I bought two new P381s last year, one from Singapore and the other from Malaysia, and paid about $50 each, plus postage to Pakistan for these pens. At that time my fixation was with Broad nibs only, and both were advertised to have B nibs. $50 for a Pelikan with a 14C gold nib seemed reasonable to me. The prices have since gome up. Both pens arrived a month apart in similar light grey out cardboard outer boxes and inner silver colored metal very light weight cases, which were thin and ovoid in shape rather than square. Taking out the pens they were what I had imagined they would be - thin, good finish, and solid feeling pens The only other thin pen I had was a MB Noblesse Oblige at that time in blue plastic and that felt cheaper in comaprison despite the famed MB logo on the cap top. Interestingly a very cheap Inoxcrom Oxford that I came by, by accident, felt the same as these Pelikans.
Peliakn produced these thin pens from 1992 to 1995. It tried to ride on the band wagon too late I guess. The earlier thin pens of the eighties (the Aurora Hastils, MB Slimlines and Noblesse series, and Parker 75 etc) were just about going out of fashion. So the series was not a success, and was teminated quickly. Also there were some issue with ink flow reported. All this I came to know after buying the pens, and later researching about them, while I was also improving my knowledge on pens and related matters in general, having recently joined the FPN.
Pelikan had made the following finishes for the New Classic series:
P370 - Steel, with GP nib.
P371 - Colored with GP nibs.
P380 - Steel with 14C nib.
P381 - Lacquered with 14C nib.
P390 - Silver pen with 18C nib.
P395 - Gold plated pen with 18C nib.
APPEARANCE AND DESIGN: (7/10).
My pens are the P381s Cigara Blau (Navy Blue) and Vintara Green. The pens as mentioned are thin, with gold accents, typical Pelikan shaped clip.
The section has horizontal lines on them for better grip, and that is a plus, as it is thin. Also the section tapers down and then flares a bit toward the bottom, not creating a step but widening a bit that is all. Having said that the design is noithing to write home about, utilitarian yes, for those who like thin pens, but not an outright and eye catching beauty. I would rate it as conservative, but with quality showing itself.
CONSTRUCTION AND QUALITY: (8.5/10)
The clip works well to hold the pen and is easily applied and taken off a shirt pocket. The barrel and cap are metal and give a sold feel to the pen. Both my pens are lacquered, with a good sheen, and quality of construction is obvious. Barrel screws on smoothly over the section and the cap snaps easily neither loose nor too tight, and holds the pen firmly without letting it wriggle inside the cap. The practical grip has already been alluded to. The cap posts well and securely with a click, as it does on capping the pen.
WEIGHT AND DIMENSION: (7.5/10)
Pen closed = 14.1 cm
Without cap = 13.0 cm
Cap = 5.9 cm
Posted = 16.1cm
Barrel = 1.0
Section = 9mm at base, tapers to 7.5mm, and then flares in the last few mm to 8mm
Cap = 1.1cm
I have no way of weighing the pen.
Despite the thinnes of design the pen rests comfortably in my big hands, but the grip section literally disappears in my fingers. It is long enough for me to use it unposted which is more than I can say for many a pen, and posted does become a bit top heavy, but that is no problem for me. I am a habitual poster (even with Cross Townsend and MB149) and importantly the pen did not become unbalanced when posted.
NIB AND PERFORMANCE: (7.5/10)
The nib in my pens are 14C 585 gold, monotone, with a Pelikan logo, and gold content marked. The nib is friction fit, and does not twist off like the Souverans. The size of the nibs is medium to small a bit smaller than MB144. Both are B and the green out of the box was smooth and worked fine. The one in blue pen had a baby bottom which had to be polished a bit to make it work. As mentioned above other material choices for nibs (steel and 18C gold) with price differences of course were available, as were choices in point sizes, but I have seen only M and B nibs. I have used these pens in my regular work days during which I have to write upon all sorts of paper in the hospital, from poor to good quality, and they worked well on all, giving me a consistent line. The B nib writes with a line which to my eye is thinner side of a B.
FILLLING SYSTEM AND MAINTENANCE: (8/10)
The filling system is international C / C. The pens came without any converter, and I hate to use cartridges. Luckily I had a few spare Pelikan converters lying about, and they fit beautifully and worked without a hitch. The converters are friction fit and easily removed to be cleaned.
COST AND VALUE: (8/10)
For the cost of nearly $65, including postage I got a Pelikan quality, thin metal lacquered pen with gold nib. I would rate that as fair. Neither too expensive nor too cheap.
CONCLUSION: (46.5/60 or 7.75/10)
All in all a fairl;y good pen, not a looker, but has some personality, and shows quality in appearance and performance For those who like thin pens I think they should give this pen a try.
Edited by jslallar, 26 November 2012 - 03:29.