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Thread: Sailor and Pilot - why buy anything else?

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    Default Sailor and Pilot - why buy anything else?

    After a long hiatus of using fountain pens when I was younger, I recently discovered fountain pens again; I guess life got in the way and I had to travel a lot so ballpoints/rollerballs made more sense. I have a calmer and steadier life now, so fountain pens just naturally emerged back into my life.

    Thanks to the immense resources we have online, and having the resources now to buy a variety of fountain pens, I have concluded that the only pens worth buying are those from Pilot and Sailor. I understand that other brands have other things to offer like style and other filling mechanisms, but purely from a nib quality standpoint, Pilot and Sailor are a few tiers above any other pen I've tried (in the same price range).

    If I had to start all over again I wouldn't waste a dime on other pens and just stick with Pilot and Sailor. And now I do.

    Is there anything else I am missing? (Sorry if this is a controversial thread. But I am new to this writing about FP's in a forum thing, so maybe it isn't.)

    Addendum: I guess I am at a point that I don't need convincing anymore but I am still curious what others think (maybe other people are less serious about the FP quality - I am insanely picky - but this is an FP forum after all), and I suppose this is somewhat personal, but also the differences in quality are so great that perhaps it is also somewhat objective. I am not Japanese, and I am not one of those people who's obsessed with Japanese culture; in fact I prefer European/American culture; but just in terms of fountain pens and other stationery in general, I find Japanese-made products to be superior, maybe because they actually still care about the quality. It's in their work ethic or pride or whatever. Whatever they are doing, it's working for the quality in their pens. I find that maybe in other pen brands, quality is an after-thought and profits come first. They just don't have that "pride in quality" ingrained in their culture or something; or perhaps they just don't have the skills/experience/knowledge to achieve that high quality yet.
    Last edited by jace; September 23rd, 2020 at 06:27 AM.

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    Default Re: Sailor and Pilot - why buy anything else?

    I don't know that I'd consider any disagreement over the quality of fountain pens to rise to the level of controversy. But then, although I do have preferences, I don't take them that seriously.

    I've never used a Sailor brand pen, or even seen one except in pictures. I do like a couple of their inks, Doyou and Shigure in particular.

    My favorite modern brand of pens is Pilot, or perhaps it would be more precise to say that, out of my favorite modern pens, the majority were made by Pilot. That includes still made models such as the Custom Heritage 91 and 92, Falcon, and Capless Decimo, and a couple of older ones, a MYU and a Murex, and an older Elite with a soft 18k nib.

    But my favorites also include a Montblanc Noblesse, some vintage Sheaffers, Eversharps, Watermans, and whatnot, and possibly the semi-vintage (no longer made) Parker 180 which I got only this year.

    If I buy another pen, it will likely be no longer made (maybe a 1950s vintage Pelikan), and certainly something different from what I already have. Pilots are great, but I have plenty of them; why buy any more? There is nothing that tempts me about any Sailor models apart from the fact that I don't have one yet. That actually could be enough to get me to buy one at some point, but not this year, and there's no reall need to keep acquiring pens. Selling some of what I have to raise a little money for new ones (or just to get some money back, period) would make sense, but I don't really like selling, just a personal hangup.

    But if someone asked me what a modern brand is with reliable quality, I'd certainly mention Pilot.
    "If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly."
    G.K. Chesterton

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    Default Re: Sailor and Pilot - why buy anything else?

    Everyone has their own favourites but within my collection of fountain pens I have none that are made by Sailor and only two that are made by Pilot. The only reason I have one of those is because it's a VP pen. The other Pilot is a Custom 74 that I got cheap. If someone asked me to recommend a VP pen it would certainly be Pilot.

    When I first started to buy fountain pens Sailor and Pilot weren't an easy option within the UK and pens had to be found easily, so other brands were purchased.

    I'm not a particular fan of fine or very fine nibs anymore and many Sailors and Pilots seem to come with those. Nor is it easy to get replacement nibs for Pilot pens. Something I find quite annoying.

    I'm also very picky about the quality of my pens, but am very happy to stick with my current pens made by Montblanc, Omas, Aurora, Parker, Waterman and Sheaffer. If I was to start from the beginning again, I probably would buy fewer Montblanc's with F nibs and I wouldn't miss not being able to buy an Omas Paragon.
    Last edited by Chrissy; October 3rd, 2020 at 10:29 AM.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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    Default Re: Sailor and Pilot - why buy anything else?

    I have my own aesthetics and haven't the foggiest what Sailors or Pilots write like (or even look like) and am not likely to find out. I'm sure they're the greatest thing since sliced bread and the perfect pens for other people. All my pens, from Montblanc to Scheaffer School, to Boston Safety, write differently. But they all have one thing in common, and that is I like them and they can put ink on paper. I love that. Ink and paper. If there was nothing else at hand, I'd write with a popsicle stick.

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    Default Re: Sailor and Pilot - why buy anything else?

