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Sheaffer Prelude (Blue Shimmer)) Review


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15 replies to this topic

#1 Lyander0012

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 09:09

So, this is my first review here on the FPN. In the event that I make any major mistakes or faux pas later on, please go easy on me (haha).

Anyway, these are my general impressions of the Sheaffer Prelude fountain pen after over three weeks of daily usage. For the record, I'm a college junior and I use this pen for jotting down notes as well as writing random poetry, not to mention the one Slender Man fan fiction I've been working on over the past few days... but I digress.

As you may have surmised, this pen has gone through hell and back with constant use. Aside from actually writing with it, I've gotten addicted to pointlessly scribbling in the margins of my notebooks with this pen. Apart from that being an unfortunate waste of ink, it also speaks volumes of how pleasurable a pen it is to write with. Take note that this is my first fountain pen, however; I've no FPs to compare it to, save for the Lamys (Safari, Al-Star, Logo) and Sheaffers (VFM, Intensity) I tried out for maybe 5 minutes apiece on the day I bought the Prelude.

First up is the appearance.


AESTHETICS (8/10):
This is a simple, yet elegant pen. My taste leans towards the Victorian-style ostentatious when it comes to accessories and the like (think something along the lines of the Lard-O-Led Viceroy), yet I still find this pen to be extremely attractive. The fact that I'm fond of the colour blue helps, too.

Posted Image

As you may have noticed, I had the audacity to engrave my name on the barrel of the pen. I personally think that it doesn't much detract from its charm, but there are many photos of the Prelude available online should you want to see it with an unaltered appearance.

Posted Image

Going back to the colour, you may have also noticed that, depending on the lighting, it shifts from blue to purple (or maroon, or magenta— I'm not very educated in differentiating colours). On the day that I first unboxed the pen, I'd actually thought that I'd picked up the wrong one instead. It really is quite beautiful though, and adds a certain flair to an otherwise bare design.

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On the tip of the pen is a small disc made of what appears to be mother-of-pearl, though it could just as well be excellently made plastic. It actually goes rather well with Sheaffer's iconic White Dot, here located near the top of the pen's clip.

The clip itself is a simple rounded rectangle, with a long hole running lengthwise through it (I'd forgotten the proper term for the perforation; any ideas?). It's a bit utilitarian for my tastes, but nevertheless it jives with the not-quite minimalistic design of the pen. Also, at the bottom-most edge of the cap, there is a simple steel band that runs the circumference of the opening with the name “SHEAFFER” engraved four times in succession. Now, normally I'd be against such self-aggrandizement, but the branding isn't really all that imposing, and is actually quite tasteful.

The grip is made of plastic, and offers fairly decent hold with minimal slipping; I say minimal because although glossy plastic isn't really all that appropriate for gripping, I've rarely found myself struggling to keep the pen in place despite it's considerable weight. Also, there are two ribbed indentations in the grip for the index finger and thumb. I'm well aware of the fact that most people on the FPN aren't exactly fans of grips such as this, but all things considered, they don't hinder my writing very much, and actually help with orienting my hold on the pen. You'd think that the rather huge engraving I'd commissioned would've sufficed, wouldn't you?

Posted Image


From what I've observed of people borrowing my Prelude, those with awkward (i.e. unorthodox) pen holds don't really suffer much difficulty in writing, supporting my idea that the grip isn't really all that imposing.

Going off on a bit of a tangent: Some of the people who tried borrowing my pen wrote with the nib facing downwards, or facing off to the side. Naturally, I had to intervene and teach them how to hold the pen properly. I somehow managed to avoid laughing, though it made for an interesting experience.

Now, to the nib.

The design of the nib is in keeping with the overall concept of an entry-level fountain pen; it is mostly utilitarian, with only a few subtle markings to help the pen stand out from amongst the crowd. Moving the base to the tip of the tines: You get the size of the nib, which in this case is M. Moving on, you get Sheaffer's name emblazoned across the width of the nib in a manner resembling that of a ribbon stretched taut by the wind. Sorry, that's my being poetic again. Then you get a line on either side that looks like a profile view of a scroll being unfurled, with rigidly straight lines extending from the base of the nib to the tip, running across the gap between the tines.

On the whole, it's a well-designed thing with no more bells and whistles than is appropriate for the somewhat plain design of the rest of the body. The appearance of the whole is generally cohesive and no one part stands out too much. Well, there is the nib, but that's only yo be expected in a fountain pen.

Posted Image

Given the entry-level price, this pen is exceedingly beautiful; even for one such as myself who is fond of grandiose designs, I stilll find myself appreciating the pen's aesthetics even after nearly a month of use. My only real complaint is that the pen doesn't look all that impressive unless capped or posted, as many of the design elements are focused on the cap.



ERGONOMICS (7/10):

As I've previously mentioned, the ribbed hold on the grip of the pen helps with proper orientation, and also instructs in the proper way of holding a pen. In the event that one is already well-versed in proper pentiquette however (“pen etiquette”; please humor my crappy naming skills), they do not unduly hinder your writing.

The reason behind my not giving a higher score is the weight of the thing.

