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Pelikan M200 Café Creme Fountain Pen Medium Nib

pelikan m200 cafe creme

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#1 dapprman

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Posted 13 May 2016 - 15:10

This is not only my first review here, but also my first pen review.  As a slightly waffling prologue, I’ve used fountain pens most my life, since my school days at about the age of 12.  In more recent years I’ve found myself writing more (I actually work in IT – go figure) and started buying more pens.  This is my first Pelikan and part came about due to a vague friend insisting I try one, especially after I mentioned getting a Graf Von Faber Castell for my 50th in a few years time (I really like my Faber Castell Pearwood Ambition).  I suspect he meant a M800 Souverän (that M805 Vibrant Blue does look good), however in the mean time I found myself looking at a M2X demonstrator type.  I like the Cognac, except for the price and the fact I could no longer get one from a reputable reseller in the UK.  The Amethyst looks nice in pictures, but nothing special in video reviews, and I get the feeling the new shimmering blue would be the same.  It was, however, by accident that I stumbled across the Café Crème.  There’s something very 1920s, almost art deco, about its colour combination.  I was sold, and also very lucky that I could still find a trustworthy online store with one in stock, so £99 later I had ordered said pen.

So what was I expecting.  Owning Lamy and Faber Castell pens I was considering it to be suitably Germanic, so very good fit and finish, a feeling of solidity, and working out of the box.

 

FA5WeS4.jpg

 

First Impressions

I knew it was small, but I didn’t realise just how short it would be.  I’ve not got large hands, but this is the first pen where I’ve had to post the cap (normally I dislike doing so).  It is also very light, and dare I say it, initially felt like it was made of cheap plastic.  Not good for a £100 pen.  However it very quickly became apparent the shell is not cheaply made, not that I’d want to risk dropping it.  Post rinsing out (at work about 9 hours before filling with ink) I found a suitable colour in my collection and filled it with J. Herbin Lies de Tea.  Interestingly, in comparing it with a number of the pens I carry round with me, it’s not that much shorter capped, and uncapped it might be its light weight that makes it feel so small.

 

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The Nib

So I start writing.  It was scratchy and the ink flow was inconsistent, it was almost as if the ink needed the nib to be moving before it would start to flow.  I left the pen a while and now it is completely transformed.  The nib is smooth, a little feedback, the ink flows nice and evenly.  I suspect it just needed to be written in briefly, however I’d expect any pen over £40/50 to work out of the box.

7/10

 

Size and Weight

The pen is small and light, but that’s not a bad thing.  It does however feel a little small for me, so I’d certainly not recommend a M200/205 for anyone with larger hands.  With the cap posted it feels a better length and very balanced.  While I normally do not like capping, it works well with this pen.

8/10

 

Appearance

The pen looks good, there’s no two ways around it.  The brown and cream are a classic combination, and the gold trim works well.  The fill window also looks natural in the pen.

10/10

 

OSJLbLw.jpg

 

Fit and Finish

There is the old saying you get what you pay for, so with a £100 pen I’d expect everything to be perfect, in an almost Germanic manner.  The ink view window feels as if it’s part of the same piece of raw material as the rest of the barrel as there’s no noticeable seem or ridge between the two parts.  The piston feels effective, a slight resistance at first then smoothly pushed in, and smoothly pulled out with the ink fill in the other direction.  Stopping there you’d think I was really happy with the pen, however, first as mentioned on the nib, it needed working in – something I’d not expect(1).  The nib is not the part that really disappointed me though.  On the grip section there is a moulding seem both on the top and under sides.  I would not expect moulding flash on a £20 pen, and neither my TSWBI Eco nor my Lamy Safari All Star display any (and none can be felt either).  I certainly do not expect to have actual visible flash on what is, after all, a relatively expensive pen.  Fortunately I touch neither when holding the pen.

3/10

 

z4jG7ZI.jpg

 

Writing Experience

Initially the writing experience was mixed.  It was not poor, but the nib was slightly scratchy and the ink flow was odd, however the pen now works well and is a pleasure to use.  It is not my smoothest pen (that’s still my Faber Castell), but it is very good.  I do not really have a rotation as I just carry about 8 pens around, each with different inks, however this will be one I will go towards by choice, but not my main choice.

7/10

 

Overall

If I’d been given this pen as a gift then I think I would have been very happy, again if it was about half the price I’d overlook the manufacturing defects, however for a pen that cost me £99 and has/had a MRP of £135 I am actually slightly disappointed.  It is a keeper and should last a life time, but then the same could be said for many fountain pens that cost a lot less.  I may have just been unlucky, but at the same time I’m not convinced by the QA of Pelikan pens.  Certainly if I decide to consider one for my 50th birthday treat I’d have to find a pen shop with one in for me to try there and then before considering.  I don’t think I’d buy one online again.

35/50

 

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1) I know there are plenty of you who feel it is normal to have to tune your nib on purchase, but to use an analogy, I do not expect to buy a car and then, on it arrivng, have to go under the bonnet/hood to tune in the fuel injectors.



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#2 Beechwood

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Posted 13 May 2016 - 15:28

An interesting review, thank you.

 

A major mark down for you was the moulding mark on the section, I have one of these pens that I havent got around to using so I took a look. On my pen there is the faintest line, but it marries up with the back of the nib only,  a gentle buff with a nail block could remove the mark for good.


Edited by Beechwood, 13 May 2016 - 17:36.

How many people does it take to comment on a question on FPN? One to give advice and make suggestions. Another one to repeat everything that the first poster has said. Fourteen to share their own experiences of their pens and comment on how the original advice was flawed.
Seven who just want to increase their post count. One to say that they have no regrets about doing anything and people should follow their example. Another to say that if there is anything wrong with the pen it is just down to using Diamine Shimmer ink. Six to argue over whether its a worth doing anything with it and the OP should just throw it away and buy their Parker 51. Another six to condemn all of the above as being  stupid and anyway they would rather be on FP Geeks. One to say that the pen is cheaper where they live. Five people to post pics of their own pens. One to say that if the OP had Faith then the pen would work - and gets banned very quickly.

Finally, one to close down the thread because it has lost its way.
 


#3 Maine Vintner

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Posted 14 May 2016 - 02:49

A nice review; thank you for posting. I've long admired the look of this me but must say I agree with you that for the price I'd expect more.

Thank you, too, for sharing the photos; very helpful to have the perspective. I hope you will do some more reviews, especially of the Carene and the blue+silver. What is that one?

Best,
John

#4 ak2k5

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Posted 14 May 2016 - 07:27

i have been keeping an eye on this pen forever mainly because of the looks.But at this price the pen must be perfect out of the box .

a very nice ,detailed and honest review


There's no such thing as perfect writing, just like there's no such thing as perfect despair : Haruki Murakami


#5 dapprman

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Posted 14 May 2016 - 10:17

@Beechwood

It did dross my mind to back scrape the flashing off with a craft knife - I do some modelling, but as a result I know it can also cause slight scratching and a flatness.  Also while I only showed the top, there is also moulding flash on the underside as well.  As I can't feel it I'll play safe and leave it.

 

@Maine Vintner

The silver and blue one is a Parker 25 I've had since I was about 12.  I've two of them, one of which may be a MK1 as it's nib did have a breather hole in it but was damaged beyond repair (I was a young school boy at the time)..



#6 CeeElle

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Posted 14 May 2016 - 10:25

Nice and honest review, well done. I especially love your last photo too!

Short cuts make delays, but inns make longer ones.
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#7 Beechwood

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Posted 14 May 2016 - 10:51

@Beechwood

It did dross my mind to back scrape the flashing off with a craft knife - I do some modelling, but as a result I know it can also cause slight scratching and a flatness.  Also while I only showed the top, there is also moulding flash on the underside as well.  As I can't feel it I'll play safe and leave it.

 

@Maine Vintner

The silver and blue one is a Parker 25 I've had since I was about 12.  I've two of them, one of which may be a MK1 as it's nib did have a breather hole in it but was damaged beyond repair (I was a young school boy at the time)..

 

 

Your hand must be very steady dappr, not sure I could trust myself with a craft knife whilst working on plastics.

 

A good allround tool is a 4 sided nail block, intended to be used to file nails through to a final polish. These are very cheap to buy, aproximately $1 - £0.60 at supermarkets, they would easily remove the flash and then buff out to like new.


Edited by Beechwood, 14 May 2016 - 11:21.

