happy-pen: sailor pro gear slim winter sky
Even on a Friday night, it is quiet. Not a single person has passed from the street in hours, one by one the last dredges of light disappear from the neighbours’ windows. The dim streetlights do little to lift the darkness, even the three-storey houses are reaching into the sky. It is not quite the suburbs, yet it is far away enough from the city that the only noise comes from the church nearby; ringing its bells every quarter hour. It’s a gentle fall evening and the weather only promises to get colder.
Do you remember your first Sailor pen? For some, it is the beginning of a wide collection; for others, it is just a reliable, pretty pen among many. For me, it was a disappointment. I had problems with the retailer first, about misleading information on their website and their unresponsiveness. When I finally managed to get a hold of a Sailor Professional Gear Slim, I was blown away by it. It was the Shikiori Princess Kaguya. A lovely pink-red with medium sized chunks of gold glitter mixed into the resin. The size was good and the pen felt well-balanced in my hand.
I inked the pen up straight away, because there is no way it got through the legendary Sailor quality control, right?
Nope. The nib wrote bad. The line was faint, painfully dry for my taste and required pressure -which I cannot apply- to write properly. Inking it had voided the warranty, thus off it went to be sold on Reddit.
After that, I was quite wary of Sailor pens. I brushed off the suggestions, got a little jealous of everyone’s shiny, wonderfully tuned Sailor’s. I got mine relatively recently. It was a gamble in my head, a tentative step out of my comfort zone. It’s funny that I decided to do that with the most expensive pen I ever bought… The Pro Gear Wisteria was my “first” Sailor pen. It has a lovely medium nib with that singing feedback. I have grown to love it, even though the noisy nib made me stop and consider my life choices for a moment. I liked it so much that a second-hand Realo with a fine nib followed it. A smooth piston, a beautiful nib. I have to admit I was starting to understand Sailor pens.
Only thing left for me to do was to give the Pro Gear Slim a second chance. It was just a matter of waiting for the most attractive limited/special edition. They’re getting a little hard to keep track of. That time came around in August, when this “Winter Sky” line was just released. It was a little odd to release a winter themed pen in August perhaps, but if there are more people like me that love winters, it was a welcome daydream. I wasn’t completely convinced on Sailor’s just yet, so I went on with my life.
Recently, it caught my eye again. The colour is simply amazing and a medium-fine nib was calling my name. The only question was to decide on the size. King of Pen is both out of my budget and out of the size range that I’m comfortable to use. I already had a Pro Gear. It was time for the Pro Gear Slim to shine.
My love of cloudy, grey days is well known among my friends. Snowy days where the sky is the most beautiful shade of steel grey or the gloomy, rainy days where you have to keep the lights on even during daytime. I love winter and I love the cold. It makes you feel alive.
The body of the pen, the grey colour, captures this extremely nicely. The subtlest shimmer with the tiniest silver particles play with the soft grey. There is a hint of purple too, which only spurs the imagination further to include snow capped peaks under the rising sun. The cap itself is a slightly different colour, which was hard to understand from the online photographs. It is clear in person. A cool lilac colour. It is not so much the purple itself, but the delicacy of the colour reminds me of snow drop flowers. They’re called “snow-piercer” in Turkish (kardelen). I used to find them growing through the snow on quiet walks on snowy mornings. Our school’s garden would have them too.
I am more of a gold-trim person myself, although the silver trim suits the theme and the colours much better in here. I am also not the biggest fan of every part of the pen being a different colour -like so many of the Sailor limited editions lately. Nevertheless, the cap suits this pen. The lilac gives the hint of vibrancy the grey pen needs, suggesting that snow and grey skies of winter aren’t the bleak omen most seem to think.
The cap band threw me off for a moment though, because before I could compare it to the other Sailor’s I have at home, I thought I was going insane. There was something different about it, I couldn’t put my finger on it. It’s thicker, covering the entire bottom edge of the cap. At first, I thought it was vulgar compared to the rest of the pen. It’s a small pen with soft, soothing colours, therefore the huge chunk of metal -right in the middle- stands out very much. I’m growing into it quite quickly; in addition to the new nib image, it seems more “contemporary” compared to its old, familiar counterpart.
Apart from the hardware, the nib is also single-toned silver. I was a little surprised by this, as I didn’t remember that Pro Gear Slim comes with a single-tone nib, instead of the dual-toned ones in the larger models. This is the new-style nib where the Sailor logo is simplified and the “1911” writing taken away. It suits the understated looks of the pen. Somehow with that, the colours, and even with the larger hardware, this pen feels more minimalistic. Perhaps it’s because I’m used to the deliciously flamboyant transparent purple acrylic with shiny gold trim. Perhaps it’s because I’m used to the ink window breaking up the brilliant black with a flash of colour. This pen is much more understated than both. I love 20th century brutalism in architecture, and it has a similar colour going on. Albeit much nicer.
I simply have to compare all three Sailor’s I own, because owning two others played into which nib and size I wanted to get. Variety is absolutely necessary. The medium fine nib writes right in the middle of fine and medium, though it is the smoothest one of them. The medium nib has the loudest and the most feedback, whereas the fine nib on the Realo falls somewhere in between. The sizes are quite similar when you consider the length, all three of them differ in the same way. The regular size Pro Gear reaches up to the band which holds the clip on the Realo; and the Pro Gear Slim reaches up to the clip band on the regular size. The main difference is the thickness. Pro Gear and the Realo are pretty thick, around the upper limit of what I can comfortably hold for a long time. The Pro Gear Slim is a great width. I think smaller, lighter pens with finer nibs are the most suitable for my writing and use-case scenario. They offer the most comfort, control and precision in the long run. It is in that size range of pens that are not quite pocket pens, like the Pelikan M200, but still are sized similarly to pocket pens. It is the same length as my Platinum pocket pen when capped, for example.
I always seem to forget that Sailor includes converters in their packages and I always add in some cartridges. Now I have 12 extra Sailor blue cartridges… I didn’t know it was such a lovely colour with some pink sheen.
With this pen, my stand on Sailor pens changed completely. Three pens later, I am a convert. All of these pens are going to stay inked for the foreseeable future, as they have been inked since they were bought. Which brings the eternal problem of having too many pens inked up and I want to use them all. At the same time. Maybe it’s not too bad, as some days I feel like I sit down to study only because if I’m not using all these pretty pens, who will?
Thank you for reading! The colour balance is not the same on all photographs as the sun kept disappearing behind the clouds while I was taking the photos. I left it as it is to better show how the pen might appear in different lights; for example the grey and the purpler part is sometimes almost indistinguishable from one another and sometimes it is quite obvious that they are different colours.