Pen Review: Pelikan Classic M205 Amethyst

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Pelikan has a lineup of premium fountain pen inks called the Edelstein. Since 2012, a new colour gets introduced every year, called the Ink of the Year. Starting in 2015, Pelikan also releases a special edition fountain pen with the matching colour, in the Classic M200/205 line. The 2015 special edition colour is the Amethyst. This review is going to go over the details of the Pelikan Classic M205 Amethyst.

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Basic Information:
Fountain Pen: Pelikan Classic M205 Amethyst
Nib: Stainless steel fine nib
Filling System: Piston
Production: Special edition

1. Packaging (9/10):
The Pelikan Classic M205 Amethyst has a simple but adequate packaging, just like any other regular production Classic line fountain pens. There is actually a version with a special packaging, which includes both the pen and the Ink of the Year ink bottle. In comparison, this box seems much more plain and simple, but it’s still a great one.

2. Pen Design (9/10):

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The Pelikan Classic M205 Amethyst is a beautiful pen. The overall shape and structure of this pen is identical to the ones that I have reviewed in the past (M200 Black, M200 Café Crème, M200 Demonstrator & M205 White-Silver), but what makes it stand out is the beautiful frosted purple resin. It’s a demonstrator fountain pen, which shows the piston mechanism inside the barrel, the nib inside the cap, and the amount of ink left in the reservoir. But unlike some other clear demonstrators, such as the Lamy Vista or the Pelikan Classic M200 Demonstrator, or the one with the matte surface, the Platinum 3776 Century Nice Pur, the Pelikan Classic M205 Amethyst is polished outside, but frosted inside. I really enjoy this wonderful approach. Combining with the silver coloured trims, this pen is very attractive. I really wish that the same finish can be made available on the M805 model.
Other than the special finish, the Pelikan Classic M205 Amethyst shares the same design aspects as the other M200/M205 pens. The cap twists off, and posts deeply and securely onto the end of the barrel. The lightweight resin ensures that the weight balance is always excellent, no matter whether the cap is posted or not. The nib unit is interchangeable, so that this pen can be fitted with any M200/M205 stainless steel nib, or M400/M405 14K gold nib, which is one of my favourite features from the Pelikan Classic and Souverän lines of fountain pens.

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Being a lower level model from Pelikan, the M205 Amethyst is not perfect. The seam lines are visible on the grip section. And compared to the metallic cap top from the Souverän line, the plastic cap top looks a bit out of place, considering that the rest of the pen is constructed by either the translucent purple resin, or the silver coloured trims.
Despite the imperfections, I think the Pelikan Classic M205 Amethyst has a great design for its price.

3. Filling System (10/10):
Just like any other Pelikan Classic M200/M205 that I have reviewed, the piston filling mechanism installed here is flawless. It has a decent ink capacity. The piston operation is very smooth. And the whole translucent barrel serves as the perfect ink window. If you like a coloured demonstrator, there is not much else to ask for.

4. Nib Performance (9/10):

The stainless steel nibs from the Pelikan Classic line always have high performances. Personally, I think they are among the best in their category. This fine nib doesn’t have much special. It is rigid and it doesn’t offer any significant line variation, but it always writes without any disruptions. Right out of the box, hard start or skipping problems don’t exist on this nib. As a good option for a daily writer, its reliable performance is the key.

5. Pen Cleaning and Maintenance (10/10):
The Pelikan Classic M205 Amethyst doesn’t take much effort to clean. The piston operation is smooth and effective. The nib unit is removable for easy access to the ink reservoir. Furthermore, the piston seal is tightly fit, so that unlike what I have experienced with my Omas Ogiva Alba, no ink gets trapped behind the piston seal. Within its price range, there isn’t much else that can compete. The resin used to make the pen will of course see some normal micro-scratches during the daily use. But other than that, there isn’t much to worry about. The build quality of the pen is excellent.

