April 2022 - Navigating So Many Sailors! Navigating the Colorful Waters of Sailor Pens - Pen Boutique Ltd
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So Many Sailors! Navigating the Colorful Waters of Sailor Pens

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Do you feel overwhelmed by all the different Sailor pens that have come out in the past few years? If so, I don't blame you! There are so many exciting and beautiful releases, it's hard to keep up.  Whether you're a Sailor collector or a pen lover interested in dipping your toe into the Sailor waters, choosing a favorite can be difficult. This week for the blog, Leena, Raj, and I decided to try something different that we hope will help... I am going to feature some of the unique Sailor releases you may have missed over the past few years, and will be adding to this list over time.  

The First Five

For my first "So Many Sailors!" installment, I chose five fun pens to bring home and get to know. I decided to start with (bottom to top in photo): Sunset Over the Ocean, Blue Green Neubla, 4 a.m., the sparkling cranberry 2021 Sailor Pen of the Year 2021, and a Loch Ness Monster. Here they are in the bright afternoon sunlight.

These five pens gave me a lot of variety to explore, as Sunset Over the Ocean and Blue Green Nebula are both Professional Gear models, while the other three are 1911 models. In addition, my chosen Sunset Over the Ocean is standard-sized, while Blue Green Nebula is a slim model, and my chosen 4 a.m. and Pen of the Year 2021 pens are 1911L (large) models, while the cute Loch Ness Monster is a 1911S (small). For most of these pen color schemes, I had two size choices to choose between. Some Sailors also come in a very large King of Pens size, but I didn't bring home any King of Pens for this installment.

Quick Sailor Model Summary

So, what's the difference between all these models? If you're already a Sailor collector, you probably know, so feel free to skip this part, but to summarize Sailor's most popular models as simply as possible:

  • 1911 Standard (1911S): mid-size torpedo-shaped pens with 14K nibs.
  • 1911 Large (1911L): full-size torpedo shaped pens with 21K nibs.
  • 1911 King of Pen: largest size torpedo shaped pens with extra large 21K nibs.
  • Professional Gear Slim: small flat ended pens with 14K nibs.
  • Professional Gear: slightly longer and thicker flat-ended pens with 21K nibs.
  • Professional Gear King of Pens: largest size flat ended pens, with extra large 21K nibs.

I don't want to get bogged down in numbers, so if you are interested in comparing exact differences in length and width between the different pens, check out the individual pens' listings. To really get a feel for the differences, I highly recommend visiting the store in person if you can. Holding a pen in your hand is the best way to know if it is the right size and weight for you. People with smaller hands tend to prefer smaller pens, but not always!  Choosing your favorite size is very personal, and it's also nice to have different size pens for different situations.

In addition to the body shape/size choices, you will also have a lot of nib choices with a Sailor. Not all pens come with every nib option, but the potential nibs are:  Extra Fine, Fine, Medium Fine, Medium, Broad, Zoom, and Music. (The majestic King of Pens models are only available in Medium and Broad.)

Blue Green Nebula

I'm trying to be impartial, but I think this one is my favorite. I love the small size of the Professional Gear Slim, and the color is absolutely breathtaking. This is what Sailor says:

Discovered 10 years ago and about 1,000 light-years away within our Milky Way, the Wreath Nebula is a giant cloud of gas and dust visible in the night sky as a distant bright blue-green patch. For years it has intrigued humanity with countless questions of its origin. The Wreath Nebula is known to exist in a space between stars and believed to be both the start and end point of stellar evolution. Either gas/dust forming as new stars are born or thrown out by the explosion of a dying star. Truly a sight to behold. Such is Sailor’s next model in their Universe series – The Sailor Professional Gear Slim Blue Green Nebula, a beautiful sparkle infused Transparent Blue Green Fountain Pen that inspires one to constantly gaze upon the night sky for inspiration.


Available in the Slim size with Gold trim and a 14K Gold nib in all seven popular Sailor nib sizes. Production will be limited to only 1,800 pieces in 2021.


The way the translucent barrel catches the light is incredible; at times it seems lit from within, like the distant nebula it's inspired by. The sparkles remind me of bright stars, and show up even in low light.

