As promised, I'm back for another edition of the "So Many Sailors..." Saga that I started last month! The last one was so fun to write and photograph, I've been looking forward to this. Check out my original post if you haven't already, because it contains a quick Sailor model summary and all about my first five beautiful picks. For my sequel article, I've selected six more unique Sailor releases that you may have missed over the past few years, and my choices are extra colorful this time. The Sailor waters are very inviting, so let's jump in!
When I looked through our gorgeous sunlit Sailor display case in the store for inspiration, I was delighted by how much variety there was swimming before my eyes. As I mentioned last time, the sheer number of choices when it comes to Sailor designs can be a bit overwhelming, so this month I decided to focus on a colorful theme and picked out (top to bottom in photo): Key Lime, Bora Bora Waters, Fika Cup, Too Hot Habanero, Fresca Blue, and Autumn Sky.
As you can see, my pen tray wasn't designed with the huge King of Pen sized 1911 in mind, but it just fits! Last time, I didn't bring home any King of Pen models, so I decided to make up for that by choosing two King of Pens--the Autumn Sky Professional Gear and Fresca Blue 1911, as well as two standard-size Professional Gear models (Bora Bora Waters and Fika Cup), a slim Professional Gear (Too Hot Habanero), and one 1911L (large) model, Key Lime. For most of these pen color schemes, I had multiple size options to choose between, and I'll get into that as I talk about the individual designs.
The first pen that caught my eye this time was Key Lime. This pen is a North American exclusive, sold only through ITOYA of America and available only at authorized Sailor North American Retailers. It's available in both the 1911S (standard) and 1911L (large) sizes, and is offered in all seven standard nib sizes (Extra Fine, Fine, Medium Fine, Medium, Broad, Zoom, and Music). As with other 1911 pens, the large size comes with a 21K gold nib and the standard version has the 14K nib. The nib is rhodium plated to match the trim, and I really like the lime green/silver combination
What I'd never noticed when I'd glanced at it down in the store case, but I realized immediately when I picked it up and started examining it more closely, is that this pen has a lustrous sheen that Sailor calls "metallic" but I would describe as opalescent. It's not a solid lime green, but rather a more complex and beautiful color like you'd see in natural marble or an organic gemstone like pearl or coral. It has a milky iridescence that makes what seems at first glance to be a simple cheerful green into something much more complex and sophisticated.
I paired this pen with a favorite of mine, Aperol and a candied orange peel. I prefer Aperol with lime juice, but I don't have any limes right now, so a lime pen is the next best thing! Here's my recipe for a refreshing drink: equal parts Aperol and fresh lime juice (regular lime, not key lime), with a splash of soda, on ice. I call this a Dove Sia.
As for an ink pairing, I was very pleased with my choice of Sailor Ink Studio 867. I think it's a perfect match!
I love orange, so another Sailor that's caught my eye for a while is this fun and bright one. I remember being impressed by it a few months ago when I sold the last medium nib variant to a customer. This Professional Gear comes in both Slim and Standard sizes, but I brought home a cute Slim version, my favorite.
Too bright? Maybe, maybe not! It all depends on whether you can handle it.
Here's what Sailor has to say about this pen:
I love the special habanero top finial! It's something you might not notice at first, but it adds a special touch of whimsy and coolness, a little in-joke to enjoy while you use your peppery pen. The detail of the two-tone nib is also great, adding appropriate warmth to the silvery accents.
I paired Too Hot Habenero with Iroshizuku Yu-yake, one of my favorites, and, as you can see from my windowsill photo with my swatch card above, they are perfect together.
The next Professional Gear I picked out was a little more understated, appropriately so. This beautiful pen is inspired by the Swedish tradition of fika, the afternoon coffee break, and is part of Sailor's Tea Time series, which Sailor explains is "designed to celebrate different tea time traditions practiced around the world." It comes in Pro Gear Standard size and King of Pen size, and also as a Standard size Ballpoint .
I was already familiar with fika from the wonderful Swedish coffeeshop of the same name that used to exist in NYC (sadly, FIKA closed in 2019, and I still miss it). I love how the SwedishFood.com site explains the concept of fika:
(I'm not going to quote the whole thing, but read the rest, too. It's lovely!)
How perfect is fika as the subject of a fountain pen--a tool which, in a way, is also about taking a pause?
Sailor's description of the Fika Cup pen explains, "The Sailor Professional Gear Fika Cup is available as a fountain pen or ballpoint pen, and it comes in different shades of blue like those used on traditional Swedish ceramic pieces. Both the fountain and ballpoint pen options are beautifully accented in chrome, and the fountain pen has a rhodium plated, 21K gold nib." The Pro Gear Standard model is available in MF and M and the King of Pen is available in M. The ballpoint has 0.7mm black ink.
Similar to the Key Lime pen, the barrel of the Fika Cup pen is not a solid color. The deep blue has a subtle translucence and sparkle. I love that this pen is inspired by the shades of blue used in Swedish ceramics!
My ink match for Fika Cup was Diamine Oxford Blue, an ink recommended to me by a customer who told me it's the best blue. The rich shade of navy with lots of pink sheen evokes the luminosity of the pen's barrel.
I'm saving our store exclusive Bora Bora Waters pen for last, so next I need to tackle the two King of Pens I tried. As readers of my blog may already know, I prefer smaller pens, so bringing home two Kings was a little intimidating. These pens are quite large, and I was super tempted to choose the Slim version of Autumn Sky, which I started to fall in love with when I played with it in the store. But, as I didn't try any King of Pen models last time, I felt it was my duty to represent both the Professional Gear and 1911 King of Pens.
