Fountain pens! What a concept. First invented in the 19th century, they were once the primary writing instruments of gentlemen of dubious fortunes and calligraphy-conscious school children. Today fountain pens tick that vague but strangely specific box of old-fashioned-enough-to-seem-fancy and unusual-enough-to-feel-fun. Which is to say, exactly the kind of box we like to rummage in.
Here at Omoi we've long carried fountain pens from Kaweco and yStudio, and this season brings a new addition to our garrison. Introducing Sailor Pens, a Japanese fountain pen manufacturer with a long history of superior craftsmanship. With considered details and playful colorways, this is a collector's pen that's also welcoming to beginners. While the world of fountain pens (and their price points) can feel overwhelming to dip your toe into, Sailor's offerings are beautiful enough to inspire a lifelong interest. Let's dive in!
A Little History Lesson
The Sailor Pen Company was born in 1911 when engineer Kyugoro Sakata was gifted an English fountain pen from a sailor friend. Fascinated by the instrument, Mr. Sakata became determined to produce Japan's first fountain pen. Since then, Sailor has become one of the premier specialty pen makers in the world, with each pen still produced in its home port of Hiroshima.
To the Point
The nib is the heart and soul of Sailor pens. Made by master craftsmen, Sailor nibs are produced with 14K gold and sometimes coated in rhodium or stainless steel for strength and polish. All our Sailor pens come with a fine-medium nib, which we selected for its versatility and ease of use for both beginners and experts.
A medium-fine nib from Sailor will produce a little feedback when writing, allowing you to engage in a more intimate relationship with the paper. Note: feedback does not equate scratchiness. Scratchiness compromises the integrity of the paper, while feedback offers a tactile experience. Think of it as ASMR for your hands. Very nice.
Our Sailor collection consists of two styles: the square-barreled Pro Gear Slim Series and the cigar-shaped 1911S Series (in this case "S" stands for standard, not small). Similar in make but with their own personality, each style is designed to stand out.
Sailor 1911 S
The 1911S Fountain Pen Series is exclusive to North America and features unique colors and reflective effects. Much like Pantone develops intricate color stories around their chosen colorways, Sailor lets color take center stage when dreaming up new fountain pen styles. The result is offbeat, polished pens that are only available for a limited time, like the Wicked Witch of the West, seen below.
Sailor Pro Gear Slim
The square-capped fountain pens that make up Sailor's Pro Gear Slim series are based on traditional Japanese concepts, drawing heavily from seasonal colorways and folklore motifs. The aptly named Japanese Fairy Tale in Dragon Palace is a standout. With golden accents and glitter effects, the Pro Gear Slim is also the glitziest of the two. Each pen is also marked with a Sailor anchor logo on the cap, for easy sailing through the treacherous waters of writer's block.
A Writer's Life
An analog experience in a digital world, the humble fountain pen reminds us that, at its core, writing has always been a physical activity. Confronting a blank WordDoc would have overwhelmed Shakespeare himself, but putting pen to paper can feel almost meditative. Paying attention to the tools we use to write letters, journal entries, and poems can help us develop a writing practice that feels intimate to each of us. The ritualistic nature of a fountain pen—uncapping the pen, dipping it in ink or changing the cartridges, feeling the gentle feedback of nib against paper, cleaning out the ink after—demands we take our writing seriously, to make space for the activities that nourish us.
We can’t know for sure if that's what Sailor had in mind years ago when they debuted their first pens. We can guess, however, that losing yourself on the page is not unlike a sailor embarking on a new journey. For this fact alone they are aptly named.
Featured In This Story:
- Macon & Lesquoy Pin in Silver Feather, Crescent Moon, and Ink & Brush
- Fog Linen Work Silver-Plated Dish
- Fog Linen Work Silver-Plated Towel Tray
- Sailor Pro Gear Slim Fountain Pen in Lucky Charm
- Sailor Pro Gear Shikiori Japanese Fairy Tale Fountain Pen in Dragon Palace
- Sailor 1911S Fountain Pen in Wicked Witch of the West
- Sailor 1911S Fountain Pen in Trinity
- Macon & Lesquoy Hand-Embroidered Patch: Alone?
- Sailor Pro Gear Shikiori Japanese Fairy Tale Fountain Pen in Grateful Crane
- Sailor Shikiori Bottled Inks
- Sailor 50mL Bottled Ink