Nice to meet you, Peli. I though you’d be broader.
Pelikan Classic M20o Fountain Pen
Nib: Extra Fine
Filling System: Piston
About the Pen:
On a recent trip to New York City, I stopped by the Fountain Pen Hospital to see how much trouble I could get into. They had a pile of Pelikans in a case near the front of the store, and the green and pearl swirls of an M200 caught my eye. Such a beautiful pen!
As I meandered around the store, the damn thing kept calling to me: “Kennnnnnnnnnnn! Buuuuuuyyyyyy mmmmeeeeeeeeee! You’ll loooooooove mmmeeeeeee!” I fell in love with the way it looked, but I was hesitant to spend that much money on a European pen that may be too broad for me to use every day. Regardless of how expensive a pen is, I buy it to use it, not to display it as art.
I milled about the store for a while, but kept coming back to those luscious swirls. They didn’t have an EF on-hand, but they did let me test one with a Fine nib. I liked it a lot (super smooth), but as I expected, it was a little too broad for my everyday use. I took a chance and asked them if they could swap out an EF nib from another M200, and the dude was like “Oh yeah, sure, no problem!” So I screamed “Sign me up!” and threw money at him. I didn’t test the EF before leaving, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got home.
Shock of shocks: This EF really is an EF! It’s just slightly finer than my Sailor 1911. And smoooooooooth, too. This gold-plated steel nib is probably the smoothest EF I own. It’s fairly noisy with feedback, but you can’t feel any vibration or catching to go with the noise.
I’m stunned, shocked, delighted. And I’m pretty sure I’m spoiled now, too.
The Pelikan Classic M200 is simply exquisite. It has the typical Pelikan shape: mostly cylindrical, but with a slight taper of the barrel toward the ends. The M200 is a piston-filler, so the section and barrel don’t separate. The barrel is…well…simply stunning. It consists of a green and pearl swirled resin that is mesmerizing, deep, and shimmery. The front of the barrel looks black under the light, but it’s actually translucent anthracite, serving as an ink window when you hold it up in front of a light (and it works really well, too).
The section is pretty small. It’s made of black resin that tapers down toward the nib, then flares out a bit. It’s understated, but classy. The rear end of the section (where it attaches to the ink window) houses the threads that screw into the cap. Because the section is so short, my thumb and finger both rest right on top of those threads. Fortunately, though, the threads are shallow and not sharp, so while I can definitely feel them under my fingers, they’re not uncomfortable at all.
The black resin piston-filling knob at the back of the pen is set off from the barrel by a thin, 24K gold-plated band. It has a slight taper from the barrel to its gently rounded end.
The cap is also made of the same black resin as the section and piston-filling knob, and sports a gold colored clip and finial ring and a gold-plated cap band that has PELIKAN engraved on one side and GERMANY on the other. And the clip, of course, is in the traditional pelican beak shape. Such a neat and distinctive design feature!
The finial is a typical Pelikan crown-shaped button with the mama & baby pelican logo screenprinted in gold on the top. Like the rest of the cap, the finial is black, but it doesn’t look like it’s made from the same material. Most of it has a dull finish instead of the shiny finish of the cap, section, and piston-filling knob, so it might just be black plastic rather than the glossy resin of the other parts.
Build Quality (5/5):
Well, honestly, it’s perfect. The fit, the finish, the thread machining, and the piston action are all flawless. The pen was easy to fill and it’s been writing perfectly ever since. The barrel pieces are perfectly flush with one another: you can’t even feel the seam with your fingernail. I don’t have a single thing to complain about here.
I’ve been using this pen for well over a month, and I haven’t experienced any hard starts or skipping. Even if I let this pen sit unused for a week, it writes immediately. The Pelikan Classic M200 is the epitome of “writes every time, all the time.”
The M200 is a small pen and the section is pretty narrow, so I periodically find myself gripping the pen tightly…which causes a slight bit of cramping. Simply relaxing my grip solves that problem and allows me to continue writing, but I’d probably benefit from a slightly bigger diameter section.
And as I mentioned earlier, due to the size of the pen, my fingers rest on the section’s threads. I can definitely feel them, but they’re not sharp or uncomfortable at all.
Writing Experience (5/5):
Oh my. This Peli might have just supplanted my Vanishing Point as my favorite pen to write with. The line it puts down is a true extra fine. I can write as small as I want without my e’s and o’s filling in. And as far as EF nibs go, this M200 could be the smoothest of them all (at least with the ones I own). There’s still a lot of feedback going on, but I’m blown away by the combination of smooth and fine that Pelikan managed to capture in this gorgeous little writing instrument.
All the other pens I have in this price range come with gold nibs. The M200’s nib is gold-plated steel. It is a beautiful pen with a fantastic piston mechanism, and it’s put together impeccably. Steel nib or not, this is one exceptional writer…and it’s a pen that has likely found a place in my permanent rotation. Is it worth the money? For me, yes. It’s got beauty. It’s got functionality. It’s got a phenomenally fine nib. The Pelikan M200 is a pen I’ll get a lot of enjoyment and use out of, so for me, it’s well worth the money.
$152 is a lot of cash for a pen, though. Typically, at this price point, you’re looking at some special materials (gold nib, celluloid, etc.). The M200 doesn’t use any precious or exotic materials, so I can understand if you’d think the price is a bit inflated. However, the writing experience is so good, I can’t help but think it’s a good value.
The Nutshell: Overall Score: 24/25
|Best Qualities||Worst Qualities|
|Beautiful pen!||Narrow section leads to some minor hand cramps|
|Awesome, smooth, true EF nib||Potentially expensive for a steel nib|
|Impeccable build quality|
Those dreamy, pearlescent swirls reached out and grabbed me by the throat–and regardless of where I roamed inside the store, this pen kept calling out, pleading with me to take it home. It’s a stunner to look at and a champ to write with (and I just have to say that the Franklin-Christoph Loden ink I loaded it with matches the green swirls beautifully).
Pelikans might be a little on the pricey side when compared to similar pens of other brands. But there’s no doubt that they make a beautiful and well built product. This M200 excels in every aspect I value: writing experience, build quality, and design.
I waited a long time before trying a Pelikan; however, if I channel my inner Carnac, I believe I see more Pelikans in my future.