Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sailor (Sapporo) Professional Gear Slim First Impression

Link to YouTube for more viewing options.

Rachel and I had a good customer of ours special order a beautiful orange demonstrator Sailor Professional Gear Slim pen (formerly known as the Sailor Sapporo) in a broad nib. She was kind enough to let us ink it up and take it for a test drive so we could see what it's like and share our experience with you! Thank you for that, you know who you are ;)

The Pro Gear Slim is a bit on the short side capped. Posted though, it was comfortable for both Rachel and me.  Here are some comparison pics from top to bottom: Namiki Falcon, Platinum Plaisir, Pilot Custom 74, and Sailor Pro Gear Slim.

Some more comparisons, top to bottom: Platinum 3776 (Music Pen), Pelikan m800, Lamy Al-Star, Sailor Pro Gear Slim.

The pen writes really, really nice. I've heard about Sailor nibs and their smoothness, but this was the first time experiencing it for myself. I'm impressed. They aren't cheap pens (selling for $156), but they are nice! They fill by cartridge/converter, and the pen comes with both a cartridge and converter so you can start writing straight from the box. The nib is 14k gold plated in Rhodium.

We shot the video and these pictures over a month ago, sorry it's taken so long to post! We'd ordered this specific one in February, and it took until May to arrive. As it turns out, the broad nibs have since been discontinued and are no longer available. It's a shame, because we really fell in love with the broad nib. They are available now in fine and medium nibs with demonstrator bodies in pink, green, or orange.

We'd heard a lot of really good things about these pens, and we've been considering carrying them for months. After experiencing the pen for ourselves, we fell in love with it and just decided that we'd go for it and start carrying them, what the hey ;) We'll be stocking them here as soon as we get them in here in the next week or so from this posting.

The Sailor nibs are known for being very smooth, and boy was it. We were sold on them from the first word we wrote. What are your thoughts/experience with the Pro Gear Slim?


  1. I really like my Sailor 1911 with extra-fine 21K nib. It is truly unique and very flexible.

    Having said that, there is only so much ultra-ultra-(ultra!)-fine text I can write! May look into getting one of these instead of a Falcon as, since I received my Noodler's flex pen, I don't think flex pens are really right for me (for everyday use anyway). 

    Pity about the broad being discontinued though.

  2. I have a 1911 with a music nib I have yet to ink up, I'm waiting for the mood to strike me right.

    I agree with you about ultra fine writing. Personally, I like italic nibs best, so almost no writing I do is small. But then, I don't exactly have a conventional job, so I can pretty much write however I want :)

    It is a pity the broad is discontinued! It was available by special order only when we ordered this one back in Feb. 2011, but we've since been told they aren't available at all now. Boo hoo! It is a great nib.

  3. I've been looking forward to this video since I heard you had made one. It did not disappoint.

    As for the pen itself, I've been wanting a Sapporo for a long time now. I've heard so many glowing reviews of their marvelous nibs. The size doesn't bother me as I have tiny hands and find small pens comfortable. I've decided it will be my birthday pen for this year. ^.^

    Pity they discontinued the broad nib - it looks like the smoothest of them all!

  4. holy moly. i have a thing for orange pens. i need one of those babies!

  5. Wow, I just looked at some writing samples of the music nib. It's HUGE! I think I would have to switch to using unlined paper if I bought one of those.

  6. If you like orange, this pen is a hottie! It's just beautiful.

  7. I'm glad you like our video! I've heard nothing but good things about these pens, and now I know what all the hype is about. The only downfall is the price, but it's not unreasonable with all things considered. It is too bad the broads are gone, but I've heard good things about all their nibs, in all sizes.

  8. I ordered a Profession Gear Slim direct from Japan at the beginning of the year. I use fine and extra fine nibs for the most part. The Sapporo fine, is probably one of the finest (in both senses of the word!) nibs that I own. It is narrower and smoother than a Binderized Extra Fine  Pelikan m215, much smoother than my Pilot Custom 74 fine nib. Like Rachel I have small hands and I mostly write with it posted, which is very unusual for me, most pens become too top heavy for me if I post, because of where the pen hits the web of my hand. 

