Sailor 1911 Large Anchor Gray
Fountain Pen Review
- Review Ink: Robert Oster Fire and Ice
- Review Paper: Various
- Description: A classic cigar shaped pen in a delightfully pleasing grey color
- Nib: 21k gold, rhodium plated. Broad nib reviewed.
- Filling Mechanism: Sailor converter/cartridge system
- Weight: 23g overall
- Measurements: 5.5″ capped, 6.0″ posted
- Color Options: USA exclusive called “Anchor Gray”
I’ve been a big fan of Sailor pens for a while now. I don’t know how I’ve managed to avoid reviewing a 1911 Large for so long. This large pen (okay, it’s not that large) is presented in an exclusive color called Anchor Gray that’s only available in North America. The “large” models feature a larger 21kt gold nib, a bit more heft, and a slight increase in both length and diameter. The 1911L is a pretty pricey pen, with a street price of $288. Can this Sailor weather the storm? Read on to find out.
Appearance & Packaging:
Let’s start with the pen itself. Specifically the color. Anchor Grey is a wonderful medium-light shade of cool gray that looks just plain awesome on this pen. The silver hardware nicely accents the color, giving it a classy, yet understated look. The grey is a pretty perfect shade – it’s not so dark that it’s boring, while also not super bright that it stands out. I definitely love the color — great job, Sailor.
The 1911L is a classic cigar shaped pen. It features rounded ends that taper in the middle, slightly swelling out the mid section of the pen. Speaking of the middle of the pen, there’s an excellently crafted cap band that’s topped with a slimmer accent band just above where the cap ends. The engraving is top-notch and the finish is pristine. The rhodium plating compliments the grey color of the pen quite well. I also like the shape and appearance of the clip. It’s simple, yet has just enough detail to remain interesting. The cap’s silver band extends around the pen, and is mirrored on the tail end by another accent band. For a simple pen, there are just enough small details to keep things from becoming dull. The classic looks, attention to detail, and unique color result in a great looking pen that oozes class.
Box test: Would I feel like a cheap jerk if I was giving this as a gift to someone if this is the box it came in? Nope. It comes in a pretty plain box with some documentation. Nothing fancy, but it doesn’t look overly cheap or overly expensive. Totally fine with it.
Nib Performance & Filling System:
My experience with Sailor nibs has been pretty stellar, and the broad nib on this example is no exception. The 21kt rhodium plated gold nib is also as nice to look at as it is to write with. Sailor’s nib design has to be my favorite out there. I love the scroll work around the nib, the “1911” logo, and the anchor – firmly planted in the center of the nib. The “large” model features a slightly larger nib than the “standard” and it is much appreciated. The nib has some presence to it, but it’s not over the top – similar to how almost all the features on this pen are.
Writing with the broad nib is a pleasant experience. There’s a touch of feedback, but writing still feels smooth. It’s almost like writing with the perfect pencil on good paper – just enough tactile feedback to let you know you’re physically writing with something. At higher angles, the nib writes a little bit more dry and a tad scratchier. If you decrease the angle of the nib to the page, the nib lays down a wetter, smoother line. I don’t know if this is by design, but it’s nice to have some variation in how the pen writes depending on the position its in. The broad nib writes like a Western medium. When compared to the broad nib on my Platinum 3776, the Sailor is a bit more narrow and a bit more dry. It’s also much stiffer. The 3776 has a nice springy cushion to it, while the Sailor remains rigid. Overall, I really love how the Sailor writes. It’s getting harder and harder to think of mailing this back to Goldspot when I’m done…
The 1911L fills by way of a proprietary cartridge or converter. I don’t mind the system, as it works well. I find that lately, my attention span for inks and amount of writing I do fare better with the smaller ink capacity of a C/C system. It’s not uncommon for high-end Japanese pens to utilize this filling system (as opposed to a piston). I don’t mind it. Would a piston added something to this pen? Hard to say.
I really like how the Sailor feels in hand. The Large offers a wider diameter, added weight, and a slight increase in length. Even though it’s not much larger, the difference really matters. It makes the pen feel more luxury. It’s comfortably sized for my medium hands. It’s comfortable to hold, even for longer writing sessions. The balance of the pen is towards the middle. The step from the threads to the grip is extremely minimal. No matter what your grip is, this pen should be comfortable for everyone. I prefer writing with the 1911L’s cap posted. The added length and weight are definitely welcomed. It’s no slouch with the cap off either. However, the taper of the end of the pen combined with the reduction in weight leave something to be desired. Those with smaller hands will appreciate the length unposted, but I’ll be using it with the cap posted.
There are a few small details that really stuck out to me regarding the feel of the pen. The resin used has a nice density to it. I may be starting to sound crazy, but it’s definitely noticeable. I was doing a side-by-side with my Black Diamond 3776, and the 3776 felt cheap in comparison. Granted, the 3776 is about a hundred dollars cheaper, but I can definitely tell why. The quality of the cap threads on the Sailor are significantly smoother and have a more satisfying feel when closing the pen. The threads are smoother to the touch as well. The pens are both similar in shape, yet for some reason the Sailor just looks and feels more refined. I know this isn’t a comparative review, but I think it helps justify the price tag of the Sailor over similar looking pens.
Overall, the feel of the Sailor is what really sold me on the pen. The attention to detail and premium feel really add to the overall writing experience.
- Beautiful gray color
- Excellent broad nib
- Quality feel
- Price may be too high for some
- Cartridge / Converter fill system is just okay
- This pen is a loaner and I don’t get to keep it 😦
It’s hard to get me excited about new stationery goods. I’ve tried hundreds of pens over the years, and I’ll admit I can be a bit jaded at times. The Sailor 1911L in Anchor Gray is definitely one of those pens that makes me appreciate why I got into the hobby in the first place. It’s understated, yet interesting. Simple, yet detailed. Something about this pen just works. It’s a wonderful writer, looks great, and feels great in the hand. I can also say that I think the color of the pen really plays into the overall experience as well. If this pen was black with gold hardware, I don’t think it would have the same “wow” factor. If you’re looking to up your pen game, the Sailor 1911 Large is definitely worthy of the price. At $288, it’s not absurdly expensive, nor is it in the “impulse buy” category. If asked, I would definitely recommend this pen to those looking to up their collection.