Tale of a Vandal Pen User: They Sailed Away

Sailor Realo, Magellan
Sailor Realo and Magellan

While I loved the EF nib on the Sailor Realo very much, I longed for a pen less formal, less business like. That fountain pen came in the form of a discontinued Sailor:  a Magellan with an F nib.The used Magellan wrote very much like the Realo’s EF. A great plus—the Magellan came clothed in a gorgeous tortoise material.

The Magellan was produced in blue, green/jade, and tortoise colors. There was a Lapis Lazuli Limited Edition, and a Mojave Jewel made for Swisher Pens.++ I’ve even seen a green version of the Mojave Jewel made for Swisher—alas no photo to be found. There may have been other Magellan LEs made for Swisher or other companies. (Please post what you know in the comments! If you have a photo to share, I’d be glad to host it.) 

NOTE 2013 Sep 14: A demonstrator model has popped up! Check out Ed Jelley’s review and photos of it here.

NOTE 2013 Nov 13: The Sailor Magellan was given its name by none other than Michael Masuyama, revered nib man of MikeItWork.com.

Someone working for Sailor gave me the following information about the Magellan:

  • 14K models of the pens first appeared in 1992:
    • Tortoiseshell – 1992
    • Jade Green – 1992
    • Lapis Blue – 1993
    • White (Imperial Sea Foam) – 2004
  • 21K models were released in 2003 – 2004.

According to a post on FPN, the original Magellans released in Japan had TIGP (titanium gold-colored) nibs. These nibs are regarded as great writers, in addition to the 14K and 21K nibs.

The Tortoise acrylic material is stunning, IMHO. People tend to remark upon its beauty when they see it. The translucent material allows you to see the nib through the cap, the converter through the barrel. Like many Sailor fountain pens, the section contains a metal piece to it.

The filling system? Cartridge/converter. A Sailor cartridge holds .81ml of ink. A Sailor converter holds .61ml. Yes, the capacity is less than the 1ml of the current production piston-filler Realo. IMHO, the ink capacity of the Realo was not a reason to keep it—the nib was! My used, untuned Magellan wrote as beautifully as my nibmeister tuned Realo.

What more could I ask for? Gorgeous brown material, a great nib. A sweet note-taking pen! And yet…I recognize that many pens come to visit my cigar box. They stay for a time, and we have a fun writing dance. These dalliances help broaden my pen-ucation. What I’ve come to understand about my tiny pen hoard is that there is indeed a core group, with one or two slots for the occasional visitor.

Used Sailor Magellans shows up for resale on eBay, and occasionally on the fountain pen boards. Sometimes online sellers identify the pens as Sailors but not as Magellans, so do look closely at photographs if pen hunting online.

The Sailors are great fountain pens. Their nibs are among the best I’ve tried, and I’m glad to have met them. Yet they are not in keeping with what I want in my tiny stash. A note-taking pen for me is one I carry on me at all times without fear. The sweet Magellan caused a worry or two. The cap unscrewed twice or thrice while in my pocket.

After asking the constant question swirling around my tiny hoard—what pen stays and what pen must go in order to keep to a core of writing instruments?—the Sailors with their amazing nibs were—yeah, I’m gonna say it—set sail to new homes.

A Bit of Homework for You

Related PW Post:  A Solitary Sailor

Sailor Magellan Tortoise
Sailor Magellan Tortoise



Sailor Realo and Magellan
Sailor Realo and Magellan
Sheaffer Balance, Sailor Magellan
Sheaffer Balance, Sailor Magellan
Danitrio (small) Cumlaude, a friend's Edison Encore, Sailor Magellan, Edison Huron
Danitrio (small) Cumlaude, a friend’s Edison Nouveau Encore, Sailor Magellan, Edison Huron

++Swisher Pens was a respected writing instruments retailer located in Virginia. They closed their doors and disappeared from view in 2011.

10 thoughts on “Tale of a Vandal Pen User: They Sailed Away

  1. Sailor has hands down the best EF nib available today! I have a cheapie Sailor (I don’t know what model) with a steel EF nib that always writes. I’ve got a Sailor Saporo mini with a 14K EF nib. Same deal–unstopable. I’m going to hunt down a Magellen on Ebay my current favorite pens though have flexible, or semi-flexible, nibs: A Pelikan 150 (I think that’s what it is, anyway, I bought it used from a vintage jewelry store) and a vintage Waterman Taperite (that feels like a felt tip).


    1. Fabulous! Sailor nibs are amazing. But then so is the Platinum EF, and the Pilot EF, and a Pelikan EF, and and and… Good luck on your Magellan hunt. I’ve no doubt you’ll succeed with some persistence.


  2. I agree that the Sailor Realo with EF is a sweet nib but I also have a Pilot Custom 742 with the PO nib (unfortunately not available in the US) which is the finest (thin line) nib I have used. It flows perfectly and never skips. You can do the crossword in the newspaper and it is so ink stingy it does nott feather. why they don’t offer this nib in the US is a mystery.


    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Jim. Recently a friend sent me his Pilot Custom 912 with a PO nib. Agree with you, it is a fantastic nib, and I wouldn’t mind including it in my hoard somehow. I’m a little sad it doesn’t come in a #5 Pilot nib size.

      According to Japanese pen expert Ron Dutcher, the Pilot PO nib was designed for writing postcards.


  3. I really do like Sailor pens, but wish that they, along with Pilot and Platinum/Nakaya, would have more options for filling systems. Cartridge/Converter is okay, but other than the Realo for Sailor and the Custom 92 and 823 for Pilot, there aren’t many other options. That’s the main thing lacking with Japanese pens, in my opinion.


    1. What I would like is Japanese pens without metal sections so that I can turn them into eyedropper style pens. 🙂


  4. That tortoise is beautiful! Agreed with you and Thomas re:filling systems or ‘eyedropperability’, but there are some pens that just beg to be used and won’t be denied! 🙂


  5. Oh man, that tortoise shell is awesome. I’m slightly jealous. I may have a tortoise shell Edison Pearl in my near future. Such a great material. Thanks again for the info on the pen, I linked to you in my post!


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