Now, a lot of people have mentioned this to be a heavy pen, but even then the heft of the thing took me by surprise. Again, though, this is my first quality pen (excepting two Pilot Jotters, that excellent and well-renown ballpoint), so I've yet to really accustom myself to anything with a substantial feel to it.

Or at least, that was my initial impression; in the weeks since I've first gotten this pen (I'd planned on uploading this review approximately a month ago, but was kept busy with exams, theses, and such), I've gotten used to handling it, and find it comfortable to use now, even when posting the cap. Still, it's not a pen I'd recommend for someone used to the feather-light of most disposable pens or FPs the like of Lamy's Safari or Al-star.

… And that's about as much as I can say about the ergonomics of the pen. If I've overlooked something, please blame that on my lack of knowledge.



PERFORMANCE (7/10):

On the whole, this is an exceptionally smooth writer, with only the mildest of whispering (or is it more “talking” than whispering?) present. The only reason that I'm giving this a 7 is that there is intermittent skipping.

Now, I realize that this is something of a cardinal sin for any self-respecting fountain pen, but the issue's not really as bad as I may have made it out to be. Rather than the problem lying in the nib or feed of the pen, I believe it has something more to do with the converter (though I've yet to verify this); during long writing sessions, the flow suddenly stops, despite the converter still having a significant amount of ink within, leaving me with no choice except to either shake the pen until the ink starts flowing again, with me looking like the antagonist from Psycho during that infamous shower scene, or unscrewing the body of the pen (which takes ten full revolutions twists, no joke) and twisting the knob in reverse, pushing the ink out of the converter and into the feed.

Here's a picture of the thread, for those of you who still think I'm joking about the unscrewing taking ten revolutions rotations:

Posted Image

It's a pain in the rear, but I suppose it helps keep the pen from falling apart. In any case, the above is the only real issue I have with the pen's performance.

Generally, the Prelude is a very wet writer, laying down a consistent line with little to no variation, save for when applying exceptional force while writing. There is a definite sweet spot, and a narrow one it is at that. Then again, my writing style is just a wee bit unorthodox, so I doubt that many people will experience problems writing with it.

Posted Image

Overall, it's an excellent entry level pen. Doubtless, more people would opt for the Lamy Safari because of its fun aesthetics and insane durability, not to mention the fact that you're free to change nibs as often as you want (to the best of my knowledge, the nib on the Sheaffer Prelude is fixed, and one risks damaging the feed as well as the nib should they try to change it). Nevertheless, for those looking for a weightier alternative at a similar price point, not to mention one that looks a bit more reserved, the the Sheaffer Prelude is a great alternative.

Posted Image

Edited by Lyander0012, 26 October 2012 - 09:17.

"The price of an object should not only be what you had to pay for it, but also what you've had to sacrifice in order to obtain it." - The Wisdom of The Internet


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#2 Newjelan

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 09:35

Great review of a nice looking pen. Not a an of engraving, but that's just me. Posted Image

#3 Lyander0012

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 09:41

Great review of a nice looking pen. Not a an of engraving, but that's just me. Posted Image


I was a bit excited about owning a fountain pen, so I went a bit overboard (referring to my having it engraved). Still, thanks for the feedback!
"The price of an object should not only be what you had to pay for it, but also what you've had to sacrifice in order to obtain it." - The Wisdom of The Internet


#4 N2theBreach

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 03:48

Thanks for the review. I've been drawn to the Prelude, but hadn't heard much in the way of specifics. This is a help.

Also, no need to apologize for poetic speech. We could use a bit more of that these days.

Edit: fixed typing errors

Edited by N2theBreach, 27 October 2012 - 03:49.


#5 cedargirl

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 04:51

Nice review. Thanks.

I ordered a Prelude last week. It should come in early this week coming.
Mine's in "shimmering rose". What can I say? I'm a girl.
Anyway, I'm looking forward to getting my hands on it.
Tenet insanabile multos scribendi cacoethes.
Many are possessed by the incurable urge to write.
Juvenal

#6 wyldphyre

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 07:39

I just got my hands on one of these as part of a deal from one of those daily discount websites, so I got it quite cheap. It's a nice pen. Looks good and feels nice in the hand. The only drawback is I'm going to have to spend some of the money I saved on getting the nib redone. Because I couldn't choose the size of the nib I figured I'd end up with an M, and I did. It's the widest nib I've ever used and way too wide for my handwriting. I'm hoping to get it made into a finer stub, at which point I could totally see this being one of my favourite pens.

#7 cedargirl

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 10:16

Yeh, mine's an M too. But a broader nib suits my writing style.

A stub conversion ... Mmmm .... Hadn't thought of that. Now I will!
Tenet insanabile multos scribendi cacoethes.
Many are possessed by the incurable urge to write.
Juvenal

#8 Lyander0012

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 13:21

Actually, I dropped by the Handwriting subforum and got a lot of great advice on how to help make my handwriting more legible. One of the things mentioned was that a finer nib would better suit my writing style. As of the moment, I'm thinking of having my Prelude modified by a nibmeister. The only real problem is that I have trouble locating anyone in the Philippines with experience in the work.

