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Fountain Pen Review: Sailor 1911 Standard


Founded in 1911, Sailor are one of the premium brands at the forefront of Japanese fountain pens. They have now developed a reputation for their unbelievable super nibs and their innovative designs; Sailor are always leading the pack when it comes to fountain pen designs. They aim for their 1911 Standard to be their gateway to the more luxurious fountain pens through offering a glimpse of what their elite pens are capable of.



  • Body material: Plastic
  • Trim: Metal
  • Length (Capped): 13.5cm
  • Length (Uncapped): 11.7cm
  • Length (Posted): 14.8cm
  • Nib Material: 14 Karat Gold
  • Weight: 21 grams
  • Weight (cap): 7.5 grams
  • Filling System: Sailor's own cartridges and converter


Sailor's 1911 range is presented in three different sizes: the standard, the large and the king size; each design is cigar shaped, tapering down at both ends. Despite being named the standard, you can immediately see it's abit smaller than the average pen. The pen comes in a variety of colours, therefore it's largely going to come down to personal preference as to which you choose. If there is one variant that stands out though, it has to be the "Standard Black"; the black body contrasted by the gold rings which separate the cap, section and finials make for a very aesthetically pleasing pen.

(Sailor 1911 Standard Photo taken by Mehmet Pinarci, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)

Sailor have done well to leave subtle reminders of their elite craftsmanship throughout the 1911 Standard. Firstly, the gold cap band features a deep yet bold "SAILOR JAPAN FOUNDED 1911" engraving resulting in a stylish look. The nib is where they've really started to show off; they've included an "1911" engraving, their logo is sketched, "14k" and the nib size is also engraved and lastly, it features abit of scrollwork for decoration. Subtle features such as these, do a lot in creating a luxurious impression for the 1911 Standard.

Construction Quality

The 1911 Standard is mostly comprised of the usual, bog-standard materials. However, don't believe that it's not well constructed. The 1911 Standard is one of the most durable fountain pens at this price range. The plastic body is incredibly sturdy and strong, it's going to require a mountainous drop to do any significant damage to it. Furthermore, through daily life the 1911 Standard picks up barely any scratches/scuffs and any that it does pick up are far from prominent. Similarly, any fingerprint smudges go largely unnoticed on the body.

As for the clip, it's one of the strongest in recent memory; it does an exceptional job at staying clipped to the most awkward of materials. Rarely does it feel like it might fall off. Similarly, the screw-cap does it's job well. It only requires a half turn to unscrew and sits deeply; the cap is on the tighter side, meaning you won't have to worry about the nib drying out as a minimal amount of air is going to be able to reach it anyways. Lastly, the converter is also a great fit. It's smooth to use and has an exceptional ink capacity resulting in an incredibly simplistic refilling system.


As previously mentioned, Sailor's 1911 Standard is on the smaller and lighter side of the majority of fountain pens at this price range. Sailor have taken into account its short build and done an exceptional job at making sure when the pen is posted, it's as comfortable as possible. When posted, it's tight and just the right length for people with larger hands. Due to how lightweight it is, this is an ideal pen for writing for extended periods with. It's never going to feel heavy or tiring, you may even forget it's there!

The grip section on the 1911 Standard is also on the shorter and narrower side. Those with larger hands/fingers may want to look at the measurements compared to one of their more comfortable pens to get an idea of whether it will be ideal for them. Other than it's measurements potentially being a problem, the 1911 Standard's grip section is delightful; it tapers towards the nib guiding your fingers to their appropriate position. And it's smooth whilst having enough texture to ensure it doesn't become slippery after longer periods.

Writing Performance

As you would expect from a brand known for their incredibly high quality nibs, the 1911 Standard is a joy to write with. The Extra Fine nib that it ships with is incredibly juicy, creating the smoothest of lines. Due to its great feed, you're unlikely to encounter any hard-starting or skipping with this pen. Like most Sailor nibs, the 14 Karat gold nib is on the more rigid side. The nib has very little flexibility, even a decent amount of pressure is only going to result in very minimal line variation. Therefore, those looking to experiment with calligraphy may want to choose a different nib when purchasing the 1911 Standard. 

Despite it being abit rigid, the nib is far from scratchy. Not to say it's the smoothest nib in the world as it does provide an average amount of feedback but it's a very balanced writer. It's rigidness combined with it's juicy feed make for a unique yet satisfying writing experience.


Sailor's 1911 Standard only supports the use of Sailor's proprietary cartridges and converters. This is a headache as the Japanese brand's cartridges are incredibly hard to find at anywhere that isn't online. And unfortunately, Sailor's cartridges are on the more expensive side thus maintaining the pen more expensive than other fountain pens at this price range.

Fortunately, the 1911 Standard does come with a converter in it's packaging so you don't have to splash out for one. Instead you can get straight to using your favourite ink with your new fountain pen. And because it uses a cartridge/converter system, the cleaning process is incredibly straightforward. Everything can be dissembled, cleaned and re-assembled within a matter of seconds.


Despite it performing well in nearly every aspect, it's hard to make a case for purchasing the 1911 Standard due to it's expensiveness and high costing maintenance. For the same price you can find better pens such as the Pelikan M205 which offer more. It's currently priced between £100 and £120 depending on where you look, making for a very expensive, gateway-pen. If value is no issue to you and you're a fan of Sailor, by all means go have a look at what the 1911 range has to offer but if you're seeking value then it'd be wise to pursue other options.

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