    My agreement with your statement only goes so far as the fact that Pilot and Sailor made good quality pens and their consistency in maintaining their pens' quality is excellent.

    But there are *so* many other pens in the world that is available to us. And furthermore there are more than just *one* way to evaluate, appreciate, and love even a single pen. In fact, your sole criteria above, the nib writing quality, to me is a non-issue because I can tune the nibs of all the pens I have restored and sold into whatever writing performance that I prefer. If I can tune my pens' nib, so can everyone else, if they choose to put the effort.

    I assume by Pilot and Sailor, you are referring to modern pens, correct?

    If this assumption is correct, then we deviate again, because I have written with *so many* vintage pens whose nibs have such character and just such a joy to write with compared to any of my modern Pilot and Sailor pens.

    Sheaffer made amazing, firm nibs. Old American pen companies such as Moore, Paul Wirt, Aikin Lambert, Dunn, Waterman (both of them), and hundreds other made flexible nibs that when you take their best, you can't find a single equal in the modern time.

    Then European vintage pens, British, French, Italian, German pens from the 1930's until 1970s, so many variety, and some of the best stubs, double broad nibs, can be found in this era. My vintage Montblanc 344G has a nib that is both stub and flexible in the highest quality.

    Last but not least, vintage Japanese pens. So many interesting brands that are no more today besides Sailor and Pilot.

    Even if we take vintage pens out of the equation, I still would consider many other modern pens *along* with Pilot and Sailor.

    How about Nakaya (Platinum), Eboya, Hakase, Stylo-art, even some Wancher. That is if we're staying in Japan.

    Then Stipula, Santini, the new Leonardo brand, not to mention Aurora with their beautiful Optima.

    How about custom pens where you can even put Pilot or Sailor nibs on them?

    In short, when it comes to this hobby, I enjoy exploring what are out there, and in doing that, I have come to appreciate so many fountain pens that I would not be able to just prefer two brands, good as they may be.

    But, that's just me.
    - Will
    Unique and restored vintage pens: Redeem Pens

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    Default Re: Sailor and Pilot - why buy anything else?

    To each his/her own. If your pens make you happy that’s great. In my case I would not change my vintage Pelikans for any other pen.

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    Default Re: Sailor and Pilot - why buy anything else?

    because we can.............
    The secret of getting ahead is getting started-- Mark Twain

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    Default Re: Sailor and Pilot - why buy anything else?

    In diversity there is beauty and there is strength.

    ~ Maya Angelou
    Last edited by Jon Szanto; September 23rd, 2020 at 02:51 PM.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

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    Default Re: Sailor and Pilot - why buy anything else?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    In diversity there is beauty and there is strength.

    ~ Maya Angelou
    Yikes. Ok ok, I concede. I don't even know why I started this thread. I guess it's my way of quickly learning more FP brands through an aggressive/controversial post. I really didn't see any valid counterpoint (brands) to my OP so, I guess I will retain my hypothesis. Sorry if this may sound selfish or self-motivated, aren't we all?

    If you are admin and have the permission, please feel free to delete this thread!
    Last edited by jace; September 23rd, 2020 at 12:04 PM.

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    Default Re: Sailor and Pilot - why buy anything else?

    I’m pretty new to the hobby. After experiencing vintage Esterbrook, Parker 51/21, Conway Stewart, Triumph Sheaffer, LAMY Al Star /Vista, and such, I find I enjoy them all.

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    Default Re: Sailor and Pilot - why buy anything else?

    Quote Originally Posted by jace View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    In diversity there is beauty and there is strength.

    ~ Maya Angelou
    Yikes. Ok ok, I concede. I don't even know why I started this thread. I guess it's my way of quickly learning more FP brands through an aggressive/controversial post. I really didn't see any valid counterpoint (brands) to my OP so, I guess I will retain my hypothesis. Sorry if this may sound selfish or self-motivated, aren't we all?

    If you are admin and have the permission, please feel free to delete this thread!
    Nothing to concede. Your post is just fine. It brought out people's opinions, including yours - which is a good thing. Like Jon says .....

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sailor and Pilot - why buy anything else?

    Quote Originally Posted by jace View Post
    Yikes. Ok ok, I concede. ... If you are admin and have the permission, please feel free to delete this thread!
    No, no, no man! No reason to delete and there aren't winners and losers! You actually asked "why buy anything else?" And people are giving reasons that they do, both in pragmatic descriptions and (as in my case) more philosophical stances.

    So, just as an example of a very direct answer to your question: I have a number of pens from the Japanese "Big Three". I have a great fondness for what I consider the 'quirkiness' of the Platinum/Nakaya nibs (many people call it "feedbacky"), as well as the slip-and-seal inner cap, which is really a great solution. And then there are my Sailors, which make for really fine longer writing sessions, as well as the Pro Gear being almost the absolute perfect size/weight for my hand. Pilots? I have a couple but they are on the other end of the trio from Plat - usually so smooth that I find them, um... boring. So I've never gone beyond those couple.

