Background: I've been looking for a reliable, durable, practical and aesthetically pleasing fountain pen for quite some time. I've been juggling between several pens like the Lamy Safari, Esterbrook J + SJ, and Parker Challenger, but all of them lacked in some critical way which detracted from their appeal and forced me into using a Rainbow Titanium Nitride Fisher Space Pen (ballpoint) for the last 6 months. Not to disparage the Bullet Pen, which itself is the best ballpoint I've ever used.
So seeing as how my first semester of grad school just ended and Christmas was approaching, I decided to take the time to really sit down and scrutinize the market for the "perfect pen" - for under $150 shipped. It was a very tough decision as many models from many companies both modern and vintage can be had for that sum of money. Ultimately, the choice came down to the Lamy 2000, Pilot Vanishing Point, Bexley Simplicity and the Toledo Red Pelikan M205, and it was the latter which ultimately triumphed despite my biting concern over buying yet another twist cap pen.
First Impressions: Love at first sight. I had heard good things about Pelikan before, but I never figured that I would buy one as their conservative looks and price were offputting despite my adimiration for their reputation and history. However, browsing Richard Binder's site (no affiliation) I found my attention seized by this Red Bird. I wondered if such a strikingly RED pen would be too pretentious for a student to use but these concerns were swiftly cast aside when I considered the feeling of appreciation for the pen that I felt the instant my eyes gazed on it strapped tightly into its presentation box. A looker, yes, but this pen is more than that. I felt a wave of buyer satisfaction rise over me before my hands ever held the pen.
Appearance: Make no mistake; this pen is outstandingly red. For me, the color is what attracted me to the pen and I really do find, contrary to my concern, that the striking color which draws the eye to the pen is also pleasing enough to keep it fixed there. The classy and masculine silver trim is a great synergist with the red and the black-tinted ink window is both large enough to be functional and engineered to streamline with the aesthetics of the piece. Everything is shiny, there are no manufacturing imperfections in either the plastic or metal components which I've detected; basically the pen looks and feels well built and projects itself as the product of fine craftstmanship and careful construction. The pen itself is fairly traditional looking sans the color and the Pelikan clip I've heard so much about is like youre own little membership card to Club Pelikan. I dig.
Design: German engineering encapsulated. Everything about the pen is created with the intention of preserving its practicality while introducing sophistication. Knowing that the M205 is among Pelikans lower tiers, I find myself comforted knowing that the quality of pens from eras past has not yet been lost because there are still modern manufacturers who put their blood, sweat and tears into their product. One such manufacturer is most certainly Pelikan. Mad props, yo.
Nib: To meet my criteria, the pen had to be reliable, and because my luck with nibs and feeds has been less than stellar, I decided to allay my fears of getting a lemon and purchased the pen from Mr. Binder's website. I decided on a 0.6 mm stub nib in unplated steel to match the silver furnishings and really could not be much happier. Initially, I felt the pang of despair creep up my spine when the pen incessantly skipped on the downstroke, but after some thorough cleaning, the skipping has vanished and the pen writes like a dream! The line variation is apparant and adds an interesting character to my handrwriting - I really like it! Smooth writing, consistent ink flow and great line variation. I could not ask for more.
Filling System: Piston. Smooth. Large capacity. Mi favorito.
Cost/Value: I paid $63 for the pen's body. $60 for the stubbed unplated nib. $7 for shipping.
For $130 shipped, the pen was well within my price range though it was by no means inexpensive. We all know value is relative, but in my opinion this pen was totally worth it. Worth it not in the sense that I'm just giddy with having a great new toy, but in the sense which takes the prospect of longevity and pleasure of the writing experience into consideration.
Final Thoughts: The pen fits well in my hand and is an outstanding writer. Most certainly my favorite (although most pricey) pen in my collection. A useful work of art that I'm fully prepared to use every day until gravity, theft or forgetfulness take this beauty from me.
Having checked today (01/07/10) on Richard's site, the pen has apparantly been sold out. I am not the least surprised. This is one hell of a pen.
Quantitative Score: 9.2/10
Edited by superfreeka, 07 January 2010 - 22:14.