Since I added the Pelikan Souverän M405 Black-Blue-Silver to my pen collection, I had been thinking about getting one more. Since I got a medium nib the last time (I purchased the pen with a medium nib, and later switched to an extra fine nib), I was planning to try a fine nib. Therefore, I settled with the Pelikan Souverän M400 Black-Green.
Fountain Pen: Pelikan Souverän M400 Black-Green
Nib: 14K gold fine nib
Filling System: Piston
Production: Regular edition
1. Packaging (9/10):
The Pelikan Souverän line regular edition pens share a common packaging. This pen is no exception. This packaging is a bit more refined than the one for the Classic line: the box opens by lifting the top instead of pulling sideways. The white Pelikan pouch has an elastic band to help with the closure. This mechanism looks a bit more thoughtful and makes the pouch more practical to use, since the ones that come from the Classic line only have thin ribbons to help tighten the pouch. In addition, on the elastic band, there is a Pelikan seal, which I think is a great decoration for the pouch. Overall, the box is just a bit larger than the Classic line packaging. The box may look a bit plain, but serves the purpose very well. Since the pen is a regular production model, I don’t have much to complain here.
2. Pen Design (8/10):
The Pelikan Souverän M400 Black-Green is the entry level model of the Souverän line, with a small-to-medium footprint (the M300/M320 line is an exception. It is smaller but more like a pocket sized pen. Also it is generally more expensive). But it has pretty much everything that one should expect from a Pelikan Souverän fountain pen. Just like the previously reviewed Pelikan Souverän M405 Black-Blue-Silver, the cap top is metallic, but this time in the gold colour. The rings on the piston knob, cap end, and the grip section are also gold plated.
The 14K gold nib installed here is two-tone. It doesn’t exactly match with the other entirely gold coloured trimmings. But I personally don’t like nibs that are completely in the gold colour anyway, so I’m happy with the design here.
Pelikan is famous for its green-striped design on the pen. The design is iconic and hasn’t changed much for decades. Even though green may not be my favourite colour choice for the stripes, it’s hard to deny that this implementation works well. The shade of green is not very vibrant, making the pen pretty appropriately looking for formal occasions.
In addition, if you are already familiar with Pelikan’s striped design for the pen barrel, you probably also know that the gaps between any two stripes serve as the ink window. This approach ensures that the appearance of the pen is still great, because it won’t have a large chunk of the barrel being transparent. Meanwhile, how much ink is left in this piston filler still can be seen easily.
3. Filling System (10/10):
The piston filling mechanism installed in the Pelikan Souverän M400 Black-Green is exactly the same as the one in the previously reviewed M405 Black-Blue-Silver. Pelikan’s piston filling system works flawlessly. The ink capacity is great and the striped design on the barrel serve as the ink window. The users can easily check if the ink level is running low.
4. Nib Performance (6/10):
I chose a fine nib to go with this pen, because I find the 14K gold Pelikan medium nib is too broad for my daily writings. While this nib certainly writes with a line width that I’m much happier with, I find that the nib has a strange and inconsistent ink flow. When the nib is only pressed lightly, ink barely flows onto the paper. However, with much more pressure, ink flows generously, and at the same time, this nib has a lot more flexibility than the medium nib I own. There isn’t any hard start or skipping issue, and the nib at least writes right out of the box. But the strange ink flow issue confuses me. Later when I had more Pelikan Souverän M400 pens with more fine nibs, I never see this problem again.
5. Pen Cleaning and Maintenance (10/10):
This pen is well made. The smooth piston operation and the easily removable nib unit guarantee that cleaning the pen will be a simple task.
The trims and finishes on the Pelikan Souverän line are more refined than the Classic line, and are always well finished. What you receive is a quality pen that is durable and reliable. There should be no issue with the pen as long as it is used and stored properly.
Pen Design: 8/10
Filling System: 7/10
Nib Performance: 6/10
Pen Cleaning and Maintenance: 10/10
My second pen of the Pelikan Souverän line offered an interesting writing experience. While the pen is very similar to the first one, the Pelikan Souverän M405 Black-Blue-Silver, the 14K gold fine nib here seems to be a strange one. It gives an unexpected amount of flexibility, but suffers from the inconsistent ink flow.
The green stripes is one of the most recognized design elements from Pelikan. Regardless of the size, the Black-Green finish is such a classic model. In my opinion, any serious Pelikan collector should have a Black-Green model in the collection.
Overall, I think this pen is a good addition to my Pelikan collection. Even though this nib’s performance is not something to be expected from Pelikan, since later on I acquired more M400 pens, I find that this seems to be only a fairly rare case. Therefore I still recommend anyone looking for a decent medium size piston filler to take a look at this pen. It’s one of the classic fountain pens that every fountain pen user should at least have some experiences with.