Branching out – of sorts

Anyone who follows me on Instagram (@slightly_unnerved) will know that I have a bit of a thing for the Sailor Pro Gear. In 2020, the number of Pro Gears I own went from a modest three to a more showy eight. These were all limited/special editions of one sort or another. More (or less) interestingly, four out of these five came with medium nibs.

Spot the pattern – (L-R) Pro Gear Earth (Broad), Apres Ski (Medium), Blue Lagoon (Medium), Tequila Sunrise (Medium), Angel’s Delight (Medium), Kure Azur (Medium), Bungubox Omotesando Blue (Fine Medium), Bungubox Sanctuary Blue (Medium)

This didn’t bother me in the slightest as I happen to really like Sailor’s 21K medium nib. It’s a package that just works for me. Hand-finished, in practice, each of the Sailor medium nibs I own is sufficiently different (line width, flow, feedback) that they don’t all blur into one. Combine this with the range of colours I have and it never feels like I don’t have choice.

Besides the pens that I bought, one other Pro Gear I had made up my mind to buy was the Ocean. It too was a limited edition, but limited in the thousands and widely available at regular Sailor prices.

Familiarity did a good job of breeding contempt and I was quite happy to sit and ponder this particular purchase. Unfortunately, I waited too long and by the time I was ready to make the purchase, no-one in the UK had any left. It was sold out with no prospect of a re-stock.

Aaaarrrrgggghhhhh!

As I veered between reconciliation with the situation and the (not entirely rational) notion of ordering one from the US, Anthony from UK Fountain Pens put one up for sale. On the face of it, this solved my problem – the model I wanted, from a UK seller and with the bonus of not having to pay the premium of a brand new pen. I’ve never met Anthony, but if you’ve ever read his blog (and you should) it’s clear that he cherishes and cares for his pens. As such I had no concerns about the condition of the pen I would be buying.

Exhibit A – Sailor Pro Gear Ocean

There was one quite big issue that I needed to address. This pen would come with an extra-fine nib! Japanese fountain pen nibs generally run thinner than their European counterparts. Given that I’d be reluctant to buy a European pen with an extra-fine nib, the prospect of a Japanese extra-fine was quite daunting (well for me anyway).

That extra-fine nib. The extra bonus was a dual-tone nib. I was expecting all rhodium…

Here was my dilemma. If I passed on this, when would I get a chance to buy another Pro Gear Ocean at a sensible price? If I bought it, what if it was effectively useless? In practice, the decision didn’t take long to arrive at. Funds were duly dispatched and a few days later the pen arrived.

Does size matter? L: extra-fine, R: medium
Getting it down on paper

Was it the right decision? Definitely. Inked up with Sailor Yonaga, it writes brilliantly. The flow is good and the nib is not at all scratchy. It has a little of the pencil-like feedback that Sailor nibs are renowned for, but that’s it. All in all a fantastic pen.

Much of this pen was a known quantity, but sometimes it’s good to push your boundaries a bit and try something that differs from the norm.

Next stop a music nib?

2 thoughts on “Branching out – of sorts

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