My Pelikan M805 Fountain Pen

You might say this Pelikan M805 comes directly from the executive collection, a description perhaps befitting its appearance. Although I wouldn’t necessarily disagree — for myself at least — that description is perhaps a little misleading when it comes to the true nature of the pen. On that score, I’d consider it a smooth, comfortable cruiser, rather than simply a boardroom status symbol. A pleasant long form writer more so than a one signature wonder.

The Pelikan M805: great 18k F nib on a great pen.

This black and rhodium M805 (18k fine nib) was kindly and very generously passed on to me by a fellow enthusiast downsizing his collection. It is a pen quite frequently inked and often called upon for writing duties, ending page six as comfortably in the hand as it commenced page one.

Look and Feel

As you can see in the accompanying images, the outward appearance of this pen can be described as standard executive-looking black. I do own a number of black pens, and of those, the rhodium trimmed are my favourites. It is a colour scheme I never really tire of. Classic, timeless, and yes — perhaps boring for some. Be that as it may, however you might choose to describe that look yourself — I love it.

The members of the M800/805 series from Pelikan are sizeable pens (though a step down from the 1000’s), and setting off on this post also triggered a few thoughts on whether I have a preferred size in relation to my pens in general. That post morphed into something a little different, however as far as sizes are concerned, I would note the 805 — though at the upper limit — remains firmly in my preferred zone. For reference, my M600 is probably right in the centre, as is the Sailor 1911 Large.

Pelikan siblings (L to R): M400, M600, M805

I’ve found it interesting how my cap-posting preferences have changed over time, and I put it down to the fact some of my favourite writing pens are from the larger end of my collection, thus requiring the caps be posted on many of the smaller to retain a semblance of this new-found “balance” I’ve become accustomed to. Here of course I make reference within my collection, for there are certainly many larger and more weighty pens on the market which aren’t sitting in my drawer waiting for ink.

As you can imagine, I use this particular pen without posting the cap. Being a pen which prefers a medium to large hand, posting might of course suit a small few, however I’d expect those to be at the far right of the bell curve on that one. Overall it is a very well-balanced pen (when not posted), and the main difference for me compared with the M600 is the diameter at the point my index finger sits on the section. The 805 being that little bit larger here, separates my thumb and index finger just a little further then the 600, and as a result I find it not quite as comfortable as some of my pens with slightly narrower sections (again the 1911 Large comes to mind – though similar in diameter, probably suits a little better given the shape of its taper relative to the barrel).

As with all Pelikan pens, the finish is on point, and although the images do a far better job than my words, there are a couple of things which do come to mind when considering what I enjoy most about its appearance.

In addition to the black and rhodium combination I’ve mentioned already — I’d say the overall balance between the finial/clip ring, cap/branding ring, and those around the piston knob when the pen is capped. The typical Pelikan beak-shaped clip, and finial logo complement things nicely, and although there is a slight taper towards either end, the flat ends exhibited by Pelikan pens I find neat and definitive.

That nib again…

When uncapped, the 18k nib stands impressively, with engraved detailing, Pelikan logo, and nib designation lettering. The nib itself is a step up in size from the M600, commensurate with the overall size of the pen. A gentle taper at the section and unobtrusive cap threads round things out nicely.

Overall, a classically styled, yet sharp and well-appointed pen which looks out-of-place nowhere really — perhaps with the exception of a dusty work shed or rolling around loose in the bottom of a gym bag.

Specifications

Courtesy Appelboom

  • Pelikan Souverän M805 Fountain pen
  • Nib: Fine
  • Nib content: 18k Gold
  • Filling system: Piston
  • Closing System: Screw cap
  • Material: Resin
  • Colour: Black
  • Trim colour: Silver
  • Weight: 28 gram
  • Length closed: 142mm
  • Length barrel: 127mm
  • Length posted: 167mm
  • Diameter: 13mm

Depending on where you might pick one up, pricing is approximately AU$600.00 – $795.00 (RRP: AU$795.00) at the time of writing.

Writing performance

The 18k gold nib on the M805 is one of the larger nibs in my collection. I must admit on occasion, after writing with a smaller nib for any length of time, it does take a little time to adjust. Of course after a few lines it feels as comfortable as any from my pen drawer.