Summary:

Packaging: 9/10
Pen Design: 9/10
Filling System: 10/10
Nib Performance: 9/10
Pen Cleaning and Maintenance: 10/10

Total: 47/50

The Pelikan Classic M205 Amethyst is Pelikan’s first special edition release that matches the corresponding Edelstein Ink of the Year, and it’s a great one. The M200/M205 model is on the small/medium side for a pen, but it is easy to handle and great for carry around. Other than a few seam lines that are not polished off, and a few decorations that are less fancy compared to the gold nib Souverän model, this pen has a lot of great features. The translucent and frosted purple cap and barrel look amazing, and the smooth piston filling mechanism only makes it even better. Being a special edition and for what it offers, I think it falls into the right price range. No matter if you choose the M205 Amethyst, or any other version from the Pelikan Classic lineup, it will be a great writer.

 

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Pen Review: Pelikan Classic M200 Café Crème

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Pelikan in the recent years have been releasing special editions in the Classic M200/M205 line, mostly related to the Pelikan Edelstein Ink of the Year, or as re-release of past special editions with slight tweaks. While having a special edition that matches with the ink of the year is a cool idea, reintroducing old special releases doesn’t sound that interesting to me. However, this isn’t always the way that Pelikan releases new pen finishes. The Pelikan M200 Café Crème is one good example that has a brand new colour scheme and is quite well received.

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Basic Information:

Fountain Pen: Pelikan Classic M200 Café Crème
Nib: Stainless steel medium nib
Filling System: Piston
Production: Speciel edition

1. Packaging (9/10):

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The Pelikan Classic M200 Café Crème uses the standard Pelikan packaging for the Classic line. There is nothing that is special for this model. It’s the same box that is used by my previously reviewed M200 Black, M200 Demonstrator, and M205 White-Silver. It’s a cardboard box that can be pulled open. Inside there is a white pen pouch that protects the pen. Considering the price of the pen, the packaging here is adequate. Pelikan’s gift box for the Classic line offers elegant designs, high quality accessories, and does not take a lot of spaces.

2. Pen Design (9/10):
This special edition Pelikan Classic M200 Café Crème shares the same pen construction as the other M200/M205s that I have reviewed before. The resin body makes the pen quite light. The length and width of the pen are both about average. It’s not a big pen, but still comfortable to hold in the hand. The weight balance is well executed no matter whether the pen cap is posted or not. These small to medium size M200/M205 fountain pens offer a good balance between usability and portability.

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The biggest highlight of this special edition is the colour scheme. What’s featured here is a cream coloured barrel, with a dark brown/chocolate coloured ink window. The grip section, piston knob, and cap are made from resin in the dark brown colour. This subtle yet still unique dark brown resin is quite a good choice, in my opinion. Along with the gold-plated trims, the pen represents the “Café Crème” theme well and has a warm feeling. The colours used here are not simple repetition from another version. Instead the whole colour scheme is more or less fresh, and easily distinguishable from the other ones in the lineup.

3. Filling System (10/10):
Pelikan’s piston filling system always works reliably. This pen’s piston mechanism is no exception. It’s smooth and efficient. The barrel holds a lot of ink and the large ink window helps the users check the ink level of the pen without any difficulty.

4. Nib Performance (9/10):

The gold-plated stainless steel medium nib on this pen writes well right out of the box. It doesn’t offer much line variation but still has a lot of springiness. The nib is very smooth but not over polished. I don’t find much issue with hard start or skipping. It’s the perfect candidate for daily writings.

5. Pen Cleaning and Maintenance (10/10):

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Just like any non-demonstrator version of the Pelikan M200/M205 fountain pens, this M200 Café Crème is easy to handle when it comes to cleaning and maintenance. The nib unit is removable, making it very convenient to access the ink reservoir for the detailed cleaning. The piston unit is smooth and powerful enough to clean ink out of the pen quickly.
The resin construction may make the user feel that the pen is light and fragile. But the material is actually quite durable. Other than the normal micro-scratches, I don’t find much extra wear and tear on the pen.

