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Pelikan M415 brown tortoise


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#1 1000km

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Posted 19 June 2009 - 10:14

Introduction
The Pelikan brown tortoise is a truly iconic fountain pen. The venerable German manufacturer has played its part in maintaining the mystique by limiting availability all the way back to the 1930ís. Noting the absurd prices commanded for 1950ís 400-series brown tortoises and having had bad experiences with vintage Pelikans subjected to regular use, I jumped at the chance to own this new rendition of an all-time classic.

Appearance and finish
The brown tortoise is the epitome of classic fountain pen styling; appearance-wise itís hard to believe that it isnít a vintage pen after all. The cap, blind cap and grip section are deep brown and fashioned from acrylic, while the striped barrel section (Ďbindeí) is made from cellulose acetate. The gold-plated trim parts on the cap are perfectly finished and applied. Iíve found the plating on the modern Pelikans much more hard-wearing than the vintage models too (maybe itís thicker?). Unlike the regular M400s, this model does without the metal rings on the grip section and blind cap, giving it a cleaner look thatís closer to the vintage 400.

Pelikan_M415_1_comp.jpg

Design and size
The M4xx series pens are smallish (125mm/4.91 inches capped) and benefit from being posted (at 148mm/5.81 inches) in larger hands. Iíve found that modern Pelikans are happy to be posted, with no signs of scratching or undue tension on the cap. Itís light in the hand at just over 14 grams and well-balanced, comfortable even after several hours use. The cap screws-on in three quarters of a turn with a smooth and secure action.

Nib design and performance
The nib is modern Pelikan at its finest. Stiffish, with a hint of flex. It strikes a perfect balance between control and character. The ink flow is smooth, wet and unerring. Pelikans work well with less saturated inks, Diamine being my ink of choice. I favour a fine Pelikan nib, which is not terribly fine at about 0.7-0.8mm. This nib is retro-styled in single-tone 14-carat solid gold, which really adds to the vintage looks. Itís otherwise identical to the typical two-tone nib more usually found on the M400 series pens. While some have reported that the tip is slightly Ďplumperí than normal, it feels identical to other modern Pelikan nibs on paper. The nib unit is interchangeable, unscrewing easily from the barrel with a light twist. Vintage 140 and 400 nib units look great in the M415 and work well.

Pelikan_M415_2_comp.jpg

Filling system
Pelikanís legendary piston-filling mechanism is second to none. Itís easy to use, reliable and holds a whopping 1.8ml of ink. Thatís about double the capacity of a typical cartridge or converter.

Cost/value
I bought this pen from Singapore-based FPN regular Ďprinthardcopyí, who is a genuine Pelikan aficionado and a great person to deal with. While the M415 brown tortoise is more expensive than a regular M400, itís also a limited edition. Just how limited is anybodyís guess, but prices can be expected to appreciate as unscrupulous/resourceful dealers snap up all the stock and charge a premium.

Pelikan_M415_4_comp.jpg

Final thoughts
Pelikan makes fantastic fountain pens and the brown tortoise is arguably the most timeless classic of them all. If you want a tortoise without the vintage pen headaches then this canny reissue is surely the best way to get your hands on one. If on the other hand youíre not swayed by the styling, functionally identical pens (such as the regular M400) can be had for much less dosh. thumbup.gif

Specifications (courtesy of nibs.com)
Weight: 14.4 grams
Closed length: 125mm/4.91 inches
Posted length: 148mm/5.81 inches
Barrel length: 102mm/4 inches
Barrel width: 11.2mm/0.44 inches
Section diameter: 9.1mm/0.36 inches
Ink capacity: 1.8ml

Pelikan_M415_6_comp.jpg

Edited by 1000km, 19 June 2009 - 12:56.


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#2 feiye

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Posted 19 June 2009 - 10:20

Stunning photos and a lovely review. Congratulations on your new pen, you must be delighted with it. smile.gif
In rotation:
Pelikan M400 with Pilot Iroshizuku Momiji
Nakaya Kuro-tame Desk Pen with Platinum Blue
Visconti Van Gogh Maxi with Aurora Black

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#3 GeeTee

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Posted 19 June 2009 - 10:22

Lovely Pen and great phiotos. It makes me wonder why the tortoise is not part of the standard colours (next to green, blue and red). I would love to have a tortoise M600 or even an M1000 (i would buy that one in a second).

Edited by GeeTee, 19 June 2009 - 10:23.


#4 diplomat

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Posted 19 June 2009 - 10:36

A great "first" review!

A truly classic, I have the 400 Tortoise, a stunning looking pen. Too bad it is not available in Europe.

Best,

#5 jpr

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Posted 19 June 2009 - 10:44

Great review on the pen, 1000km. thumbup.gif And the picture of the Tank Francaise ain't bad as well. wink.gif
Ah, that fresh ink on paper look!

