Pen Review: Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black Fountain Pen

Once again, my dear friend Kasey was kind enough to loan me a pen. This time, it was his beloved Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black. I laughed when I pulled it out of the box because it is the absolute antithesis of the only other Sailor pen in my life right now. Where the Sailor Imperial Black is matte black finish with ruthenium trim, my Sailor Pink Love Pro Gear Slim is ridiculously vivid pink with metallic sparkles embedded in the material. So, I’ve spent the last few weeks putting Imperial Black and Pink Love next to each other in a strange “opposites attract” sort of way. And to be honest, its totally true.

Fountain Pen WeightsFrom a purely technical standpoint, I was delighted to have an opportunity to try out a full-sized Pro Gear and discover that it is not nearly as large or heavy as I anticipated. Compared with the Slim model, its really only about a half an inch longer and only slightly wider. Weight-wise, the Pro Gear is only 4 grams heavier at 24 gms than the Slim which weighed in at 20 gms, capped and filled with the converter. Compared to a Lamy AL-Star, which is a bit longer than the Pro Gear, the weights and width are quite comparable so really, the Pro Gear is a a fairly light but solid feeling tool. I’d almost describe it as compact. Especially with the Imperial Black since all the design elements are understated making the pen feel very clean and functional but at the same time very classic and elegant.

Within minutes of putting the pen to paper, I started researching how much it was going to cost me to get my own Imperial Black. Seriously. Fo the record, there are not many of these beauties left in the wild. Anderson Pens still has some in stock with a broad nib for $472.

Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black

Part of the expense of this Imperial Black is that this particular model of Pro Gear came with the 21K nib instead of the more common 14K nib. Wow. This particular pen has the medium nib. And as is common with Sailor pens, the medium nib is actually quite fine and actually a bit crisp so the line has a lot of character. Its not often that I get excited about a medium nib, but this one is quite something. There’s nothing “medium” about it.

Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black and Sailor Pro Gear Slim Pink Love

When I put it next to the music nib on the Pro Gear Slim Pink Love, the Imperial Black looks slim, delicate and all business. The Pink Love looks a little bulbous. It does show the vast range of nib size differences within the Sailor line though.

Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black

In writing, the medium nib 21K is absolutely buttery. It was conducive to writing at any angle and as a left-handed writer this is a big deal. I could write over-handed, under-handed, or side-writing with the lightest of touches and the nib glides on the paper. The medium nib handled my small handwriting with no issues, I seldom had the counters of my letters fill in even using 6mm guide sheets.

I really was blown away by this pen and am seriously considering purchasing, if not an Imperial Black Pro Gear, than at least a Pro Gear, in the near future. It is a beautiful writing tool and the Sailor medium nib should be renamed something more poetic. Maybe the “majestic” nib. That’s what that “M” really stands for.

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9 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I love D’s G-B: it’s my default ink because it’s dark enough to use at work (i.e., people mostly won’t give me a hard time that it’s not BORING BLACK) but quirky enough to catch the eye (with some sweet shading, too)!

  2. Don’t buy your Japanese pens in the U.S., the mark-ups are outrageous. Personally I don’t believe this is because U.S. resellers are greedy, but someone is. Either the manufacturer and/or the U.S. Distributor is taking a huge mark-up. This is the case for all three big Japanese pen makers, Pilot, Platinum, and Sailor. U.S. Duties and taxes can’t even come close to justifying the mark-ups. Neither can the shipping from Japan.

    Buy direct from Japan instead. Egeika is one of several Japanese dealers I use (no other affiliation). The factory warranty is honored in-full and the international shipping is inexpensive, includes tracking and is quick in my experience.

  3. Unless something has changed in the last 2-3 years, I’d be careful buying from Engeika. Not a great reputation. 🙁 This is discussed at length in the Fountain Pen Network forum.

  4. Great review, love the Diamine Green Black ink, I sign all my documents menus in green. Will need to get some. As for Sailor great pens I have a Pro Gesr, Realo, and 2 1911, they have some of the best nibs on the market, I love their fines.

    1. So glad you’ve enjoyed both the inks and the Sailor pens. Both are excellent and I’m glad I’ve had the chance to experience them.

  5. Without hesitation or reservation, Sailor nibs are the best out of the box nibs, period.

    David is correct, buy from Japan and get the Imperial Black. I can’t buy another plain black pen to save my life; besides, Pinky needs a stylish companion, no?

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