    Now, all that said: Among those are some favorite pens, especially an anniversary LE Pro Gear Realo that nibs.com did a few years ago, with the nib tuned for me by Mottishaw. Yeah, there are some very fine pens among the group and they get use. However...

    I have a LOT of other pens. They write fabulously (and lousy) too. And they look different, and feel different, and are different shapes, and some are 100 years old and still killer writers. I'm currently using a pen that was made in 1936-7 (Sheaffer OS Balance) to write and sign letters to people I've never met to encourage them to vote. A pen that pre-dates WWII serving a valued function at a critical time. I didn't pick it because it was US-made, only that is may be the most comfortable pen size/shape/weight I have come across (for MY hand) and the smooth nail is a dream on less-than-perfect paper.

    So please know this: I purposely didn't put anything in response to your question putting down your decision. If those two company's pens do it all for you, BONUS! Me? I need variety and change and many different nib sizes and shapes to fit my moods. Good as they are, those pens, even in multiples, wouldn't delight me nearly as much as the family I've put together. So this thread serves a valuable function - it illuminates the different ways we choose our writing instruments, and there is no wrong way to do that.

    Well, except for the idiots that have 100 Lamy Safaris...

    Last edited by Jon Szanto; September 23rd, 2020 at 01:40 PM. Reason: grammar
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    Default Re: Sailor and Pilot - why buy anything else?

    I find pilot and sailor have consistency -> I can expect the pen and nib to do something every time without fail. They're tuned flawlessly to their factory standard and their deviation from that is very little.

    You can just go see a nibmeister and do something similar to any other pen, but out of the box consistency I havn't seen many companies stand at their level.

    I've had 2-3 montblancs and their consistency is.... well not great out of the box. They're fine writers and they have no problem putting ink down, and with some tuning by someone with knowledge they will do exactly what you want with a different feedback and feeling than Sailor or Pilot. Does that mean montblanc is inferior? I don't know. Depends on your definition....

    I think you make your own grail, and it is what it is. I personally don't see the greatness of vintage flex nib, where parts are harder to replace ...... but writing with them is a different experience altogether and your preferences decide if that is worth it.
    Last edited by sworist; September 23rd, 2020 at 02:49 PM.

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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sailor and Pilot - why buy anything else?

    The same argument was made about vintage Esterbrook pens recently, and that was just about as convincing.

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    Default Re: Sailor and Pilot - why buy anything else?

    Given the number of vintage Esterbrook nib choices the argument is more convincing unless you don't like the size of the nib holder or if the resin isn't precious enough.

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    Default Re: Sailor and Pilot - why buy anything else?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Naill View Post
    Given the number of vintage Esterbrook nib choices the argument is more convincing unless you don't like the size of the nib holder or if the resin isn't precious enough.
    ... as is often the case.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: Sailor and Pilot - why buy anything else?

    My preferences pretty much align with the OP. My first choice is Japanese pens. Platinum is okay, but they are not in the same league with Sailor and Pilot. I have no interest in European pens although some are lovely and usually functional.

    My two top pens are a Pilot Custom 823 and a Sailor black ebonite KOP. Strangely though, they both live in protective cases and are rarely ever used. For everyday use I have several TWSBI 580s, and they function perfectly for all I need.

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    Default Re: Sailor and Pilot - why buy anything else?

    I've owned five Pilots and sold, or given away, them all. Only ever owned a Sailor nib and recently sold that as well. Nothing against either brand, they just don't ring my bells...
    Vintage. Cursive italic. Iron gall.

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    Default Re: Sailor and Pilot - why buy anything else?

    Quote Originally Posted by jace View Post
    After a long hiatus of using fountain pens when I was younger, I recently discovered fountain pens again; I guess life got in the way and I had to travel a lot so ballpoints/rollerballs made more sense. I have a calmer and steadier life now, so fountain pens just naturally emerged back into my life.

    Thanks to the immense resources we have online, and having the resources now to buy a variety of fountain pens, I have concluded that the only pens worth buying are those from Pilot and Sailor....
    You shouldn't regret this post. Everyone had been polite and thoughtful in reply. There is no controversy here that I can see. Just a wide and experienced difference of opinion.

    I don't own enough pens >$100 to have an opinion on this one way or another. And I have never tried a Sailor. But I do like my Custom 74. But it's not my favorite. My favorite pen right now is my Sheaffer 330. When I put it away in a week, something else, like my Wing Sung 699 or my Jinhao 100 will be my favorite.



    Sent from my moto g power using Tapatalk

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    Default Re: Sailor and Pilot - why buy anything else?

    Well, Sailor and Pilot make fine pens. I can see why you’d focus on them and that works for you. I have two Sailors left and I bought them for their looks mainly, but have never been enthralled with the way they write so I sold the rest of them off.

    But I have Franklin Christophes, Pelikans, Deltas, and even Lamys with which I am far more pleased.

    But there’s room for everybody at the pen Big Top, you do you!
    "Nolo esse salus sine vobis ...” —St. Augustine

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