Japanese manufacturers of pens are a passionate bunch. One such brand is Sailor Pens that doesn’t cater much to beginner or inexpensive pens but in their price range they excel and are almost universally praised for their nibs, style and construction. Today I bring you a look at a widely recommended and praised pen from Sailor, the Pro Gear. I have never had the opportunity to use a Pro Gear in any of its iterations but I have read and heard many of its praises. After some time with an Ivory colored, 21k gold nib version I can easily jump on that boasting bus.
Type: Fountain Pen
Nib: 21K gold medium
Length Capped: 5”
Length Uncapped: 4 ½”
Length Posted: 5 7/8”
Weight: 25.4 grams
Filling System: Converter (Included)
Street Price: $250 US
Construction Fit & Finish: The Pro Gear feels substantial as a plastic composite pen. The overall size is not large but the balance they struck with diameter and weight give it a good feel in hand. I find no flaws or machining marks in the finish, all gaps are tight and the threads are super smooth requiring only 2 full turns to remove the cap. A+
Overall Appearance: Sailor has a solid looker with this attractive design using the overlapping cap style. The cap is a larger diameter than the pen body and the threading of the cap allows it to come down over the top of the body of the pen. A common design well executed here. The Rhodium trim rings, clip and nib are a nice contrast to the black pen ends and even the Sailor logo on the cap is in matching finish. The engraving on the nib is classic Sailor and gives the pen an overall rich look. The ivory color of my pen was difficult for me to photograph well but in person it’s beautiful. So much so that I hesitate leaving it on my desk unattended, it grabs attention.
Ergonomics: You can write with the Pro Gear posted or unposted. I prefer unposted and at 4 ½” in length it still works with my larger hands. It extends comfortably above the web of my index thumb grip. For my friend Ru over in Ireland, here’s a comparison to another popular and similar size pen, the Cross Century II.
When writing you can feel the section threads but they are not sharp and the grip section is a good proportional size for the rest of the pen from an aesthetics standpoint and from an ergonomic grip respect.
Clip: The clip is well sprung and the ramps are good, nothing real ornate or special but does its job unobtrusively and is a nice complement to the pen’s overall look.
Filling System: The Pro Gear comes with a press fit converter and my example worked great with a smooth piston mechanism. Not much more to ask for here.
Nib: The nib is a medium 21K Rhodium trim. My pen came from John Mottishaw at nibs.com so I can’t speak to out of the box factory performance of the nib. Sailor has a great reputation and I would not hesitate buying any Sailor from any reputable supplier. My medium was on the Japanese small side of medium, no surprise there, and it was a joy to write with, no hard starts, skips or dry ups. The size was a good proportion to the rest of the pen and the ornamentation was nicely done.
Conclusion: Sailor’s impressive reputation for fit, finish and nib performance has been confirmed with me. I owned a 1911 model for a little while but it didn’t get much use and I’m not sure why. I’m wishing now I would have kept it as I have grown close to this Pro Gear. I reach for it often in my current daily carry and I highly suspect you would pleased with one as well.
Thanks Massdrop for all your do for the writing community. You can read more of my pen and stationery ramblings over at mypenneedsink.com