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Pelikan - What Am I Missing?

overpriced or ignorant

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64 replies to this topic

#1 Betweenthelines

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 02:42

So I finally made it to a nice art store that carries fountain pens in the city (that's SF for us central/northern Californianers) and was delighted to finally get to look at, touch, and test out several of my wish list pens before committing to purchase.  I tested out a Lamy 2000, which was very nice, though a bit light for my liking, as well as some others the clerk recommended that were on the "heftier" side.  While I was there I wanted to check out the Pelikans, specifically the m200's and the lower price tier models (sub $200).  And I gotta say - wow was I not impressed.

 

 I had suspected they may be overpriced from my research online, but after handling them - cheap feeling plastic, stainless steel nib, and close to $200?  When I remarked on this the clerk told me I was "paying for the name".  Now, I can't comment on vintage Pelikans or the higher tier ones, but honestly, my Pilot Metro feels higher quality than those I sampled today.  Not to mention you can get a Vanishing Point or Lamy 2000 for around the same price or less.   What am I missing? 

 

I did pick up a 1.1 stub for my Safari and I am loving it!


Edited by Betweenthelines, 30 March 2014 - 02:44.


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#2 Koyote

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 02:46

I owned an M600 for a little while and had the same reaction: meh. It wrote impeccably, but it didn't fit well in my hand and was generally unimpressive. I do agree that the Lamy 2000 and VP seem better-built. (If I could just get a L2000 that writes consistently!)

 

And yeah, that Lamy 1.1 nib is great - and cheap!



#3 Mister K

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 02:53

I like Pelikan pens. I collect Pelikan pens. I have more than I have fingers and toes (and I have a normal number of both) and I have to say that at the m200 level you are paying for the name. I'd buy a pelikano instead of an m200 or jump up to the 600 (and fork over another hundred bucks) and get a pen that better captures the essence of what a Pelikan is- striped cellulose nitrate body, fancy gold nib and whatnot. The only reason can think of to buy an m200 would be if you wanted to try out a customized nib, like an italic, from one of the nibmeisters. I'm actually writing with one right now, or I was until I decided to browse FPN, it has a 0.7 italic nib that is mounted on a 'Toledo' red body. It feels small and cheap compared to the 400nn I was using this afternoon.

#4 flyingfox

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 02:55

Aha, I am so glad there are others who feel the same way re. Pelikan pens as I do!  I have seen a bunch of them, and tried them at the pen shows, but didn't see anything all that special, compared to many others.  Since they seem to have quite a following, I really couldn't say that...  I totally thought I am missing something.  

 

I LOVE my Metropolitan and Lamy Safari as well!  For a stub, I love Pilot Prera and Pilot Plumix nib transplanted on Metropolitan body.



#5 Betweenthelines

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 03:01

I owned an M600 for a little while and had the same reaction: meh. It wrote impeccably, but it didn't fit well in my hand and was generally unimpressive. I do agree that the Lamy 2000 and VP seem better-built. (If I could just get a L2000 that writes consistently!)

 

And yeah, that Lamy 1.1 nib is great - and cheap!

 

 

Yes, they didn't fit well in my hand either.  The 1.1 Lamy nib has transformed my handwriting for the better.  So.  Rad.

 

I like Pelikan pens. I collect Pelikan pens. I have more than I have fingers and toes (and I have a normal number of both) and I have to say that at the m200 level you are paying for the name. I'd buy a pelikano instead of an m200 or jump up to the 600 (and fork over another hundred bucks) and get a pen that better captures the essence of what a Pelikan is- striped cellulose nitrate body, fancy gold nib and whatnot. The only reason can think of to buy an m200 would be if you wanted to try out a customized nib, like an italic, from one of the nibmeisters. I'm actually writing with one right now, or I was until I decided to browse FPN, it has a 0.7 italic nib that is mounted on a 'Toledo' red body. It feels small and cheap compared to the 400nn I was using this afternoon.

