Sheaffer Balance "Vigilant" Fountain Pen, Marine Green, XXF

(Sold) This is an early 1940s White Dot Sheaffer Balance "Vigilant" fountain pen in Marine Green striated celluloid, with gold-filled trim, and a 14k gold, two-tone Lifetime nib. The pen has been restored, which included a complete disassembly, a gentle cleaning, an overhaul of the filling mechanism, ink flow adjustment, a nib tune-up, and a gentle polish with a soft cloth (by hand). The pen measures 5.1" capped and 0.42" in diameter.

Sheaffer Balance "Vigilant" Fountain Pen, Marine Green, XXF, uncapped

Sheaffer's "White Dot," usually found on the cap, and the designation "Lifetime," stamped onto the nib, indicated an unconditional warranty for the lifetime of the original owner. Sheaffer claimed that "the total cost of a Sheaffer Lifetime is its original price," as all repairs and tune-ups would have been done free of charge. It's not surprising, these pens were built tough. The might look dainty or frail by the standards of today's all-metal, tactical, EDC, and other overbuilt pens, but don't let the gentle looks deceive you. The pen I am offering you today is going to be an excellent daily "workhorse" writer. It would make an ideal "first vintage pen" for a fountain pen novice, but it would also be a perfect pen for an experienced pen enthusiast, particularly for journaling, sketching, business writing, and other situations where a dependable, XXF writer is needed. Did I mention this pen was meant to be used by U.S. Armed Forces? Yes, it's that durable and dependable. If you've been thinking of ordering another Pilot Custom 74 or Sailor Pro Gear, I encourage you to give this affordable "Vigilant" a chance.

Sheaffer Balance "Vigilant" Fountain Pen, Marine Green, XXF, nib profile

The Lifetime nib writes a line of about 0.2 mm (on my paper), which puts it in the needlepoint vicinity. Yet, it does not feel scratchy, it doesn't catch the paper, and, most importantly, it writes confident strokes in virtually all directions, without varying line width, which can be a problem (or a feature) for modern Japanese XXF nibs.

Cosmetically, the pen is free from any flaws or defects. The celluloid has a rich, and vibrant color, with some minor surface wear present. The gold-filled trim is in excellent condition, the imprint is not terribly strong, and there's some "ambering" (darkening) of the ink window. 

Sheaffer Balance "Vigilant" Fountain Pen, Marine Green, XXF, capped

Sheaffer Balance "Defender" Vac fountain pen, Golden Brown, XF

(Sold) This is a wartime Sheaffer Balance "Defender" Vac fountain pen in striated Golden Brown celluloid with a gold-filled trim, and a 14k gold, two-tone Feather Touch XF nib. The pen has been restored, which included a complete disassembly, a gentle cleaning, an overhaul of the filling mechanism, ink flow adjustment, a nib tune-up, and a gentle polish with a soft cloth (by hand). I work according to current "best practices" in pen restoration, and I use high-quality replacement materials.

Sheaffer Balance "Defender" Vac fountain pen, Golden Brown, XF, uncapped, with the plunger partially extended

This is a beautiful, rare Sheaffer fountain pen made specifically to comply with U.S. Armed Forces regulations, such that the pen had to be flush with a uniform breast pocket. These pens are beautiful, yes, but they were also made tough. They were dependable daily writers, performing very well in the office, out in the field, at sea, and in the air. Today, they still make fantastic performers, and their rare beauty makes them particularly desirable among collectors.

This particular pen is in fantastic condition, with vibrant, rich celluloid, excellent barrel transparency, fantastic gold-filled trim, and a gorgeous XF nib. Did I mention the vacuum filling mechanism? It works flawlessly, holding a lot of ink (2.2 ml using the two-stroke method). If you still aren't convinced this pen is for you, read on :).

Sheaffer Balance "Defender" Vac fountain pen, Golden Brown, XF, nib profile showing excellent tipping geometry and alignment. Also, note very clear barrel transparency

This is a full-size pen, measuring 5.2" capped and 0.48" in diameter. It posts well, so it should be comfortable even for people with large hands. The material has incredible depth and chatoyancy. Barrel transparency means you can watch the pen being filled, which is always fun, and you can see your favorite ink sloshing around inside the barrel. This is a writer's pen - one fill is going to last for weeks and the awesome writing ability is going to have you keep coming back for more. Being part of the Balance family, the pen is ergonomically sound, and it writes effortlessly. The Feather Touch really deserves its name. It does write at the lightest touch, laying down a confident line of about 0.4 mm. It probably sold as a Fine, but, by today's Western standards, I'd rank it has a generous XF. If you press harder,  you will be rewarded with a gentle "give," a little bit of spring that's going to make your writing that much more enjoyable and might even give you a hint of line variation.

Sheaffer Balance "Defender" Vac fountain pen, Golden Brown, XF, capped

Sheaffer Balance "Vigilant" Military Golden Brown, XXF

(On hold) This is an early 1940s Sheaffer Balance "Vigilant" Vac fountain pen in striated Golden Brown celluloid, with a 14k gold, two-tone Lifetime XXF nib. The pen has been restored, which included a complete disassembly, a thorough, but gentle cleaning, an overhaul of the filling mechanism, ink flow adjustment, nib tuning, and a gentle polish with a soft cloth (by hand). The pen measures 5.1" capped and 0.42" in diameter.

Sheaffer Balance "Vigilant" Military Golden Brown, XXF, uncapped, with the plunger partially extended

I think it's fair to say that Apple and Google are today's Parker and Sheaffer. The two pen companies were among the greatest innovators of their respective era. They both created incredible, timeless fountain pens, built around sophisticated technologies. The pen I am offering today is a great example of a 1940s pen. It's beautiful, ergonomically sound, performs very well, and was built to withstand "the hardest of pen ordeals." The pen came to me with a broken nib, so I replaced it with a better, Lifetime nib, which is correct for the "White Dot" version of the pen.

Sheaffer Balance "Vigilant" Military Golden Brown, XXF, nib profile showing excellent tipping geometry and alignment

If you're thinking of buying the new Pelikan M400 Tortoise, may I suggest an alternative. This Sheaffer pen is about the same size, made of similarly beautiful material, has an even greater ink capacity, and comes with a fantastic gold nib that writes a much finer line (about 0.2 mm on my paper) than the Pelikan XF nib. And, it has some really interesting history behind it. A pen designed specifically for the US Armed Forces, it was meant to be used in the field, at sea, and in the air. A beautiful, sturdy, and dependable writer, at a fraction of the M400 price!

Sheaffer Balance "Vigilant" Military Golden Brown, XXF, nib close-up

The pen is free from any flaws or defects. The celluloid has a deep, rich, and vibrant color, with excellent barrel transparency. You can watch the pen getting filled and gauge remaining ink level with ease. The clip is known as the "Military" clip, and it's rather unique. Why buy a modern pen that thousands of other people already have, if you have have this beauty for a lot less?

The Lifetime nib is a fantastic performer. It writes an XXF line (bordering on a needlepoint), but without the typical "toothiness" of modern XXF nibs. It allows you to write rapid strokes in all directions (including curves) without catching the paper, and a generous, yet controlled flow of ink. A perfect pen for business cursive, a great journaling pen, a travel companion. This pen was meant to be used on the road. It'll fit in your journal's pen loop and will bring a smile to your face every time you reach for it to write down your thoughts. An extension of your hand.

Sheaffer Balance "Vigilant" Military Golden Brown, XXF, capped