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Sheaffer Intrigue


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16 replies to this topic

#1 James P

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 15:39

I decided to purchase a NOS Sheaffer Intrigue after reading about its new-fangled filling system. Several people commented that the complexity of the filling system contributed to the pen's demise in the marketplace. So I had to see what the fuss was about. It is the first Sheaffer fountain pen I've ever had.

I received the pen yesterday afternoon. It is the "Silken Bark" pattern and is equipped with Sheaffer's very nice looking medium sized 14K gold inlaid nib. So far, my overall impressions are quite positive.

Before I inked the pen, I gave it the old visual "once over." The packaging was a little on the chintzy side. Futuristic looking, but an overabundance of flimsy plastic. The pen itself is solid-looking and it has the heft to back up its appearance. It is a heavy pen for its size and is fairly top heavy when posted. Removing the cap from the barrel end cures that problem, and the pen feels much better balanced when writing unposted. But it's still no lightweight.

The fit and finish are good. The seams are visible where Sheaffer attached the cartridge/converter drawer (blind cap?) and the "piston" knob, but they're not obtrusive. I do wish that Sheaffer had taken more care to align the lines of the "bark" on the barrel with their counterparts on the knob where the drawer unscrews. No matter how I try to align them, they're still a bit off. But that's a pet peeve of mine with several pen lines and odds are I'm the only one who'll ever notice or care.

The inlaid 14K nib looks great. I really like the streamlined look such a nib gives a pen and I'm glad that Sheaffer has continued that look with its recent Valor pen as well.

The section is smooth and provides a fairly comfortable grip, with no slippage. It is a hair fat for my smallish hands, though, and I felt my hand becoming a little fatigued as I wrote my review.

But you all want to know how it writes, don't you?

Exceptionally well! Bear in mind that I paid less than $65.00 for this pen (I'll leave it to you to decide whether that's a bargain in the current market - I understand MSRP was around $140.00). So far it has written better, smoother and more consistently than several pens costing several times as much.

I filled the pen with Lake Placid Blue from Private Reserve, my current favorite blue ink. A word about the the filling system. Despite what I'd heard, it really wasn't that complicated - You just insert the converter through the drawer that slides out of the top of the pen instead of by removing the section. And, rather than have the twisty-knob built into the converter, Sheaffer put it on the pen itself so it works and looks more like a traditional piston-filler. Pull out the little knob on the end and twist. Snap it back into place when you're done. Nothing to it!

The pen lays down a smooth and somewhat wet line. After I inked the pen last night, I scribbled a few lines and let it sit in my pen tray overnight (capped, of course). When I picked it up this morning, it started right up with out a moment's hesitation. I even left the pen uncapped for 40 minutes this morning and the pen performed without missing a beat. Well, actually there was a brief skip on the down stroke of my first letter, but the Intrigue recovered quickly.

The nib is rigid - there's nary a hint of flex here, and the line is completely uniform - this isn't the pen for you if you're looking for line variation. Although I'd be willing to bet that a qualified nib meister can make this nib quite expressive.

Overall, I'd have to give this pen good marks. It looks good and writes even better. The filling system worked without a problem. It is a bit on the heavy side, so if you're sensitive to that, this pen may not be for you. But otherwise, I'd suggest looking into picking one up, especially since they seem to be going for around half of their original MSRP.

This is my first review, so let me know if I missed anything!

James Partridge

(edited for grammar and spelling - JCP)

Edited by James P, 04 July 2006 - 18:32.

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#2 Dillo

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 16:17

Hi,

I asked Jim to hold on his last stubbed Seal Intrigue for me. Though it is going to be really big for my small hands (The Pelikan M300 is my most comfortable size), I will probably keep it for my pen repair lab.

Dillon

Stolen: Aurora Optima Demonstrator Red ends Medium nib. Serial number 1216 and Aurora 98 Cartridge/Converter Black bark finish (Archivi Storici) with gold cap. Reward if found. Please contact me if you have seen these pens.

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#3 randyholhut

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 16:29

Intrigues are big and heavy (although not as much as a Legacy 2) and the filling system is a bit fussy. But they do write well.

Perhaps if they used the now-discontinued modified Touchdown filler that was on the Legacy 2, the pen might have been more successful.

As for looks, Sheaffer gave it a good try, but it might have been just a little too weird looking for some. That probably explains why the Valor looks like it does.

#4 meanwhile

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 16:40

I agree with Randy about the looks - the patterned finishes on Intrigues are possibly their least desireable feature. It's a pity, because PVD is an excellent technique. I'd have preferred a choice of plain but funky colours, similar to Fisher Spacepens. A Touchdown (or even a Snorkel!) would have been nice.

But $65 for a NOS pen with a 14K Triumph nib that writes first time after being left uncapped all night? Sounds like quite a bargain - I'm suffering definite "buy one" urges.
- Jonathan

#5 RichardS

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 19:03

Nice review James. I like the Intrigue a lot and find the filling system little different from any other "captive converter" systems. It's true that some of the finishes are a little weird to some eyes, but there are some more straightforward ones available like "Petrol" (ie dark green!) or "Aubergine" (maroon!). The metal overlay look great to me, and even somewhat retro, like a modern take on 1910-20s pens. The inlaid nibs are just great, and the prices right now are fantastic!