Though it carries the Fine designation, depending on paper type, the resulting line width approaches your Japanese Medium or even beyond. Of course that is nothing unexpected, and remains consistent with most other European nibs, and certainly those on my other Pelikans.

Despite the quality finish and stylish appearance, the not insignificant price point carries with it a certain expectation in terms of performance, and having always found Pelikan to deliver as promised — I’d have to say this time is no different.

A few words: Life Symphony Notebook; Bookbinders Snake Ink – Ground Rattler

As I’ve touched on already, though sizeable, the nib is well-balanced given the overall size of the pen. Depending on the size of your hand and preference (one of course influencing the other to a large extent), the large nib/full-sized pen may be a combination slightly outside your comfort level for lengthy writing. I’d say my hands are average, and as I’ve mentioned, it probably sits at the upper end of my “comfort range”.

The 18k gold nib is perhaps not as soft in the “give” side of things as some of my other pens, however I don’t consider that a negative as such. Although firm, it is an effortless glider with just the right footprint on the page to carry a dense, vibrant line — the magnitude of which will of course relate to the particular ink you have filled at the time.

Some of my other gold nibs (particularly the 14k fine and extra fine in my M600 and M400’s respectively; or say, the Sailor Sapporo 14k), tend to give a little more and “sit in” to the page, which I find just as comfortable really — again depending on the type of paper you are using.

Ultimately, the overall balance, size, and nib combine perfectly to produce the effortless feel this pen provides when I write with it.

Signing Off

Probably the most pertinent aspects about this pen are its size and performance. Yes, I find the build and design of high quality — and typical of the Pelikan pens I own — however what makes this any different to those other pens?

Were it larger either in diameter or length, the pen would most likely see less use, which is of course a matter of personal preference. Were I looking to buy another, the Pelikan 600 series probably would be the point I’d be considering — offering just a marginally better size fit, and of course saving a little money (depending on the particular model) to boot. As far as writing is concerned, this pen is simply a beauty.

Sometimes I feel it might be more systematic to have some sort of rating system for these posts, however most of them are approached with a couple of points in mind. Anything not discussed you can assume is relatively unimportant to me in the grand scheme of things (for example piston vs converter, or ink capacity to name a couple).

Generally each post can be summed up before I begin, by thinking what I might say if asked for a quick summary about the pen in question.

This one?

It’s probably one of the largest I’d comfortably use, however it’s a very high quality pen with a great nib, and is an absolute joy to write with.

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Possible Starters: Lamy Nexx and Pelikan Pelikano Fountain Pens

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Call them what you will: low-end; entry-level; beginner; learners. Perhaps all true, however these two fountain pens are both pretty solid performers in their own right — for any purpose. They may look a little cheap and cheerful, and although not being for every collection certainly have their place, regardless of your level of fountain pen experience.

The Lamy Nexx and Pelikan Pelikano fountain pens can be found in the “Young Writer” and “Kids/World of School” sections on their respective manufacturer’s websites. Although you won’t see any in schools in this country (I am not sure of the current status regarding other schools around the world), the pens are clearly designed for an early or younger generation entry into the world of writing with fountain pens. That said, I’m certainly no whipper snapper, and I’ve enjoyed using these pens increasingly in recent times when gathering my thoughts for this post.

Those of us who use fountain pens on a regular basis are often the ones who introduce another generation into the habit. Would I use either of these pens with that aim? I’m not sure, and there are perhaps other options I may recommend for that purpose, however I can see these two being great options to offer as possibilities — particularly if a few different options were being considered based on the tastes of the prospective user.

Forced to choose either the Pelikano or the Nexx? A somewhat challenging question, and the answer surprised me a little, though as you’d expect, the ideal pen when comparing two or more generally produces a Frankenstein result — that is, a combination of the best aspects of each. Of course in the absence of that being possible, read on and my final choice will become clear, but really — either of these pens wouldn’t disappoint in their target market.

Look and feel

A point to note here: the current models of both pens have undergone a cosmetic makeover compared with what you see in the photos, which are the pens from my own collection. As far as I can tell, all other aspects of the specifications are essentially the same.

It’s probably in the “feel” more than the “look” that I was most surprised as I used both pens on a more regular basis. I have mentioned in the past I am not a huge fan of the traditional Lamy triangular grip section found on the Safari and AL-Star ranges.

