Saturday, June 30, 2018

Sailor Professional Gear Mechanical Pencil Review

Sailor Professional Gear Mechanical Pencil Review

Continuing on with a bit of a recent theme, here’s another mechanical pencil with a nautical connection. Sailor Pens, founded in 1911, is a well-respected but I would say not particularly well known Japanese manufacturer.

The Sailor Professional Gear writing instruments come in a range of colourways and formats – fountain pen, ballpoint and mechanical pencil. There are also two versions of the series, the Professional Gear and the ProGear II. From the Sailor catalogue, the difference between the two versions seems to be that the ProGear II is 3mm longer and has the Sailor anchor style pocket clip. My pencil is the Sailor Professional Gear mechanical pencil, model 21-1036-720.

sailor professional gear mechanical pencil

Right up front, I should stress that I am only an amateur sailor so my credentials to review Sailor Professional Gear are questionable.

The Sailor presentation box is modest and nice enough, but not nice enough to warrant a picture. Open the box up though and we have a nice mechanical pencil. The overall style and shape of the Professional Gear is relatively similar to a number of other manufacturers. The body is a nice shiny black PMMA resin (acrylic) and the 24K gold plated trims look good.

The larger diameter top half of the body gives the pencil a top heavy sort of look, your choice if you like that style or not. The gold centre rings also contribute to the wide top heavy look. The wording “SAILOR JAPAN FOUNDED 1911” is engraved into the centre ring.

Moving up the body, the pocket clip is equally substantial with some spring but quiet firm.
On the top of the end cap there is the gold anchor emblem of Sailor. All nice good looking trims.

Down at the business end of the mechanical pencil the lead sleeve is a simple cone suited for general writing. My pencil is 0.7mm lead. The lead advance mechanism is a push top ratchet and 10 clicks advances 6mm of lead.

Here are the refill instructions that came with the mechanical pencil.

So, the question dear reader is how to get to the pictured eraser and lead refill chamber? Does one simply pull the whole top half of the body off, or does one unscrew the top half of the body? I have seen both options on other mechanical pencils, and using the wrong option is generally not good. A little bit of gentle twisting and pulling did not really indicate which is the correct option so it was off to the web. Buried in the Japanese language website, not the English language site, is a clearer set of instructions which show that you unscrew the top half of the body. The Japanese site is also more specific about the excess lead overfilling warning, stating 2 sticks of lead.

The eraser is bigger than some but having to unscrew the body means access is a bit laborious.

In the hand the Sailor Professional Gear pencil is as mostly as expected. It is top heavy but at about 22g it feels lighter than its looks might indicate. The 12mm diameter lower body is still quite wide so this is definitely not a pencil for those who like a slim grip zone. The grip zone is of course plain acrylic without and grip improvement features so again that will not suit those who like a very positive grip.

Overall then the Sailor Professional Gear mechanical pencil is a nice but not spectacular high end general writing pencil.

•    Best Points – Aesthetics
•    Not So Good Points – Does not really feel as substantial in the hand as it looks.
•    Price Range – High
•    Does this pencil make it into the Top 5? – No

Dimensions – Length  139mm, diameter 12mm across the lower body section. Balance point about 80mm up from the tip.
Through the mists of time


Kelvin Pang said...

Hi Dave! I have a lower-end model from Sailor, the Reglus, which I chose for the anchor emblem on the finial. But guess what? Just like yours, the anchor doesn't line-up with the clip and it's driving me nuts… Is this some kind of sailor practice I don't know about? :D

Kiwi-d said...

Hi Kelvin. Thanks for commenting - this post was starting to feel a bit lonely and unloved :)
When I first opened the box I saw the non-aligned anchor and thought,"Couldn't they line that up?". But then I'm not sure if Pelikan and other do. Anyway, it hasn't bothered me too much. That top unscrews - have you tried loosening a little and re-aligning the clip?

Kelvin Pang said...

Not sure if the Reglus unscrews. Will give it a try.