I rather dislike modern Sheaffer fountain pens. They perform well but I find most of them them pretty boring. It’s strange as Sheaffer has a rich history of innovative pen, nib, filling-system designs.
What went wrong?
I don’t know. I’ve never been passionate about Sheaffer history. Anyway modern Sheaffers tend to be decently made and well designed although design choice is rather classical and conservative. One of such pens is Prelude that can be bought in trillion of finishes.
It is one of most popular modern Sheaffer fountain pens. Not without a reason. Reasonably priced and well engineered it performs nicely on variety of papers. This model was introduced in 1997 and has been a workhorse best seller in the moderate price range for Sheaffer. Prelude Signature collection was presented in 2012 and can be considered as an upscale model as it’s price was close to 150 – 200 $. There were 4 pens in this series. The one you’ll see is Gunmetal Ceramic. This pen is part of VodnikVOlsovecek collection. He’s polish FP collectioner who loaned me significant part of his collection to try.
While I’ve never been Prelude fan I have to admit rhat Gunmetal Ceramic finish looks well and appealing. Also this pen has some upgrades compared to regular Prelude fountain pens. Take a look at the section. First the threads are metal. The section is plastic but there’s no cutouts for finger placement. Actually that’s precisely two things I disliked in Preludes I tried before. Plastic threads felt cheap and in some pens they weren’t properly made with time and repeated unscrewing and screwing metal threads in the barrel tended to shave off parts of section plastic.
The Gunmetal Ceramic finish that was marketed as feauturing Palladium Trim looks very cool. I like metal fountain pens and gunmetal finish is simply great. The cap and barrel are chased with fine engravings and the finish is shiny. Strangely it doesn’t collect fingerprints as easily as one could expect. The pen design is classical cigar-shaped with small twist – it does have a finial on the end of the cap. This finial looks modern and elegant. I like it. Other design elements that place it above its round-ended brethren are premium gunmetal finish, cap band and clip with white dot. The pen maintains simple elegance but these addition make it look more modern.
The pen clip has a slit, and the cap also has an inlaid white dot. It’s Sheaffer and in Sheaffers you get white dots that used to be symbol of engineering excellence but nowadays they just serve as a logo. The cap on the Prelude stays put with a satisfying snap and stays posted securely during extended writing sessions. I don’t post pens but as some of you tend to do it for some bizarre reason I decided to check it out. This one stays put and the pen feel well balanced when posted.
In the end the nib is what really matters, isn’t it? Prelude fine nib is surprisingly wet and smooth. The line it puts is consistent and definitely fine. There’s no scratchiness to it. It doesn’t collect paper fibers. It performs well and is always reliable. It’s marketed as Springy Stainless Steel. I’m not sure what it’s supposed to mean but the writing expeirence is enjoyable. There’s some feedback but the nib doesn’t feel rigid. I like this one.
Proprietary Sheaffer carts or converter. This converter has a larger ink capacity than most twist-style piston converters. The twist action of the piston is smooth and solid and the plunger moves throughout the converter smoothly.
Sheaffer Prelude is a portable fountain pen of medium length and medium weight.
This pen is a great writer that performs nicely on all types of paper. As this model is no longer produced and it used to be quite expensive, I’m not sure if it’s value for money is that great though. I really like the way it lloks and feels in my hand. Even though I like unique designs, I must say that in this gunmetal finish this pen looks stunning.