I use my normal grip. I never have to adjust my grip to suit the nib, and I never have any skipping. That’s why I never pick a pen with an oblique nib as my daily writer. If I have to contort my hand, such as when dealing with the wires in a wire-bound notebook or reaching over a keyboard, the nib may not keep consistent contact with the paper. So, like all my oblique nibs, it only gets pulled out when I am sitting at a desk or table and writing on a flat notepad. It’s a delight to use In this way.

There’s not much more that I can say about the Sailor King of Pen Royal Tangerine. It’s a perfect size for me, and the 21 kt gold nib is glorious. I’m happy with the pen, if not the price. Despite being a new pen, it shot right onto my list of core pens.

Photo - size comparison of 12 fountain pens

Size comparison (L->R) Benu Minima, Sailor Realo, Sheaffer Balance Oversize, Sailor Balance Oversize, Diplomat Aero, Pelikian M815, Lamy Safari, Leonardo Messenger, Sailor KOP, Kanilea Cherry Kona, Edison Huron Grande, yStudio Classic Desk Pen

Three Pieces of Silver

Photo of my three sterling silver pens, and their current inksI had pulled out three Sheaffers, fully intending to fill them as replacements for my previously emptied Sheaffers. Then some tarnished Sailor silver caught my eye, and I grabbed a polishing cloth. But, if I’m going start polishing silver, I might as well polish all of it. So, I grabbed my two pieces of silver by Pilot (Namiki) and settled in for some polishing. And once they were polished, I had no choice but to ink them up. If I put them back in the pen case, they would tarnish again before I used them, making all that time wasted. So it was on to ink them up.

Keeping with the theme of three, I picked the three Iroshizuku inks that were closest at hand. The Sailor 1911 Sterling Silver was fed Iroshizuku Yama-guru. The ink level in the bottled betrayed that I had used the ink quite a bit, yet I couldn’t remember what it looked like on paper. I like brown ink, and it was a beautiful dark brown in the bottle.

photo of the Sailor 1911 Sterling Silver

Sailor 1911 Sterling Silver

The Sailor 1911 Sterling Silver came with a 21kt medium nib. I bought the pen in 2004 and had Richard Binder stub the nib at the 2013 D.C. pen show. The pen has seen infrequent use since them. One reason is that it tarnishes quickly, and polishing it up is a significant speed bump before inking it up. The pen hasn’t been used at all in the last two years and only three times since having the nib stubbed.

One of the end pieces, I forget which one, popped off, and I had to superglue it back on. It’s been solid since then, but I do hold my breath whenever I polish the pen.

Photo of the Sailor 1911 writing sample

Sailor 1911 writing sample

Photo of the Namiki Sterling Silver Hawk uncapped

Namiki Sterling Silver Hawk

The first of my Namiki fountain pens to get ink was the Hawk. I picked Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun. (FYI – Namiki is a sub-brand of Pilot, just like Iroshizuku.) The pen has an 18kt gold inlaid fine nib. The grey ink can sometimes get lost on some paper when using a thin nib. If I had been thinking or paying attention, I wouldn’t have filled the thinnest nib of the trio with grey ink. I’m writing the draft of this post on Doane Paper, which has a blue grid pattern. The ink flow is enough to put a line down that’s consistent and dark enough to stand out from the grid. I do like the look of the inlaid nib as I use the pen. The pen was purchased in 2003 but rarely used. It was last used nearly 4 years ago.

The pen barrel has what appears to be a small circle with a dot in it. It faces me when I write with the pen and is out of place. Now that I’ve seen it, I can’t unsee it. There are a couple other small blemishes that didn’t come out with the polishing cloth. They probably just need slightly more aggressive polishing.

While there are several Namiki Sterling designs available as new, it appears the Hawk has been discontinued.

Photo of the Namiki Sterling Silver Dragon uncapped

Namiki Sterling Silver Dragon

The final piece of silver is the Namiki Sterling Silver Dragon. I purchased the Dragon in April 2004. Like the Hawk, it’s rarely used and not used at all in the last four years. The Dragon has an 18kt medium gold inlaid nib. I loaded the pen with Iroshizuku Shin-ryoku (autocorrect is killing me on the ink names, hopefully my corrections are “re-corrected”). The nib puts down a nice wet line, with “wet” defined by someone who likes nibs tuned to the dry side.

Both Namiki pens are using the discontinued Con-20 aerometric converter (squeeze sac). I’m pretty sure they’re the ones that came with the pen 15+ years ago. New models include the Con-40. The Con-20 is Pilot branded, and they refer to it as a “Press Plate” converter. The Con-20 was discontinued as 2017 began. The Con-20 is my favorite Pilot converter (which isn’t saying much). Even though I can’t see the ink level, I find that it’s the only Pilot converter that rivals the ink capacity of a Pilot cartridge in real-world use. (I don’t use the Con-70 which probably does hold more.)