Summary:

Packaging: 9/10
Pen Design: 9/10
Filling System: 10/10
Nib Performance: 9/10
Pen Cleaning and Maintenance: 10/10

Total: 47/50

Among all of the special edition Pelikan Classic M200/M205s that I have, the M200 Café Crème is one of the my favourite. While most of the special editions are just different shades from the spectrum, with a single colour used for the whole pen, or just a different colour on the barrel with the rest of the pen unchanged, the Café Crème has a set of carefully selected colours and actually carries a theme. The choice of colours is up to the personal preference, but at least I really like the cream and dark brown coloured resin used here.
The Pelikan Classic M200/M205 is a good line of pens that offers excellent writing performance, high ink capacity, and relatively affordable prices. In my opinion, this M200 Café Crème is a perfect example to demonstrate what a Pelikan entry level piston filling pen should look like. With the tasteful colour scheme, it’s not just a great daily writer, but one of my favourite Pelikan fountain pens.

 

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Pen Review: Kaweco SKYLINE Sport Mint & Kaweco Sport Brown

The Kaweco SKYLINE Sport Mint and the Kaweco Sport Brown are currently for sale. (SOLD)

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I have previous reviewed the Kaweco AL Sport Stonewashed fountain pens, which are pocket sized writers with decent nib performance, excellent build quality and unique finish on the pen body. They are not my favourite pens, but serve me well when I need to carry some pens around and not worry much about protecting my pens from potential damages.
Since I enjoyed using that model, I decided to give the lower end models a try. Therefore, this review will be focusing on two pens from two similar lines, the Kaweco SKYLINE Sport Mint and the Kaweco Sport Brown.

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Basic Information:
Fountain Pens: Kaweco SKYLINE Sport Mint & Kaweco Sport Brown
Nibs: Stainless steel 1.1mm stub & stainless steel medium nib
Filling System: International standard cartridge/converter
Production: Regular edition/special edition

1. Packaging (6/10):

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These pens are among the cheapest pens that I own. For what they cost, I don’t really expect too much for the packaging.
Both pens came in a simple cardboard box. Opening the box, the pen is then wrapped in a small clear plastic bag. The cardboard paper is thin and light, which barely provides any significant protection from anything beyond scratches. What’s nice though is that the box has some basic but cool looking scroll patterns printed, in addition to the brand logo.
Overall, for the pen’s price, the packaging is nice looking and has a small footprint. But comparing to pens with similar prices, such as the Lamy Safari and the Pilot Metropolitan, I feel that the packaging here really does not do much protection.

2. Pen Design (6/10):
The Kaweco Sport line has gold plated nib, imprint and cap top medallion. In comparison, the trimmings on the SKYLINE model are silver coloured. Other than that, the design of the two models are identical.

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Just like the previously reviewed AL Sport Stonewashed fountain pens, the plastic versions are also quite short and light. The octagonal cap can keep the pen from rolling around when closed or posted. The lettering “KawecoSport” on the cap has a consistent font, which I think is a better design choice than the ones for the AL Sport/AL Sport Stonewashed pens.

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Unlike the AL Sport/AL Sport Stonewashed version, the nibs here are not installed by twisting the whole nib and feed unit into the pen. Instead they fit by just friction. Removing and installing the nibs are still fairly easy. However I find this approach less simple and elegant.

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Perhaps the biggest difference between the Sport and the AL Sport models is the body material. Instead of using aluminum, the Sport and the SKYLINE Sport lines use plastic. Since the pen is already quite small, I find the overall weight too light for my preference. With the cap posted, the length of the pen is good, but still too light. The plastic makes the pen feel cheap in the hand. Compared to the other pen in the similar price range, I find the Lamy Safari and the Pilot Metropolitan to be much more comfortable to hold.

3. Filling System (6/10):
The filling system for these pens is exactly the same as the one for the AL Sport version, which accepts international standard short cartridges. Some of the international standard converters fit as well, but they have to be very short, because otherwise the pen’s barrel won’t be about to accommodate them. I can understand the limitations of a pocket-sized fountain pen. And it’s great that at least it follows the international standard. But I still find it a bit inconvenient, since I prefer to use bottled inks and have a larger ink capacity on the pen.

4. Nib Performance (7/10):

The medium nib and the 1.1mm stub installed on these two pens write very similarly to the two that I have reviewed in the past, which are in these two nib grades as well. These stainless steel nibs write fairly smoothly and have no issue right out of the box. For most of the ink that I have tried, these nibs tend to write on the drier side. It’s not what I usually prefer, but for pocket pens, which could be used for taking quick notes, having a drier ink flow may be an advantage.

