This past week marked 12 months since my purchase of a Pelikan M205. This was the 2016 special edition, blue demonstrator version. (The cropped name tag reads “Demonstrator M205, Blau/Trans. B”)
Recently I read a criticism made on FPN, levelled at some of those who provide reviews of fountain pens online, that they were often produced after the reviewer had spent little time with the pen. The inference was that the reviewer was too biased in favour of a pen still in its honeymoon period. (The thread was entitled “The Rampant Inaccuracy of Fountain Pen Reviews”; just go to FPN and search “rampant”). This ran to 125 comments when I last looked and so had clearly prompted some lively debate.
Personally, I much enjoy looking at reviews of fountain pens online, including enthusiastic ones when someone is excited with a new acquisition. I am sure that we all make allowances for any bias that might be apparent, in order to form our own opinions, weighing up comments from multiple sources.
Nevertheless, I do take the point. I thought today would be a good opportunity to offer my reflections on the Pelikan M205 after a year’s ownership.
This was my first Pelikan. Having read much about the Pelikan M series piston filler pens, my expectations were high. And all the points that I liked about the pen when I received it, still apply a year on:-
- Attractive, neat and petite demonstrator body, in a sky blue see-through material, being a little more discreet and less distracting than a clear demonstrator;
- Piston filler; a smooth, simple, reliable, large capacity ink reservoir and with no worries of running out of ink unexpectedly; a fountain pen in the true sense, not a cartridge/converter pen;
- Wonderful stainless steel nib, (mine is a Broad), which is smooth, wet and just nicely springy for my liking;
- Easily removable nib and feed unit, for easy cleaning or nib-swapping with replacement nib units currently available in Extra Fine, Fine, Medium or Broad at £11.25 from Cult Pens;
- Screw cap, which posts deeply and securely, giving a comfortable posted length of around 148mm;
- No hard starts: the nib, feed and inner cap design and screw threads located a third of the way up the cap, combine to make a pen that is always ready, even after standing idle for several days;
- No problems with air travel;
- The Pelikan heritage and quality name, even though this is not part of the Souveran range.
“Dislikes” is perhaps too strong a word when discussing a Pelikan pen, but for want of a better one, I offer the following:-
- I felt that its looks, at least to the uninitiated, meant that it could too easily be mistaken for an inexpensive pen like a Platinum Preppy or a single use or roller-ball type pen;
- It is very lightweight and lacks “heft” although this is not necessarily a bad thing;
- When filling, ink gets “under the skin” of the nib section. In this pen, the section is not detachable but is all part of the barrel. However there seem to be two layers of the acrylic body material, the space between them being unsealed, allowing ink to seep in, which you cannot easily clean out, even with the nib unit removed although soaking in water does clear this. I am not sure whether this is common to all M205’s or whether this is just a fault of my pen; I consulted SBRE Brown, who was aware of the issue;
- Being aware that this was perhaps an entry level Pelikan I still harboured an urge to try one of the familiar, striped models in the Souveran range with a gold nib and one with the heavier, brass piston mechanism which meant going for an M800 or M1000.
- The price, at the time I bought mine from The Writing Desk, was £95.00 which is approximately double the price of a TWSBI Diamond 580. The TWSBI gives the appearance of being a better quality pen, with its faceted, polished barrel and larger proportions. I do however appreciate that it is unfair to compare pricing of German made pens with those from the Far East.
From a quick glance at my pen cup, (sixteen pens today), I note that the M205 is the only one of these that has remained inked continuously for the past 12 months, while others have been in rotation. I had used it exclusively with Waterman Serenity Blue ink, which in my view is an excellently behaved ink and reasonably priced.
On its 12 months’ anniversary, I filled the pen with Waterman Harmonious Green, an ink which I also like very much. However, in the blue M205 it just seems “wrong” and I plan to go back to the Serenity blue, ironically, to restore harmony to my pen cup.
Perhaps the greatest testimony of my appreciation of Pelikans, is that I have since bought a new M800 and a vintage M400 for myself, plus another M205 (in Aquamarine) as a getting-a-place-at-University gift for my neice.
I do enjoy my M800 and M400 too and each has its particular attributes. Yet the M205 still retains a special place in my collection and will always be my first Pelikan.