 

Yeah, that's what I figured, re: the higher priced Pelikans being more representative.  The higher tier pens look very nice, and I admittedly didn't get to try those out.

 

Aha, I am so glad there are others who feel the same way re. Pelikan pens as I do!  I have seen a bunch of them, and tried them at the pen shows, but didn't see anything all that special, compared to many others.  Since they seem to have quite a following, I really couldn't say that...  I totally thought I am missing something.  

 

I LOVE my Metropolitan and Lamy Safari as well!  For a stub, I love Pilot Prera and Pilot Plumix nib transplanted on Metropolitan body.

 

Amen.  And a big -thank you- for the recommendation on stubs for the Metro!



#6 sotto2

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 03:07

... I had suspected they may be overpriced from my research online, but after handling them - cheap feeling plastic, stainless steel nib, and close to $200?  When I remarked on this the clerk told me I was "paying for the name".  Now, I can't comment on vintage Pelikans or the higher tier ones, but honestly, my Pilot Metro feels higher quality than those I sampled today.  Not to mention you can get a Vanishing Point or Lamy 2000 for around the same price or less.   What am I missing? 

 

Believe me, you can pay a lot more than $200 for plenty of other "fancier" fountain pens with gold nibs and get a lot less than you get with the Pelikan M200.  :)

 

Personally, I think the Pelikan M215 is perhaps one of the very best deals in fountain pens today, considering everything (nib, function, compactness, durability, ergonomics, ink capacity, and maintenance). I recently bought a 2nd one. It fits me and my style of writing perfectly, and I'm sorry to see that they seem to be eliminating them.


Edited by sotto2, 30 March 2014 - 03:31.

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#7 xTwiinKy

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 03:13

I mean they are really light pens ... but light doesn't automatically mean flimsy. 

 

I do agree with you, I've never been a huge fan of them. 

I agree with Mister K ... the M400 model I had was a real pleasure to hold in my hand. The unscrewing of the cap, texture, attention to detail, build quality is really impressive. The nibs are gorgeous! 

Writing is pleasant... nice and soft and not overly smooth. 

 

They aren't perfect. QC, durability, price, 

 

Ultimately I sold mine because the Lamy 2K was the better pen to me. Better clip, durability (daily carry, school), slip cap mechanism (no accidental unscrewing!), as well as heft and taper for fitting in my hand. After getting it adjusted, it's my dream workhorse pen. 

 

$159 vs $348 ...          that's the reason I don't think to reconsider

 

(I've heard they used to be a much better value in the 80's ... but at their current prices they are not to be considered "affordable")


Edited by xTwiinKy, 30 March 2014 - 03:14.


#8 fpc

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 03:15

From the time I bought my M800 till now, the price has doubled. I would say Pelikan
has a bit of an ego problem. I have about twenty of them, but I will never buy another.
Too many others to choose from with comparable quality.

Don
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solitude with good company.

#9 mikehodgman

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 03:31

Thank you!  Man do I feel the same way.  I had an M215 and just did not enjoy it.  When I got to actually handle the other models and looked at the price tag, I just didn't get it.  To each his own though!  I know many people love them.



#10 kidde

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 04:18

I missed the price increase. I have one, a M-200 Tradition set w/a rollerball also. I paid under $100 shipped. Small, light? Yes. Smooth, comfortable, easy filling? Yes. I wouldn't have liked it as much for $200 (even as a set), but for what I received, new/never inked, I'm happy.

Paul

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#11 Moshe ben David

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 08:23

I have but two Pelikans.  The M800 and the M200.  As widely pointed out yes they feel very different in hand.  When I received the M200 (I had the M800 first) I sort of wondered what I'd done....

 

But then I started writing with the M200.  In truth, both write smooth as silk.  Both hold a very large volume of ink (relative to the barrel size of course -- the M800 obviously holds more).  Neither has ever failed to start up immediately even if having sat for a while.  

 

For me based on this very non-statistical sample, Pelikans seem to have the ability to write smooth, and be worry free.  Yes, I know there has been much discussion about nib problems with the F and XF nibs.  These are M nibs which probably account for some of their performance.  But I have to admit -- better than my Parkers also with M nibs!  