5. Pen Cleaning and Maintenance (9/10):
The Kaweco SKYLINE Sport Mint and the Kaweco Sport Brown are mostly made from plastic. They may feel a bit too light or even fragile in the hand, but the build quality is actually pretty good. I have carried these pens around and never had any issue with them. The plastic pen body will get scratches over time, but that’s common and pretty much the extend of the usual wear and tear anyway, as long as the user takes good care of the pen.
Cleaning the pen is very easy as well. Just flush the pen with water. The nib and feed can be pulled out, if extensive cleaning is required for any stubborn ink left behind.

Summary:

Packaging: 6/10
Pen Design: 6/10
Filling System: 6/10
Nib Performance: 7/10
Pen Cleaning and Maintenance: 9/10

Total: 34/50

The Kaweco SKYLINE Sport Mint and the Kaweco Sport Brown are quality plastic pocket-sized fountain pens that offer excellent build quality and reliable writing performance. There are limitations such as the restricted selection of converters based on the length, and the relatively cheap looking plastic barrel. However it’s difficult to find a better pocket size pen in this price range.
For anyone who is looking for a pocket fountain pen that is not so expensive, but very reliable, the Kaweco Sport and the Kaweco SKYLINE Sport line have some great options to choose. But if the budget allows, I would recommend to take a look at the AL Sport line. It is more expensive and has the same nib, but the material and weight may make the pen feel much more refined and balanced in the hand.

 

The Kaweco SKYLINE Sport Mint and the Kaweco Sport Brown are currently for sale. (SOLD)

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Pen Review: Lamy Al-star CopperOrange

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For anyone new to fountain pens, one commonly discussed topic is what a good beginner fountain pen is. Several pens are frequently mentioned: Lamy Safari, Pilot Metropolitan, Pilot Prera, etc. In this review, I’m going to go over the details of another popular beginner fountain pen, the Lamy Al-star CopperOrange.

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Basic Information:

Fountain Pen: Lamy Al-star CopperOrange
Nib: Stainless steel medium nib
Filling System: Lamy proprietary cartridge/converter
Production: Special edition

1. Packaging (8/10):

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Lamy’s design language is form follows function. And simplicity is the key design element. This is also reflected on Lamy’s packaging design, which is minimal material and space consumption, but still with sufficient protection and interesting features. The pen box is not much bigger than the pen itself, and its is made from lightweight but sturdy hard cardboard paper. On the box, there are multiple cutouts, so that the pen’s colour can be shown without checking the label on the box or even opening it.
Inside the box is just the pen itself. A piece of paper is inserted in the clip. The paper is wide enough, such that with it installed onto the clip, the pen won’t rotate around inside the box. A Lamy cartridge is sitting in the pen barrel. A cardboard ring is placed onto the pen, in front of the barrel piece, so that the cartridge inside won’t be accidentally punched in.
Other than these small accessories used to keep the pen intact, there is no piece in the packaging that doesn’t serve a functional value. The packaging takes minimal space and everything can be recycled. What you paid for is more on the pen rather than a fancy packaging. Lamy Al-star’s special editions use the same packaging as the regular lineup. Personally, I think this is a good decision from Lamy, considering the price of the pen, which is still around the entry level pricing.

2. Pen Design (10/10):
The Lamy Al-star line has a classic design. And there isn’t much that I dislike. The overall length of the pen is decent, which is similar to several other popular pen models, such as the Pelikan Souverän M800/M805, Montblanc Meisterstück Classique, Pilot Vanishing Point, and Lamy’s flagship line, the Lamy 2000.
If you know the Lamy Al-star fountain pen, chances are you may have heard of the Lamy Safari line as well. The shape of the two models are very similar, except that the Al-star has a wider cap and barrel, plus that the grip section is translucent. The Al-star has more of an aluminum construction, which feels great in the hand. The pen is lightweight. The cap can be posted securely onto the end of the barrel. Doing so doesn’t make the pen too back-heavy, but personally I find it too long when posted.
The Lamy Al-star, along with the Lamy Safari, are famous for their triangular grip section design. When I use the pen, I find myself holding the pen exactly like what the triangular section wants me to hold. However, anyone who is interested in this pen should try one in person first, since it may not fit everyone’s preference.

