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For the love of pens, paper, office supplies and a beautiful place to work
When Pen Boutique originally reached out to me, I got a little confused. I thought they were sending the new North American Exclusive Pro Gear 2022 Pen of the Year Soda Pop Blue ($392 for standard, $280 for Slim). At a quick glance, it’s easy to see how I might mix the two up but there are some key differentiators: Soda Pop Blue has full transparent glitter body and gold hardware. The Bora Bora Waters pen features a turquoise blue material with dark, translucent blue end caps and grip section. The hardware is rhodium plated creating a cool waters vibe.
I confess, I much prefer the color combo and sliver hardware of the Bora Bora Waters over the Soda Pop Blue models.
The full size Pro Gear pens feature a beautifully etched 21K nib. I got the H-MF nib which is the “hard medium fine”. As far as I know, Sailor is the only pen manufacturer to offer a medium fine nib as a standard option. Since Japanese nibs are finer than Western nibs, the MF nib is probably the equivalent of a Western F nib.
Most of the Sailor Pro Gear pens I’ve acquired up to this point have been the Slim variety but having the Bora Bora Waters in my hand made me realize there is not really that much difference in the size of the “full size” Pro Gear versus the Slim. The above image shows the Bora Bora flanked n both sides with my rainbow of Slim models.
Of my Pro Gear Slim models, all of them are from Sailor directly except for the citrus green model which is a special Nagasawa Kobe Pen Style so the nib engraving is different. Otherwise, all the Slims feature the same 14K nibs. So, since the size difference between the full-size and slim models is relatively minor, most of the price difference for a full-sized Pro Gear is for the upgraded 21k nib.
For even more perspective on how small the full size Pro Gear is, above is an image of the Bora Bora Waters next to a Lamy AL-Star, Pilot Metropolitan, TWSBI Eco, Platinum 3776 and an Opus 88 Coloro (which is the smallest of Opus 88’s full-sized pens).
Even posted, the Sailor Pro Gear Bora Bora Waters full-size is shorter than most of the other pens shown.
Writing with the Bora Bora Waters, I realized how much I missed writing with my Sailor pens. I particularly like the 21k nib and I know that makes me a nib snob. While the 14k nibs are amazing to write with, they have some noticeable feedback when writing. The 21k nib reduces the feedback somewhat without creating an unpleasantly slippery writing experience and maintains the fine crisp lines of the 14k nib. It’s a fine balance between a nib that writes smoothly but provides necessary feedback and a nib that makes you feel like you’re ice skating.
Since I do have quite a few other Sailor pens at my disposal, I decided this would be a good opportunity to do a little nib width comparison. Of the Sailor pens shown previously, I have almost a full range of nib sizes (just missing a standard M and B and a Zoom).
I find that the difference between my custom ground EF needlepoint and the F nibs are minimal. The MF is a little bit wider but even with my small handwriting, the line is not so wide as to blot out my letter counters (the insides of a’s and e’s, for instance).
The Music nib is considerably wider but when compared with other music nibs, the Sailor music nib is not overly wide.
The Robert Oster Bora Bora Waters Ink (Pen Boutique Exclusive)
Along with the Sailor Pro Gear Bora Bora Waters fountain pen, Pen Boutique also had Robert Oster create a matching ink. If you want someone to make you a water-inspired ink, you want Robert Oster involved. So it was a wise move.
Robert Oster developed an exclusive ink color to coordinate with the pen, aptly named Bora Bora Waters (50ml bottle for $17). The color is a bright aqua blue with a little sheening around the edges of letters and a whole lot of shading.
When compared with some of Robert Oster’s other aqua blues, Bora Bora Waters has some of the sheening of Blue Water Ice but the lighter shading of Blue River. When compared to other brands, Diamine Turquoise is similar as is Pelikan Edelstein Topaz. Lamy Pacific Blue is a little lighter.
If you have as extensive an ink collection as I do, you may not need another aqua blue but if you’re looking for one of Oster’s epic aquas, this one is a good option.
As for the Bora Bora Waters fountain pen, if you’ve never tried a 21k gold Sailor, this would be a great place to start.
Final little detail is the new logo on the box. It definitely caught my eye so I pulled an old box to show the difference. Do you like the new logo?
Many years ago, I had a pair of compact travel scissors I purchased from JetPens. I loved them for the simple fact that they fit easily into my pencil pouch along with all my other tools without taking up a ton of space. I don’t often need to have a pair of scissors in my everyday kit but when I need them, I NEED them. Sure, I have a pocket knife in my bag but scissors often solve a different problem than the average pocket knife. If I need to cut something out of a magazine and add it to my planner, trim washi tape or even snip a loose thread, scissors are way more efficient at this task than a knife.
You may be wondering what happened to the pair of scissors I bought from JetPens? A TSA agent in China took them from me when I was traveling so many years ago. There’s nothing so frightening as a stern Nurse Ratchet-looking woman shaking her head angrily, shouting at you in Mandarin and taking your teeny tiny scissors. I was in mainland China and did not want to end up being held in custody for trying to argue with the woman so I did my best to look humble and apologetic and left my neon green travel scissors ($7) in her grumpy care.
After that, every time I placed an order with JetPens, I would think, “I need to order another pair of those scissors,” and then proceed to forget to add them to my cart. then, one day the fates smiled down on me and the Plus brand Compact Pen-style “Twiggy” Scissors (approx. $7.50 per pair) magically appeared in my “to-be reviewed” rolling cart. I cannot remember where I acquired them but was able to find them in a variety of colors on Amazon should you like to get your own.