2016-04-09 pelikano_v_nexx_7

Upon uncapping the Lamy Nexx, the first thing I see is another triangular section, this time covered in a rubberised, cushioned coating — somewhat reminiscent of the grip guides of similar material often slipped onto to pens and pencils for younger users. Despite this, I found the section on the Nexx to be far more comfortable to write with than the Safari in my collection. I don’t really have a valid reason for this given the sections are both quite similar in size and shape — the only difference being the rubber coating on the Nexx.

According to Lamy:

The LAMY nexx fountain pen has a soft non-slip grip which makes for extended fatigue-free writing. Its polished stainless steel nib makes writing super easy

All I can really put it down to is the fact that the rubberised overlay softens the edges a little, creating a slightly “rounder” and well… softer feel than the plastic of the Safari.

I would say however the junction of the section and nib looks a little untidy, with the increased diameter of the “stops” on the grip meeting the black plastic collar around the nib and feed. It is the same plastic collar which you also see on the Safari and AL-Star ranges, however on the former it is matched to the barrel colour, and the on the latter matches the darker section a little better. Certainly not a big issue here, and only noticeable as I sit here and review the overall look and form of the pen.

2016-04-09 pelikano_v_nexx_1

The top end of the Nexx barrel begins in a distinctly triangular form factor, rounding out as the barrel increases in diameter and moves towards the section, before returning to the triangular form and tapering slightly at the grip. Uncapped, it carries nice clean lines and I quite like the overall look and shape, however as I mentioned, it is perhaps spoiled a little where it meets the feed.

Capped, the Nexx demonstrates a smooth but steady increase in diameter from end to cap, reaching a maximum at the clip ring. This probably fits the overall funky aesthetic of the colourful cap which also contrasts nicely with the silver aluminium finish of the body. The top of the springy clip sits proud of the actual cap, and while it suits the overall form of the pen, the cap and clip “live a little large” for my taste.

The Nexx appears to be going for a fun, funky and cool aesthetic, rather than portraying itself as the “beginner’s” pen. To that end, I’d say Lamy have probably achieved their goal.

The virtually clipless Pelikano, aside from the cap, carries a certain similarity in shape to the Nexx, and again avoids too much of the “beginner” aesthetic, however I believe it does carry just a little more of that style. This time, the end of the barrel begins in square form, before a similar increase in diameter as it rounds out, before tapering into… wwhaaaaat?? A triangular grip section! I must admit it is more trianguar-ish, than triangular, though the similarity to the Nexx is not lost on me.

2016-04-09 pelikano_v_nexx_3

Again the section has a rubberised coating, however in this instance adds little thickness to the grip. Of the three flattened sides to the grip, the index finger third also has rubberised ridges which run perpendicular to the barrel, I assume to assist with grip and guidance of the nib when writing. A couple of things on this: firstly, they are probably not necessary, as the rubberised coating on the section is more than enough for gripping, and though I didn’t find it noticeable — it may annoy some. Secondly, this could also be used as a baseline grip point of reference in someone learning to write (“index finger here”).

This rubberised overlay sits on a clear section, and therefore prevents any decent view of ink colour or level inside the pen. In contrast to the Nexx, with the Pelikano the nib is held by black plastic “shoulders” at each of its sides. In pointing out above the look of the Nexx at the junction of the nib and section, I’m not really sure this one is an improvement. Personal taste plays a factor with any of the pen designs we prefer, and perhaps I’ve made a bigger deal out of it than it really is. I cannot say when I’ve picked up either pen I have even given it a second thought.

Overall, I marginally prefer the Pelikano’s grip section, though it is the centre of the barrel which raises a few questions for me. Both pens increase in diameter through the middle of the barrel, with the Pelikano doing so just a little more in comparison (1.4 mm more at its maximum, as you can see from the specifications below). This throws the comfort of my grip ever so slightly off, and I’ve found I cannot write for extended periods quite as comfortably as I can with the Nexx.

Aesthetically, the styling of the Pelikano is quite different to that of the Nexx, and to be honest I really have no preference here. The cap of the Pelikano reminds me of a helmet on the Lego Knights I used to have as a child — if you had them you know what I mean. While I enjoyed playing with those knights, I prefer the design as a helmet rather than a pen cap.