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On the barrel, there are two cutouts that serve as the ink window. This is a welcoming feature, as I don’t find it available on many cartridge/converter filling fountain pens.

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The Lamy Al-star CopperOrange uses the stainless steel Lamy nib that can be found in many other Lamy pen models. The only marking on the nib are the Lamy name and “M” designation for the medium nib. One feature that I like about this pen is that the nib can be easily pulled out, so that a different nib can be installed, if the user wants to replace a broken nib or simply prefers a different nib size. The spare nib can be quite easily sourced.

3. Filling System (8/10):
Considering that I in general prefer the piston filling mechanism, this is a high score for a proprietary cartridge/converter filling system.
The Lamy Al-star CopperOrange accepts the proprietary Lamy ink cartridges. It also can have the Lamy Z24 converter installed. Unlike the Z26 converter that is equipped on the Lamy Studio, the Z24 converter has two “fins” that can be inserted into the slots available on the Lamy Al-star, so that the converter can stay very securely on the pen.
The converter holds a fair amount of ink for its size, and combining with the two ink windows on the barrel, I think this filling mechanism works well and the design around it is well thought of.

4. Nib Performance (7/10):

This pen has a stainless medium nib, which is the same as the perviously reviewed Lamy Studio Wild Rubin. There isn’t any issue with skipping or hard starts, and the nib writes well enough right out of the box. However, there aren’t much special characteristics about this nib. It’s not the smoothest. It doesn’t have the best ink flow. But it writes well enough, with a drier ink flow, and the performance is reliable and consistent. Perhaps that makes it a good daily writer.

5. Pen Cleaning and Maintenance (10/10):
The Lamy Al-star CopperOrange is easy to clean. The cartridge converter flushes the ink out of the pen considerably efficiently. I haven’t found any issue with cleaning this pen so far. The metal construction also makes the pen fairly durable. The coloured surface may get scratches over time, but the body itself is very durable. In addition, the self-serviceable nib is a welcoming feature.

Summary:

Packaging: 8/10
Pen Design: 10/10
Filling System: 8/10
Nib Performance: 7/10
Pen Cleaning and Maintenance: 10/10

Total: 43/50

The Lamy Al-star CopperOrange special edition is one of my favourite offerings from Lamy. The colour of the pen is so perfect that I wish more pens are made in this shade of orange.
In my opinion, the best feature of this Lamy Al-star CopperOrange is its beautiful orange colour. This is one of my favourite colour and I couldn’t really say no to it, when I first saw the pen. This shade is not too bright, and has a very warm feel. I really wish more pens can be made with this beautiful shade.
The Lamy Al-star line is a slight step-up from the Safari line, which the pen body is made from plastic instead of aluminum. The metal construction makes the Al-star look more refined. Being lightweight, its length is still very decent and even if it can be a bit back-heavy, posting the cap still makes the pen very usable.
Lamy uses proprietary cartridge converter filling system. However the design here works really well. The converter stays securely on the pen, and maintaining the pen is really easy. Even the nib can be quickly replaced.
The pen uses the standard Lamy stainless steel nib. Personally I feel it lacks character but the performance is consistently well. The ink flow is on the drier side, which many users may find it ideal as a daily writer.
Overall, I like this pen. What I may try is to replace the stainless steel nib with a gold nib, just to see if the writing performance can be better. If so, it will be one of my favourite writers.

 

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2016 Favourites – Part 2

Now it’s time to talk about my favourite fountain pen inks. Here are my top 5 inks of 2016:

  1. Montblanc Lavender Purple
  2. Diamine Asa Blue
  3. Pelikan Edelstein Mandarin
  4. Montblanc Toffee Brown
  5. Montblanc Irish Green

All of these inks can be often seen in my pens. They have good balances between saturation and shading. They all perform well in any of my pens and do not cause any ink flow or cleaning issue.