    Definitely a top notch pen.

  9. As an addendum, the nib is in a whole different category from the cheaper Sailor pens. e.g. the Reglus.

  10. Thanks for your input here, this is pretty much the consensus I've heard from Sailor owners. I agree with you about posting the pen. I almost never post mine, but this one not only kind of needs it (because of the length) but it feels very natural and well balanced with the cap on.

  11. Oh, definitely. This is the case for just about all pen companies. Pilot, Pelikan, Lamy, Platinum, they all have 'lower end' pens with different nibs than their higher end pens, and you can always tell a real difference in the way they write.

  12. I have a 1911 with a cross music nib and it is the smoothest nib I have, whatever angle I use. Shame it is a C/C...
    BTW an inlay like in the shown Jentle ink can also be found in the Levenger ink bottles. Levenger has some seriously nice ink bottles, the ink is not bad, too, but it doesn't really hit my spot, all close misses. The bottles however are beautiful, especially with the inlay.

  13. Too bad about the broad nibs. That's the one I would have purchased. Oh well!

  14. Great review as always Brian. Not quit my size but I do like the looks of it. I like the engraving on the nib but it would be hard for this former Marine to sport a naval emblem. Lol

  15. I know! It is too bad, I'm guessing it was a decision made a long time ago, since we had to special order this pen even back in Feb.

  16. One of the 1911's is a piston fill, most of them are C/C. I actually just purchased one for my personal collection with music nib, clear demonstrator with gold accents.

    I'm not familiar with Levenger's inks (they are an in-house brand and you can only buy it from them). When you say inlay, I assume you're talking about the cone reservoir in the bottle to assist with filling, right?

  17. Thanks! Yeah, this is a smaller pen. Now, there is a Sailor Professional Gear (not slim) that's more of a former Marine's size ;) But yeah, that anchor on top may not be something you want to see every time you write! By the way, thanks for the write up on the Premiere LE on FPN!

  18. I'll have to save up to the 1911 piston filler with Nagahara nib, I think concord...

    Yes, I mean the "flip-the-bottle-to-fill-it-up"-cone reservoir. I threw away the first one, because I didn't know what it was meant to be and it was too small for the M1000 nib.
    Later I truly regretted that, but I have some bottles left.
    The only other ways I know to get to the rest of the ink (for all filling systems) is using your sample vials or the Visconti travelling ink pod. But it a shame, that the new model hasn't got the cotton wool any more...

    The Levenger Cardinal Red is the reddest red I have ever seen in fountain pen ink. It comes quite close to a real red.

  19. "Professional Gear Slim"??? WTH? Why on Earth did they change the name from the beautifully Japanese Sapporo to... this? Sounds like the description for some sort of fishing gear. I mean, Sapporo is as Japanese as... Sakura.

    Anyhoo, if you will excuse my rant, this pen is beautiful. I hope that one day I will be able to justify one of these or a 1911.

    I'm not sure I'm thrilled with the colored demonstrators though. They don't even have a blue or clear.

  20. Haha, fishing gear? Wow, I take it you're not hot on the name... ;) Yeah, I have no idea why they changed it, it was something that happened before we became Sailor retailers.

    Yeah, a blue demonstrator would be awesome!

  21. Awesome video. This is one of a few pens I've been recently considering and you totally answered some questions for me that I couldnt find answers to anywhere else. Especially giving the measurement of your hand, which is the same as mine (Brians, that is).  Would you say that despite the small size of the pen, its still pleasurable to write with? Its the size of this pen that Im concerned about, and there is no store near me to try it out.