I’ve described it as “virtually clipless” above as the moulded plastic forms part of an exoskeleton or … yes, there it is: “helmet” over the cap. This forms a sort of pseudo-clip, however the functional section is very short, and I’d hesitate to use it regularly, being reasonably fearful it might snap as the plastic fatigues through repeated bending.

Although both pens are not what you’d call expensive — both feel sturdy enough to stand up to the usual level of wear and tear. The aluminium barrel of the Nexx may provide a little extra reassurance in this area, however with even a little care in the daily use and carry of, I doubt you’d have trouble with either.

As I’ve mentioned, the clip extending past the end of the cap on the Nexx may provide a snag point, however again I would not anticipate any major problems.

Specifications

Notwithstanding the cosmetic changes I mentioned earlier, following are the specifications in the current available line up from both manufacturers.

Manufacturer Pelikan Lamy
Model Pelikano Nexx
Body Plastic Aluminium
Cap Plastic Snap On Plastic Snap On
Clip Plastic Metal
Fill Cartridge/Converter Cartridge/Converter
Weight 23 g 31 g
Diameter max 14.5 mm 13.1 mm
Diameter grip 12.5 mm 12.2 mm
Length capped 13.6 cm 13.4 cm
Length uncapped 12.5 cm 12.7 cm
Nib type Steel Steel
Price A$ $26-$30 + int postage $54.95

Check the manufacturer’s websites for colours available.

As far as the price is concerned, Australian supplier LarryPost stocks the Lamy Nexx, at the price quoted above. I have not been able to find a local supplier online for the Pelikano, however this of course does not rule out any local brick and mortar stores perhaps stocking them. Fishpond lists the Pelikan at AUD $39.97, however it does state the pen ships from a UK supplier. The price I have quoted above is a conversion from both Jet Pens in the US and Cult Pens in the UK, however you would need to add international postage costs to these of course.

Also worth mentioning is the option of a left-handed nib on the Pelikano, as well as the slightly cheaper Pelikano Junior model.

As far as filling is concerned, I have been using the Nexx with a Lamy Z24 converter (with no issues), and the Pelikan with standard international cartridges, noting the recommended converter here is the C499 from Pelikan.

Writing Performance

I’ve had these pens for about 6 months or so now, intermittently using them in my rotation of pens, and have written more extensively with each over the past few weeks taking notes for this post.

As far as the nibs are concerned, I’ve been happy with both. The stainless steel medium nibs are smooth writers, with the Pelikano having a slightly softer feel in terms of a little give, however there also appears to be a marginally smaller sweet spot than what exists on the Nexx — at least with this particular pen anyway. Overall, both nibs have that firm, steel nib feel — one that I quite like and is not meant as a criticism in any way.

2016-04-09 pelikano_v_nexx_5

The Nexx comes as expected out of the box — the same Lamy nib you’d find in a Safari: firm, reliable and consistent. I say consistent because in mentioning the Pelican’s sweet-spot, the Lamy nib performs well at all points of minor grip and alignment adjustment — however when compared line for line, doesn’t quite match the smoothness and comfort of the Pelikano.

Both lay down a consistent, wet line, and with a little pressure applied, (despite the softer overall feel of the Pelikan) the Lamy nib will give a slightly broader one, though neither of these pens are what you’d be using for any sort of line variation lettering.

2016-04-09 pelikano_v_nexx_6

Overall, as far as the nibs go, points to the Pelikano, as it is a much smoother and more comfortable nib to be using for writing, and the sweet-spot is really not hard to find and then sit comfortably in like your favourite lounge chair.

Both pens I have used without posting the cap, however if you were to do so, the Pelikano retains its overall balance more so than the Nexx, which becomes very top-heavy and cumbersome.

Both pens handle a variety of paper types equally well, which is probably important given what they might be used for, and I’ve not found either wanting on the first stroke when uncapped, nor with extended periods uncapped, for example in writing intermittent notes while researching online and the like.

Only young writer?

Indeed, the young writer aspect of these pens is not to be dismissed, however I don’t believe either necessarily perform this role any better than the Pilot Kakuno, which is far cheaper to buy. The Kakuno also sports the triangular grip section, however the overall balance and feel make it — in my opinion at least — a better buy for this segment of the market.