I paired this pen with Colorverse Green Goddess, a lovely shading ink that matches its blue green shade almost exactly.

Loch Ness Monster

I've loved (and believed in!) the Loch Ness Monster since I was in elementary school, so I couldn't resist this pen. Here are the specs, as provided by Sailor:

The Loch Ness Monster. Do you believe it's real? Allegedly seen by a few but proven by none. People have debated its existence for over 85 years, with everyone wondering what lurks beneath that most famous deep blue loch in Scotland. The new Sailor 1911 Loch Ness Monster Fountain Pen takes its inspiration from this setting. A vision of something unknown, rising from the dark deep blue expanse of the loch. Could it be something mythical or just a piece of a log? Nobody knows, but the intriguing mystery continues…

Sailor's Loch Ness Monster comes with a dark blue barrel, black trim and an ion plated (IP) black nib. Available as a North America Exclusive, some of the highlights of the Sailor 1911 Loch Ness Monster Fountain Pen are:

  • Available in 1911 Standard and 1911 Large sizes and offered in all seven standard nib sizes.
  • Comes with a 14K or 21K Gold Nib with Black Ion plating.
  • Features Black Ion plated trim.
  • Retail sales are only available through Authorized Sailor North American Retailers.
  • Sold exclusively through Itoya of America for direct domestic distribution.
  • Not available in other countries, not even Japan.


What I love about this pen:  first of all, that it's a Loch Ness Monster, of course!  As you can see from this photo, it's a mysterious murky blue color. In bright sunlight like in the photo at the beginning of this article, it's an intriguing lake blue shade, but it seems to change its color to adapt to the ambient light. In a less bright room, it can appear a very dark navy. The dull grey trim helps Loch Ness Monster hide; it's the opposite of a flashy pen with shiny silver or gold trim and a show-off nib. Everything about this pen is stealthy and hard to describe in clear terms. I think it pairs perfectly with Sailor Shikiori Yonaga ink, a deep dark blue with interesting purple and green sheen and a lot of fascinating hidden colors that emerge when you get it wet.


Sunset Over the Ocean

The Sunset Over the Ocean Professional Gear is available in Slim and Standard versions with seven nib sizes, and King of Pens version in two nib sizes - medium and broad. This pen is a beautiful deep azure blue that sparkles like the evening ocean. The translucent red finials on the cap and end of the pen catch the light and glow like a red sunset. I found a photo I had taken back in 2017 that reminds me of this pen:


As with the rest of these pens, the color differs a lot depending on lighting. In dim light, the silver sparkles are very subtle and the pen appears to be a deep, rich nightfall blue. In sunlight, it's a shimmering azure. The sparkles are more understated than the ones in Blue Green Nebula or the cranberry 2021 Pen of the Year, and it suits the special quiet feeling of tranquility you experience when you watch the sun glowing red on calm ocean water just as night begins. 

Sailor describes the pen this way:

As the sun begins to set and nightfall slowly emerges, the view of the ocean brings about a sense of calm contentment that the day’s challenges are behind us and the promise of a "new tomorrow" at dawn. This is the vision behind Sailor’s new Professional Gear Sunset Over the Ocean Fountain Pen. The glistening ocean underneath a setting sun is the inspiration for its silver sparkle infused blue cap and barrel with rhodium trim. Its red finials perfectly represent the sun setting over the horizon at the end of a productive day.


I think this pen pairs superbly with Monteverde Ocean Noir, which is the same color blue, with beautiful shading and copious reddish-copper sheen.

Check out the perfect 21k nib on this Standard Size pen. (Both 1911 and Professional Gear models feature Sailor's anchor logo and number 1911, the year Sailor was founded.) As you can see in closeup, the elusive sparkles in this pen add a lot of depth and beauty to the color.


Pen of the Year 2021

Whether you want to commemorate a memorable occasion (like a birth, marriage, graduation, new job, meeting someone close to you, or just having survived 2021), or you simply love this festive and unusual sparkling cranberry color, Pen of the Year 2021 is truly special, and not a pen that should be forgotten about now that 2021 has drawn to a close. 

