April 3, 2013

Fountain Pen Purchase: Real-Time Thoughts, Part 3

This is Part 3 of a series of posts related to the engaging topic of a new fountain pen that I'm planning to acquire. Part 1 is here, and Part 2 is here.

I've decided to get the Sailor Professional Gear Matte Black version rather than the Imperial Black version, for the following reasons:

1. Unless I'm mistaken, the nibs are identical other than the final plating scheme. So the actual real-world writing experience should be identical with both pens.

2. Although I really like the "none more black" color scheme of the Imperial Black version, I fear that it may be a passing phase and that I'll grow to dislike the black plated nib in a few years or decades. In contrast, the standard two-tone nib that comes with the Matte Black version is more traditional, and I'm sure that its aesthetics will hold up over time. Plus, my son prefers the two-tone nib over the black plated nib of the Imperial Black version, and he's a smart kid.

3. Cost. I believe that the Matte Black version has a lower acquisition cost than the Imperial Black version. Yeah, I know that the Imperial Black version is a special "limited edition" and all that, but see Reason 1 above. I'm struggling with the idea of paying more for the purely ornamental design features of the Imperial Black. It doesn't seem practical (although, buying another fountain pen at this time is far from practical).

OK, so a Sailor Professional Gear Matte Black fountain pen will be in my possession soon. I just need to decide on a nib size/type. This is NOT an easy task for me because Sailor makes a wide variety of standard nibs and a number of crazy specialty nibs. I'm leaning toward a standard Medium or Medium-Fine nib, and I'm intrigued by the Naginata Togi specialty nib (but am not seriously considering it). I have learned enough about fountain pens to know that the actual line width of a "Medium" size nib can vary quite a bit from one manufacturer to another. Moreover, a general rule of thumb is that a given sized Japanese nib will be smaller than the same sized Western nib. For example, a "Medium" size nib from Pilot, Platinum, or Sailor (the big three Japanese brands) will be close to a "Fine" size nib from Pelikan, Kaweco, or Waterman.

I own or have used the following: Lamy Vista (Extra Fine); Lamy Vista (Fine); Pelikan M205 (Extra Fine); Pilot Custom Heritage 91 (Fine); and Pilot Varsity (Medium). Although I usually prefer narrow line widths, I love how smooth and wet the Pilot Varsity nib writes. For this reason, and for the sake of variety, I'm not really looking for another Fine or Extra Fine nib for the Sailor Professional Gear. If I can find a vendor with a reasonably priced Matte Black in Medium-Fine, then it's a done deal. Otherwise, I'll probably just get the Matte Black in Medium and hope that the nib size is a winner.

I better wrap up this post before I change my mind and start looking at the Nakaya Piccolo again.

Back to Part 2; Way back to Part 1

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