Sheaffer Valor Fountain Pen Review
The Sheaffer Valor fountain pen is one I just wanted to write great things about as soon as I opened the gift box and saw the fabulous Glossy Brown fountain pen with 22K Gold Plate Trim (see photo below). But, just like people, sometimes poor performance erodes stunning first impressions…
Sheaffer Valor Fountain Pen Design
This fountain pen is a beauty.
I LOVED its beauty as soon as I opened the luxury blackwood gift box and saw the Glossy Brown acrylic finish and bold, in-your-face, clip design that offsets the protruding Sheaffer White Dot on the cap. When you remove the cap, you also see the beautiful 14K gold inlaid nib design (photos below) and it’s eye-catching!
This fountain pen comes in four different finishes:
- Glossy Black Featuring Palladium Plate Trim
- Deep Blue Featuring Palladium Plate Trim
- Glossy Brown Featuring 22K Gold Plate Trim
- Polished Burgundy Featuring Palladium Plate Trim
The Sheaffer Valor is beautifully crafted and it’s a large pen, although not as wide as the Legacy. This fountain pen is designed with men in mind for sure, and with my calipers and kitchen scale I measured:
- 12mm at its widest point
- 8mm at the grip point
- 156mm posted
- 146mm capped
- 124mm including nib without cap
- 1.05 ounces total weight,
- .4 ounces of the total weight is owned by the cap (almost half of the weight is in the cap! more on this later…)
This fountain pen bespeaks status to me, it is a pen someone successful would carry. Just opening the box made me want to use this pen immediately and carry it everywhere. I did, and that is when my opinion changed drastically…
Sheaffer Valor Nib Design Close Up Photos
Here’s what you see when you uncap the Sheaffer Valor, its classicly beautiful inlaid nib, reminiscent of the wildly successful PFM they introduced in 1959. I have nothing bad to say about the nib. It’s classic Sheaffer and it’s stunning.
I was never attracted to hooded nibs before using a Sheaffer but their opposing triangles, with a cutout on the barrel to emphasize the shape, are dead sexy! I used a fine nib, and there’s a writing sample below that we’re getting to shortly.
To get to that sexy nib, you must unscrew the cap. Sheaffer Valor Fountain Pen Cap Fit
This is irritating to me, although you may not find it such a pain. Snap on caps are just more convenient because they allow me to use the pen faster and don’t require both hands to remove the cap when I’m in a hurry.
For a screw-on cap, the threads on the Valor are large, so you can get it uncapped with one full rotation and a quarter turn, but that slight delay and use of both hands grates on me. I tried to unscrew the cap one-handed to see if I could, and was unable to.
When I have a thought, I want to pop off the cap and write it down immediately, and often I have a Diet Coke in the other hand I don’t want to put down. (okay, Jack & Diet if it’s late…)
Purists may not care. If you only use your fountain pen during a scheduled writing experience where you make a special time to write, have everything you need nearby and solely focus on writing and writing alone, screw on caps make sense. That is a fantasy for me, but the reality of my busy life rarely unfolds that way.
Some people may even feel “safer” with a screw on cap because they feel more protected against ink leakage, but with many sturdy snap on designs out there with rubber o-rings, the screw-on cap design is archaic to me.
Fit and Finish Sidenote
Another note on the cap fit has more to do with the Glossy Brown finish. It doesn’t line up well from barrel to cap. One side of the pen is much darker than the other and the beautiful shimmering smoky finish was an afterthought when aligning the treads.
The threads of the pen offset the finish of the body and cap so even though one side is darker and one side more shimmering, the shimmering sides don’t line up well, they’re offset by about an eight of an inch between body and cap due to the way the threads start.
Posting That Beastly Cap
When you post the cap on the Sheaffer Valor, you immediately notice the cap carries the pen, both in design and weight.
I love to write with the cap posted (attached to the back of the body) and this pen feels unbalanced when you write because so much of its weight is in the cap and it’s not distributed well within the cap.
The clip design makes the fountain pen bold and beautiful, but the cap also carries a lot of weight around the end near the Sheaffer White Dot because the metal clip wraps around the entire cap. In an attempt to balance this feel, they added a metal cap band at the bottom, all this does is make the entire cap assembly heavy when judged against its overall weight.
If you don’t write with the cap posted, all of this feedback will not matter to you and you’ll find this pen will give you a much better writing experience, although it will feel very light without the cap. If you write posted, I’ll give you some recommendations at the end of this review for better choices.
The Sheaffer Valor Fountain Pen Performance
The fine nib on the Sheaffer Valor wrote with a fine line as expected. This nib wasn’t super-scratchy, but had more tooth than its cousins the Legacy and Taranis.
I didn’t expect it to have more tooth than the Taranis because that fountain pen has a steel nib, where the Valor is 14K gold. You’d expect gold nibs to out perform steel every time, but the Taranis was smoother than this nib.
The toothy feel wasn’t bad, just not as buttery smooth as I like nibs to be, especially when they’re gold and on the pricier side of fountain pens.
While it didn’t skip or scratch, it’s a dry-ish writer. I tested four Sheaffers on the same page shown above and the Valor had the driest feel of the bunch when writing.
In addition to the graph paper below, I also tested it on journal paper and receipts. The valor did fine on journal paper, but my Moleskine journal sounded like the nib would rip the page when I used it for long periods. (To be fair, I’m a fast writer so if a nib is dry, it has a hard time keeping up for sure!)
It never ripped the page, but the dry nib wasn’t super journal friendly in terms of feel.
I did experience hand fatigue when using the Valor. Because the cap carries so much of the relative weight of the fountain pen, it became a chore to write for longer periods. I really wish they could’ve worked this out in the design so the performance would live up to its sex appeal.
I tried rotating the cap to different angles to get a better feel, but it is just not designed well for long-term posted use. The cap did stay put when posted, I had no wriggling off problems, but it wasn’t balanced or comfortable.
Sheaffer Valor Fountain Pen Maintenance
This pen, like all Sheaffers, is easy to swap converters and cartridges in and out of. You just pop the converter off and pop in the cartridge to write. I even swapped cartridges between Sheaffers as I tested pens just to see how quickly they’d write with new cartridges. The Valor jumped right up and wrote immediately. No issues there.
This pen has MANY threads attaching the section to the body of the pen. It takes longer than most pens to unscrew the barrel to get the pen off. You can see them in the photo below.
Because the threads on the section are metal and you’re threading it onto acrylic threads on the body, there are some hard-start issues where the threads don’t line up. You don’t want to force it because you can feel that you’ll easily strip out the acrylic barrel. I’d have prefered the threads to be made of the same material for durability over time.
Overall Value of the Sheaffer Valor Fountain Pen
The Sheaffer Valor fountain pen is not the best value for its purchase price. It’s hard to say that about such a beautiful fountain pen, I really wanted to love it!
The nib dryness could’ve been specific to this one fountain pen, not the lot of all Valors, but it’s the one I tested and that is how it performed out of the box. It needed a nib adjustment by a professional before I’d have felt it was worth the price, and then only if I wrote with this sexy beast capless.
But more importantly, the Valor is not a balanced writer, it just doesn’t have a good feel when writing and I tried with the cap off as well. Capless, the pen is extremely lightweight and, because the cap carries the design on this pen, its boring to look at without it.
If you like wider fountain pens, check out my review of the Sheaffer Legacy for a pen that’s worth your investment and has the same nib design. If you were drawn to the bold design, check out the Sheaffer Taranis for a completely new design in 2013, it’s a conversation starter!
Price: Get a price on the Sheaffer Valor at Amazon.
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