Sheaffer Crest Red Opalite

I dislike modern Sheaffer fountain pens. They perform well but I find most of them them boring. It’s strange as Sheaffer has a rich history of innovative pen, nib, filling-system designs. What went wrong?

Some designs look interesting though – Sheaffer Crest for example. I’ve received this pen from a fellow fountain pen user to play with it. And so I played.

Modern Crest line was offered between 1989 and 1998. Soon it’ll become vintage, I guess. Anyway the line was inspired by Snorkel pens, the name Crest comes from a Snorkel model with gold filled cap and plastic barrel.

The pen is rather small, too small for my preferences. The cap and barrel have equal length. Gold electroplated cap shows four straight lines, white dot and the clip is spring loaded, making it easy to slip onto many materials.  The section is smooth and has gold plated metal threads that work well.

During the year of production Sheaffer launched few series of modern Crest. The one I received is called Opalite Red (598) and was introduced on the market in 1996. It seems that apart Opalite Red, two more finishes – Marine Green and Golden Brown – were available at the time. The marbled and lightweigh tbarrel of the pen is made from natural cotton based celluloid . It’s slightly translucent – not much, but still. It was cool that Sheaffer decided to reintroduce celluloid to the materials they use. Opalite red celluloid has a lot of depth and visual appeal, at least to me. Sadly and just in my opinion there’s just too much gold here. I prefet chrome trim to golden one and therefore I’m not crazy about the pen.


I always considered vintage Sheaffer’s nib to be one of the nicest ever made. Crest is equipped with Triumph conical two tone palladium plated 18 kt gold nib, stamped “Sheaffer” over “18K” and “750”. I can’t find nib size but I would say it’s juicy broad. The nib is pleasantly smooth, there’s also no feedback. The nib feels firm but the writing feel is quite buttery. The flow is consistent and I haven’t experienced any ink starvation, hard-starts or skipping.

Filling system

The pen fills with a squeeze converter or standard Sheaffer cartridges.


Capped – 142.5 mm

Uncapped – 125.2 mm


As these pens are no longer produced, they’re not easy to find. Prices on ebay vary from 150-350 $. Not cheap. It’s not the best fountain pen in this price range but it’s relatively cheap for a modern celluloid pen. Sheaffer Crest is well built and feels solid in the hand, it writes very well. A one to consider if you enjoy slender pens, tons of gold and celluloid.


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