For two pens that essentially look identical, there's a lot to say in regards to Sailor's most popular line of fountain pens. Made in Japan, the 1911 is named after the founding year of this globally recognized manufacturer of luxury writing instruments.
The 1911 model is available in two different variations - the 1911S and the 1911L. As described in our video comparison, the 1911S isn't "small," as one may assume. The "S" is short for "Standard," which is an apt description of its dimensions, which you may see below :
The size is comparable to the Pelikan Souveran M600, which is considered to be a middle-of-the-road, unisex size that is comfortable for a large number of writers. The 1911S has a more approachable price point at under $200 retail ($155.95 our price) and is fitted with a 14kt solid gold nib in a variety of sizes available in the US, including Extra-Fine, Fine, Medium-Fine, Medium, Broad, Zoom and Music nibs.
The Sailor 1911L has the same shape, profile and style as it's "Standard" sibling, with the key difference being that it uses a 21kt solid gold nib. The 21kt gold content is the highest amount of pure gold that is practical for a fountain pen nib. The slightly larger size of the 1911L may be a more attractive option for larger hands and those who prefer a larger size pen to hold.
Filling Mechanism : Cartridge / Converter - Piston-Fill Realo Version also available
The 21kt gold nib is going to provide a noticeable difference in writing quality for those who have extensive experience in writing with gold nibs. Although Sailor nibs are known for being a bit stiff, the 21kt gold nib does have a bit more give and responsiveness when writing. Nib sizes are available in the same sizes as the Standard. A piston-fill, Realo version is also available in the 1911L design.
With greater gold comes greater price. The 1911L retails for a little over $300 ($247.95 our price). The piston-fill 1911L Realo version is even higher at a $410 retail ($327.95 our price).
Color and trim options also vary from the 1911S to 1911L. The 1911S has a larger variety of resin colors, including blue, red, maroon and a demonstrator. The 1911L is a bit more limited, with only a black with gold trim or black with silver trim.
So, who you takin'? 1911S or 1911L?
The entry level price point of the 1911S is extremely attractive, especially for fountain pen users who are taking a step up into this price level after getting their feet (or nibs) wet with pens in the sub-$100 category. For those with an expanded budget or have had experience with a few gold nibs already (like a Pilot VP or Lamy 2k) may opt for the larger 1911L with the sumptuous 21kt gold nib.
Either way, you're writing with an awesome fountain pen that is based on superior quality and attention to detail!