Sailor is one of the three big Japanese fountain pen companies, founded in 1911. They are known primarily for their 14k and 21k gold nib fountain pens with a focus on quality, and a massive line of bottled fountain pen ink colors. The majority of Sailor fountain pens are offered in seven different nib sizes.
This video was recorded in March 2020 when we first announced that we were now authorized Sailor retailers. Since then, we've expanded our offerings quite a bit, and we are honored to now also be classified as a Bespoke retailer in the US.
Read on to get a quick overview of each of the fountain pen models, the fountain pen ink collections, and more!
The Sailor Fountain Pen Line
The fountain pens are primarily divided into two main models: the 1911 and the Pro Gear. The 1911 features a rounded cigar shape, while the Pro Gear has a flat top design. Each of these models come in different size variations. You can use our Pen Plaza comparison tool on our website to directly compare these in size to each other as well as to any of the other pens we carry.
The Sailor 1911 Large fountain pen is available in a huge range of resin colors, including some exciting North American exclusive colors. It features a large 21k gold nib in seven different nib sizes (more on that below). The cap screws on/off and posts onto the back when writing, and it uses a proprietary Sailor converter or Sailor ink cartridges.
The Sailor 1911 Standard fountain pen is a smaller, slimmer version of the 1911L. It is also available in a wide range of resin colors. The biggest difference is that it has a smaller 14k nib, instead of the 21k nib on the 1911L.
There are also several 1911 Maki-e versions available. Stock is a bit more scarce, but we do have a few designs to start with.
1911 King of Pens
The Sailor 1911 King of Pens is the largest of the Sailor offerings, and one of the largest fountain pens on the market in general! To complement the oversized body, it comes with an even larger 21k gold nib in medium or broad.
Pro Gear (Standard)
The Sailor Pro Gear (short for Professional Gear) fountain pen is available in several resin colors, including some exciting North American exclusive colors. Like the 1911L, it features a large 21k gold nib in seven different nib sizes. The cap screws on/off and posts onto the back when writing, and it uses a proprietary Sailor converter or Sailor ink cartridges.
Pro Gear Slim
The Pro Gear Slim fountain pen is a smaller, slimmer version of the Pro Gear. It is also available in a huge range of resin colors. Just like the 1911S to the 1911L, the biggest difference on the Pro Gear Slim that it has a smaller 14k nib, instead of the 21k nib on the Pro Gear Standard. There are also several themed special edition versions available, and on occasion you'll find a 21k version.
Pro Gear King of Pens
The Sailor Pro Gear King of Pens is an oversized version of the Pro Gear, with the larger 21k gold nib in medium or broad.
Pro Gear Slim Mini
This compact Sailor Pro Gear Slim Mini fountain pen is an even smaller version of the Pro Gear Slim. It comes with a 14k gold nib, and has its own mini converter (sold separately) for use with bottled ink.
If you're not quite ready to take the gold nib plunge, take a look at the Sailor Compass 1911 collection. It's modeled after the 1911, but lighter weight and priced more at the entry level. These fountain pens offer steel nibs, and are available in a rainbow of translucent colors. The converter is even color-matched to the pen!
You can find all of the technical specs for each pen model, including weights, measurements, and ink capacity, on the respective product pages on our website.
There are seven different nib sizes available for most Sailor fountain pens:
- Medium Fine
All seven of these sizes are available in the smaller 14k nib (like on the 1911S or Pro Gear Slim), as well as the larger 21k nib (like on the 1911L or Pro Gear).
The largest 21k nib for the King of Pens only comes in medium and broad.
Sailor makes all of their gold nibs in-house, one of the few companies left in the world to do so.
As a Japanese nib, they run on the fine side. Sailor nibs feature a bit of feedback in the finer sizes, similar to what you might feel when writing with a sharp graphite pencil. The broader nibs are more smooth.
The most popular Sailor nib size is Medium Fine.
Zoom is a unique size to Sailor. It is ground in such a way that the line width is varied: it is more fine when writing with the pen at a steeper angle, and broader at a lower angle.
Sailor's Music nib is most similar to a traditional stub italic nib. A two-tine design, you'll achieve wider up and downstrokes, and narrow sidestrokes.
Here are the writing samples for each of these nibs. You can use our Nib Nook comparison tool to compare these to each other as well as writing samples for all of the other pens we carry.
Sailor produces hundreds of ink colors, many only available to specific geographical markets or exclusive to retailers.
The Standard collection contains the basic ink colors: Black, Blue, and Blue Black. These are packaged in 50ml square glass bottles, and are also available in ink cartridges (which are a proprietary size to Sailor).
The Pigmented collection features Sailor's waterproof ink line. These are very popular with artists who rely on the permanence in their art. Kiwaguro is the black color, and there are two blue/black shades in Seiboku and Souboku. These are packaged in 50ml square glass bottles, and also available in ink cartridges.
The Jentle collection is exclusive to North America, and features six pleasant colors in 50ml round glass bottles. These have since been discontinued.
The Shikiori collection is inspired by colors of nature. There are over twenty colors in this collection in 20ml square glass bottles, some with beautiful shading or sheening properties. Souten and Yamadori are especially popular colors, and many are available in ink cartridges as well.
The Manyo collection comes in 50ml square glass bottles. This collection is an Overseas Exclusive (available everywhere but Japan). These colors were inspired by flowers frequently mentioned in Japanese poetry. Rachel's favorites are Haha and Nekoyanagi, for their gorgeous pastel multi-tonal shading properties on ink-resistant papers like Tomoe River.
The Ink Studio collection consists of 100 (yes really, 100!) unique colors. These are packaged in 20ml square glass bottles, and each has a three-digit number as its name. This huge ink line is only available at select Sailor US retailers.
The Yurameku ink collection is the newest as of 2022, and features multi-tonal, chromashading, color-shifting ink colors. These unique colors will appear different over time, on different papers. Available in square 20ml glass bottles.
For all of these ink colors, we also offer a 2ml ink sample so you can try out a color before committing to purchasing a full bottle.
We were thrilled to be added as an official Sailor Bespoke US retailer in 2022. The Bespoke line consists of limited quantities of special editions, often made with premium materials like urushi lacquer and maki-e techniques.
We also have access to fountain pens with specialty nib grinds in the Naginata Togi style.
A final note: the above is not an inclusive list of all available Sailor pen models and ink collections, and offerings will vary over time, but hopefully this gives you a good overview of what's generally available from Sailor.