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Sheaffer Valor Review


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39 replies to this topic

#1 southpaw

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Posted 11 September 2007 - 02:58

Background
From the beginning, the looks of the Valor appealed to me. How could it not. After all, it featured Sheafferís beautiful inlaid nib, a tried and true icon of pendom. The penís style, however, was a new direction for Sheaffer (or should I say BIC) and the clip is a radical departure from traditional Sheaffer, having a v-neck dip in it.


As interesting as the design is, I was very put off by two things (well, really three). First, the colors it was initially offered in: black or black. I know black sells the most, but itís just not among my top choices. Second was the price: $300 MSRP just seemed too high, especially considering turnoff #3, it being a c/c filler. I forgot to mention that Sheaffer originally launched it with medium nibs only and I prefer fines, so I guess thatís #4.

If you wish to read a much better review of the Valor, I highly recommend you check out Jim Mamoulidesí (aka PenHero) review here:
http://www.penhero.c...eafferValor.htm


Design (4.5/5)
The Valor comes in a nicely finished rosewood box that would be right at home sitting atop an executiveís desk. It really makes an impression when you open up your package and see it. Of course, if youíre not going to use the box, then itís just unnecessary cost and waste of materials (whatever happened to pens coming in simple cardboard boxes that were just a little larger than the pen?).

The pen is machined acrylic and is . . . ah . . . um . . . made in Italy (nothing against Italy, itís just, well, not Fort Madison). The 5.3 mm wide cap band is engraved with ďSheafferĒ on one side and ďItalyĒ on the other. However, the heart of the pen, the nib unit, does come from good oleí Fort Madison, so thereís hope yet for the Valor!

Sheaffer recently increased the Valor line by offering red, blue, and brown. I got the blue pen with silver trim. The pen is a dark navy blue but has streaks of shimmering cobalt blue through it. This, combined with the silver trim and the penís sleek lines, makes it an aesthetic hit with me. Here's a close-up of the material, although the most accurate color representation of it is in the comparison photo.


The pen has Sheafferís classic white dot, but on the Valor itís above the ďveeĒ of the clip and is actually raised. The threads are smooth and the pen goes on it a quick 1 1/4 turns. Speaking of the clip, itís a wrap around design with the actual clip being rather long at 42.3mm. While it isnít spring loaded, the design allows it to go over thicker material (such as the hem of a t-shirt) and yet secure the pen nicely. There are no markings or engravings on the clip.


The Valor is a rather large pen. Capped itís 150 mm long, uncapped itís 126.5 mm, and posted itís a whopping 161 mm long. This is not a short pen. The section is long enough to accommodate a variety of gripping preferences, being 42 mm long from the section joint to the back of the inlaid nib. Compared to the Valorís length, itís diameter is more normally sized and is part of what gives the Valor itís sleek look. The maximum barrel diameter is 12.5 mm and the section goes from 10.7 mm just inside the section joint to 7.5 mm just shy of the feed. The length and the taper of the section should satisfy a variety of grip preferences. Furthermore, if you like to grip high, as I do, good news. The threads are very comfortable for gripping. To aid in grasping the Valor's size, pictured here left to right, are the Waterman Kultur, Sailor 1911M, Sheaffer Sterling Touchdown Imperial, Sheaffer Valor, Pilot Decimo, Aurora Optima, and Pelikan M600.


The Valorís healthy dimensions mean the pen can easily be used unposted. In this configuration, it feels light and well balanced. What about those of us who are chronic posters? The cap posts deeply and securely on the barrel and, in this configuration, the pen really shows it's long and sleek lines. The large clip and cap band do add weight to the back end, but the pen still handles nicely, albeit the center of gravity is clearly rearward.



One final comment on design. The metal band at the top of the section is actually part of the metal sleeve that has the section threads. All this metal means no option for ED conversion. sad.gif


Fit & Finish (5/5)
The fit and finish on my pen are excellent. The acrylic material seems to be high quality and the rhodium (?) plating is very well done. All joints are tight and everything fits well. As mentioned earlier, the cap threads on smoothly.


Filling Mechanism (4/5)
Well, itís a cartridge/converter pen, and the converter works like it should and seems to be well made. Iím not a fan of c/c fillers ó might even say I have an aversion to them ó but it gets the job done. I canít comment on carts as I donít use them.