My most favourite ink releases in 2016:

  • Lamy Dark Lilac
  • Montblanc Lucky Orange
  • Montblanc William Shakespeare Velvet Red

My least favourite ink releases in 2016:

  • Montblanc Miles Davis Jazz Blue
  • J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary Caroube de Chypre
  • Pelikan Edelstein Aquamarine

Just like the Lamy Safari Dark Lilac fountain pen, the colour matching ink is also quite popular. Personally I really enjoy using this ink, because the ink flow and colour saturation is nearly perfect. This would have made it to my top 5 inks. However my policy is that only regular edition inks can be included in that list.

Montblanc makes a lot of special edition inks, and 2016 was no exception. The Lucky Orange and the William Shakespeare Velvet Red are both beautiful colours. Also they are very different from Montblanc’s regular edition line of colours.

Unfortunately, not all Montblanc inks are as interesting as those two. Among the new releases, I think Montblanc Miles Davis Jazz Blue is the most disappointing one. It is an uninspiring light blue that does not help enhance the writing experience. The J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary Caroube de Chypre is on this list for the same reason as well. Compared to the Emerald of Chivor from 2015, this new one is not exciting at all, other than being a new colour in the lineup. The Pelikan Edelstein Aquamarine is actually quite a popular ink from the last year and it performs well. But unfortunately it’s a colour that I find no use for.

My wishes for 2017:

At this moment, I’m pretty content with my collection of pens and inks. What I own already can cover all that I need. However, that doesn’t mean I won’t add any new items to the collection.

First of all, special editions are always hard to pass. As usual, I plan to add the upcoming Lamy Safari special edition fountain pen to my collection, and I have already acquired the new special edition Lamy Al-star Pacific. I will most likely add the matching colour inks as well. Another set of items that I always collect is the Pelikan Edelstein ink of the year, and the colour matching fountain pen. If Pelikan has the same plan for 2017, I don’t see why I would pass the opportunity.

Other than those more or less routine special editions, there are the occasional “surprise” special or limited edition releases. One good example is the Pelikan Souverän series fountain pens. If a brand new special edition M800/M805 gets introduced, I usually won’t miss it, as long as the price tag is reasonable. I may have to think more carefully if the new release is on a smaller sized pen model, but I tend to collect those pens regardless, considering that there are usually not too many of them every year.

Last but not least, I think there will always be areas of improvement for my collection. In 2016, I finally got a chance to look at the Aurora Optima more carefully and it quickly became one of my favourite pen models. Maybe this year I will find another pen model that is new to me, and can knock some pens out of the top 10 list! There are even models that I have heard of for a long long time, but still haven’t had a chance to actually try out. Maybe 2017 will be a year for these adventures.

So here they are, my favourite pens and inks of 2016, and my personal opinions about some of the new releases from last year. What are your favourites?

2016 Favourites – Part 1

Here it goes for another year. I had a wonderful year of 2016, when it comes to building a better collection of fountain pens and fountain pen inks.

In general, my preference for any pen or ink did not change much. Compared to 2015, I did not aggressively expand my collection by trying a variety of models from different brands. Instead, I was mainly focusing on adding the ones that mostly meet what I prefer already, and exploring whether the other new features are worth the investment.

2016 was also an amazing year for me to get more experiences from the pen shows. The Toronto pen show was as great as usual. But last summer, the DC Supershow was a brand new experience, and a really good one. Being one of the largest pen shows in the world, the DC Supershow opened the door to a whole new world for me. The scale of the pen show and the huge varieties of pens and inks really were outstanding. I had a great time there meeting people across the globe that share the same hobby. Pen shows give the unique environment that all the pen lovers can come together to talk about what the current trend is, express their opinions on certain pens or inks, and have the chance to try out a few pens from other people’s collections.

