Monday, January 9, 2012

Fountain Pen Review: Pelikan M205 Duo Review


If you ever ask me, "how do you determine your next fountain pen?", I will probably shrug.  Since I was pampered by my mom in the fountain pen department, I never had to make a choice on which one to buy.  Besides, fountain pens do not go bad (unless you have butter fingers and let these guys escape your grip), why would you need to buy multiple of them?

While I tried to develop a coherent acquisition guidelines, I made up some interim rules.  One, I will try to acquire pens with different nib sizes (Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, Broad, Double Broad, Italics).  Two, I will attempt to branch out to different brands.  Three, and this is optional, pens with different body colors.  I actually have adhered to rules very well for once.  So far, I have been purchasing something different (with reasonable price) every now and then.  Pelikan is one of the brands that I have been looking at for awhile.   One practical problem is that the one Pelikan I set my eyes on is way out of my budget:  Pelikan Demonstrator M1005, seen here.  Something about pens with clear bodies that often catch my attention.  Be able to discern ink level easily is one, but be able to see ink slowly inches its way from the nib, to the barrel, then to the ink compartment is simply awing; it is similar to witness the artisan's ingenuity and craftsmanship in work.  Best part is that it will be easy to clean as well, since all parts are in plain view.  To be sensible, I set my sight on Pelikan M205 Duo, when the Baker asked me what I would like for Christmas.  It is a steep price decrease from a M1005 to a 205, given M1005 has a 14K nib while the M205 has a plain stainless steel one.  My personal belief is that a good pen is good, regardless of the material of its nib.  Plus, it is a writing instrument, it should be available in a variety of format that appeal to different sectors of population.  

So on Christmas Eve, this was what I opened:


It is a very neat box!  Not only the paragraphs are coherent (I am very custom to all the Asian packaging, where phrases in English or random French are mere decorations), but they are also providing basic information on the pen that is house by this nicely designed box.  If you enlarge any of the pictures below, you should be able to read it. 



M205 Duo is a fountain pen/highlighter (hence the 'Duo' after the model number).  It has a BB (Double Broad) nib, to accommodate the specially formulated highlighter ink.  It actually says on the packaging that the ink is only intended for M205.  I personally cannot attest the validity of the statement, but I am incline to believe that if you use a fine nib with the ink, you might be in some flushing dilemma later.



Fret not, if you are eager in highlighting, Pelikan does sell this ink separately. 

Here is the cap of the pen, with the typical Pelikan and its little one logo.


This pen is piston-filled.  To ink, you gently twist the end of the pen to initiate the mechanism.  It does not require a Samson to twist it, so less of a chance for you to break the filling mechanism.  (Yes, I have personally broken one before).
The transparent yellow body might drive people away, but it reminds me a drop of sunshine in a gloomy wintry day, or as Lady Dandelion described here, a "sweet citrus candy."


Many people describe the nib as "stubby."  At first, I am unsure what they are referring to.  As soon as I compare it to other nibs, the description becomes more apparent. 


The above picture shows M205 right next to a Kaweco Sport with a fine nib.  If you enlarge the picture, you can see that the tip of the Pelikan's nib is significantly "protruded" than the fine nib.

Here is another take on the same pair.

Now, my experience with the Mont Blanc medium nib is that it writes broader than a usual medium.  How does it compare to the Pelikan?  The Pelikan is still more bulbous than the Mont Blanc.

Here is another view.
One observation on the length of the nib.  As you can see above, Pelikan has a significantly elongated nib when comparing to both Mont Blanc and Kaweco Sport.  It is expected from Kaweco, given it is such a petit pen, but Mont Blanc is still a bit shy in a shoulder-to-shoulder comparison.  If you scrutinize the shape, you will also see what the curvature of the tines (the two sides of the nib that come together at the tip) on Pelikan does not go as far out as Mont Blanc and Kaweco.  Since I am only an amateur, I would not know how would that affect the writing quality, but the elongated shape of the Pelikan nib resembles the long pouched bill of a pelican.

I am usually incline to a finer nib than a broad one, only because I have tendency to write small.  If I have a broader tip, it will force me to write larger than what I am comfortable with.  But how broad is BB?  Here is a depiction of it in writing:

As you can see, Pelikan is only a bit broader than Mont Blanc.  It is also evident that BB can be too broad and thick to some people's taste, judging by the amount of ink that gushes out of the nib, which could result in bleedthrough and feathering.  The paper I used for the above sample is regular printing paper.

The writing experience is fabulous.  It is buttery smooth.  So smooth that I feel like writing becomes effortless.  The nib just glides on paper so lightly, that I forget it is actually a broad nib.  There is no skipping or hiccup.  I just flush out the pen with water, dry it, and fill it with ink.  I would say Pelikan is a pen that pampers the writer, especially the M205, given the price ranges from $90 to $150 which is reasonable for a dependable and solid fountain pen. 

Here comes a better news.  You can easily twist off the nib for cleaning!  So for those who always worry residual ink, Pelikan addresses that concern.  


So how is the pairing of M205 and the highlighter ink?  It is definitely a new experience for me because for the first time, you can write marginal notes, mark, and highlight all at once!  Please be aware that I tweak the coloring on the scanned result in order to show the writing; otherwise, the scanned image would be blank.  At the first contact of paper, the ink looks radioactive, but as it settles, it turns into this lemony hue.  Do not you think the ink sort of match the pen body? 

It is such a joy to receive a solid pen that is not overrated in any way.  This pen also opens my eyes on the highlighting ink.  Perhaps I should edit my thesis with this pen, so that my thoughts will flow as smoothly as the ink!

For your reading pleasure, you can find other more in-depth and professional reviews on the same pen:


7 comments:

  1. I have the m205 and a Diplomat both with medium nib, and am looking for the Souveran, M805 is it? The green ink view on the black body, they don't have or I can't find a Dark blue bodied one, all w/gold trim. Great article by the way. Just saying.

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  2. @mrken: Thank you for stopping by! I did a little digging and found a place where you may acquire the Pelikan you are looking for: http://www.montgomerypens.com/search_results.asp?collection=Pelikan%20Souveran%20805
    I am in no way affiliated or sponsored by them :)

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  3. Wonderful review of this Pelikan! I see what you mean now that the nib is more protruded. It almost looks bulbous (although delightful to write with still). I love the color of that body...warm and inviting like honey and sunsets. *drool*

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  4. I am so gluttonous to the point that I thought of sunny-side-up when I saw your comment. The pen is definitely a mood lifter!

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  5. hi, on m205 duo's box it says the highlighter ink is only suited for the m205 duo fountain pen. do not use with other writing utensils. i put it on my safari vista broad. do you think it's harmful for it?

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    1. In my understanding, highlighting ink is safe to use in all fountain pens, since it is neither pigment or shellac-based. Since Lamy Safari Vista is a clear demonstrator, there is a possibility that the barrel could be stained after a period of time. That is one of the reasons that Pelikan M205 Duo is yellow in color, so the staining is less visible in event of it. As long as you follow cleaning regiment religiously, there is no harm in using the highlighting ink in fountain pens. I hope this answer helps. Let me know if you have any follow up ones!

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    2. thank you for the answer :)

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