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When it comes to fountain pens for me, I usually prefer the piston filling mechanism over other filling systems. Pelikan’s piston filling pens are definitely good examples of how to design it right. From the lower end Classic lineup to the premium Souverän pens, the pistons always work reliably. In this review, I’m going to focus on one of the offerings in the Classic line, the Pelikan Classic M205 White-Silver.
Fountain Pen: Pelikan Classic M205 White-Silver
Nib: Stainless steel medium nib
Filling System: Piston
Production: Regular edition
1. Packaging (9/10):
The Pelikan M205 fountain pen is presented in the standard Pelikan gift box for the M200 series. The box can be simply pulled to open. Inside the box is a white Pelikan pen pouch that contains the pen. Personally I don’t think the pen sleeve provides much protection, if the users actually would like to use it as a pen pouch to carry around, but it is part of a nice and clean presentation. Overall the packaging is appropriate for its price range and can be certainly a good gift box.
2. Pen Design (8/10):
In general, for Pelikan fountain pens, having the model number ending with 5 means that the pen has silver coloured trims. This also applies to the M205 White-Silver. Personally I prefer silver coloured trims over the gold coloured ones. For this pen, it is a good choice that the silver coloured trims match well with the white barrel.
Pelikan’s M200 series pens have a fairly short and slim profile. This pen is shorter than most of the pens in my collection that are not pocket pens. For example, whether closed, posted or not posted, it is always approximately one centimetre shorter than the popular Pilot Metropolitan. This doesn’t mean that it’s not suitable for long writing sessions though. Once posted, it does have a pretty usable length for most people. Its light weight offers a good balance no matter whether the cap is posted or not. Also the cap posts by friction, and stays deeply and securely on the barrel.
The cap unscrews to open, which then shows the ink window on the barrel and the grip section. The ink window has a bit of a grey tint in it. For a piston fill pen, this is a very welcoming feature. The grip section is also in white colour, consistent with the rest of the barrel. The threads above the grip section are not very sharp and do not bother me when I’m holding the pen. However what actually bothers me is the sharp edge of the grip section. The grip section flares out and forms a sharp edge, which I find quite uncomfortable to hold onto, since I tend to grip the pen near the bottom of the section. This issue does not exist in the Souverän series, where the sharp edge is replaced by a flat band with metal plating. The pen features a stainless steel nib. The entire nib unit can be actually removed, so that users can install a different nib width onto the pen. Unlike some of Lamy’s fountain pens, which the nibs are completely interchangeable between different pen models, these nibs can only be installed onto the M200s, the M400s, and the M600s (by default the Souverän M400s and M600s come with solid gold nibs), but not many of the other models. The options are not unlimited but certainly are still helpful.
3. Filling System (10/10):
The piston filling mechanism is my favourite filling system. It is directly built into the pen and usually holds a bit more ink than the converter fill pen. Since it’s built into the pen, it is not expected to be removed or replaced as frequently as the converters. The mechanism should be easy to operate all the time and do not require any complex maintenance work. Pelikan’s piston filling mechanism handles these requirements wonderfully. Even on the lower end model such as this M205 White-Silver, the piston operates extremely smoothly. Combining with the large ink window, one can always fill the pen fully and not worry about the ink level.
4. Nib Performance (9/10):
This pen came with a stainless steel medium nib. The nib writes like a true medium line and writes on the wet side of the ink flow. Both seem to be the usual quality of Pelikan’s stainless steel nibs. What really surprised me is that unlike most of the conventional stainless steel nibs that are very rigid, this nib is not only springy, but also has a tiny bit of flex. It is by no means a flexible nib, but the line variation can be easily seen. The only issue that I have experienced is that the nib has hard starts on super smooth paper. Other than that, with the generous ink flow, the writing experience is outstanding.
5. Pen Cleaning and Maintenance (10/10):
Usually piston fill pens are not the easiest to clean, because the pens in general cannot be taken apart and they just have to be flushed repeatedly by turning the piston nob. This can take quite a considerable amount of time to get the pen fully cleaned. However the Pelikan Classic M205 White-Silver is fairly easy to be handled. First, since the piston operates very smoothly, flushing the ink out by turning the piston nob doesn’t take a lot of effort. Secondly, since the nib unit can be actually removed, the pen can then get cleaned more easily and thoroughly. The nib unit screws to come off, leaving the inside of the ink reservoir directly reachable. Any tiny ink residual left can then be flushed away.
With the removable nib unit, lubricating the piston also becomes an easy task. Therefore the piston operation can stay smooth and reliable for a long long time. Meanwhile for many other piston fill pens, the piston operation can get stiff after some use, but the users cannot lubricate the piston mechanism by themselves. It’s not a task to be performed frequently, but surely can avoid a lot of frustrations.
Pen Design: 8/10
Filling System: 10/10
Nib Performance: 9/10
Pen Cleaning and Maintenance: 10/10
The Pelikan Classic M205 White-Silver is my first Pelikan pen. Ever since I had this pen, Pelikan became my favourite fountain pen brand and the focus of my pen collection. I think that’s the best example to explain how much I enjoyed using my first Pelikan. The M205 model is fairly small, but with posting and balanced weight distribution, it can be a good full size pen for many users. On the other hand, being a lower end model of the Pelikan lineup, it certainly has a few design aspects that I do not like, for example, the sharp edge of the grip section.
Being a light coloured pen, any ink left on the pen can be easily seen. For example, ink can be left near the grip section after filling the pen in an ink bottle. This can be cleaned with water or a damp cloth, as long as conventional fountain inks are used.
Pelikan’s piston filling mechanism is dependable and easy to operate. The nib is one of the best stainless steel nibs that I have used. The excellent flow combining with a little bit of springiness offers a writing experience that even many higher priced pens cannot match. The removable nib unit not only gives the users the option to use different nib sizes on the same pen, but also provides an option to more thoroughly clean the pen or lubricate the piston mechanism. In my opinion, I think this is a perfect entry point to the world of Pelikan fountain pens. Many of Pelikan’s areas of strength, such as the nib performance and the piston mechanism are demonstrated here perfectly. Alternatively, if you are only looking for only just one good pen that’s reliable and can hold a decent amount of ink, this pen is also worth checking out.
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