#6 gyrosan

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Posted 19 June 2009 - 10:48

Great pictures and a lovely review. Reissued vintage pens do have something different about them ... Thumbs up!


#7 Ondina

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Posted 19 June 2009 - 10:59

QUOTE (diplomat @ Jun 19 2009, 12:36 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
A great "first" review!

A truly classic, I have the 400 Tortoise, a stunning looking pen. Too bad it is not available in Europe.

Best,


I greed, a true classic. Not making it available in Europe is more than a questionable decision.

#8 Emma

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Posted 19 June 2009 - 12:15

Lovely review, lovely pen.
Might I also ask the brand of brown pencase in your pictures, which is also very nice?
Emma

#9 theblackpen

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Posted 19 June 2009 - 12:28

A very elegant review. Thank you!
I am sorry to hear that vintage Pelikans don't make good daily writers. I am curious if a brass piston transplant is possible in a 1932-1944 Pelikan 100. I'm guessing that the cork component is the weakness of these pens.
Mihai

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#10 RobertJRB

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Posted 19 June 2009 - 12:49

I really don't get why these are not for sale in europe..

Stunning pen, and great pictures. Really like the new nib design (one chick).
When I look at the pictures, its hard to tell the difference with my 1950's brown tortoise 400. Only the nib is more shiny smile.gif, the cap has 2 rings in stead off 1 and the logo at the top is not engraved. Nice to see it still is a great design.

I told myself not to buy one, but you started me doubting again. Thank you wink.gif


Pelikan nut

#11 mroghmans

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Posted 19 June 2009 - 13:42

Wonderful review. Very nicely done.

Mark

#12 ShadowWriter

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Posted 19 June 2009 - 15:39

Incredible review of the 415. Extraordinary! Purchased 1st Pelikan (months ago) and now understand devotion of Pelikan users. Hope questions below won't annoy anyone. Most Yes/No or at least brief to answer.

1. Re: Tortoise not in Eur. Reason not to order from US: add'l shipping costs or are there slight differences in specs that are unique to Europe? Naive question?

2. Not able to read all posts yet. Some sellers still call pen LE, some SE; is pen finally verified to be SE but not limited to certain production #; therefore, not LE? Is my particular one (401) merely SE and others are true limited production - LE?

3. My docs from seller states 400, box says 401 (as some others' here). Box from former 200 has 4 languages incl. English. Boxes from my original 405 Blue and recent 401 Tortoise all in German. Is all as it should be? Pelikan is only brand that I am following. This tortoise became challenge for a newbie.

My 401 is different from 400/415 Tortoises how? If no short answer to this, I will allocate part of my weekend to reading posts on Pelikan SE/LE, Googling and hoping future purchases aren't this complex.
wallbash.gif
Put my 401 under sunlight, incandescent, halogen, flashlight, fluorescent lights, compared to pure black tubes of paint... should I assume that "quality control" was having an off day and my body is *slightly* less black than deep black? Perplexed by references to very dark brown body. I don't care, I *love* pen as is but does anyone out there have darker body as I do?

(Shopping for camera so I can post images of anomalies of pens.) Would love to put another 400 w/black next to my Tortoise. I'm losing my credibility without proof. smile.gif

5. Only flex tip I own is on art pens so, I'll assume that Pelikan flex will always be a firm flexible, not just this one.

If anyone has a moment to answer any questions, I'd appreciate it. I can't imagine that I will ever need/desire any other information of my newest acquisition. Thank you!







#13 RobertJRB

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Posted 19 June 2009 - 19:59

QUOTE (ShadowWriter @ Jun 19 2009, 05:39 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Incredible review of the 415. Extraordinary! Purchased 1st Pelikan (months ago) and now understand devotion of Pelikan users. Hope questions below won't annoy anyone. Most Yes/No or at least brief to answer.

1. Re: Tortoise not in Eur. Reason not to order from US: add'l shipping costs or are there slight differences in specs that are unique to Europe? Naive question?

There are no other differences. The only reason I don't get why the are not for sale in europe, is that europe is the biggest market from pelikan (germany about 44% of the total) and there are a lot pelikan lovers who live here and would like to have it.
And, I always like to try a pen before buying it. But, for me there would be no problem buying one from the states and have it shipped to here.


2. Not able to read all posts yet. Some sellers still call pen LE, some SE; is pen finally verified to be SE but not limited to certain production #; therefore, not LE? Is my particular one (401) merely SE and others are true limited production - LE?

For me it is no limited edition. A real LE is numberd. This one is just made for a limited time, like the m800 demonstrator. So basiclly it can be called limited. But for pelikan at least its no LE.


3. My docs from seller states 400, box says 401 (as some others' here). Box from former 200 has 4 languages incl. English. Boxes from my original 405 Blue and recent 401 Tortoise all in German. Is all as it should be? Pelikan is only brand that I am following. This tortoise became challenge for a newbie.


No idea.