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#12 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 09:43

I have a slew of semi-vintage and vintage Pelikans and one new one.

 

First, you didn't write with the 200's nib...and or you lack experience to understand it.

 

There is steel nibs and then there are Pelikan 200's steel nibs. :notworthy1:

I trans mail pens and such for a pal in England.

 

Two of the six 200's nibs were on par with the joy to write with springy vintage regular flex 120's nib....a '50-60's pen.

I have three '90's Pelikans; a 400, and two Celebry's; one in gold the other in Pelikan steel both equal. :thumbup: They are a tad better than my 120's nib.

4 of the 200's nibs I trans-mailed matched them. A modern nib, matching the '90's semi-vintage Pelikan nibs.

All those nibs are 'true' springy regular flex nibs that spread the tines 3 X a light down stroke.

 

Even in the '50-60's there was a difference in quality between a 120, a school pen, the 140 the middle class one, and the top of the line 400....as is now between the 200 and the 400/600 and up pens.

Had you tried a 400 you might also be surprised.There is not all that much difference in feel...the price new is a bit too much for such a small improvement.

 

Inexpensive plastic...not cheap. I expect a 200 to last 70-100 or more years with no trouble, just like a 400...120 or 140.

 

Some times when you pay for a 'name' you get it. Pelikan is a very good name, has been since 1929. Just because some one sells pens don't mean he knows anything at all....or he'd been praising the 200's nib. Don't worry he'll be selling ties next week, with the same depth of knowledge.

 

 

I have a '38-40 100N, a bunch of '50's...'60's pens. 500, 400N, 400NN, a black and a green stripped 140...and there is a difference in the binde's quality between a 140 and a 400NN...a 120. '90's two C/C metal pens, Celebry's and a 400....and a modern cheap looking didn't sell well 605 (2005)....wrong color scheme.

Out side the last's new modern semi-nail nib....standard now...unfortunately; Pelikan has very good to great nibs.

 

Many respected posters do like the school pen Pelkiano's nib...I've not gotten around to them yet. Again....a good nib.

 

If you lay your hands on a modern used 400 or 600 with 'silver' trim....the first thing you do, is buy a 200's nib and put the better nib on it. Put the gold semi-nail in the back of the drawer.

A 200's nib, writes narrower than modern, leaves a cleaner line and has some natural spring to the true regular flex nib.

 

There is a difference between true regular flex....spreading it's tines 3 X a light down stroke.....well you do have to mash it a bit, and a "Springy" nib like on a Falcon or a MB....the tine tip bends OK, but tine spread is Only 2 X a light down stroke.

 

I'm probably going to buy a 200's nib for my 600...and return the :puddle: vintage 1955's 400N's semi-flex B to it's original pen.

 

I had at first thought my two Celebry pens, one in gold and one in steel were "hard semi-flex"....and my '90's 400 had been rated even with my 120, until I pressed the nib just a bit, and it too was "hard semi-flex"....no....they weren't!!!  They were true springy regular flex....and 4 of the 6 Pelikan 200 nibs matched that. :notworthy1:

 

I'd been sort of a snob...having gold nibbed 400's did not need a 200....fool :doh: ....a pure yellow 200 passed me by brand new and I'd not jumped on it.....the nib of the 200 is one of the best nibs now made. :thumbup:  I was ever so ignorant a few years a go...ain't a hell of a lot smarter now either. Until all those 200's nibs passed through my hand... :( steel.... :unsure: .... :roller1: Then with out warning...after all whom am I to listen to folks praising a 200's steel nib....when I had good gold nibbed 400's. :doh: :gaah: :wallbash:

:angry: A 200's steel nib is a a very fine nib. :blush:  I recommend them. B)

 

 

There is a good number of different binde models, you can find one that you like.

 

PS don't waste your money on any one's modern Oblique....buy only '60's and before semi-flex and 'flexi'/maxi-semi-flex....I've said that 1000 times....but some folks learn the hard way...in the pen's got to be new...

