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)