My 401 is different from 400/415 Tortoises how? If no short answer to this, I will allocate part of my weekend to reading posts on Pelikan SE/LE, Googling and hoping future purchases aren't this complex.
wallbash.gif
Put my 401 under sunlight, incandescent, halogen, flashlight, fluorescent lights, compared to pure black tubes of paint... should I assume that "quality control" was having an off day and my body is *slightly* less black than deep black? Perplexed by references to very dark brown body. I don't care, I *love* pen as is but does anyone out there have darker body as I do?

(Shopping for camera so I can post images of anomalies of pens.) Would love to put another 400 w/black next to my Tortoise. I'm losing my credibility without proof. smile.gif

5. Only flex tip I own is on art pens so, I'll assume that Pelikan flex will always be a firm flexible, not just this one.

It is. The old nib of my 400 (from the 1950's) has a lot more flex than the new ones.


If anyone has a moment to answer any questions, I'd appreciate it. I can't imagine that I will ever need/desire any other information of my newest acquisition. Thank you!


Pelikan nut

#14 bphollin

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Posted 19 June 2009 - 20:03

I don't care much for tortoise pens, but if I had to get a Pelikan with gold trim this would be the one. Your pictures are very easy to look at, 1000km. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and images. Enjoy your new bird!

#15 Pen2009

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 00:02

I am awaiting my 415 Brown Tortoise with a M nib. It should be shipped out today from a retailer and I am expecting to get it sometime next week. I decided to choose a M nib because I already have a 1000 and 215 with a F nib.
My collection: 149 EF/F/B/OBB, Collodi B/Twain F/Mann F, 146 M, Silver Barley F, M1000/M800 B'o'B/M800 Tortoise/Sahara/415 BT/215/205 Blue Demo, Optima Demo Red M/88 EF & Italic/Europa, Emotica, 2K/Safaris/Al-Stars/Vista, Edson DB/Carene BS, Pilot 845/823/742/743/Silvern/M90/Makies, Sailor Profit Realo M/KOP Makies/Profit Makies/Profit 21 Naginata MF&M/KOP/KOP Mosaiques/Sterling Silvers,Platinum #3776 Celluloids/Izumos/Wood pens/Sterling Silvers,YoL Grand Victorian, and more (I lost counting)

#16 alvarez57

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 01:19

Beutiful photos and beautiful pen! I'm glad they brought them back -I have a M250 and capped is very comfortable (may be too small for a male's hand).
And you're right about the Pelikan nibs, they are a bit stiff but they are smooth writers and last [almost] an eternity.
Enjoy your pen! wub.gif

Edited by alvarez57, 20 June 2009 - 01:19.

sonia alvarez

 

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#17 ShadowWriter

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 02:06

Thank you so much, RobertJRB, for the information. I really appreciate it. You mentioned trying before buying when you can? I'm in Florida in US and in my area we have a MontBlanc boutique. If you want any other brand pen, you are out of luck. We always have to order online or via telephone and hope for the best. So far, so good, but it would be nice to try first, I agree.

Your replies to my questions were very helpful. Thanks again!

ShadowWriter



#18 alvarez57

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 03:00

QUOTE (ShadowWriter @ Jun 19 2009, 09:06 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thank you so much, RobertJRB, for the information. I really appreciate it. You mentioned trying before buying when you can? I'm in Florida in US and in my area we have a MontBlanc boutique. If you want any other brand pen, you are out of luck. We always have to order online or via telephone and hope for the best. So far, so good, but it would be nice to try first, I agree.

Your replies to my questions were very helpful. Thanks again!

ShadowWriter



Check out in Swisher pens that sometimes sells at competitive or lower prices.

Edited by alvarez57, 20 June 2009 - 03:02.

sonia alvarez

 

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#19 ShadowWriter

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 03:49

QUOTE (alvarez57 @ Jun 19 2009, 11:00 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Check out in Swisher pens that sometimes sells at competitive or lower prices.
That's a great link to give me or anyone else. I've always thought highly of Swisher Pens and wonder why more people don't think of them for their purchases? Their shipping has been swift in the past. They are equally swift in communicating if an item is out of stock and provide options to you. Good link for all.

Thanks!!


#20 alvarez57

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 03:57

QUOTE (ShadowWriter @ Jun 19 2009, 10:49 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (alvarez57 @ Jun 19 2009, 11:00 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Check out in Swisher pens that sometimes sells at competitive or lower prices.
That's a great link to give me or anyone else. I've always thought highly of Swisher Pens and wonder why more people don't think of them for their purchases? Their shipping has been swift in the past. They are equally swift in communicating if an item is out of stock and provide options to you. Good link for all.

Thanks!!


You're welcome! thumbup.gif
Over the years I've bought countless pens from them: never been disappointed; as a matter of fact, my M250 I bought it from them at a clearance for it was dicontinued. I asked for an Oblique Medium.

Please excuse the "noise" in the picture.




Edited by alvarez57, 20 June 2009 - 03:59.

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