Despite being metal pens, the Namiki Sterling Silver pens don’t feel heavy at all. They are certainly lighter than the Sailor 1911 Sterling Silver that does have some heft to it. The 1911 is also slightly bigger when capped. Uncapped and unposted, which is how I use my fountain pens, all three pens are the same size. All three pens are comfortable in my hand. They are postable, but I don’t post them. I did notice some hand fatigue after using the 1911 for a short time. This was most unexpected and may have been more to do with it being late in the day, and I’ve been using my hands a lot today (cleaning, scrubbing, moving stuff, but unfortunately not using pens). I didn’t use the Namiki pens until the next day. There was no fatigue when using them.

None of these pens are among my core pens, although the Sailor 1911 managed to make my Hangers-On list. Since it’s been unused as long as the Namiki Sterling so it shouldn’t have even made that list. Despite their dormancy, I probably won’t put them up for sale. All are excellent writers, and they’re probably worth more to me than someone else would pay for them. While none have been beyond writing the draft of this post, all have reminded me that they are trustworthy writers and enjoyable fountain pens.

This Just In: Sailor 1911 Full Size Realo

Photo of the Sailor 1911 Large Realo in packagingThe Sailor 1911 Full Size Realo arrived in the same package as the Pelikan M815 Striped Metal back in early February. “Realo” is the moniker Sailor uses for their piston fill pens. According to the Sailor website, this is the only Realo model available with anything other than gold trim. So my choice was limited since I didn’t want gold trim. I do have a slight preference for the Pro Gear design, but that wasn’t an option since I couldn’t find any trace of their being a silver trimmed Pro Gear Model. (There are Realo Pro Gear pens, just not with silver trim.)

Photo of the Sailor 1911 Large Realo cappedThe 1911 Large Realo is a traditional, tapered pen with silver trim. The design is often referred to as cigar-shaped, which I never really understood since most cigars I’ve seen are flat on one end. The nib is 21k rhodium plated. I picked a medium-fine as my nib size. Sailor nibs run thin (as do all Japanese nibs, and this one is thinner than many of my European fine nibs. The pen itself is made of a classic black resin.

Photo of the Sailor 1911 Large Realo cap and ink windowLike the Pelikan M815 that arrived at the same time, it has a window to view the ink level. Unlike the M815, the ink window is visible when the pen is capped.

Photo of the Sailor 1911 Large Realo nibI’m a fan of Sailor’s thin nibs and have the extra-fine on my Regency Stripe. This medium-fine is two steps above that, making it an excellent all-around nib for me. The nib is marked H-MF, where the H means Hard. I wouldn’t call the nib a nail, but I like firm nibs, and this has a Goldilocks firmness to it.

While the size of the Realo is comfortable for me it’s a resin pen, meaning it’s relatively light. My hand gets more fatigued with a light pen than it does with a heavier pen. It’s counter-intuitive, but it’s because I subconsciously use a tighter grip on lighter pens. The ink flows so smoothly from the Sailor nib that I can use a light touch and let the weight of the pen do all the work of keeping the nib on the paper. I get a nice, solid line of ink that’s true to the nib size without any added pressure. Because of this, along with the comfortable size of the pen, I haven’t found myself sub-consciously tightening my grip. I did experiment with posting the cap, but the benefit of the added weight is outweighed by the discomfort I have using a posted pen. My benchmark is that I have to stand and stretch my legs before I have to put the pen down to rest. I’ve yet to do any marathon writing sessions, but so far the pen feels like I can write forever with it and I expect it to achieve this benchmark.

To inaugurate the pen I picked Iroshizuku Funyu-Syogun ink. Iroshizuku inks are well-behaved and Fuyu-Syogun was my favorite ink at one time. I filled the pen when it arrived in early February, and it went dry as I was writing the draft of this post.

I’m not sure this pen has the stuff to be Core Pen worthy. The Realo has a great nib, and it’s comfortable. Still, once the novelty of a Sailor piston filler rubs off, it may go the way of my my other Sailor 1911s. Only time will tell. I didn’t refill it after it went dry, opting instead to concentrate on using the five Sheaffers that are already inked up. This indicates it may have a hard time achieving core-pen status. Then again, four of those Sheaffers are core pens, and the fifth is a new addition that’s identical to one of the core-pen Sheaffers, except for the material.

Photo of the Sailor 1911 Large Realo uncappedPhoto of the Sailor 1911 Large Realo uncapped

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

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