Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Pelikan Souverän M805 Review

To tell you the truth, I am heavily biased towards two of my pelicans - one is a M400 white tortoise, other is the blue striated M805. The M8XX usually considered to be the logical next step to M4XX/6XX, if some logic is still left. As with the model numbers, there is a general increase in nib size & specs, in addition to overall dimensions, when you move from M4XX to M1XXX. I also love the Souverän M 625 with dazzling sterling silver trims (Ag 92.5%). Although the blue-striated M805 in a way alludes to the 1929 classical green-striped design with a differentiated version of the striped translucency. 

DESIGN - THE STRIPED TRANSLUCENCY (5/6)


The M800 comes in three gold-trimmed standard designs, two striped translucencies - Green, Blue and the Classical Black with a Green Ink Window, across four standard different nib widths - EF, F, M and B, although a tipped italic nib is available with a special edition. Sometimes a M800 Red also chips in. The M805s now come in silver trimmed versions of Striped Blue and Black/Green Ink Window now with monotone rhodiated nibs. Personally, I prefer the earlier two-tone nibs on these. There are several special editions of M8XX starting with the m805 demo, m800 brown tortoise, the recent m800 burnt orange which is creating a lot of fire these days, after the m805 Stresemann.

The M805 hints the subtle craftsmanship associated with building this writing instrument. It’s superb balance somehow ensures all the necessary weight and balance for writing. The barrels made up of highly polished pelikan famed ‘cellulose acetate’ with its diamond cut contours, partially reveal the necessities like the piston end or ink level, while concealing the irrelevant ones. I feel that this blue stripes reveal quite conservatively compared to the green.

The blue stripes innately reflect both light and dark while preserving a formal appearance of the souverän as the silver palladium plated trims continue to stand out. The translucency is subtle but useful at the same time to note ink levels.

The sleeve has deeply shining blue stripes and reveals itself with ambient light. It’s sleek and smooth to touch.

The white dazzle is matched throughout the pen starting from the famed finial and the clip, through those concentric bands in the cap, before finally converging with the dual piston rings. While the white tortoise plays with light with phenomenal efficiency, the blue stripes have their conservative thoughts about exposure!

The cap feels substantial and unscrews with a single turn, revealing a dazzling two-tone nib. The grip reveals another knot of white glitter, towards the nib end.

Two concentric white bands with a palladium plated crown embossed with the pelikan logo, adorn the cap with a signature pelican beak-shaped clip. The thicker bottom band carries the brand imprint of PELIKAN SOUVERÄN GERMANY. A high degree of polish gives it a gleam which can coax the lustre of the bands. The logo on the finial is the one embraced by Pelikan post 2003, that of a mother pelican and its chick, gleaming in brushed palladium. You can observe the staged pillar caps of M400, 625 and 805 glittering with light.

FILLING SYSTEM (6/6)


A piston filler with a sturdy knob is embellished with two concentric loops. Like any other pelikan, it’s imbibed within the system and is hassle-free. The piston end unscrews with three to four rotations and ink is drawn into the pen with remarkable efficiency without any fuss, once the piston is screwed back on. And of course, you can observe some of it live through the striped windows. A brass spindle connector in the M8XX provides weight and balance. Everything is glistening white as you can see the connector nut in the picture. M8XX fills upto 1.85 - 2 mL of ink.

These brass piston mechanisms can be dismantled using a 7mm wrench (TWSBI would fit). I don’t really find a need to do that unless there is a fault which can be addressed at home. For any problems, it might be better to send the pen to Pelikan Germany/Country Authorized Service Center.

NIB - ALL THAT MATTERS (6/6)


The nib/feed section is screw-fit and comes in a standard 18k two-tone design across four stock widths - EF, F, M & B. It has the standard pelikan design with the usual convenience of a screw-fit section.

                 Like all cousins, the nib is both exquisite and efficient. With a big feed, and a spread out nib it looks like a real delight. The silver of two-tone finish does converge with the white trims in terms of both glitter and glimmer.

The tail end specifies the nib-width and composition (18 C, 75% Au) of the gold-alloy used. Three arabesques diverge along the shoulders of the nib with two of them converging near the circular breather hole. The third curve runs across the tines towards the shoulders ending with the tail end of the nib, outside of which a golden decor runs along the shoulders across the outer tines, before converging onto the iridium tip. There is of-course the dazzling golden mother-baby pelikan logo, resting above the tail. This one in the picture is a Fine nib and writes smooth and wet. No complaints on out of the box smoothness. Some ink always manages to creep on the surface of this nib.

A big black plastic feed with closely spaced fins ensures a good ink buffer and dearly promises wet and smooth starts. Even with a dipped nib section, it can write a page.

PHYSICS OF IT (6/6) – RELATIVELY SPEAKING


The pen has got some heft in it but it is very comfortable for me unposted. The overall capped length is around 14.1 cm. The total weight of M80X has more than a third contribution coming from the cap. The grip diameter is around 1.1 cm. The cap threads are higher up the section and are non-obtrusive even for a higher grip.
  • Uncapped Length ~ 13 cm
  • Posted Length ~ 16.4 cm
  • Nib Leverage ~ 2.3 cm
  • Overall Weight ~ 29 g (Cap ~ 11 g) 
Capped and uncapped comparisons with some pens like Visconti Homo Sapiens Maxi, Pilot Custom 823 & a MB146 go below for your reference along with another family pic.



ECONOMIC VALUE (5/6)


The M805 retails now at around GBP 290, though it might be available at lower street prices. I do not feel this pen was an impulse buy for me, since I had carefully decided before getting to a M800/1000 level. I would not undervalue this rating by much, because I feel it’s one of the phenomenally efficient pens in this segment. It could be your daily workhorse or your part-time poet, does not matter!

OVERALL (5.6/6)


These 18k nibs have a smooth and wet flow. The nibs have a decent spring with an inherent softness in them although without any noticeable flex. Being extremely wet writers out of the box, the Fine nib puts a relatively thick line, which takes around 20 seconds! to dry a (Hail!) Iro Tsuki-Yo line on MD Paper. The pen feels extremely well balanced for my hands. (However, for Pelikan 4001 blue ink, it takes 30 seconds). These nibs do run a size wider than Japanese. Compared to this the M1000 tines will be much easier to flex, however I find the M1000 a bit unwieldy for my hands. 

Thank you for going through the review. 
You can find some more pen and paraphernalia reviews here.

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