Although I like small pens better, I actually didn't find either of these pens unmanageable, and had fun drawing with the huge broad nibs. (The inks in my drawing are Sailor USA Virginia and Montegrappa Turquoise.)
I used them unposted, and they were quite comfortable and still fairly lightweight despite their size. I could see someone with a large hand enjoying these pens posted, but to me that felt unwieldy. The large 21K King of Pen nib is much more bouncy than other Sailor nibs, which I enjoyed. These models are only available in Medium and Broad, and they'd be perfect for signing documents with a dramatic flourish!
I thought it was cool that the 1911 King says "SAILOR THE KING OF PEN 1911" on the cap ring! (The Professional Gear says "SAILOR JAPAN FOUNDED 1911" like most Sailors.)
Both versions have very impressive nibs.
Here's how my hand looks holding the largest of the two Kings. I think the Fresca Blue pen would look nice with Sailor Ink Studio 241, although I ultimately chose a different ink for my official pairing.
The Fresca Blue pen was Sailor's first ever 1911 North America exclusive, back in 2017. We only have two or three left in each size, and it's a retired model, so if you want to own this historical pen, time is of the essence. It is sold only through authorized Sailor North America retailers and is not available in other areas, not even Japan. It comes in all three sizes: 1911S, 1911L, and 1911 King of Pen, and was available in all seven standard nib sizes.
I find the color of this pen fascinating. It's an unusual muted blue that I had trouble matching to an ink. I really like how soft the color is and that it's not exactly turquoise. The word fresca means fresh and cool (in several different languages), and the pen embodies that feeling. It feels Italian to me, and evokes Vespas and soft breezes on the lido.
I spent a long time looking through our Book of Inks at the store and thinking about an ink to go with the Fresca pen. My ultimate choice was Montegrappa Turquoise, an ink that was different from any of the others we'd swatched. This is a shading ink, and the lighter tones match the muted blue of this pen, while the darker tones add beauty and readability. I really like this combination!
(I also thought the 1912 on the Montegrappa bottle cap was an interesting companion to Sailor's 1911.)
I'm very intrigued by the unusual rich orangish red color of this pen, and, as I mentioned above, I fell in love with the Slim size variation when I played with it in the store. This Professional Gear was the second in Sailor's annual Pillow Book series. (The first was Midnight Sky.) Here's how they described it:
Autumn arrives, and with it skies rolling with clouds and crisp breezes carrying the earthy scent of leaves. Listen during the quiet fog of the morning and you will hear the call of geese making their long journey south before snow begins to fall. Sailor created Autumn Sky as a way to capture the delicate feeling of an autumn evening as described in The Pillow Book, by Sei Shōnagon. This unique, deep coral colored pen with warm, golden accents is sure to bring you into the present moment, so that you can enjoy the beautiful changes of this remarkable season.
I love the way the warm gold trim complements the "unique, deep coral colored barrel" of the pen, which Sailor says "exhibit[s] the hue of earthy scent of leaves." A hue that portrays a scent?! Fascinating!
This pen is available in all three Professional Gear sizes, and with all seven standard nibs. Although it's an unusual color, I found the perfect ink to match: Sailor Virginia, from their USA States series. The warm greenish gold sheen looks magnificent with this gold-trimmed beauty.
I've saved the Bora Bora Waters Professional Gear for last because this one is the most special. It's Pen Boutique's exclusive collaboration with Sailor and is available only from us. I will always remember the first time I saw this pen. It was November 18th, during my second week at Pen Boutique. Leena had just received the pen from Sailor, and Raj asked me to edit its description on our website's listing. I told him I really needed to see the pen in order to do that properly, so I was given Leena's own pen to take outside in front of the store and experience in the quiet where I could concentrate and focus. Although it was November, it was a beautiful warm day, and the pen was breathtaking in the bright sunshine.
As I wrote that day,
This gorgeous Pro Gear, exclusive to Pen Boutique, evokes the inviting tropical waters of the barrier reef surrounding Bora Bora. Escape the pandemic and dream of floating in the sunlit ocean!
The finial, end cap, and section are all a transparent turquoise blue resin which conveys the clarity of the shallow water, and the body and cap are made of a more opaque gleaming turquoise resin which shows the beautiful color of the deeper waters. The trim on the pen is rhodium plated, like glints of silvery light on the waves, and the nib is plated to match. It is truly an exceptional combination that will make you feel like you are holding the tranquility of a perfect tropical seaside afternoon in your hand as your words glide across the page.
It really did evoke tropical reefs I've known, and made me a little wistful. Feeling very lucky to be trusted with such a special pen, I took these photos.
Sailor Bora Bora Waters is available only in Professional Gear Standard size, and is a limited edition of 200 pens, but we still have some left. It comes in all the standard nib sizes: Extra Fine, Fine, Medium Fine, Medium, Broad, Zoom, and Music.
Here are a few new images, from today. It's still just as beautiful.
It was easy to choose an ink for this pen, because it already has its own ink created for us by Robert Oster. The ink is also called Bora Bora Waters and it is indeed a perfect match.
All of the pens in this edition of "So Many Sailors..." are beautiful, but for me Bora Bora Waters really stands out as exceptional. Maybe I'm biased. (Or maybe not.)
Which one calls out to you?