Sailor Desk Fountain Pen (Extra Fine)

8 Apr

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.

Launch sequence initiated.

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.

Uncomfortably pointy.

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.

Sleek and shiny.

Ok so it is a little long if you need to carry it around with you...

At least it comes with some sort of capping-device.

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.

Thin plastic makes the entire pen extremely light.

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.


4 Responses to “Sailor Desk Fountain Pen (Extra Fine)”

  1. dagrantla April 10, 2012 at 7:06 PM #

    Great review! Re the deck: its less of an issue than you think. Even in our digital lives, almost all of us have a desk we use constantly, usually where our computer sits. So its a nice thing to have a fountain pen stand on that desk, knowing that you can go analog to write a note. But the question is: where can you get a stand that doesn’t look cheap and tacky? By the way, if you Google “Sailor desk fountain pen,” you are the No. 5 result (of 250,000) already!

    • dagttv April 10, 2012 at 11:12 PM #

      Thanks for kind words! I wish I could be more excited about my google search frequency; unfortunately, there are very few people here in the US that share my interest in these wonderful pen rarities. I can’t imagine there being more than a handful of reviews that are not written in Japanese.

      Outside of Japan, fine-tipped desk fountain pens like the Sailor are relics of a forgotten age. Platinum, Pilot, and Sailor are some of the last remaining manufacturers that produce these pens, and they do so exclusively for the Japanese market. Because of these circumstances, finding the proper stand may prove to be a difficult task unless you happened to be shopping in Japan. The Sailor is quite a bit narrower than the average American desk pen. American stands are built for heftier barrels and would most likely be incompatible with the Sailor.

      JetPens sells a Platinum desk stand which looks classy enough, but even Platinum’s stand is a little to large for the petite Sailor. Still, it would most likely get the job done.

      I personally do not use any desk stand and I am still very pleased with the pen. I hope this answer doesn’t discourage you from trying one of these beauties!

  2. Excarnate December 11, 2012 at 11:39 AM #

    One big advantage to this pen, other than its wonderfully fine but smooth writing, is that it doesn’t walk off (not necessarily pen borrowers but my leaving it around the house) so it is always on the desk and available.

    I use it a lot and if I’m going very fast I can run the feed out of ink briefly. But it is one of my favorite pens.

    Thanks for the note on the US desk stands being too wide, I would like to have a stand (which would help keep it from rolling off the desk). And it is good to know it is now available in the US in case something happens to mine. If I find a suitable stand I’ll try to post anything pertinent.

    • dagttv March 22, 2013 at 7:38 AM #

      It is an incredible pen and that sailor desk ink is just superbly black.

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