Review: Sailor Cross Emperor Nib Fountain Pen


The Sailor Cross Emperor is one of the specialty nib offered by Sailor. It's a customized nib designed and crafted by Master Nib Designer Nobuyoshi Nagahara who has been working for Sailor for more than 60 years. It's also part of the Naginata series of pen nibs. A naginata is a sword consists of a wooden shaft with a curved blade on the end.

It's a pricey pen. It cost USD $655 on Nibs.com and $647 on Pengallery.com. That's not including shipping and taxes.

It's a rare pen and difficult to find. I found one on eBay at $600 inclusive of all charges and contemplated for days before finally hitting the Buy button. I told myself that I'll be using this forever, and I will, so in that sense it will be worth the price in the long term.

How special is this specialty nib?

Let's talk about nib design first.


It's a large 21K gold nib with the typical beautiful Sailor craved design on the face. However, you won't be able to see the carving because there's this thin piece of pure gold Emperor tab sitting on top of the nib.


The tab provides an additional ink reservoir for improved ink flow. Sailor pens have generally good ink flow. With that additional tab, this pen lays down really juicy glistening ink strokes. It lays even more ink than the Zoom nib.

The tab is quite fragile looking so be careful about that.

There's also a version of this pen without the Emperor nib and it's just called Cross Point.


This nib itself is a double layered nib with a horizontal and vertical slits. The slits intersect at a cross, hence it's called a Cross Point.The contact point is a rather broad curved surface capable of producing 1.8mm lines. Stroke thickness depends on how you hold the pen, and the pressure you apply. If you hold it in a vertical or horizontal position, the strokes will be just broad, and at normal writing positions (e.g. 45 degrees), it will be extra broad.

Amazingly, the ink flow is able to keep up with the nib putting out the 1.8mm thick lines. Not just that, no matter how fast you draw, there will be no skipping, the ink will keep up and flow. The result is intensely black lines no matter how fast you sketch.

Because there's so much ink, when used with artworks, make sure that the ink has thoroughly dried first. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell.

This pen is the ultimate sketching tool, albeit too expensive.


The pen uses the standard Sailor convertor. And the nib can be swap with any of the Professional Gear (shown above) or 1911 Profit bodies.

Compared to Fude nib

The strokes the Cross Emperor can produce is similar to that of a Fude nib. The main difference is the ink flow. With normal Fude nibs, there will be skipping when you draw too fast because the ink flow can't keep up.

Below are some strokes from the Cross Emperor:

Here are some sketches with the Cross Emperor.


I love broad nibs and the strokes from this nib is definitely striking and bold.


Because the strokes are so thick, it's very useful for filling in black areas as well. The only downside is you'll use up a lot of ink and bringing an ink bottle with you is recommended so that you won't run out of ink halfway while sketching.

And because the ink flow is so juicy, I do not recommend using smelly inks. Some inks smell bad. On fine and medium nibs, the smell isn't a problem because the ink doesn't flow in that much an amount to present a smelly problem, or the ink will dry faster before you can smell anything. I tried the Sailor Kiwa Guro which has an acrylic smell and it is very smelly. On normal fine or medium nibs, I won't be able to detect the smell, but not so with the Sailor Cross Emperor.

Conclusion

Like I said earlier, this is the ultimate sketching pen.

Whether or not it's worth the money really depends on the individual. My guitar cost more and I don't even use my guitar everyday. This pen, however, will always be out with me sketching.

5 out of 5 stars.

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