2016-04-09 pelikano_v_nexx_4

Do either of these pens appeal to the non-young or non-early writers? That of course is a matter of personal opinion. As I’ve hinted at above, I think the Nexx is more likely to fulfil a more universal role across beginner and more experienced users alike, whereas the Pelikano based on looks alone I feel is perhaps relegated to the beginners end of the market.

Given its bright and funky sort of look, the Nexx to me is a pen you might use with a clipboard or reporter style notebook: marking off attendees at a summer camp, scoring a tennis match or perhaps even recording your backyard coffee roasting data — assuming suitable paper was in use of course. At then end of the day, if a pen (which both are), are solid performers, it really is down to personal taste, and that is really where we end up here.

Conclusion

In summing up, both of these pens are pleasant to use and perform as intended. If I had to choose one? Probably the Nexx, simply because I find the overall shape of the body a little more comfortable to use than the Pelikano, which becomes a little too broad in the middle for my grip.

The Frankenstein result if I could? The Pelikano nib in the Nexx body with a smaller version of the Nexx cap and clip. Because that isn’t going to happen any time soon, I’d go with the Nexx simply because of the Lamy nib options you have at your disposal, though with a pen like this, I’d assume you’d have be looking for something specific, otherwise a Safari might be a better choice — particularly at a slightly lower price point.

In any event, either the Lamy Nexx or Pelikan Pelikano won’t fail you as a notetaker, however for the “young writer” I am most likely sticking with the Pilot Kakuno as my go to recommendation.


My Pelikan M205 Fountain Pen

The opportunity to pick up this Pelikan Tradition M205 was a little too hard to pass up back in May of this year, with Pen Chalet offering the model at half price during a period of The Pen Addict podcast sponsorship.

I was looking to add to my collection of quality fountain pens, and snapped up a black model with chrome trim and an EF nib. Ordering and shipping from Pen Chalet in the US over to Australia was quite fast, and in rapid time I was inking up the newest member of my pen family.

Look and Feel

There is no doubt the M205 is a great looking pen, with the black and chrome combination providing a classic, elegant look. It makes a great business pen – perhaps a little small in stature to be signing million dollar cheques, however I don’t sign many (who are we kidding – any) of those. It is also manufactured in Taupe, White and Red.

Image courtesy Pen Chalet
Image courtesy Pen Chalet

When capped, I find a certain appeal to the overall symmetry of the pen, and although not a large pen, the body diameter through the pen barrel is perfect relative to its length. The cap itself sits proud of the body when screwed on, further accentuating the central chrome band bearing the Pelikan and Germany insignia. An additional chrome band at the clip attachment, and another towards the end of the pen at the piston filler control, provide evenly spaced breaks to the shiny black finish of the barrel and cap.

M205_FinialM205_Nib_Cap_CrossM205_ink_bottle_pen_better

The finial sports the elegant Pelikan (pelican) bird and baby logo, with the clip shape recreating a long curved Pelikan (pelican) bill. The clip itself functions well, with suitable spring, yet is smooth enough to avoid snagging on either my shirt pocket, placket, or the Nock Co. Lookout in which it usually resides.

M205_LookoutWhen uncapped, with the exception of the fine chrome ring at the top end of the pen, and the dark tinted ink window adjacent to the grip section thread, the body of the pen is solid black, right through to the stainless steel nib. The nib itself is plain, polished stainless steel, with the logo, Pelikan name and EF inscription. Perhaps another chrome ring near the section may have been a nice addition, however would run the risk of creating a less seamless grip, and for the sake of appearance only is probably best left alone.

Constructed of a plastic resin, the pen is quite light (14.8g fully inked), particularly when used un-posted (9.9g), which I tend to prefer for extended writing sessions. Larger hands may find the barrel a little short for use without posting. A three-quarter turn will remove the threaded cap, which posts securely for writing and in no way affects the overall balance of the pen.

Performance

Great purchase deals aside, this is a $200.00 pen at standard retail pricing, and the expectation is that the writing experience will be commensurate with the price tag – that is, exceptional.

