Sailor 1911 Mid-Size Review



Specifications:


Brand: Sailor
Model: 1911 Mid-Size (Also known as the 1911 S or 1911 Standard)
Body Material: Resin (Plastic)
Colour: Blue with gold trim and black accents (Also available in black, burgundy/ maroon, red, yellow, ivory, and demonstrator with gold trim; black and burgundy also available with Rhodium trim and 21k nibs for $238)
Trim: Gold
Length (capped): 133.35 mm (5 1/4 in) 
Length (uncapped nib-end): 117.35 mm (4.62 in)
Length (posted): 144.48 mm (5.688 in)
Barrel Diameter: ~12.37 mm (.487 in) 
Section Diameter: 9.65 mm (.38 in)
Nib Sizes: Available in 14k EF, F, MF, M, B, Music, and Zoom nibs or 21k Naginata-Togi MF, M, and B nibs
Nib material: 14k yellow gold 
Overall Weight: 20 grams
Cap Weight: 7 grams
Body Weight: 13 grams
Section and Converter Weight: 8 grams
Barrel Weight: 5 grams
Barrel design: Round 
Fill type: Proprietary Cartridge/Converter System; A converter is included.
Clip: Not spring-loaded. Initially it was too tight to use but softened after a few weeks.
Ink Capacity: .61ml
MSRP: $195
Actual Price: $156
Price I paid: I paid $117 for mine from Levenger while it was 25% off and received a free $50 gift card which I then spent on a Point of View Pen Case during another sale.
Where to buy: I bought mine from Levenger, but they're only available in blue or red. You can also buy them at Nibs.com in every color except ivory, every size nib, and with the 21k Naginata-Togi nibs. Fountain Pen Hospital sells them with the 14k nibs. Andy's Pens in the UK sells them in the ivory color in addition to the other colors. La Courrone du Comte has all the colors except maroon but also sells a black version with silver plated accents.
* I am in no way affiliated with Levenger; this price was simply the best I could find at the time in the U.S.


Thoughts


Introduction

I bought my 1911 Mid-Size while it was on sale for only $117. This price was phenomenal for a 14kt gold nib in the U.S. (It would have been cheaper straight from Japan) and was only nine dollars more than what my M200 cost.


Packaging

The pen arrives in a small white box. Upon opening this box, you'll find a nicer blue box with gold trim which contains the pen, two cartridges, and a Sailor proprietary converter. The packaging is nice but not functional like the Pelikan M200's.






Design 

Sailor designed the 1911 S very classically with a blue barrel and gold trim; as a result, it looks similar to many other pens. My father's first reaction was, "It looks like a Montblanc." I have my Meisterstuck 146 on my desk for comparison, and there are only three main differences while capped (excluding size and weight): The 146 has the trademark snowflake on the finial; The Sailor does not have a gold ring under the cap band; and the 146's clip widens as it moves down the barrel, whereas the Sailor's is the opposite. 

Even to those who use fountain pens, this could easily be confused with a Platinum 3776 Century which looks even more similar. I don't hate this classic design; I simply believe that companies should do more to differentiate themselves from the others as Montblanc has. Fewer would mistake the 1911S for a 3776 Century or Montblanc if there were a Sailor anchor on the finial or clip.
The Montblanc 146's finial for comparison


A comparison of the clips and gold rings

Does anything look familiar? This image is from Platinum's website.

Where the Sailor 1911 S finally begins to stand out from the crowd is the nib. It's a beautiful 14k yellow gold nib with copious ornamentation. In its price range, only Visconti's nibs can truly compare in beauty. Not only does it look great, but it also writes just as well. 

Size and Weight

Weighing in at only 20 grams, this is a light pen but not excessively light. I have no problem with the weight and doubt that many others will. 

One of the most commonly asked questions about this pen is whether it's mid-size in comparison to most pens or Sailor's 1911 line. I find the pen to be mid-size in comparison to Sailor's 1911 pens but also slightly too small for me to use unposted. When posted, the pen is a great size and well-balanced.











Filling System

The pen fills using the Sailor proprietary cartridge/converter system. Many people, notably Matt from the Pen Habit, strongly dislike  these proprietary systems, but I don't mind them at all for two reasons: I don't use cartridges, and the pen comes with a converter. 

I do, however, dislike the minuscule capacity of the converter- only .61 mL. Even with an extra-fine nib, I still have to fill the pen every other day.  

The one advantage to the cartridge/converter system is that it's very simple to clean. You just remove the converter and flush both it and the section with water. For more intensive cleaning, the nib and feed unit is friction-fit and can easily be removed.


The opening on a Sailor converter vs. the opening on a standard international cartridge

The Writing Experience

The 1911S has a smooth nib, but it offers some feedback. If you're unfamiliar with feedback, it allows you to feel that the nib is touching the paper, but it doesn't make a nib scratchy or rough as many cheap Chinese pens are.  I now like this feeling, but it took a while for me to acquire a "taste" for feedback.

One downside to many extra-fine nibs is that inks appear washed-out and dull in them. This problem does exist with the 1911 Mid-Size, so I prefer to use highly saturated inks with this pen.  At the moment, my favorite ink in this pen is Levenger Cobalt Blue. It appears vibrant and matches the color of the pen as a bonus.

Even though the nib is 14kt gold, it offers very minimal line variation.



Writing Sample

Ink: Levenger Cobalt Blue
Paper: Black n' Red notebook
Sailor 1911 Mid-Size Writing Sample


Sailor 1911 Mid-Size Writing Sample



Pros

  • 14kt or 21kt gold nib at an affordable price
  • Line widths are true to size (Extra-fine is actually extremely fine)
  • Great for people with small handwriting
  • The nib's design is stunning
  • Wet, but performs well on low-quality paper because of the nib size
  • The nib and feed unit can be removed for intensive cleaning
  • Great balance when used posted or not



Cons

  • Cartridge/Converter with minuscule capacity (.61mL)
  • The design does little to set itself apart
  • Fingerprints cover the pen after a while

Gallery


Sailor 1911 Mid-Size Review
Sailor 1911 Mid-Size Review

Sailor 1911 Mid-Size Review
Sailor 1911 Mid-Size Review

Sailor 1911 Mid-Size Review
Sailor 1911 Mid-Size Review

Sailor 1911 Mid-Size Review
Sailor 1911 Mid-Size Review

Sailor 1911 Mid-Size Review
Sailor 1911 Mid-Size Review

Sailor 1911 Mid-Size Review
Sailor 1911 Mid-Size Review











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2 comments:

  1. Like the review, but you're penmanship for a fellow FP enthusiast is kind of lacking.

    ReplyDelete