Sailor 1911S Fountain Pen Review

Are the Sailor 1911S fountain pens as great as you’ve read about? Are Sailor Nibs really that smooth? How do you choose between this and the 1911L? Read on to find out…

Sailor 1911S Fountain Pen
  • Sailor 14K Nib, SMOOTH!
  • Nib design is sexy
  • Classic, Timeless Design of Fountain Pen
  • Performs Well in All Writing Situations
  • None (the 1911S isn’t AS smooth as the 1911L, but this pen is $100 cheaper too!)

My Short Video:

Design of the Sailor 1911S Fountain Pen

The Sailor 1911S is classic and timeless with an understated elegance. The derby and barrel end are both black capping off a navy blue body with 14K gold trim and there are two gold rings separating the black ends from the blue body.

The pen clip is flexible and bends easily to push into and out of your shirt pocket. It has two parallel engraved lines running the length of the clip wrapping around the U shape then back up to the derby ring.

The cap band is actually two separate cap bands, one standard gold ring and another, wider, cap band with a raised finish that says, “Sailor Pen Founded 1911.”

The 14K gold nib is decorated with an anchor and some filigree engraving that wraps around the anchor and the 1911 stamp.

The one thing I don’t like about the design is the screw off cap. The threads are raised in the cap and when sliding that onto the barrel over and over, I can see the threads wearing down or (more likely) heavily scratching the resin finish of the body. If you don’t post the cap on the back, this won’t be a problem for you.

There is also a version of the 1911 called the REALO that’s available and it’s a piston-fill for those that want more ink capacity than the converter that comes with this pen but don’t like cartridges.

This is a light fountain pen, and writes extremely well; it’s well-balanced and the weight is distributed throughout the pen without being concentrated in one area of the cap or barrel which would make hand fatigue a problem.

collection of fountain pens

From The Top: Aurora Optima, Sailor 1911L, 1911 Nettuno and 1911S

Design Specs:

  • 132mm capped
  • 114mm uncapped
  • 10mm widest point on body
  • 13mm widest point on cap band
  • 8mm grip
  • weight: .6 ounces
  • cap weight: .3 ounces
Sailor 1911S Fountain Pen weight
Sailor 1911S Fountain Pen cap weight

Sailor 1911S versus Sailor 1911L

Here’s where it gets interesting. I tested the 1911S before the 1911L and I fell in love with the S. It is a great pen, good size, great feel, smooth writer. It’s hard to describe how smooth a Sailor nib is, you just have to try one.

I just loved the S, I thought I had found THE ONE. Then I tried the 1911L. That pen is bigger, has a 21K gold nib and it is Smooth with a capital S. I’ve never experienced anything quite that smooth before and it’s just hard for the S to stack up to that.

Now, if I hadn’t tried the L around the same time, I doubt I’d be able to tell much difference. But because I went from days of using the S to starting on the L, OMG, there’s such a distinct and SMOOTH advantage in the 21K nib on the L! But don’t get me wrong, this is still a beautifully smooth fountain pen.

I’m a woman and figured I’d like the skinnier S better because it would fit better in my hand, but nope, I LOVE the L and it fits in my hand just perfectly. Yes it’s fatter, some may call it more masculine, but I call it comfy. I call the L just amazing in terms of nib smoothness.

Okay, enough on the L, back to the S, the one I’m reviewing here…

You need to know what you’re in for, if you adore the toothier feel of an Aurora Ipsilon or some feedback in your nibs, these aren’t the pens for you. They are both smooth and consistent writers, both wonderful pens, the 1911L takes it on smoothness overall but you also pay for that, it’s about $100 US more than this pen (shown in blue below).

Sailor 1911S Fountain Pen versus 1911L Fountain Pen


The Sailor 1911S fountain pen comes with a converter and two black Sailor cartridges. The converter doesn’t hold much ink as compared to other brand converters and even compared to the Sailor cartridges. You’ll have to refill this pen often if you like converters or go for the REALO version that’s piston-fill.

Something unique about Sailor cartridges is that they are constructed of flexible plastic so you can squeeze them once attached to the pen to force ink down through the section so it’s easier to write faster, no waiting for gravity to feed the ink for you. Here’s a shot of my doing that on the 1911S. Um, maybe you won’t squeeze as hard as I did. 🙂

Sailor 1911s Fountain Pen

Overall Value

This fountain pen is a great value for the money. It’s smoother than most fountain pens on the market and lives up to Sailor’s reputation for smooth nibs. The ONLY thing I didn’t like about this pen (okay, well two things,) was:

  1. It’s screw on/off cap
  2. It’s not as smooth as the MUCH more expensive 1911L

At the end of the day, a solid 14K gold nib is worth the money. You will get so much enjoyment out of writing with this fountain pen if you don’t want to invest $250 into the L model with a 21K solid gold nib. This fountain pen is a wonderful, versatile writer with a timeless design. It performs in all situations and flowed ink easily in all situations and started easily every time. Great value for your investment.

Get a price on the Sailor 1911S on Amazon.

Sailor 1911S Fountain Pen Cartridge and Gift Box Contents