Sheaffer Intrigue review.
The Sheaffer Intrigue is very well named, it is the most intriguing pen to come along for many years. It has a quality that is very difficult to express in words, or even in pictures. I suppose it owes it's uniqueness to a cumulation of design features artfully welded together to produce this:
So, here it is, a Sheaffer Intrigue 616 in polished Chrome and Gunmetal dating from 2002 to 2004. This fountain pen has a 'supporting cast' of ballpoint and pencil all wrapped up in the original box along with instructions, guarantee, ink cartridges and pencil leads:
Although, at only twenty years or so old this set has not yet earned the term 'vintage' it is, even now, very collectable and I think it is a very strong candidate to join the 'must have' pen club in the not too distant future.
You may well detect some bias in this review. This is not because I have this set in my catalogue and am anxious to get rid, exactly the opposite. The fact is I love everything about this pen, some may hate it, of course, it is definitely 'marmitey' in this respect. In the words of S.R. Brown in his brilliant Youtube pen reviews:
'So, what do I like about this pen and what do I not like'
The first thing is the appearance, normally when you unbox a pen for the first time the reaction is 'well, first impressions are very good, it looks well made and it is packed well', or something along those lines. When you unbox the Sheaffer Intrigue though the reaction will be nothing like as bland. It is probably:
' Wow!', or ' Good Lord, just look at that!' or it could be a simple 'Yukk!'.
Whatever the reaction it will almost certainly carry an exclamation mark!.
The body is constructed from a number of metal structures, some in polished chrome and some in gunmetal. They take the form of curves, ellipses or slashes but never rectangles or circles:
The pen is of about average length for a modern fountain pen but it has a very impressive girth, about 1.3cm. in diameter, it is a great lump of a pen. I suppose the nearest Sheaffer came to the Intrigue was the 'Pen For Men' or PFM as it is now commonly called.
The Intrigue is a cartridge/converter filler in essence but in practice it functions as a piston filler. At the end of the barrel are two concentric screw caps. The larger one unscrews to reveal the ink converter in situ:
The converter can be removed and replaced with an ink cartridge if cartridges are preferred to the converter. Screwing down the cap ensures an ink tight seal between the pen and its ink supply.
With the converter in place the pen can be filled without accessing the converter itself. The small button at the end of the barrel is pulled out:
To fill the pen the nib is immersed in ink, the button turned anticlockwise to expel the air and then tightened in a clockwise direction to fill the pen. The small button is then pushed back into the barrel and the operation is complete. The system works extremely well and, in operation, it has a smooth, solid feel which speaks for the quality of the engineering.
The Sheaffer Intrigue was fitted with either a yellow or white 14Ct. Gold nib. The Intrigue 616, this pen, has the white Gold nib with a fine point:
It is a great writer, it produces a very smooth fine to medium line:
Although the nib is firm it has a very pleasing 'soft' feel, it is a very 'easy' writer. The pen is probably not designed for the cap to be posted on the barrel when in use, most people would never post a metal pen anyway for fear of scratching the barrel. On this pen the cap does fit on the barrel as shown but it doesn't grip the barrel, if the pen is inverted it will fall off. This is one of the very few things that I'm not that keen onm, I think Sheaffer could have found a solution to posting the pen without scratching the barrel. Parker have done this with their new 'Urban Premier' pens and it does the job, although aesthetically it is horrible. The cap is secure but there is a large ugly gap between cap and barrel and the cap looks as if it is about to fall off, even though it isn't.
The Intrigue fountain pen is matched with a ballpoint pen and a pencil which are designed to echo the design of the fountain pen:
The Intrigue was marketed as a 'Born in fire' collection, quite apt for such an outrageous pen: