1) First Impressions 10/10
One of my first pens was a Pelikan M400 (the White Honey actually) and from the first time I held it in my hand, I was captivated by the size, look and feel of the pen. When I saw the M450 in a shop window one day, I knew I had to buy it. It was a M400, only better: more shiny, more weighty, more tortoise-y and so much more pricey. Nevertheless, it took my breath away and before I knew it, my bank account was significantly lower and I had walked out with this fabulous new pen.
It comes with the deluxe Pelikan packaging, which is understated but quite handy as it fits three pens inside.
2) Appearance & Design 9/10
My oh my oh my. This M450 is quite the looker. It has a green tortoise barrel and vermeil cap and end. I think the tortoise barrel is one of the most stunning finishes on any pen and is iconic of Pelikan. This piece is not a particularly quiet pen, it really does scream "Look at me," with good reason too! Each tortoise barrel is unique, the base colour varies between light to dark green with some dark brown veins mixed in. The barrel on the M450 is actually different to the M400 White Tortoise barrel which has a yellow base, the overall effect is that the M450 feels more "tortoise-y" to me due to the green.
L to R: White Honey (with its yellow based tortoise binde), M450 (green based), M400 Kaufhof Brown Tortoise
I have noticed though that the newer M450 and the older M450 have different coloured vermeil finishes. The newer one is lighter and more cream whereas the older M450 has a very 'gold' and darker tint to it. Both are nice. Since the barrel is semi-transparent, you can see the ink level in the pen. Over time, the barrel does show signs of wear especially where the cap meets the barrel and even more so if you post.
The top M450 was purchased early 2008 whereas the bottom one was purchased late 2005, note how the gold finish on the bottom one appears darker
The cap has a blank area where you can engrave your name on it - a nice touch that allows for easy personalisation.
3) Weight & Dimensions 9/10
The dimensions are: 126mm capped, 121mm uncapped and 148mm posted. It is not a big pen but due to the vermeil end, it is well balanced and a fair bit heavier than the standard M400. I don't post my pens but if you do, the M450 is a bit too top heavy.
4) Nib & Performance 7/10
The M450 comes standard with an 18kt two tone gold nib, I love the look of Pelikan nibs. My first M450 came with a fine nib that writes more like a wet medium. It is very smooth and solid, I have no real complaints about it except that the sizing is rather deceptive. My second M450 came with an EF nib that was also extremely broad and not as smooth, but still ok. There was some concern over the QC on the Pelikan EF nibs and I understand that for a while it was a bit of a lottery as to whether the EF nib would turn out good or not.
Standard 18kt Pelikan fine nib, Visconti Blue ink
Luckily, Pelikan nibs are the easiest to swap out and it is so easy to buy a customised one. I picked up an preground XXF full flex from Richard Binder that fits right into the pen. It allows for endless customisation choices. Richard's full flex nib is a delight to use, I wouldn't hesitate to pick up another one (oh hey...I did!).
Binder M250 XXF full flex nib, Dupont Purple ink. This nib offers fantastic line variation, flexes well and the hairlines are just that.
5) Filling System 9/10
The M450 uses the legendary Pelikan piston filling system. Much has been said about this filling system and it's never failed me. Excellent ink capacity and easy to use. Getting tough stains out of this pen is a bit difficult to do. I used some Noodlers in this pen and it stained one part of the barrel, I can't clean it out but I feel it only adds to the history of the pen.
6) Cost & Value 8/10
The retail price on this piece is in the US$600s so it's not a cheap piece. Fortunately, you can pick this piece up online for around $300 to mid $400s (again I will plug Richard Binder's site which has this piece in stock). The M450, to my knowledge, has been discontinued by Pelikan so it is becoming harder to find.
I love my Pelikans, especially the tortoise ones, and the M450 is one which finds itself in my rotation the most. For its size, I think the weight is perfect and it is always pleasant to look at, plus it writes well and holds a lot of ink.
How about some more photos?
Top to bottom: M400 Kaufhof Brown (waiting on my M415 still...), M450, M400 White Tortoise
Binder's XXF full flex nib, Aurora Blue
Thanks for reading my review, hope you enjoyed it! --Feiye
Previous reviews: Visconti Art Nouveau, Montegrappa Miya Argento, Nakaya Piccolo
Edited by feiye, 24 June 2009 - 06:31.