Sailor’s desk pen was my first purchase from the old Japanese pen company. According to the stamp on the metal, this is an EF (extra-fine) nib. Like most Japanese companies, Sailor is not joking around when they say ‘extra-fine’–this thing is needle-fine. Behind the Pilot Penmanship, this is the finest-tipped fountain pen I own. Unlike the Penmanship, however, the desk pen’s tip is not flexible and lays down a very consistant, extra-fine line.
You may look at a tip like this and think: scratchy. After all, fountain pens have no rolling parts at their point to ease contact with the paper. Here is where I give Sailor the most credit. The pen does not feel like dragging a hypodermic needle over sandpaper. Sure, the tip is no broad-nib floater and won’t win any smoothness competitions over a wide, 14k-gold music nib, but I have to tell you that it’s still damn smooth for a nib this size. Changing direction is a breeze and the Sailor never feels like it is catching on smoother papers.
Now for the unavoidable part of this review. This is a Sailor desk fountain pen, meaning it was designed to be kept exclusively in those fancy, old-fashioned desk stands that you see on lawyers’ desks. What does this mean? Well, the pen is very long and slender. Combined with the plastic barrel, the pen is featherlight and perfectly balanced for quick writing. While I do like heavy fountain pens, I tend to lean towards lighter barrels when dealing with a nib of this fineness (tip stays smoother because I am not tempted to apply too much force and dig into the paper). It also doesn’t come with a real cap because the desk stand doubles as a cap.
I do not own a fancy-shmancy desk stand. I have carried this pen around in my backpack and kept it in my desk drawer and the pen has yet to leak on me. The cap-like piece of plastic that comes with the pen serves very well as a cap even though it does look a bit awkward. It hasn’t come off on its own or fallen apart. One thing you cannot do, unfortunately, is post it on the back.
I have thus far only attempted to use Sailor’s black ink cartridge so I couldn’t speak much about converters or the pen’s performance with other inks. What I can say is that Sailor’s black ink is no short of incredible. It is extremely dark, dries very quickly on Rhodia paper, and does not feather or bleed in the slightest.
If you happen to own a desk stand (I’m looking at you, lawyers) or can deal with owning a desk pen without a desk stand, I highly recommend the Sailor desk pen. It is very inexpensive for such a wonderful writing device. If, however, you cannot deal with owning something with an awkward shape to carry around, or do not like ultra-light, slender pens, I suggest you look elsewhere.