Sailor’s New Inks for Autumm – This Inkophile is Underwhelmed


Check out the thread at FPN or the post by Bruno at Crónicas Estilográficas for images and more information. Nice colors but is acquiring this latest release really worth the effort?

Bruno makes the case for Sailor’s new marketing strategy. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, only a few Sailor inks are available year around. The company has otherwise abandoned the U.S. market and likely anything outside Japan with the limited release philosophy of marketing. I am not a fan.

In the past week I learned that one well-known online retailer has discounted his remaining inventory of the spring release while another is enthusiastically anticipating a shipment of the same group of inks in the near future. So one had to give up his profits while the other will offer colors out of season. If retailers are to carry an amazing assortment of inks, the consumer has to support that effort. In other words create a demand and then meet it over and over again. Make loyal customers and treat them well. That’s Business 101.

Sailor makes good quality inks but limited release just doesn’t work for me. I prefer to write with and write about ink anyone can purchase. Why create buzz for something few if any of us will ever get to enjoy?

Update: Swatches at Rakuten. Available from Rakuten seller Voice. All of the limited release inks are listed at the bottom of his page. The shipping from Japan to the U.S. is outrageous but if you’ve got money burning a hole in your pocket, there are some lovely colors in the group.

Another update: 10.06.2010 Art Brown has the 2010 Spring Release in stock and Pear Tree Pens is anticipating a shipment very soon.


  1. I’m with you on this! Ink is a consumable….therefore if it’s limited release, it will eventually all be gone, completely gone. Either it will get used or it will go bad. It’s not like a car or a pen or some other kind of collectible. If people know an ink is limited, they won’t use it like ink is meant to be used, which to me is a shame. As both a retailer and fellow ‘buzz-building’ blogger, I’m all for regularly offered inks!!!


  2. I was hoping you could help me. I’m new to fountain pens and inks (but recently bought more inks and pens) and bought a Monte Verde Prima.I’m unhappy with the flow and don’t enjoy writing with it. I changed from a Noodlers ink to J. Herbin and have the same disappointing results. I’ve noticed some people say they need to adjust the nibs, do you think that would help? Do I just push apart the tines some? I could bring it back to the store but I was already in there once with a similar complaint with the same pen. Thanks in advance.


    • Hi Christina,
      Fountain pens are great but they are can be challenging. There is a lot of information at Fountain Pen Network in addition to many people who can help with your situation. I don’t know whether your pen has too much or too little flow but as a newbie I went to FPN for my early pen problems. In the long run a professional adjustment may well be your best bet for a long term, love affair with your Prima.


  3. A thought on this “new strategy” for the Sailor inks which might lighten your dislike. This seasonal approach is standard Japanese business practice. Everything, adn I mean everything: soft drinks (even Pepsi and Coke get into it), snack foods and chocolates (baked potato and corn kitkat, for Winter anyone?)to restaurant menus, clothes, luggage – gets one or more varieties that are available only during one season a year. There are often extras for New Year, Obon Week and other intermediate festivals, too. The Japanese event calendar is heavily Seasonal and, rather than being a mistake, companies do very well joining in the festive mood at the turn of the seasons by putting out different products. It is a cultural difference, certainly, rather than frustration at not having what they want on tap, it is considered nice to have something to look forward to, enjoy for a time and then look forward to what is coming next. The seasonal varieties are always a little more expensive because they are a limited, festival item.

    BUT for those who are worried that they will fall in love with an ink and never be able to get it again, take heart – the seasonal product range is usually made up of one or two new varieties AND one or more that were popular the year before. The idea, afterall, is for people to be looking forward to both something new and something returning. While living there I looked forward to the Apple flavours in Autumn, the Plum and Cherry colours in Spring, Watermelon in Summer. I’d be very surprised if any ink which showed any sort of popularity (and you’ll notice on the post you linked that they had sold out in Tokyo) doesn’t return the next year.
    I’m quite excited about this, actually, because I have been hunting for a good pale pink for some time and this suggests to me that, come Spring next year, Sailor might produce one!


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