Both the Sailor 1911 and the Platinum 3776 are very popular fountain pens that fall within the intermediate price range depending on the specific variant of the pen that you purchase. With both pens being so popular and often being pitched as direct competitors to each other, we often see people reaching out and specifically asking for a Sailor 1911 vs Platinum 3776 comparison article.
Due to this, we have decided to publish our own article putting the Sailor 1911 and the Platinum 3776 head to head in an attempt to help as many of our readers as possible in choosing the best fountain pen for their needs between the two. Now, as you may be aware, the Sailor 1911 is at the middle of the intermediate price range for fountain pens whereas the Platinum 3776 is priced towards the lower end.
If you do have the budget available, then the Sailor 1911 is a much better fountain pen in our opinion, and it will almost always be the better option than the Platinum 3776 for the majority of people. That said though, we know that some of our readers may be on a tighter budget and when you consider the price increase from the Platinum 3776 to the Sailor 1911 and the additional functionality, performance, and build quality, the relative price increase is questionable.
The Platinum 3776 is a great fountain pen and although the Sailor 1911 does outperform it in almost every area, the Platinum 3776 still outperforms many of the competing fountain pens in its price bracket. If you are on a tighter budget then the Platinum 3776 can still be an excellent addition to your pen collection but if you do have the budget for the Sailor 1911 then going with the 1911 is almost always going to be the better option.
Sailor 1911 Vs Platinum 3776 Head To Head
Please note that there are different variants of both of our featured pens so we have used the stats for the most popular model from each range for our comparison table above. We are now going to be moving onto our deep dive of both pens to offer as much information as possible to our readers to try and ensure that you choose the perfect pen for you.
Sailor 1911 Review
The Sailor 1911 is the flagship of the Sailor range with their King Of Pens model of the 1911 having one of the best reputations going relative to its price tag. The Sailor brand originated in the port city of Hiroshima, Japan with the founders vision for the company being based around offering the best quality fountain pens for the lowest possible price to the sailors based in Hiroshima and thus, their brand name Sailor came about.
As the brand was founded in 1911, they chose to take this date and immortalise it by naming their flagship fountain pen after the year that the company was founded. Ever since 1911 the Sailor brand has gone from strength to strength and they have managed to earn themselves one of the best reputations going while also managing to grow to being one of the three larges Japanese fountain pen companies.
The success of the Sailor fountain pen range is largely due to two things. Sailor prioritise quality control over all else and every single pen that leaves the Sailor factory has been tested by a human to ensure that it meets their very high standard. In addition to this, Sailor only have two fountain pen ranges that they focus on exclusively and although these two ranges do have different variants within them, it ensures that the pen creation process is streamlined and helps to minimized costs.
The Sailor 1911 Nib
The King Of Pens and the Large variant of the Sailor 1911 both come with a 21 carat gold nib that is a unique carat rating for fountain pens only used by Sailor. The medium and small variants of the 1911 both come with a 14 carat gold nib with an adjusted price for their smaller size and to factor in that they have less gold in their nibs.
The Sailor 1911 is available with an extra-fine, fine, medium, and broad nib size direct from the Sailor factory but there are a few limited edition 1911 fountain pens that come with a double broad nib but these are rare due to not currently being in production. Please keep in mind that Sailor are a Japanese pen brand and their nib sizes are usually a size down when compared to western fountain pen brands. Due to this, if you are used to using a western fountain pen and you like the nib size of it, go with a size lower for the 1911.
The Sailor nib design has been perfected over the last century or so to ensure that no matter the nib size that you opt for with your 1911, you should always have a smooth, seemless writing experience with minimal scratching. We say “should” as your ink of choice as well as the paper that you use also come into play for your writing experience and lower quality, low GSM paper will always be scratchier than higher GSM, more expensive paper but the Sailor 1911 nib tends to offer smooth writing in the vast majority of situations.
One of the main selling points of the Sailor 1911 is their zoom nib technology that allows you to adjust your stoke when writing to adjust the width of your text on the fly. For example, you can purchase a medium Sailor 1911 and write with it normally to get a medium font size but then apply additional pressure and the zoom technology on the nib will activate resulting in a broad font size from a medium sized nib.
