Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Product Review: Sailor Profit Fude De Mannen Pen

Top: Sailor DE Brush Stroke Style Calligraphy pen; bottom: Sailor Profit Fude De
Mannen fountain pen
When I was shopping at J-Subculture a few weeks ago, I discovered the Sailor Profit Fude De Mannen fountain pen which, based on its description, sounded similar to the Sailor DE Brush Stroke Style Calligraphy fountain pen that I have come to know and love very well the past year (see my recent review), although it looked quite different. The Profit is only a few dollars more than the very inexpensive Sailors I already have. Curious, I decided to spring for one and see how different it was, if at all.

Lo and behold, the dark blue Profit’s 55-degree nib is identical to the one on my other pens; they can even be interchanged. The only difference is that the Profit is designed to look more like a conventional fountain pen. It’s a standard 5 ¼-inch length, compared to the green “calligraphy” pen, which is a little longer and is supposed to look more like a brush (the longer length does give it a different balance that perhaps makes it perform more like a brush).
The Profit's 55-degree bent nib is identical to the calligraphy pen's nib.

Not surprisingly, for the $17 price (or about $23 from Amazon), the Profit looks and feels as plastic-y cheap as it is. (If I had that pen in my shirt pocket expecting to impress clients, they would have to stand at least 20 feet away not to see that it was made of cheesy plastic. Granted, the calligraphy pen is made of the same plastic and looks just as cheesy, but at less than $8 [$16.50 at JetPens.com], I’m not complaining.)

One significant difference is that the cap on the Profit posts securely, while the cap on the calligraphy pen does not. In fact, the calligraphy pen has a metallic trim ring near its end that has an annoying habit of coming off and getting stuck inside the posted cap. I’ve taken to putting a piece of tape over the trim ring (in the photo above, you can see the blue strip), which also keeps the cap securely posted. I don’t mind making minor fixes like this on such an inexpensive pen that gives me so much sketching bang for the buck, and if it’s worth it to have a pen that posts securely without such a fix, then I guess the Profit is worth springing for.

The bottom line is that I’m just as happy with the cheaper calligraphy pen, sloppy posting and all, because I’ve become accustomed to its longer length, which makes its balance pleasing in my hand (why one favors one pen over another is such a personal, idiosyncratic matter!). But now that I have the Profit, I’ll take advantage of the fact that it’s easily distinguishable from the multiple calligraphy pens I’ve started carrying and designate it as the one containing waterproof Platinum Carbon Black ink. (It has only been a few days, so the jury is still out, but so far, the Sailor calligraphy pen filled with Platinum Carbon is behaving exactly the same way as the ones filled with water-soluble inks.)

Updated 8/18/14: Its been three weeks since I started using Platinum Carbon Black in the Sailor Profit, and it has behaved as well as my Sailor calligraphy pen does with water-soluble inks: smooth-flowing, no clogging, no false starts. Im convinced that Ive been overly protective by using only water-soluble inks with my Sailors -- they can take anything. Im not sure I'm going to keep using the Profit, though -- the longer calligraphy pen has a better balance in my hand and just feels more comfortable.

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