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Thread: Pelikan M205 review

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    Senior Member azkid's Avatar
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    Default Pelikan M205 review

    Perception of quality and the methods of industrial design to achieve it are, for me, somewhat obscured by the mists of ignorance, though the topic is immensely fascinating.

    For example, I have a Sheaffer pen which seems chintzy and light compared to my Montblanc 221 pens, yet both weigh exactly the same: 12.5 g with the cap. The Sheaffer, unposted, weighs about 1 g more! It's the MB that has often broken resin but nicely executed gold trim. The Sheaffer has a polished metal cap (stainless I think) with impressed decorations and a plain black barrel that I believe to be fairly durable. It seems like it shouldn't, but it feels really cheap and I don't know why.

    Whether a pen is liked or not is, as we all know, inescapably subjective and, for me at least, utterly unpredictable. Despite materials or condition, some pens look cheap and some look high quality.

    I don the cape of Captain Obvious to avoid being banned from my first Pelikan Hub or burned at the stake when I say...



    I don't like my M205 much and it feels and looks much cheaper I expect given its price.

    Mostly I'm disappointed because with all the Pelikan hype and my very positive, but brief, experiences with the higher end models (M600, 800, 1000), I expected a lot more.

    I'm not sure if it is the very straight lines and somewhat blocky, undetailed trim, the abrupt interface between piston knob and barrel, the painted Pelikan finial on the cap, the stamped clip, the injection seams on the section, the feeling of unsubstantial weight (despite weighing 14 g), or what.

    It just seems like a much cheaper pen than it's price point would suggest and I feel terrible saying so.

    It is hard not to compare the M205 to another German pen in my collection, a Kaweco Dia2 which looks like a next level pen worthy of its price.

    Except for overdone heft, I feel that the combination of metal medallions on each end, solid metal clip, elegant curve to the barrel, knurling details on each end, and the gently raised and curved dual cap bands combine to give the impression of a quality pen. To me, anyway. It does cost more than the Pelikan, to be fair.

    I have another pen to compare with, my Pilot Stargazer, also a heavy, brass pen, that seems higher end than either of the above and is priced accordingly. The clip looks a bit cheaper than the Dia2, but the Rhodium trim is subtly and crisply detailed, the cap band boldly shaped with precision relief lettering, the shape of the pen somehow more elegant, the iterfaces and edges seem more refined in design. And of course the sparkling lacquer raises its appearance even more.

    Edit: That isn't to say heavy equals quality, of course. If anything, weight and my perception of quality aren't related in any sensible way.

    Onto the nib, then. After my initial disappointment of unboxing the pen, I trusted the nib would be quite good.

    The steel nib is surprisingly springy, behaving very unlike any other steel nib I've used. The nib gives the impression that it would perform brilliantly in capable hands—as opposed to mine.

    Initially, I found it very difficult lay down a consistent looking line of text, letters and words that weren't too wet or too dry. I felt like I had to concentrate very hard and even then the pen felt out of my meager control. The nib also had considerable, unpleasant feedback out of the box.

    Edit: Fortunately, after switching ink again, from Iroshizuku Take-sumi to J. Herbin Perle Noir, and following more nib tuning, alignment and polishing, the pen is working much better now. It glides along smoothly on the page with pleasant, subtle feedback and I am able to write a good line under normal pressure.

    For comparison, the Pilot has a springy, gold, "fine" nib that writes very wet but with the right ink it requires no concentration on my part to deliver consistent lines and controllable variation. Since getting it, I've grown to believe the feedback is excessive.

    The Dia2 has a smoother, much firmer, "fine" steel nib. It's good, pleasant, but kind of uninspiring, perhaps only because I like finer nibs. I plan to try a Kaweco EF nib eventually.

    Edit: On the plus side, the M205, I now see, has a lot going for it. The precision and fit and finish aren't a surprise since the pen is made completely in Germany. It an ideal, convenient pocket size, long enough to use unposted. Though, I usually write unposted this is one of the only pens I can stand—or even want—to post the cap. So doing, the balance is only slightly altered by the light cap which, notably, fits very securely and precisely with no chance of being dislodged.

    Edit: Another thing I've noticed is the pen is very tolerant of remaining uncapped for an extended period. It is nice not to have to take the cap on and off. Even so, the cap comes off with a half rotation, thanks to its four parallel, fine-pitch cap threads. Threads which I cannot feel when writing.

    Edit: I should also mention that I find the section to be of a good diameter. This is neither a thick or thin grip.

    Edit: As one who appreciates a good pocket clip, just strong enough to secure the pen, but flexible enough, and with a good ball shape that clipping on thick or flexible fabric is a one handed affair, the M205 clip is one of the best I have.

    Edit: Now, I only have owned two other piston fillers, a cheapy Wing Sung 3008 and a vintage Osmia, but this bird's piston mechanism is head and shoulders above both, and far superior to any piston converter I've ever used. In fact it is the finest filling mechanism I have ever used. Period. The end. The piston knob turns with amazing smoothness when filling and unfilling and when filling, it locks precisely and securely into place when done. It takes few turns to move the piston through its full range and flushing the pen is quite easy.

    Finally, The ink window is a wonderful feature allowing one to effortlessly determine the ink level in seconds. Only a clear demonstrator would be easier.

    New, the M205 seems to run in the $80-130 range. The Dia2 is priced around $95-125, while the Pilot Stargazer costs around $150. I initially perceived the M205 to be somewhat overpriced, while the other two pens seem to be priced about right.

    Edit: I've thought a lot more about this pen than almost every other. It troubles me that my initial impressions were poor. Now that the pen is writing pleasantly and fairly effortlessly, and with everyone's comments, I am appreciating more about the pen and starting to finally enjoy it.
    Last edited by azkid; September 4th, 2019 at 12:01 PM.