Now, their zoom technology does take a little getting used to if you are used to other brands of fountain pens but it is an excellent feature. If you don’t want to take advantage of the zoom system on the Sailor 1911 nib then you don’t have to either as it does not activate when writing with regular pressure. The video below offers a writing sample with and without the zoom nib technology activated on the Sailor 1911 to show you how it looks and how it works.
The Barrel Of The Sailor 1911
The barrel of the Sailor 1911 is made from high-quality PMMA Resin to ensure that it is as tough and robust as possible while also being surprisingly light. This ensures that the pen is able to take any punishment coming it’s way from accidents over the years without breaking while also being light enough to be stored in your pocket when not in used without being weighted down.
The barrel of the pen contains the ink storage and filling mechanism and although the standard Sailor 1911 uses a cartridge conversion system as standard, the Sailor 1911 Realo does use a piston filler system that many people prefer. We wanted to point this out as the majority of people tend to think that all 1911’s use a cartridge converter but this is not true but the Realo variant of the pen is more expensive due to using a piston filler.
The barrel of the Sailor 1911 is available in a wide range of colors and one of the marketing techniques that Sailor use is to release regional exclusive colors from their Sailor 1911 range. For example, there are colors of the Sailor 1911 available in North America that are not available in Europe and vice versa. Although this should not matter much for the majority of our readers, fountain pen collectors often pay a premium for people in other regions to ship them specific colors of the Sailor 1911 to add to their collection.
No matter what color Sailor 1911 you go for, the majority of them come with the traditional gold plating to supplement the tinted PMMA Resin to complete the look of a traditional fountain pen. Although there are a number of limited edition runs of the Sailor 1911 with unique colors and plating, these are not intended for regular fountain pen users as they come with a hefty premium due to their unique look and are usually pre-ordered well in advance to release by fountain pen collectors.
The Cap Of The Sailor 1911
One of the distinct features of the Sailor range is that they opt for a minimal design for their caps. Although this has changed over the years with some of the older pens from their Sailor 1911 having their logo on the finial, they usually go with a minimalist design with the majority of the cap being the same color as the barrel while also having the gold plating to ensure that everything matches.
The clip of the caps for the sailor range are not ridged and tough like some of the other premium fountain pen brands either with them offering a great amount of sping and flex to make it easy to clip your pen to your internal jacket pocket or to a notebook or whatever is needed. Once attached, it is unlikely that the clip will give way and cause your pen to go missing either.
Although some people do prefer a push lock system for the caps on their fountain pens, the majority of people with us being included in that do prefer a screw cap system for premium price point fountain pens. Thankfully, Sailor has gone with a screw cap for their 1911 range of fountain pens to drastically reduce the chance of the barrel of the pen coming away from the cap when not in use causing the barrel to go missing.
Sailor have done a great job of keeping their pens perfectly balances to prevent any issues with the pen being back weighted when posted and the 1911 is no different. Although you would be correct to expect that this would be common place for all premium price point fountain pens in this day and age, some brands still release pens that have a heavier cap that cause problems with backweight when writing while you have the pen posted but the Sailor 1911 does not have this issue.
The Sailor 1911 Ink Reservoir
As the standard Sailor 1911 uses an ink cartridge system, they have no need for a traditional ink reservoir but the Sailor ink cartridges usually offer a maximum ink capacity of 1.2ml. As we touched on above, the Sailor 1911 Realo variant of the range does use a piston filler system but only has a 1ml maximum ink capacity when full.
Although this is average for the whole fountain pen range, it is below average for a premium price point fountain pen with most usually offering a minimum ink capacity of their ink reservoirs of 1.5ml or more. As the standard Sailor 1911 range that uses the ink cartridge system is the most popular variant of the pen by far, this will probably not be much of an issue for the majority of our readers though.
Platinum 3776 Review
Moving on to our mini review of the Platinum 3776 for our comparison article and as we mentioned back at the start of the article, the Platinum 3776 is a great fountain pen for its price point in the market and it does beat a large number of competing pens but we just feel that the Sailor 1911 is a better option. Platinum are also a Japanese brand of pens and although within Japan, they tend to be more popular than the Sailor brand, outside of Japan, Sailor definitely has the larger market share and better reputation.
With the 3776 being the flagship of the Platinum range of fountain pens, they honor the tallest mountain in Japan, Mt Fuji in the pens name with the 3776 representing the fact that Mt Fuji is 3776 meters high. Just like the majority of other Japanese pen brands, Platinum also prefers to go with a more minimalist design for their pens but we are actually fans of the lower price tag that the minimalist pens come with while offering great quality.