Nib (5/5)
As we all know, this is the heart and soul of any fountain pen, and fortunately this Sheafferís soul still comes from Fort Madison. The sleek inlaid nib recalls nearly 50 years of Sheaffer heritage and is an aesthetic and writing delight. I highly recommend Jimís article on Sheafferís inlaid nibs which can be found here:
http://penhero.com/P...InlaidNibs.htm

Although Sheaffer originally only offered the Valor with a medium nib, they have since added other nib sizes. My fine nib lays a line that is a little thinner than a Pelikan or Bexley fine, but is broader than what I recall other modern Sheaffer fines being. It measures approximately 3.5 mm. Itís quite smooth ó not buttery smooth ó but still nice and smooth. It lays down a nice line of ink, neither too wet nor too dry. Iíd estimate a 6 out of ten on ďthe wetness scale.Ē


There was one thing I noticed that surprised me. Sheaffer bucked the modern trend and went with 14k instead of 18k. I donít know if it was heritage or economics or design that prompted it, but it is interesting (comments and speculations welcome). Perhaps as a side effect, perhaps as a production anomaly, perhaps by design, or maybe just plain oleí because, this nib also had an even bigger surprise in store for me. Check out this writing sample:


You got it! Itís actually a semi-flexible nib, and the feed keeps up. The line width varies from 0.35 mm with little pressure to 1.0 mm with pressure. Iíve only had one other inlaid nib that did this and itís on a Sterling Silver Touchdown Imperial.



Is the Valor's nib nice? You bet! Pleased? Need you even ask! Add to the smoothness, the semi-flex, and the capable feed reliability. Itís starts when touching the paper, every time thus far.


Value (3.5/5)
IMHO, the MSRP is too high, particularly in the earlier phases of the Valorís introduction where you could have any color you wanted as long as it was black and any nib size as long as it was medium. Now that Sheaffer has increased the nib options and the color pallette, having seen the high level of fit and finish, I still say $300 is too high.

I, like many, have an aversion to paying MSRP or anything close. When I saw where the Valor seemed to be stabilizing in the market, I decided Iíd probably never get one unless it was a second-hand one at a good discount. However, an opportunity presented itself to get a brand new one ó meaning my choice of color and nib size ó for >40% off the MSRP. Curiosity (and that sleek inlaid nib) won out. At that price point, Iíd rate the Valor as a reasonable value.


Summary (22/25, 88%)
Subdued, yet interesting. Elegant. Professional. Reliable. Well-made. And that sleek inlaid nib with a delicious, semi-flex, fine line. I foresee the Valor being one of the few c/c pens Iíll keep around for the long haul.
"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom. 5:8, NKJV)

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#2 DrPJM1

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Posted 11 September 2007 - 03:12

Thanks for the review. I see a Valor in my future, but wonder if the folks at Fort Madison can switch it to their stub nib...
Pedro

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#3 saintsimon

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Posted 11 September 2007 - 03:16

Very interesting discovery of an unexpected contemporary semi-flex. Thanks, Michael. smile.gif

#4 CharlieB

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Posted 11 September 2007 - 10:21

Three questions. First, is the Valor's section significantly thinner than the section on the Legacy? From the photos, it sure appears that way. If so, this could be a problem for me, as I need a wide section to keep my fingers from cramping.

Second, is the nib identical to the one on the Legacy? In the photos it appears a bit smaller.

Finally, does anyone know which Italian penmaker is producing the caps and barrels for Sheaffer? I've heard rumors that it was Aurora.
CharlieB

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#5 southpaw

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Posted 11 September 2007 - 17:04

QUOTE(CharlieB @ Sep 11 2007, 05:21 AM) View Post
Three questions. First, is the Valor's section significantly thinner than the section on the Legacy? From the photos, it sure appears that way. If so, this could be a problem for me, as I need a wide section to keep my fingers from cramping.

Second, is the nib identical to the one on the Legacy? In the photos it appears a bit smaller.

Finally, does anyone know which Italian penmaker is producing the caps and barrels for Sheaffer? I've heard rumors that it was Aurora.



The section on a Legacy (my Cobalt Blue SE, at least) is 12.2 mm wide at the section joint and 8.9 mm just behind the feed (but this puts your fingers inside the back of the nib when gripping), so yes the Valor section is slimmer. This also answers the second question as the nib, although the same length, is just a bit narrower due to the narrower section. To your third question, no clue.

