I would not pay $200 for a M200, Pelikan prices have even gone up even more since I really got into fountain pens and I'll admit the prices are a bit of a shocker if the pen doesn't fit you well. Still, they're less expensive than Montblanc and a lot of the Italian pen manufacturers.
I was lucky, I managed to snag a M600 for $265 ($20 or so less than the going rate from sellers in Singapore). It was a tough buy at first because it would have been my most expensive pen at the time, but now I have no regrets. I am fortunate that the M600 size fits my hand very well and I love the lightweight feel. The same day I bought the pen I also handled a M400 and a M800. I was considering the M400 purely for the price alone as I would have saved around 60 dollars. I tried out the M800 just because it was there but regardless of price I found the pen was too back heavy for my liking. I'm lucky my friend was with me at the time to convince me to just pay the extra for the M600 because if I had gone with the M400 I probably would have hated the pen based off of the diameter of the pen alone. Now my M600 is my favorite pen and beats out some of my lower end pens (Lamy 2000, Pilot Custom 74) and even my higher end pens (146, Homo Sapiens midi). Higher cost doesn't always equate to a better pen and unfortunately the price for these "luxury" items will continue to go up. I was quite disappointed to find out that if I had gotten into pens several years earlier I could have snagged a M600 for under $200.
And I have to say, the M200 steel nibs are some of the best feeling steel nibs I've written with, even if all the nibs are tuned properly first. I have no problems switching out a M200 nib into my M600 bodies because they write so well and with the lower price point I can customize nibs for my M600 to my heart's content. That's the thing with it comes to stuff that's based off of feel; just because it works well for a lot of people, there's no reason for you to feel something is wrong with you if it doesn't fit you. Pelikans happen to work for a lot of people and that's why you hear about them so often. I'm guilty of fanboying and gushing over my M600, but it's not from group think but purely my own experiences with the pen. For example, I love how a monotone nib looks on a black and gold body but some others feel that the dual tone nib looks better and more sophisticated. Personal tastes and I won't let others from swaying me from what I believe in.
The Pelikan plastic is by no means weak. I don't think I necessarily baby my pens but regardless of price I give my pens the same treatment. I use my pen at work (manufacturing) and don't carry it in a case in my bag or clipped to a shirt pocket but just in a leather slip case dropped into my front pant's pocket. I've dropped it on the ground a few times as well. No major damage yet, but my cheap pens still get the same basic treatment.
Edited by ziptrickhead, 30 March 2014 - 18:11.