This is another pen that glistens and gleams in bright sunlight, but it maintains its sophisticated deep shade of red and never looks garish or overly cheery. It reminds me of a cocktail party. Here's what Sailor said when the 2021 Pen of the Year was released:

Sailor Pen is kicking off the new year with a new pen that will fill every writer with joy all year round! The first Sailor North America Exclusive Fountain Pen for 2021, aptly named the Sailor 1911 Pen of the Year 2021, was designed to make you smile with every use, through every season.

The Sailor 1911 Pen of the Year 2021 will be a limited edition and produced for availability only in 2021. It is a sparkly cranberry color body and comes with rhodium trim, a bi-color nib, and a specially engraved center ring marked, “2021.” Perfect as a keepsake and heirloom for years to come.

Some of the highlights of the Sailor 1911 Pen of the Year 2021 are:
  • Available in 1911 Standard and 1911 Large sizes in all seven standard nib sizes.
  • Features a bi-color plated 14K or 21K Gold nib.
  • Special engraved center ring marked “2021.”
  • Available only through Authorized Sailor Pen North American Retailers.
  • Sold exclusively through Itoya of America for direct domestic distribution.
  • Not available in other countries, not even Japan.


That bi-color nib is exquisite!

It was immediately obvious to me that Pen of the Year 2021's perfect ink is Robert Oster Sparkling Cranberry. Even with this medium nib, the silver shimmer shows beautifully and sparkles just like the pen. (And, yes, the pen matches the color of real cranberries very well!)



Lastly (for now)... 4 a.m.

A pen named "4 a.m." is another concept that completely intrigues me. Sailor describes this pen thusly:

4 a.m.... Dark yet alluring. Quiet yet mysterious. Daybreak is coming. Are you in a deep slumber? Are you already out and about? Or maybe you haven’t even gone to bed yet? The Sailor 1911 4 a.m. depicts this state of mind, whatever that may be for you. Its transparent twilight blue barrel with black ion-plated trim perfectly exudes this feeling. 


  • Only for Authorized Sailor North American Retailers.
  • Only sold through Itoya of America.
  • Not available in other countries, not even Japan.
  • Black Ion Plated trip with Rhodium Plated gold nib.
  • Available in both 1911S and 1911L sizes, in all seven standard nib sizes.
  • Comes with a 14K or 21K Gold Nib with Black Ion plating.

    I'm a night owl, and being still up at 4 a.m. used to be a common occurrence for me, so I know well what a special time of day it is. This pen perfectly captures the early morning hour that sneaks up on you, when suddenly you notice that the sky is no longer black... a faint blue light is creeping in, and if you aren't careful you will have trouble falling asleep because sunrise is on its way. (Of course the exact hour differs depending on time of year and where you live, but 4 a.m. is fuzzy, not literal.) This is the pen for that moment when you've lost track of time, look out the window and think, "Oh no! It's blue o'clock!"


    The photo on our website doesn't do this pen justice. It looks much, much lighter than it actually is. 4 a.m. is dark, but gaining luminance by the moment. Its partner is Iroshizuku Tsuki-yo (moonlight) ink.


    That inky nib looks friendly.

    Goodnight for now... it's not yet 4 a.m., but it is after midnight, and I have work tomorrow.  Adieu, until next time!

    Also do check out our exclusives.  We still have some left.  

    Sailor 1911 Kagero Green fountain pens 

    Sailor Pro Gear Bora Bora Waters Fountain pens

    -Laura P.

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    • What a wonderful series on Sailor pens and matching inks, too! Love your blog, Laura! It’s superbly written, and so suggestive in a penloving way! Thank you!

      Martin K on

    • Laura, I LOVE this series, especially your ink matches, which have been stellar! Looking forward to future installments.

      Linda on

    • @James Hartness Thanks, James! I plan to write about more of them in the near future. I will probably feature another group of five after I cover a few other topics first. @Alan Willis Thank you, Alan! I hope you love that Sunset if you order one!

      Laura P. on

    • Would like to see more of them

      James Hartness on

    • I just got my first Sailor about two months ago (king of pens, Fika) and I love it. I wish I had discovered Sailor earlier. This has been a great read and I think I might try that Sunset pen.

      Alan Willis on

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