Sailor 1911M Review

16Feb08
sailor_1911.jpg

Pen: Sailor 1911 (mid-size)

Colour: Blue

Filler: Cartridge/Convertor

Nib: 18K gold (medium)

Price: RM550.00

Dealer: Pen Gallery

Sailors enjoy a sterling reputation for producing among the smoothest nibs on the planet. So, about two months ago, I went out and got myself a blue Sailor 1911M from Pen Gallery. Right off the bat, the Sailor looked the part. Streamlined and shiny, the classic torpedo-shaped pen had class written all over it. I could hardly wait to put it through its paces. All the way home, the 1911 urged me to touch and caress its silky body from right inside the box. It took quite a tremendous strength of will to resist its seduction.

Being the mid-sized model, the capped length of this Sailor is only 13.6 centimetres. With the cap posted, the length becomes 15.1 centimetres. The barrel’s girth is 1.3 centimetres. This is not a big pen. If you feel you need something bigger, then it would be better to opt for the standard sized 1911. However, the standard 1911 will set you back RM1,000. But if you have smallish hands, the mid-sized Sailor would be just right. In fact, it is slightly larger in size than the Pelikan M200.

Filling duties on the Sailor is undertaken by a cartridge/converter unit: you could use an ink cartridge, or you could slap on the converter and suck ink from a bottle. I tend to chuck the cartridge option aside because I have this thing about fountain pens: they must be filled using bottled ink. Some call this snobbery. Others call it eccentricity. Take your pick.

Apart from that, I’m not a big fan of cartridge converters because they hold only a limited amount of ink. But if you don’t need to carry around a lot of ink in your pen, this shouldn’t be much of a problem. But if you tend to write a lot, your Sailor may run out of ink before you actually run out of things to write. Be that as it may, the Sailor’s converter unit is one of the better examples I have ever seen. It looks sturdy (although quite small), has metal parts and provides a positive action when you twist it. What more could you ask for? Though the downside of converters is their limited ink capacity, I have to admit that cleaning and flushing converter pens are a lot easier than it is with their piston filler counterparts.

The Sailor, true to its reputation, performed flawlessly right out of the box – no fiddling with the nib was necessary. It laid down beautifully uniform wet lines throughout the writing exercise. No skipping, no starting problems and no inkflow issues. In short, the Sailor performed as advertised – and then some! After having pens that costs twice the price of the Sailor perform like dogs, I was ecstatic over the Sailor’s performance. I shouldn’t be surprised, really.

There is no denying that the Sailor writes very smoothly – maybe a little too smoothly. Writing with it feels almost like writing on glass! Except for the coarsest paper, the Sailor’s nib felt as if it was slip sliding all over the place, especially when writing at speed. I never thought I’d have any problems with nibs that were smooth – until I met the Sailor. I now know first-hand that having too much of a good thing can be bad thing. Of course, this is a purely subjective call on my part. There will be users who will be more than pleased by the Sailor’s super smoothness.

So, if you have small to mid-sized hands, like your nibs to be super-smooth, don’t mind a small ink capacity and appreciate classic good looks, look no further than the Sailor 1911M. Plonk down your RM550 (before discount, if any) and walk away, a happy camper.

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