IMO even a 200's Oblique wouldn't quite do the trick.

 

I suggest buying a used post '97 M400 and putting it's semi-nail nib in the back of the drawer and forgetting it and using a 200's nib....something 'real'....if you want more than just pure butter smooth.

That is the next thing to get away from....boring as custard...butter smooth nails and semi-nails.

 

I really feel since 1998 Pelikan has gone down hill with it's nibs...outside the 200.....The 1000 has a springy...the one I tested seemed 'semi-flex' nib...but again it is 18 K, for a light hand only...in 18 K bends and stays bent.

A 800 is a nail, the 400/600 semi-nail.

At least they still make a real nib, the 200/215.


Edited by Bo Bo Olson, 30 March 2014 - 09:47.

German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany & https://www.peter-bo...cts/nib-systems,

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

 

 


#13 ArtsNibs

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 09:53

That's quite a post BoBo ! :) I agree these Pelikans will last a lifetime if taken care of.

I really really like my M205 demonstrator, it's worth every penny I paid for it. It currently sports a W. Germany m250 that was ground into a heavenly crisp-italic by Mr. P. Brown.
@arts_nibs

#14 carlos.q

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 11:54

I guess it's all a matter of your personal preferences. There was a time where I too liked heavier pens, but no more. Now I usually use an unposted Pelikan M200 (or a vintage 400NN) for rapid note taking or long writing sessions.

Thus if you find the Lamy 2000 "light" at 21.4g you will also find other well liked pens equally light, like the Parker 51 at 19.3g, the Esterbrook J at 15.6g and the venerable Waterman 52 at 13.4g.

In the end you buy the pen you like and you can write comfortably with.



#15 Z-Tab

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 12:07

I've only tried the M800 and M1000, but both of those pens are very substantial. I do know the experience of being surprised by a pen's feel, I just got a Sailor 1911 Large and it just doesn't feel anywhere near the quality of the MB 146 or Pelikan M800.



#16 sotto2

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 12:43

Heh heh. I love this discussion. I cut my nib grinding/smoothing/polishing teeth on my first Pelikan M215 with a steel F nib. It needed a gentle tweaking, and now it's flexi AND buttery. Anyone wants to get rid of a 215 or 215 nib/section, my email is cheapbutnotstupid@@yaahoo.ogre:D


Edited by sotto2, 30 March 2014 - 12:54.

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#17 sotto2

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 12:52

Oh, and BTW, Richard Binder has a nib interchangeability chart at the bottom of his Pelikan pen page on his website if you'd like further details about nib swapping.


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#18 parnesh

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 12:54

 

I only have an m215 and for the price I got it for, it is a nice pen. However on value I would rate the L2K and Pilot pens as being better. I have tried an m600 and m800. If the price was not so high, I would consider getting an m800 or m1000 but for the price, there are many better valued pens imho. Japanese pens, especially pilots, rate right up there. Vintage pelikans are a different matter. Everyone should have one of those...



#19 sotto2

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 13:00

I know lots of people love their L2000s, but I found it way too slippery feeling for me, even after going into the LPS fully intending to get myself one. I think maybe it had something to do with the smooth taper from the pen barrel to the section, as well as the makrolon (sp?) material.

 

And yes, absolutely. Pilot makes a great variety of excellent pens. I have two of the Pilot Metal Falcons, and they are my most used pens. Getting used to the heft of those led me to selecting the metal-barreled Pelikan M215s over the other models.


ekfh5f.jpg


#20 proton007

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 13:23

Modern Pelikan prices are just *ridiculous*. No other word for it, especially considering the steady increases they've made these past years.

 

However, the availability of so many old models gives the new ones a tough competition. Under $200 you can easily get an old style M400.


In a world where there are no eyes the sun would not be light, and in a world where there were no soft skins rocks would not be hard, nor in a world where there were no muscles would they be heavy. Existence is relationship and you're smack in the middle of it.

- Alan Watts






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