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Pelikan M640 Polar Lights


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37 replies to this topic

#1 Joshua J.

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 06:35

This is only my second fountain pen, and the first was pulled out of the box a few seconds before it. Please keep in mind that these two pens make up the entirety of my fountain pen experience, which currently consists of about a week of intermittent use.


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Pelikan certainly know how to make good first impressions, this pen came packaged the way you would expect a baby prince in a royal crib to look. The pen wasn't cheap, so I guess it's appropriate. In my other hobbies things get shipped in newspaper and bubble wrap, regardless of value. I personally would have liked the bubble wrap treatment and an extra $10 in my pocket, but that would probably not go over so well with the target audience for this pen.

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The pen itself is stunning. Everything is beautifully polished, the shading on the body is seamless, and the decorations leave no discernible change in texture, which is pretty impressive. The M640 filled to the brim weighs 34.2 grams, it has a nice heft to it compared with the M200 (my other pen) at 14.6 grams. The metal body is one of the reasons I bought this pen and not a regular, run of the mill M600. That and the Rhodium plated, 18K gold nib. No, these things do not make any functional difference in the pen, but they do help justify the cost, and make you feel a little warm and fuzzy inside (until the inevitable happens, and the pen gets lost, stolen, or destroyed. At which point you will feel sick and vow never to buy anything expensive again).
Considering that I acquired the M640 Polar Lights for the same price as a regular M600, I figure it's a pretty good deal.

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Capped the M640 is 136mm long, 124mm un-capped, and the barrel is 14mm at its thickest point.
I do not post this pen. As mentioned elsewhere, the cap does not stick very well when posted, and scratches the nice finish if you try. This does not bother me, as I do not intend on using this pen anywhere other than at my desk, where it will (hopefully) remain for the rest of its useful life.

The filling mechanism works well. Just twist the back end of the pen in one direction, and it pushes air out through the nib. Twist it the other direction, with the nib in ink up to the air hole, and it fills.
If you want to fill it to the brim, taking in absolutely no air, you need to submerge the underside of the nib all the way to the body. As you might expect this can be a little messy. Filling normally will take in a little air, but doesn't immediately dribble ink down your pen.
Regardless of method, after filling, I usually find a little ink sitting where the cap seals on the barrel. If you remember to wipe it off it's not much of an issue, but it is something to watch out for.

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I've been using a blend of Noodlers Polar Green with as much Polar Black mixed in as I can manage. I love the behavior of the Polar Green, but want it a little darker.

The fine nib on this pen, as far as I can tell, is fantastic. It feels butter smooth on most types of paper, and it doesn't seem to matter what angle I hold the pen, it lays a solid line. It may be a little too wet for slow writing, but keeps up with quick scribbles very well. It starts writing without trouble 99.75% of the time, and barely ever skips. The most trouble I've had with this nib is when I find myself holding it almost sideways to the paper.
I can say with some confidence that the nib on my M640 is great, because I think I got a dud with the EF nib on my M200. Which is scratchy, writes better or worse depending on the angle, and skips a bit with quick motion. At least it gives very good contrast between a well tuned nib and a not so well tuned nib. Thankfully changing the nib is very easy on Pelikan pens.

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In conclusion...




























MACRO TIME!!!!!!

Everybody's favorite part of the day.



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It's incredibly hard to capture the texture of the green on the side of this pen, which seems to naturally be a little fuzzy. Most shots look like it's out of focus even when it's not.
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Judging by what I see here, it looks like the ends of the "Polar Lights" were dropped in hot, and the metal burned its final home into the finish. I doubt they would use a machine to drill out a spot for a single drop of platinum at the end of the line.

Either way, a fantastic piece of workmanship by Pelikan.

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#2 amble63

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 06:42

wow, that macro photography is pretty impressive.
Colour is its own reward - N. Finn

#3 HDoug

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 06:49

I've never liked the Polar Lights. Until now! I get it now...

Doug

#4 opus7600

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 13:56

Wow, what great pictures!

#5 pen2paper

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 14:16

We have alot of reviews here..
T h i s review will long be the hallmark for Polar Lights!
MaCrO!
I like this pen very much.. in northern MI we enjoy Northern Lights phenomena
The Grand Palais is the one Pel I would, if I could.

emoticon-animal-007.gif~Hi! fountain pen enthusiast here~


#6 mholve

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 14:21

Wow, that's a pretty pen. Great photography too!