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    Default Re: Pelikan M205 review

    Thank you for your thoughtful and interesting review. I think I'll take this pen off of my "might buy" list.

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    Senior Member Pterodactylus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pelikan M205 review

    You are totally right, personal preferences are really subjective.

    I really like my M205 (and I own several M2xx), my perception is that that the overall building quality is really good.
    I also like the springy Pelikan 2xx Steel nibs (more than e.g. the M600 gold nib).
    The springy nib can also be modified to have much more flex (nice tinkering project).

    I like their size and that they are really light pens (I donˋt like heavy (and huge) pens).

    I know that some people almost seem to equal the weight of the pen with the quality and building excellence (absolutely not my opinion, as said I really dislike heavy pens)

    Just a general note, the smoothness of a nib is not a given thing, every nib can be smoothed to the desired grade quite easily (by polishing it).

    So overall for me the Pelikan M2xx are always a recommendation worth.


    Quote 022 by Ptero Pterodactylus, auf Flickr

    (Pelikan M205 Blue-Marbled - B EMF ..... Colorverse Crystal Planet provided by Scooby 921)


    Show_response_768 by Ptero Pterodactylus, auf Flickr

    (Pelikan M200 Demonstrator - M italic ..... Diamine Purple Pazzazz)


    Show_response_43 by Ptero Pterodactylus, auf Flickr

    (Pelikan M215 Raute - B ..... Noodlers Apache Sunset)
    Last edited by Pterodactylus; September 1st, 2019 at 10:22 AM.

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    Senior Member azkid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pelikan M205 review

    Ptero, you bring up an excellent point about construction and manufacturing quality. I should have stated that I felt it was top notch. Fit and finish were very good. And the piston mechanism, as mentioned, is superb, smooth, precise, and easy to operate.

    My perception of weight must be about more than just actual weight because the M205 is about the same weight as several other pens that seem "about right".

    I agree that weight and quality definitely aren't correlated in any simple way. I tend not to use my heaviest pens as often as my lighter ones.

    I will keep trying different inks with the M205, and will see if I can tune and smooth it to work more how I prefer.

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    Senior Member Voiren's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pelikan M205 review

    Yeah, very personal perceptions - sometimes there are pens I don't like with no clear reason why. I know some people have the same feeling that the body material is cheap on the resin Pilot Custom Heritages and Sailors.

    It's interesting what you say about the lines and the trim, given that you liked the M600 up and they are more or less the same in that respect (give or take an extra trim ring). Or did you still not much like the shape, but like the writing experience with those?

    I just got hold of the yellow M205 Duo highlighter pen - it is my first transparent Pelikan as I've always gone for the coloured barrels rather than the demonstrators. I think it looks great

    I do like flat-tops, and I love the Pelikan beak-clip and the way the trim ring is right at the base of the cap, so the whole thing is definitely leaning towards my preferences!

    Admittedly, the only black M20x I have is the old-style M200, with the taller black domed top, impressed logo and without the 'crown'. Two rings on the cap, none on the body.

    IMG_20190902_114909-01_edit.jpgIMG_20190902_115231-01_edit.jpgIMG_20190902_115329-01.jpg

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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pelikan M205 review

    Note that Pelikan sneaks in lower-quality parts to it's high-end pens. For example, on close inspection, I discovered that my M700 Toledo has the M200 section that still shows unfinished weld lines common to M2xx sections yet absent from M4xx and up sections.

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    Senior Member azkid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pelikan M205 review

    I got to thinking last night... Maybe it is the lack of fancy, swirly or stripey barrel. The fancier pens I tried had that. The ocean swirl was to die for. The white striped 600 was impressive. I agree it makes no sense.

    I agree the yellow highlighter version looks cool. Also the dual trim ring (and in gold) with no tail trim looks way nicer to me. Hm.

    Interesting about the high end pen with the 20x section.

    Well... Maybe another M205 is more the pen for me than this one. Or maybe I should save up for a vintage one. The 100N looks appealing.

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    Senior Member Voiren's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pelikan M205 review

    The M200s with marbled barrels look great, and there are still quite a few of the older style ones around on eBay - the colours aren't as deep as the new marbled materials but still plenty of catching the light as you turn them.

    100Ns are great!

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    Senior Member The Good Captain's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pelikan M205 review

    Have you considered the M215 series, with the aluminium bodies?
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    Senior Member azkid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pelikan M205 review

    I wasn't aware that was an option. I will look into that, thanks.

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    Default Re: Pelikan M205 review

    Quote Originally Posted by azkid View Post
    I wasn't aware that was an option. I will look into that, thanks.
    I believe they are discontinued but some might be still available and almost certainly, 'used'. I love them!
    The Good Captain
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    "Meddler's 'Salamander' - almost as good as the real thing!"

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    Senior Member azkid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pelikan M205 review

    Update: I switched from Take-sumi to Perle Noir ink yesterday morning. I also worked on the nib some more, aligning, tuning wetter, and polishing more.

    I am pleased to say that the M205 is writing much better now. I used it all day yesterday and am using it again today and it is definitely more enjoyable to use.

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    Senior Member calamus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pelikan M205 review

    I have an all white Pelikan M205 with a medium nib and a broad nib that I sometimes switch out the medium for. Both nibs were smooth as silk out of the box, wet but not gushers, enormously pleasant writers. Maybe you got a dud?
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    Senior Member azkid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pelikan M205 review

    Quote Originally Posted by calamus View Post
    I have an all white Pelikan M205 with a medium nib and a broad nib that I sometimes switch out the medium for. Both nibs were smooth as silk out of the box, wet but not gushers, enormously pleasant writers. Maybe you got a dud?
    Could be. I know it happens sometimes.

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