Sailor Sapporo (aka Pro Gear Slim)

Let the battle for my pocket begin!  I recently reviewed the TWSBI Mini and concluded with the “Carry It” rating.  Can the Sailor Sapporo, another highly portable fountain pen, push the Mini out of my pocket or will the Sailor be left on the desk.  Let’s find out.Sapporo1

When it comes to classic (boring) looks, it’s hard to beat Sailor.  In fact, when I bought my Sapporo just a few weeks ago at The Fountain Pen Hospital‘s Winter Expo the delightful Sailor representative mentioned that they focus on nibs and that I should pursue other brands if I wanted a unique looking pen.  There’s clearly a bit of salesmanship to such a line, but there’s also plenty of empirical truth to it and I appreciated the candor about the classic (boring) style of Sailor pens.  As you can see from the pictures, I went with the black resin and rhodium trim.  I’ve already mentioned my preference for silver-colored trims and the Sapporo fits that preference beautifully.  Also, we’re talking rhodium here and that brings back fond memories of (nerd alert!) my undergraduate laboratory work – good and formative times.

***Mental note:  All this talk of resins, which really are not resins but manufacturers don’t want to say plastic, rhodium, palladium, etc. makes me think a “material science of pens” series needs to be researched and published.  One of the reasons I dig pens so much is that they’re a handheld chemistry project.***

Sapporo2Look closely at my awful pictures and you’ll see that I didn’t use Waterman Florida Blue.  I went a bit crazy and used Waterman Blue/Black, now called Mysterious Blue, which was also purchased at the FPH expo.  (If the other color is black, is it really all that mysterious?)  Being a slightly wider and more flexible nib than my TWSBI Mini fine, the Sailor writes wetter but I haven’t had any issues with smearing on the south paw.  The 14k Sailor nib, which is gorgeous and nicer to look at than a TWSBI nib, is fairly smooth with a touch of feedback and line variation.  All in all, the Sapporo is a more interesting writer than the TWSBI but there’s a level of consistency and ruggedness I get from my Mini that generally keeps me coming back.

Rating
As you can tell, constantly likening the Sapporo to the Mini is hard for me to avoid.  While I did get the Sailor for noticeably less than sticker price, the typical Sapporo to Mini cost ratio is almost 3 to 1 and that should not be ignored.  They both have ideal sizes for easy carrying.  The Sapporo is easier to post.  The Sapporo has a beautiful nib which gives lines a bit of character.  That said, I recommend the Mini over the Sapporo because of cost and because I like the overall performance of the Mini’s nib a bit more.  When it comes to the Sapporo, “Desk It“.Sapporo3

Analogy
The Sailor Sapporo is like shopping at Whole Foods.  Sure, Whole Foods offers products you can’t easily find at a typical grocery store but the added cost isn’t worth the marginal benefits.  So, shop at Whole Foods and write with a Sapporo every now and then to change your routine, but don’t make the former your weekly grocer or the latter your daily carry.

Other reviews of the Sailor Sapporo:
Ed Jelley
Pen Addict
Ink of Me Fondly
Ink Nouveau
JustDaveyB (great closeup of nib)

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10 thoughts on “Sailor Sapporo (aka Pro Gear Slim)

  1. Excellent review of the Sailor Sapporo. I greatly enjoy your writing style and pen rating system – simple yet with enough options for be meaningful.
    Congratulations on a really nice blog – I have it set as a regular place to come and read. Looking forward to your future reviews and comments.
    (I have been eying Mike Dudek’s pen holders for a while over at The Click Post site and just need one more slight nudge to purchase one or two for myself – hoping you do a review in the near future).

    1. @pajhurley – Thanks so much for your encouraging comment.

      Mike Dudek’s pen holders are great and I’ll likely get to a review soon (thanks for the idea!). That said, just get one already. The pictures of his products look great, but they don’t do the feel and, believe it or not, smell of holding the actual item in your hand adequate justice. There’s little doubt that I’ll be getting another one in the not so distant future.

      Dig your avatar. One of my favorite animated movies of all time.

  2. Great review. It’s really interesting what you were told about appearance vs nibs. I recently picked up an orange Sailor Reglus which is absolutely stunning to look at but the nib I’m still trying to make up my mind about. It was a bit temperamental out of the box but seems to be getting better with use.

    1. @ianhedley – Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      Just looked it up and I agree – the Reglus is a good looking pen. It’s a very simple, clean looking pen and the orange color is actually a bit understated (if orange can be understated). I think the Sailor rep I talked to was trying to make the point that they stick to simple designs when it comes to pen bodies and spent their time on producing quality nibs.

      While looking up the Reglus, the Sailor ProColor in red caught my eye too. Looks like the ProColor uses a similar steel nib as the Reglus. Maybe the fact that your Reglus is a steel nib is part of your breaking in period? I “need” a Sailor with a steel nib so maybe that red ProColor will find its way to me in NJ.

  3. So I understand that you worked with Rhodium complexes in the past? Sounds interesting. My bachelors thesis is gonna be about an enormous (4800+ u) Ruthenium phthalocyanine. Which was quite fun to synthesise 🙂
    Nice review by the way 😀

      1. Yes it had a satisfying dark blue and when in dilute solution was glowing pink.

  4. Great review! Now, a couple of words about both pens and brands. I love the TWSBI Mini design, and the ease with which it dissasembles. TWSBI Nibs (I have used Minis with EF, F, M and 1,5 Stub Italic) are very smooth and very nice, although a bit boring, as most similar German made nibs. Now, I recently discovered that you’d better not use the Mini’s clip, or be extremely careful when using it, since the upper part of the cap will develop cracks quite easily. TWSBI still has way too many isues with cracking… It might hacve to do with both, design of pieces and quality of materials. Mr.Philip Wang will probably send a replacement cap, but still…
    Now as for the Sailors, their designs are sure to be rather boring – except perhaps the demonstrators – but their nibs are impressive. My 14 k F nib is not that smooth, but will never ever show starting nor skipping problems. Hope my incomming EF nib (in a Sky Special Edition Pro Gear Slim) will be even more impresive. Now, the one which I am using dayly, and I reccomend trying, is the cheaper SAILOR LECOULÉ with an F steel nib: What an incredible nib that is!!! Extremely good writer with just that feedback I like, and so expresive, so precise… These school pens by Sailor should not be overlooked, despised or anything. True, there are cheaper decent options, like the Pilot Metropolitans, but the Lecoulé deserve being tried… And they are cheaper than the TWSBI or just same price, depending on vendors.

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