Just a comment on the Valor's section: I prefer larger sections, but because I often grip high (and do so on the Valor), I'm actually gripping on the threads or just in front of them and it's not a problem for me. Good idea to try one if you can.
"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom. 5:8, NKJV)

#6 Shelley

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Posted 11 September 2007 - 21:23

Nice review, good photos, the fact that its italian makes it more desirable to me...of course I don't actually like the pen itself for me, but it is still a nice pen.
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#7 andyk

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Posted 11 September 2007 - 22:10

Good review and nice to see that they are offering more choice with colour/nib size. Still not convinced by this pen, I think it's the cap that puts me off, but handles well when I tried it in a shop.

I think I will resist a bit longer and see if the price comes down, as at the current retail price I think I would rather add a couple more Legacys to my collection. But I am slowly warming to this pen and you review has helped me keep a more open mind.

Andy

#8 omasfan

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Posted 11 September 2007 - 22:17

Great review and wonderful nib pictures. I also like the comparison shot with your other pens.

You know, I looked at the Valor at last year's Ohio Pen Show, and I just couldn't connect with it. I also had the plain black version in my hands. I am glad to hear that the pen's nib is first-rate. Your review definitely makes me want to inspect the pen a second time. With one thing you are absolutely right: I don't think that the MSRP is justified even though the pen's workmanship is great.

#9 Johnson

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 02:14

Thank you for the superb review. I was looking to do some research on this pen, typed "valor" in the search engine, and boom, this brand new review comes up. All three of the new colors appear fantastic.
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#10 westlake

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 19:38

Great review. I just found some one is sell this pen on Ebay at a fair price. The item number is
290158431577. However, for me the price is still too high.

#11 Johnson

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 21:05

a certain popular vendor around here who sellspens has them even cheaper then that. wink.gif
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#12 Pepin

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 04:17

Brilliant Review. notworthy1.gif
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#13 diplomat

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 17:09

It's nice to see excellent reviews of the past. The Valor is a pen I'm taking a close eye on it because it's a Sheaffer's (a recent passion of mine, especially for vintage pens) and because it's made in Italy.

Plus I love the generous dimensions, at 6 and 3/8ths capped it's longer than a M1000 or 149.

Cheers,

#14 southpaw

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 22:01

QUOTE (Pepin @ Dec 7 2008, 11:17 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Brilliant Review. notworthy1.gif



blush.gif blush.gif blush.gif blush.gif blush.gif blush.gif


Glad y'all are still enjoying this review. Thanks for the very generous comments.

"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom. 5:8, NKJV)

#15 Daedalus1

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Posted 14 December 2008 - 13:06

Thank you for a comprehensive review.
Just want to let you know that I read your post over and over again before and after I bought a Valor with M-nib.
It is a plain black with gold trim.
I enjoy it just the way you do.
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Parker Duofold, Sonnet,Premier
Pelikan Souveršn M1000, M800, M805, M600, M400 White tortoise
Sheaffer Legacy Heritage, Valor,
Lamy 2000, Vista, Safari, Joy ,Studio
Montblanc MeisterstŁck 149, Pilot 78G

#16 cinnamarolla

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 15:30

Loved your review of the Valor. I've had my eye on it for several months now. My only issue is that I can't warrant the cost of this particular pen at the moment. I have no doubt that it would be worth it, but if I could get it at a discount of some kind, I'd certainly feel better about it. mellow.gif All the same, I hope to get one eventually -- preferably before they discontinue the style!

#17 Kjax

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 13:22

By the way guys, you can get some amazing deals on vintage sheaffer valor pens on ebay but you have to look carefully because the seller often doesn't name it, i got one for 60 dollars

#18 Kjax

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 13:22

QUOTE (cinnamarolla @ Feb 9 2009, 04:30 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Loved your review of the Valor. I've had my eye on it for several months now. My only issue is that I can't warrant the cost of this particular pen at the moment. I have no doubt that it would be worth it, but if I could get it at a discount of some kind, I'd certainly feel better about it. mellow.gif All the same, I hope to get one eventually -- preferably before they discontinue the style!

yeah i should have written my response as a reply

#19 nova6868

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 21:36

QUOTE (Johnson @ Sep 12 2007, 02:05 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
a certain popular vendor around here who sellspens has them even cheaper then that. wink.gif


I know this is an old post, but I can't figure this one out. Maybe I'm slow. The guy's username is sellspens ? I can't find him.

#20 matthewst1

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 03:12

QUOTE (nova6868 @ Jun 26 2009, 05:36 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (Johnson @ Sep 12 2007, 02:05 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
a certain popular vendor around here who sellspens has them even cheaper then that. wink.gif


I know this is an old post, but I can't figure this one out. Maybe I'm slow. The guy's username is sellspens ? I can't find him.


http://www.isellpens.com/

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