... I could just make my handwriting bigger, I guess, but where's the fun in that?

Also, speaking as a guy, I think that the Rose colour still looks pretty good. Not that I'd ever consider getting one save for as a gift, mind you :))
"The price of an object should not only be what you had to pay for it, but also what you've had to sacrifice in order to obtain it." - The Wisdom of The Internet


#9 PF95

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 16:52

Hey, nice review! My first pen was a Prelude, too...only it's the black with palladium cap finish.

As far as I can see, the engraving seems quite nice...though I personally am not such a fan of it. I quite like the nice and shiny finish, and the unplated nib seems better. The thin plating wore off on mine...

As I said, I've had my Prelude for years and have enjoyed using it. Hope you do the same!
I'm not your 'friend', bud

#10 breaker

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 12:08

nice review!
thanks!
Cogito ergo sum

#11 Montblanc owner and lover

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 14:13

very nice 1st review!hope you'll do a lot of review like this!
A people can be great withouth a great pen but a people who love great pens is surely a great people too... Pens owned actually: MB 146 EF;Pelikan M200 SE Clear Demonstrator 2012 B;Parker 17 EF;Parker 51 EF;Waterman Expert II M,Waterman Hemisphere M;Waterman Carene F and Stub;Pilot Justus 95 F. Nearly owned: MB 149 B(Circa 2002);Conway Stewart Belliver LE bracket Brown IB.

#12 Lyander0012

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 05:34

very nice 1st review!hope you'll do a lot of review like this!


Considering that I'm also obsessed with books (not necessarily the rare ones, but good fiction is a huge drain on the wallet) and video games (self-explanatory, plus I'm getting a Vita later on), not to mention hi-fi headphones (no Beats, thanks), it's unlikely that I'm going to get any new FPs until Christmas time, and even then it's unsure. I'm just too into a whole bunch of stuff, I guess :P

Naturally, though, the moment I get a new fountain pen, I'll have another review up here in about half a month (that's two weeks of constant use, haha). Would anyone care to recommend a fountain pen at around 100-150 USD that they'd like a review of? Of course, I'd prefer something a bit obscure, since the more famous brands have oodles of reviews available here.

Cheers!
"The price of an object should not only be what you had to pay for it, but also what you've had to sacrifice in order to obtain it." - The Wisdom of The Internet


#13 Dimitry V.

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 16:53

Nice review.

I use my Prelude on a daily basis and I think it's great. Very comfortable in the hand (rather heavy but that's what makes it comfortable for me), the nib is quite smooth and the ink flow is spot on (after initial flushing).

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par la froideur et la lucidité de sa vraie nature."



#14 nascentcowboy

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Posted 22 January 2015 - 02:13

Hey,

I know this review is old, but I just recently bought a prelude on ebay.  It came in a red box and has a green marble finish with the two tone nib.  I don't know what the age of this model is.

 

I had difficulties with the finger cut outs on the grip until I stopped gripping it so tightly.  Then they became less noticeable and don't bother me. 

 

I don't know what the original price point on this pen was, but for $26.00 and a small shipping fee......I am glad I took the chance.  I wish it was a fine nib, but it is very smooth and enjoyable otherwise. No problems with skipping or dragging on paper.

 

Carl



#15 Lyander0012

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Posted 24 April 2015 - 05:27

Hey,

I know this review is old, but I just recently bought a prelude on ebay.  It came in a red box and has a green marble finish with the two tone nib.  I don't know what the age of this model is.

 

I had difficulties with the finger cut outs on the grip until I stopped gripping it so tightly.  Then they became less noticeable and don't bother me. 

 

I don't know what the original price point on this pen was, but for $26.00 and a small shipping fee......I am glad I took the chance.  I wish it was a fine nib, but it is very smooth and enjoyable otherwise. No problems with skipping or dragging on paper.

 

Carl

 

Hey Carl,

 

Agreed, the Prelude is an excellent starter pen. I think myself lucky to have blindly picked this pen out as my own starter since I knew next to nothing about FPs at the time. Of course, there's still a lot I've to learn, but I think I've made some progress since then, haha.

 

The molded grip section gave me trouble at first as well, but it ended up being a huge help when I (finally) decided to try working on my penmanship and practise whole-arm writing some months after I wrote the OP. Had I not given it to my sister last month (because of course I'd want to bring her into the hobby as well), I'd likely still be using my Prelude today. If anything, my only real complaint with the pen is that the pen's a bit on the narrow side. Its being a bit of a dry writer out of the box could actually be an advantage for some, and tweaking a nib to increase wetness isn't all that difficult a task once you know what you're doing.

 

 

Cheers!

Kevin


"The price of an object should not only be what you had to pay for it, but also what you've had to sacrifice in order to obtain it." - The Wisdom of The Internet


#16 Aliis

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 08:55

If anything, my only real complaint with the pen is that the pen's a bit on the narrow side. Its being a bit of a dry writer out of the box could actually be an advantage for some, and tweaking a nib to increase wetness isn't all that difficult a task once you know what you're doing.


I'd gotten an M nib recently and would like to know if you did end up finding a Filipino nibmeister to adjust it? Thanks!






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