#6 DRP

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 19:35

EXCELLENT review! Keep it up.

#7 Jopen

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 20:09

Thanks for the review... very nice!

#8 KDW

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 22:28

I bought an intrigue for my graduating son (a lefty - so I got him the fine nib) and I was jealous so I bought one for myself (again, fine nib). His writes fine (pun intended), mine is a skipper. Otherwise, I think the pen is great (yeah, it's heavy). I've talked to Sheaffer and will replace the nib (tickes me off to have to pay $15) and I'm thinking of getting a stub. It will be my first stub. Is that a good idea?
Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.

#9 RichardS

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 23:56

I traded an Intrigue for a Waterman with a friend who replaced the Intrigue's medium nib with a stub. He's very used to italic and stub nibs and raves about how great it is. I'm not so used to such nibs (though I have use a few) and found I couldn't use it at all; it skips, bites into the paper and is just difficult for me.

I'd honestly say that a Sheaffer stub may not be a good choice as your first one; they are ground very "sharp" and are quiite demanding to use for beginners. I'd certainly try one before you buy (it needn't be on an Intrigue; I'm told Sheaffer stubs are all pretty similar).

#10 contravox

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 01:00

Not to sound like a downer....but,
skip, skip, skip, skip

Sheaffer should have named the Intrigue the "Skipper" and called their ink, "Skipt." I love the design of this pen, but after two nib swaps, I still have yet to write out a full filling of ink without the pen skipping like a kid to the fair.
"I have very simple tastes, I am always satisfied with the very best." - Oscar Wilde

#11 meanwhile

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 01:07

I can understand why people feel apologetic about making negative comments about their own experiences, especially after such a well-written positive review, but the balanced view these responses can bring out is very useful if you're thinking of buying. And fascinating in the case of a famous point in a maker's history, like the Intrigue.

Don't modern Balances have a reputation for skipping too? Is it an issue with any other modern Sheaffers?
- Jonathan

#12 PaulK

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 02:36

I can understand why people feel apologetic about making negative comments about their own experiences, especially after such a well-written positive review, but the balanced view these responses can bring out is very useful if you're thinking of buying. And fascinating in the case of a famous point in a maker's history, like the Intrigue.

Don't modern Balances have a reputation for skipping too? Is it an issue with any other modern Sheaffers?

I have an "ink starvation" issue with my Balance II (18kt gold nib). Initially it writes like a champ, then after a page or so, I need to give the converter knob a twist to get more ink to the nib. I wouldn't get rid of the pen nonetheless. I'm sure somebody could tweak it to resolve this issue.
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~ Oscar Wilde, 1888

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#13 KendallJ

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 03:32

Not to sound like a downer....but,
skip, skip, skip, skip

Sheaffer should have named the Intrigue the "Skipper" and called their ink, "Skipt." I love the design of this pen, but after two nib swaps, I still have yet to write out a full filling of ink without the pen skipping like a kid to the fair.

Mine skipped a little when it first showed up, but a very little amount of smoothing with some 0.3 micron mylar and super duper. Not enough to cause me pause. Love the pen. It's a great writer.

Kendall Justiniano
Who is John Galt?
 


#14 KDW

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 16:11

Educate me on the mylar trick. The only mylar I know about is balloon material.

My first pen was a no name - wrote a page or two and started skipping. It sits in the case.

My Namiki VP - the darling of all other owners - writes a page, and starts skipping.

My new Intrigue actually skips to my Lou.

I got a new Crocodile (see www.isellpens.com) - it took lots of fingernail adjustments and even a razorblade before it quit skipping.

I may have to change my name to Skipper. I'll be Gilligan's best friend. Everyone will say 'Aye Aye Skipper' just because of my love for fountain pens and my ability to attract constricted flow-ers.
Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.

#15 rak

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 17:52

I am also interested in learning the technique with the mylar. I am debating whether to send the Intrigue to Ft. Madison for some fine tuning or to try myself.

#16 welch

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Posted 24 June 2016 - 02:12

The Intrigue is an excellent pen once you've figured out the filling system, and as long as you don't pop the cap off when you cap it.

 

My first wrote beautifully until I capped it quickly. The caps has a weird shape to the bottom edge...call it the "tassie", just to be consistent with "normal" pens. The "tassie" fits the section only one way...make a mistake and you are likely to pop the cap off. My first Intrigue lost its cap to a sidewalk,from which it bounced into the street, and down a drain. Gone forever.

 

Wrote well, so I got another.

 

I only wish they were still priced at $60!!! Now up to about $160.

 

If anyone knows a place still selling the Intrigue for $60, say so!!!

 

(And it's a pleasure to revive a thread from 2006. Imagine: FPN has been around that long!)


Edited by welch, 24 June 2016 - 02:12.

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#17 MSH

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Posted 25 June 2016 - 12:37

One thing I've been trying to figure out is how to consistently screw the nib unit back on so that the clip is aligned with 'Sheaffer' on the barrel. When they are not aligned, it is even harder to line up the cap properly for closing.This drives me crazy!








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