While the Raymay neon green were a favorite for me because of the color, actually using them with the loops of plastic cord to create the holes for your fingers was a little awkward. The Twiggy scissors have a short, spring-loaded scissor-action which makes them easier to use for any sized hand and even for someone who may have grip or strength issues when using scissors. They still require pressure to close the scissor blades, the spring opens the blades easily.
I don’t think I’d ever used spring-loaded scissors before but I may be a convert. While the Amazon page suggests that these are TSA-compliant, I wouldn’t risk it on international flights, just in case. On domestic US flights, you should be okay.
DISCLAIMER: Some items in this review were provided free of charge by JetPens. Some items in this review include affiliate links. The Well-Appointed Desk is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. Please see the About page for more details.
Things I have a weakness for: anything space-themed and ink sets. Who never disappoints in fulfilling my inky dreams? Colorverse. Do you expect this to be an unbiased review? Nope. Not gonna happen today.
Colorverse put together another wonderful collection of inks, the New Horizons set ($60), themed around the New Horizons spacecraft that has explored our heavens as far as Arrokoth 2014 MU69, the most distant object ever seen up close.
The set of four 15ml bottles of ink come in a round box and includes a beautifully designed package with stickers, information sheet and a limited edition card with the number of the kit.
The four colors included in the set are Pioneer Container, Kuiper Belt, Pluto and Beyond, and Arrokoth. Kuiper Belt is where the Arrokoth 2014 MU69 object exists. Pluto’s orbit crosses the Kuiper Belt at some points is often far outside the Belt. So I understand where the naming for all but the Pioneer Container ink came from. Pioneer was the name for probes that were sent beyond our known solar system and carried the Golden Record so I sort of see the thematic relationship. As for the actual colors I compared them with images from NASA’s website.
I don’t agree with the colors that Colorverse chose for each element of the New Horizon voyage. I think I would have chosen a warm grey for Pluto & Beyond. I would have made the Kuiper Belt ink the color they chose for the Pioneer Container. Since I am not sure what the Pioneer Container is supposed to be, I am not sure what color that should be instead. The Arrokoth color seems spot-on for the images on NASA site.
Regardless of whether I think the ink colors are accurate representations of the heavenly bodies, let’s talk about the actual ink colors.
First up, is Pluto and Beyond. While I didn’t think it was an accurate color for Pluto and Beyond, it is a yellow-green so it’s going to be close to the top of my list of favorite colors in the set.
Its not as yellow as Robert Oster Saguaro Green but not as green J. Herbin Vert Olive, Robert Oster Redwood Forest or Pennonia Green Finch. I’m always looking for another citrus green and this is a perfect addition to my collection.
Years ago, I went on a mission (pun intended) to find a smoky purple. If Pioneer Container had been available then, it may have topped my list.
While Robert Oster’s Summer Storm and Sydney Lavender are more violet and Pen BBS #346 and 270 are more red, Pioneer Container is squarely between them — perfect smoky purple, not too bright and not too grey. I want one of those big 60ml bottles of this ink.
Arrokoth is a warm reddish brown. The closest match I had was Diamine Triple Chocolate. Colorverse Soul and Monteverde Brown Sugar were both slightly more reddish. When I’m looking for a brown ink, I tend to prefer these warmer hot chocolate-y browns so I will definitely put this ink to use.
The final ink in the set is Kuiper Belt which I initially thought was a black bit when I started comparing it to other swatches, I realized it is a very dark blue black. Taccia Aogura is probably the closest in color. But you can see that Kuiper Belt is not black but blue.
Is this set a cost effective way to satisfy your ink inklings? Probably not, but it is a delightful set that celebrates another great NASA voyage while also providing me with yet more bottles of ink.
DISCLAIMER: Items in this review were purchased with funds from our amazing Patrons. You can help support this blog by joining our Patreon. Please see the About page for more details.
Laura reviewed the new Pennonia/Inkdepence ink collaboration Cheerio Waterbus but what makes this particular project really unique is that Audrey (AKA The Nib Doctor) of Right on the Nail worked with Noodles Nail Polish to create a coordinating nail polish. How fast can you say “TAKE MY MONEY!”? Probably not as fast as I did but still, this collab made me particularly tickled. I can’t wait to show off my matching ink and polish combo. Now, who’s going to make a pen that matches? I want the full set!
While at the Atlanta Pen Show, Ana brought back a bottle of the newest ink for us to swatch and review. Cheerio Waterbus is a collaboration between Pennonia and Inkdepence and is available for preorder in Mike’s shop!
The name, Cheerio Waterbus, which in Hungarian is a bit like saying “after a while crocodile.” We imagine it rhymes charmingly!
Cheerio Waterbus is a gorgeous emerald green ink with lots of blue pigment. The pigment doesn’t mix into the ink but rather hovers creating almost a sheen of blue against the green. The pigment itself does separate – you can see it at the bottom of the bottle and the box advises to shake well before use.
This ink is super fun. I didn’t know whether I was getting much of the blue in my samples, but I can see it everywhere except for the Col-o-Dex card – only a scant bit there. But look at those glorious ink drops! The green definitely shades, although in a fine or medium nib you mostly just get green.
It was hard to find similar inks in my “stash.” On the light end of the ink, Birmingham Pen Co Summer Jade is close, although a bit mintier. On the dark end, Waterman Harmonious Green isn’t a bad match. Sheaffer Green is a bit too teal, although I feel like in the blue sections maybe?
The ink loaded up and flowed well through my TWSBI Eco and after a day or two I don’t see too much pigment gathering at the bottom. It dried reasonably quickly and looks amazing!
DISCLAIMER: Some of the items included in this review were provided to us free of charge, others were purchased with our own funds, for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.