#7 mrphyig

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 14:22

Hokey geez, Joshua. Welcome to FPN! This is a grand debut.

Thanks so much for the beautiful photography and the review---your attention to some of the details that more experienced users take for granted made the hobby feel new for me again.

I hope your pens bring you a lifetime of pleasure, oi.

- Mr. P

#8 bookmanjl

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 14:50

Very nice! :notworthy1: You mention you will keep your Polar Lights on the desk for the rest of its useful life. I am guessing it will still be there the next generation or two to enjoy! The only down side to my experience with this pen is the perception that the nib is a little small for the pen. Mine too wrote right out of the box and has been a delight. I, however, can't seem to leave my pens on the desk; such beauty has to be enjoyed out and about.

#9 irbyls

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 16:03

Oh my goodness! I think I just fainted dead away... ;)

Seriously, though, I loved the photography. The Polar Lights is my second-favorite from that Pelikan series. Great job!
-irbyls

#10 Tiuri van Rossum

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 16:17

Wow very detailed mico photography!

#11 humblescribbler

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 17:08

Wow! Nicely done.:notworthy1: I own one of these and am looking at it this moment with new respect. (Uunlike your stated intention, I carry mine with me lots o' places!) Currently has MB's Oyster Grey for my doodles seriously grey staff meeting notes.

Thanks, and welcome,

Michael

#12 pelman

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 17:18

Welcome, beautiful photography of a very lovely FP.

What is your weapon of choice for capturing these wonderful photographs?

Edited by pelman, 09 December 2010 - 17:18.


#13 theblackpen

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 17:59

I'm not a big fan of this pen but I am a big fan of your photos. Thanks for the review!

NO


#14 Joshua J.

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 18:33

Thanks for the comments everyone.

The camera is a Canon S3IS, a nice point and shoot from a few years ago. The Macro shots are taken with a 60X zoom lens on an adapter.
Remote shooting is absolutely essential, both for getting good indoor shots (long exposure) and macro shots (the camera moves too much if you touch it).

#15 breaker

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 18:44

very nice review and excellent pics!!!
Cogito ergo sum

#16 argonavis

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 21:58

I think you did great work. Text and Photography. I Have a Polar Lights (M nib, more up my alley),
and if/when you have dozens of other pens, I'm certain you'll still consider this one to be really
special.

Edited by argonavis, 09 December 2010 - 21:59.


#17 pelman

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 16:20

Thanks for the comments everyone.

The camera is a Canon S3IS, a nice point and shoot from a few years ago. The Macro shots are taken with a 60X zoom lens on an adapter.
Remote shooting is absolutely essential, both for getting good indoor shots (long exposure) and macro shots (the camera moves too much if you touch it).



Thanks for the tip. I have a G9 and I know I can't get this macro, but I can fiddle to see what is possible.

#18 Robert Alan

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 05:42

This is only my second fountain pen...


Good golly Miss Molly! What a terrific review! And you certainly chose a wonderful pen. I also own a Polar Lights and thoroughly enjoy it. I chose it for two main reasons. It's a beautiful Pelikan fountain pen and it represents the Aurora. Besides my fountain pen hobby, I also pursue the hobby of amateur radio. I have actually made contacts by reflecting my vhf signals off the Aurora, and I've made contacts with amateur radio operators in other states and across Canada using that mode of communication. I only have one other pen that relates to my radio hobby, and that is the OMAS Marconi (perfectly adjusted for me by Mr. John Mottishaw--a true gentleman). So, for me,a the Pelikan Polar Lights has a special significance.

Thank you so much for a truly amazing review!

BTW, if there are other Ham Radio FPN members, please drop me a line.

Regards, Robert
P.S. I just thought of something else related to fountain pens and the heavens. Iridium must come to Earth in the form of meteors or asteroids--shooting stars, if you will. If you own a pen that has a real iridium-tipped nib, you are writing with stardust.

Edited by Robert Alan, 16 December 2010 - 05:47.

No matter where you go, there you are.

#19 DRP

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 05:52

Thanks for the excellent review, and especially the fantastic photos!

#20 Sidestreaker

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 06:59

Those pictures blown me away, so close and so well captured! Brilliant! Of course, the review is great too. Any chance on writing samples? :)
My link

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