  22. Thanks! I have very large hands with lanky fingers, so I tend to like larger pens. This pen is actually pretty large in diameter, so that's quite comfortable for me. If the pen is unposted, it's a little short. Not unusable, but just a bit short for my taste. Posted though, it's actually as long as just about any other pen, you can see in the picture it's actually almost as long as the Custom 74 when posted, which is quite long. I use my wife's pink Pro Gear Slim every so often and don't mind it at all : )

  23. You asked for some comments, so I'll try :) I hope somebody will have som use of it.
    The only thing I can say is that I'm not a collector, but I've had my own fountain pen (from different brands) like... forever. After I dropped and heavily damaged my last one (a Waterman), I never got another one because I didn't do enough writing. This has recently changed. A few weeks ago I started to study Japanese, so I have to write more than I normally do, to learn hiragana, katakana and the kanji.
    After being disappointed with a Parker Urban Rollerball (€30), I decided to go to the store with a much bigger budget, an open mind about brands, and get myself a personal fountain pen again. I've tested many different pens, and in the end, I chose the (then to me unknown) Sailor Professional Gear Black/Gold Slim, number 11-1221. (I didn't know there were also smaller and bigger versions; this was the only black/gold Sailor they had.)
    The Sailor stands out in one aspect, against all other pens I've tested: after leaving it uncapped for about 5 minutes, it would still write. All the other pens on the table didn't. They had to be dipped again. I've tested this twice, and it is a major advantage for this pen.
    My initial target was the Parker Sonnet (€115) Black Lacquer with gold trimmings, but it lost out over the Sailor Professional Gear Gold Slim (€155) because it dried up within a minute, while the Sailor didn't. Also, their Medium nibs are of comparable width, but the Sailor is a 14K gold one, where the Parker Sonnet had a steel tip. The Sonnet is about twice as heavy, because it's made of brass and lacquer, where the Sailor is made of acryl. The Sonnet therefore feels more luxuruous, although it's cheaper.
    But, the housing is not what makes a pen truly good.
    I've been writing with the Sailor for two days now, and I can only say one thing... wow. You know how the Japanese always go on about becoming one with your tool (musical instrument, sword, staff, brush, etc...)? This pen does it.
    It's a strange thing to try and explain in writing. I just grip the pen, write a bit, and it's gone. When practicing the Kanji (and even while writing western script), I feel like I'm drawing instead of writing. The pen just *isn't there* You don't feel as if you're holding something; the pen seems to blend into your hand. Maybe it's because it's so light, or because it's made of acryl instead of brass/lacquer, but this pen just disappears. It feels af I can "think in ink" and then what I wanted to write just appears.
    Maybe this would also have been true with (some) other pens, but to be honest, I've never experienced this with any other pen I've had in the past. I'm now thinking about getting a higher-end Sailor pen (maybe even a limited edition) some day for use at home (they use acryl instead of metal even for some of their most expensive pens by the way), and start carrying this Professional Gear Slim Gold as my daily pen, as I've done with other pens before.
    I'm very, very satisfied with this writing instrument.

  24. Thank you for that very informative description Kat! If it was in response to my post regarding my considering a Sapporo though, I already bought it! I also understand what you mean about mastering the pen. I had my nib grinded to a left oblique, and the sweet spot is sooooooo tiny! But its so good too! From what I hear, Sailor pens typically have small sweet spots on them.
    News to me though is what you said about how long the nib can last uncapped compared to other pens. I havent experienced this yet, because Im pretty good at capping my pen all the time, but its good to know.
    Now I too am considering another Sailor! Im thinking about the 1911 full size myself. One of the few demonstrators I actually think looks good!

  25. Hi :)

    It was just a reply in general because the article poster asked what others thought.

    I think you misunderstood my post a bit. This pen does not have a particular sweet spot. I don't have to hold it in any particular way to write with it. I just picked it up and wrote with it as I do with any other pen, and it works. As said: when writing, after a line or two the pen just seems to disappear.

    The capability to still write after several minutes of being uncapped was a nice surprise. Most other pens can't do that. I know it's not the ink, because all pens were clean, and dipped in the same ink (Parker Quinck Black).

    I like this pen so much that I have re-found the joy of writing with a fountain pen. Now I just want a *very* expensive one to treat as my own special pen, so the Sailor Professional Slim can become the "take away to everywhere"-pen.

    There is no reason for me to buy an extremely expensive pen (I'm not a collector and don't want to brag with it); I'm just a greedy guy :+ If I ever buy something like a high-end pen or even a Limited Edition (of any brand) it'll probably be the only one ever beside this Professional one.

  26. Wow, thank you so much for sharing your experience!


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