My top 10 fountain pens for 2016:

  1. Montblanc Meisterstück Solitaire Tribute to the Mont Blanc Classique (18K, F)
  2. Montblanc Bohème Blanche (18K, F)
  3. Pelikan Souverän M805 Vibrant Blue (18K, F)
  4. Pelikan Souverän M1000 Black-Green (18K, F)
  5. Graf von Faber-Castell Intuition Platino Grenadilla (18K, F)
  6. Montblanc Meisterstück 149 (18K, M)
  7. Omas Ogiva Alba Violet (14K, F extra flessibile)
  8. Aurora Optima Mare (18K, M)
  9. Pelikan Souverän M400 Tortoiseshell-White (14K, F)
  10. Lamy 2000 Stainless Steel (14K, M)

From this list, you may be able to tell the certain characteristics of a pen that I enjoy. In general, I love piston filling fountain pens that have springy nibs. In addition, while it’s not absolutely necessary, I do appreciate it when the pen has a decent weight and size. Therefore you can see that these pens have most of the preferences matched. These are the pens that I pick up the most often. I find them not only outstanding when it comes to the writing performance, but also very appealing to the eyes. In most cases, they are quite easy to be cleaned and maintained as well.

Compared to the list from 2015, you may find that most of the pens from that list no longer show up here. It’s not that my preferences had changed significantly; it’s because during the last year, I acquired new pens that are often similar models, compared to what I had already owned, but quite improved in many areas.

The best example is the number one on the list, the Montblanc Meisterstück Solitaire Tribute to the Mont Blanc Classique. The resin version Classique Platinum Line was on the previous list, but this new one is better in almost all aspects. Perhaps the only thing I don’t like about this pen is that it accepts standard international ink cartridges only. But everything else is perfect. The 18K gold fine nib writes super smoothly without lacquered finish and the detailed engravings on the grip section make it a really beautiful pen. The extra weight from the metal construction lets the pen sit extremely comfortably in the hand.

The second place goes to the Montblanc Bohème Blanche. I love this pen pretty much for the same reason as the last one. The smooth and springy 18K gold fine nib, the beautiful white lacquered barrel and cap, and the decent weight all make this pen so wonderful. What’s also interesting is its retractable nib design. It’s not just simply a fountain pen, but also a piece of art.

The Pelikan Souverän M805 fountain pen gets the third place. For any particular pen model, I only allow one entry into the top 10. While I love all my Pelikan Souverän M800/M805 pens, the M805 Vibrant Blue is the favourite for this year. It’s hard to make a pen that will have an even prettier material. The balance between the transparency and the vibrancy is perfect.

Honourable Mentions:

These pens did not reach the top 10 of 2016. However, all of them are frequently included in my pen rotation, and each pen has very unique writing characteristics that I love.

My most favourite fountain pen releases in 2016:

  • Pelikan Souverän M805 Vibrant Blue
  • Pelikan Souverän M800 Grand Place
  • Lamy Safari Dark Lilac

My least favourite fountain pen releases in 2016:

  • Pelikan M120N Green-Black
  • Lamy Al-star Charged Green
  • Pelikan Classic M205 Blue-Marbled

This is going to be a very subjective topic, but the pens above are the ones that I consider as the best or the worst releases of 2016.

The Lamy Safari finally has a special edition in purple. The matte finish makes it even more attractive. I personally think the matte finish makes the Lamy Safari look much more refined and well made.

Both the Pelikan Souverän M805 Vibrant Blue and the M800 Grand Place were released earlier in 2016, with the Grand Place being only available in certain regions. I knew that I had to add them to my collection as soon as they were announced. Both pens do not carry the iconic design of the barrel with stripes. However, the special edition materials are very attractive. Being translucent means that I don’t have to guess how much ink is left in these piston fillers.

On the other hand, there are new release that I personally don’t enjoy too much. Interestingly, these pens also come from the same manufacturers, Lamy and Pelikan. Last year, the special edition for the Lamy Al-star was the Charged Green. It’s certainly a colour that is not commonly seen on pens and is quite special. However in my opinion it’s not an attractive colour. But perhaps for me the most disappointing releases are the Pelikan M120 Green-Black and the Pelikan Classic M205 Blue-Marbled.