Others experiences

This is where things get a little interesting. Generally, when deciding on a pen purchase which will set me back a decent sum, I tend to consult the opinions of a number of pen bloggers who have tested and reviewed the pen in question. In this instance, that was not the case, as the podcast recommendation and great deal were encouragement enough to click the purchase button.

Subsequent to my purchase, I then read the opinions of those I hold in high regard who found the M205 not to their liking, and had I read these reviews prior to ordering, may never have picked up the M205 at all.

Boy am I glad that didn’t happen. I love this pen.

The reviews:

Pelikan M205 (the Illustrious) Fountain Pen – F Nib (The Clicky Post)
Pelikan M205 (the Illustrious) Fountain Pen – Update (The Clicky Post)
Review: Pelikan M205 Fountain Pen (The Well Appointed Desk)

I’d encourage you to read through the articles above for a full appreciation of the issues raised, however if I could summarise, others have found the nib “sweet spot” to be quite small, requiring a good deal of concentration to keep the pen within it, if the writer is even able to do that at all. This obviously places a question mark over whether the pen is suited to all writing styles.

Conversely, other reviewers have found the pen a delight to use, living up to every expectation, straight out of the box. Luckily I found myself in this camp.

Pelikan M205 Review (The Pen Addict)
I heart you: Pelikan M205 and Levenger Shiraz Ink (From the Pen Cup)
Pelikan Tradition M205 Fountain Review (Pen Paper Ink Letter)

On balance, it is therefore difficult for me not to recommend this pen, particularly at the discounted sale price, which is again available from Pen Chalet at the time of writing.

My experience

Sweet spot troubles? Myself, not so, and I would put forward a couple of theories on why that is. Firstly, although it is 17 years since I began using a fountain pen, my experience has not been widespread across different brands and nibs. Further, I have recently begun using pens with nibs a little finer than what I was previously used to, and in part appreciate the increased feedback of the finer nibs on the page. Here I am also acutely aware of the fine line between “feedback” and “scratchy”, believing I can appreciate the difference, however my experience on this may differ to a more experienced hand.

M205_BoxWhen testing further to get my thoughts together on this, I wrote with a more expensive pen (Montblanc Meisterstück Classique 14K gold M nib) and a couple of cheaper ones (Pilot Kakuno steel F nib and Pilot Metropolitan steel F nib) on a rotational basis line by line down a page for quite some time. There was a clear difference in feedback from the Pelikan and Pilot nibs when compared with the Montblanc, likely due in part to  the change in nib size, though of course material and manufacture no doubt play a part.

I could go on and about the ins and outs of these comparisons, however at the end of the day, my point is – for me, this is a great pen, and one I enjoy using very much. This is a fact I am certainly thankful for, as again, great “50% off” deals aside, $100 of my money still went on this pen. Whether or not $100 is too much for a stainless steel nib is for you to decide, however perhaps just shy of $200 is.

Writing

In my experience, the M205 writes extremely well, and I have not had any false starts, skips or unintended line variation in the three months I have used the pen, irrespective of the ink used.

As expected, the stainless steel European EF nib was still broader than the Japanese Pilot F nibs in a direct comparison. The writing sample below shows the Pelikan EF compared with a Pilot Kakuno F (Metropolitan F results equivalent) and Montblanc M, along with line variation achievable with varying levels of pressure, as the nib does demonstrate a small amount of flex.

Line width comparison
Line width comparison

 

I would also point out here that when inked with something like De Atramentis Permanent Blue, which I have found to be a fairly wet ink, the line is considerably wider than seen with the Pelikan Edelstein Tanzanite used in the image below.

Writing sample
Writing sample

Conclusion

The Pelikan M205 is a pen I am very glad to have in my collection, and is one I could happily write with all day. Its looks are commensurate with the writing performance, and it is a pen I use at times in the office, given it’s classic, elegant style.

As I have indicated above, I found no issues with the nib, however others have, so perhaps that is a caveat to consider before purchasing. Whether there is perhaps a question mark on the overall value of the pen if assessed at full price, given the plastic body and stainless steel nib is a personal choice (despite the gold nib, my Montblanc is also a plastic resin).

Personally, I would have no hesitation in recommending the Pelikan M205 to someone looking for a quality pen, and if you can pick one up on a fantastic deal like I did – go for it.