The Platinum 3776 Nib
Unlike the Sailor 1911 that has up to a 21 carat gold nib depending on the variant of the pen, the Platinum 3776 only offers a maximum of a 14 carat gold nib. Although on paper, this may look like a massive disadvantage, you also have to factor in that the Platinum 3776 is usually around two thirds the price of the Sailor 1911. In addition to this, the difference between a 21 carat fold nib and a 14 carat gold nib will be minimal for the majority of people when it comes to their writing experience.
As we touched on above, Japanese pens have a slightly smaller nib size than western fountain pens so be sure to downsize your nib with the Platinum 3776 if you are used to using a fountain pen from a western brand. The nib is available in the standard extra fine, fine, medium, and broad nib sizes with the medium nib being the most popular by far as usual.
Platinum have taken a soft, flex nib approach to the nib on the 3776 with the nib having a large amount of spring in it. Although gold fountain pen nibs do tend to offer more spring and flex than stainless steel or gold plated nibs, Platinum have engineered their nib to offer even more flex than you would expect. One of the only major drawbacks with the 3776 and the main reason that we made the Sailor 1911 the primary recommendation to our readers is that the tines on the 3776 can be misaligned causing issues.
Although this does still only occur on a relatively small number of Platinum 3776’s it is enough for it to be a common complaint for the model and just goes to show how much of a difference the additional step of putting quality control above all else makes for Sailors range. As we have mentioned multiple times now though, this is definitely reflected in the price of both pens but is definitely worth factoring in prior to purchasing your next fountain pen.
The Barrel Of The Platinum 3776
The barrel of most of the Platinum 3776 on the market are made from standard acrylic resin too offering another downside for the 3776 over the 1911. Although standard acrylic resin gets the job done, we are not sure how much punishment it will take before potentially cracking and breaking. We are confident that a Platinum 3776 will be able to last you for years but we doubt that it will be able to last you decades like the Sailor 1911 or the Pelikan m600.
In addition to this, some of the cheaper variants of the Platinum 3776 line have a barrel and feed that seems to be made from high-quality plastic rather than resin. As these are the cheaper variants of the Platinum 3776 and tend to be priced at the upper ranges of the entry-level fountain pen price brackets, we do feel that this is appropriate though as it is a different price bracket to the more popular, resin based 3776’s.
The Platinum 3776 uses a cartridge conversion system like the majority of the Sailor 1911 buts there are no variants of the 3776 that uses a piston filler. Depending on the reader, this alone may be enough to put them off the Platinum 3776 as many fountain pen enthusiasts do prefer a pen that uses a piston filler mechanism for its ink storage and supply like the Sailor 1911 Realo.
Just like the Sailor 1911, the Platinum 3776 is available in a wide range of different colors with a range of different trims too. This can be seen as a positive for the 3776 as many people do not like the gold trim that most fountain pen brands have on their flagship models with silver trims becoming more and more popular.
The Platinum 3776 Cap
The cap of the Platinum 3776 sticks to the same minimalist design of the barrel of the pen and uses Platinum “Slip & Seal” technology for its locking mechanism. Although many people think that the slip and seal system is just a marketing ploy, it does offer a slightly smoother screw lock system than the Sailor 1911 making it a little easier to get the cap on and off. In reality, though, the difference really is minimal and is nowhere near enough for the 3776 to take the recommended slot from the 1911.
The Ink Reservoir Of The Platinum 3776
As the Platinum 3776 does not use a piston filler system, it does not have an ink reservoir in the traditional sense. Additionally, Platinum has a number of official ink cartridges available that can be used with the 3776 but some of them will require the use of a converter to mount into the 3776 directly. The ink capacity of these cartridges ranges from 0.8ml up to 1.55ml of ink per cartridge allowing you to carry more ink in your 3776 than in your 1911.
That brings our ultimate Sailor 1911 vs Platinum 3776 comparison article to a close. As we have touched on multiple times throughout the article, in our opinion, the Sailor 1911 is a much better option than the Platinum 3776 for the majority of our readers. The issue with the misaligned tines on the Platinum 3776 hold it back as well as the lower quality build. That said though, the cheaper price tag of the 3776 over the Sailor 1911 can make it the ideal option for any of our readers who are on a budget.