The Pelikan Classic M205 Blue-Marbled is a new regular edition introduced last year. In 2016, Pelikan also released two other M205 pens, the Demonstrator Transparent Blue and the Aquamarine. Since there are already two special edition releases, I feel that having this many M205s releases within such a short period of time is a bit strange. And considering this one is only a regular edition pen and is available at any time, it does not offer enough features or specialities to make it more attractive than the other two. The pen itself is quite beautiful and I do like it. It’s only that I think the timing of the release is not right.

In addition to the M205 releases, Pelikan also introduced a special edition M120N Green-Black, which is almost the same size as the M200/M205 model. This pen has more of a vintage look and carries a nib with unique engravings. However, it looks and feels just like a M200 fountain pen, but with a price tag that is significantly higher. I think this pen shouldn’t be put with such a high price, even if it’s a special edition that is likely more attractive to the collectors than to the average users.

What are your favourite fountain pens for the year 2016? In the next post, I will share my favourite inks of the year and what I hope to get this year.

 

Pen Review: Pelikan Classic M200 Demonstrator

For the list of pens currently for sale, please visit here.

 

Pelikan often makes special editions for several pen models it owns. The Classic M200 and M205 models are among the ones that frequently receive new special editions. I have already reviewed one regular edition pen in this range, the Pelikan Classic M205 White-Silver. The pen is an excellent mid-sized writer that holds a lot of ink and carries a wonderful stainless steel nib. This review is going to cover a special edition of the M200 lineup, the Pelikan Classic M200 Demonstrator.

Basic Information:
Fountain Pen: Pelikan Classic M200 Demonstrator
Nib: Stainless steel medium nib
Filling System: Piston
Production: Special edition

1. Packaging (9/10):
The Pelikan Classic M200 Demonstrator does not come with any special edition packaging. The box and pen pouch are exactly the same as the ones provided to the regular edition pens. Personally I like the packaging and I think it’s well designed for the pen’s price range. I don’t really have any complaint about it having the same packaging design.

2. Pen Design (8/10):

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The M200 model shares identical dimensions with the M205 model. The main difference is the colour of the nib and trims. Just like the other M200 fountain pens, this pen equips a gold plated stainless steel nib and gold plated trim rings on the cap and the piston knob.
Being a demonstrator fountain pen, this special edition released back in 2012 doesn’t need any ink window on the barrel, because the entire pen body is transparent. The cap is also transparent. Therefore everything can be easily seen. Overall it is very cool to look at. However, many others may think the demonstrator pen doesn’t look as expensive as the other regular M200/M205 models, since all of the internal parts are visible and anything that’s stuck inside can also make the look less favourable.

3. Filling System (10/10):

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Just like the M205 White-Silver, this pen utilizes exactly the same piston filling system, which is my favourite filling mechanism.

4. Nib Performance (9/10):

Also similar to the Pelikan Classic M205 White-Silver, this pen carries a stainless steel medium nib. The only difference is that since this is a M200 model, the nib is gold plated. The performance of the nib is identical to the one I have reviewed already. It is one of the best quality stainless steel nib that I have used.

5. Pen Cleaning and Maintenance (8/10):

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Since the nib unit is removable and the piston filling mechanism operates extremely smoothly, flushing the ink is fairly easy. However, since it is a demonstrator pen, any ink trapped inside will give the pen a difficult time to keep its crystal clear look. Usually ink tends to get trapped inside, near the grip section. Also the ink may be stuck behind the piston seal. In addition, the inks that tend to stain pen materials may discolour the barrel. Any of these issues may make the pen look not as attractive. The users may have to be extra careful choosing the ink to be filled and clean the pen more frequently.

Summary:
Packaging: 9/10
Pen Design: 8/10
Filling System: 10/10
Nib Performance: 9/10
Pen Cleaning and Maintenance: 8/10

Total: 44/50

The Pelikan Classic M200 Demonstrator is a well made mid-sized piston filling fountain pen. Being an entry level special edition demonstrator, it requires extra care to avoid ink staining the transparent material. If you do not mind the extra effort and enjoy using a demonstrator fountain pen, this pen has a lot to promise. It offers a high quality stainless steel nib. Combined with the large ink capacity, this is a very good daily carry pen.

 

For the list of pens currently for sale, please visit here.