How many people does it take to comment on a question on FPN? One to give advice and make suggestions. Another one to repeat everything that the first poster has said. Fourteen to share their own experiences of their pens and comment on how the original advice was flawed.
Seven who just want to increase their post count. One to say that they have no regrets about doing anything and people should follow their example. Another to say that if there is anything wrong with the pen it is just down to using Diamine Shimmer ink. Six to argue over whether its a worth doing anything with it and the OP should just throw it away and buy their Parker 51. Another six to condemn all of the above as being  stupid and anyway they would rather be on FP Geeks. One to say that the pen is cheaper where they live. Five people to post pics of their own pens. One to say that if the OP had Faith then the pen would work - and gets banned very quickly.

Finally, one to close down the thread because it has lost its way.
 


#8 Old Salt

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Posted 20 May 2016 - 00:32

An honest and thorough review.
Personally I love my Pelikans but I think they are overpriced. It's good to see them called out on quality.
I have one of these cafe creme pens. I too had to tune up the nib, but do not have the finish issues that yours has. For what it's worth, you're not alone, I've heard the very same complaints before about the seam on the section. Must be different batches came out like that and Quality Control people let it slip by.
Glad you took the time to do such a fair review. Thanks.

#9 bone215

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Posted 24 May 2016 - 18:54

I'm in 'like' with the look of the pen.
Don't like the price for what you get.
Be Happy, work at it. Namaste

#10 jimrie

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Posted 20 June 2016 - 22:52

Great review. Thinking about selling my stormtrooper to pay for one of these.



#11 LorenRad

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 15:52

I agree with you about how wrong it is to have to tune up a nib on an expensive pen. I have had to tune both of the Pelikan nibs that I bought. In contrast Pilot Varsity pens are smooth right out of the box.
Still, I'm leaning toward buying this model because it does look good. The seam on the section is disappointing especially since I have a 20 year old M200 that has no seam. I believe these are the same prodwct line except for color.
One test is worth a thousand opinions.

#12 WJM

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 17:45

The Nib

So I start writing.  It was scratchy and the ink flow was inconsistent, it was almost as if the ink needed the nib to be moving before it would start to flow.  I left the pen a while and now it is completely transformed.  The nib is smooth, a little feedback, the ink flows nice and evenly.  I suspect it just needed to be written in briefly, however I’d expect any pen over £40/50 to work out of the box.

7/10

 

I think it's just a thing with M200's. Several years ago when I got my first one it didn't write at all at the begginig and I left it in a drawer for a few months. Then I tried again, it wrote, but barely, required much more pressure than it should to get the ink flow. Took some time untill it transformed into a very consistent and wet writer.

 

Same thing I think is happening with my newly aquired old-style M200. This pen was obviously used before, but when I filled it for the first time I got no flow. I'm using it a little over a week and it's now much better. 



#13 amk

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 18:54

I wonder if the dryness isn't a nib issue so much as a feed issue? It sounds as if maybe the feed is quite slow to fill up.

 

I enjoyed the picture with the cafetiere, but I hope you won't light the gas while the pen is sitting on the hob!


Edited by amk, 05 December 2017 - 18:55.

Too many pens, too little time!

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#14 Chi Town

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 03:26

Hmmmm, I am not really sure what to think here? AS I have one of these Pens and did not have one issue with it. Now I have a friend who also buys Pens, and I swear, he feels that it's his main mission in life to Totally "Tear the pen apart" via the fit and finish. I come from the Automotive Trade since I was 17 years old. I am now 58 and retired. Spent 27 years in Management. There is a term that we used in that field called "Commercially Acceptable". By that I mean, if you can go to the cabinet of a Pen store and find 3 pens of the Same Make and Model, with similar issues, the pen passes. NOW, I am sure I will get shot down by many in my thought process here. BUT, when I buy a pen, I look it over and if nothing jumps out at me I buy it! As for the writing test. I seen somewhere, that the Pen Mfr's, very rarely check the nibs for writing. Unless, you buy from say Franklin-Christoph.com (no affiliation), or ASA and you check the box that says you want them to check and write with the nib to ensure it is OK before it gets to you. I am sure there are other Pen companies that do the same? The bottom line here? Is that YOU must be happy with your purchase.......   Nice Overall review!


Mike

            Visconti Last Lira aka Luigi Einaudi #63 of 975, Stipula Yellow Da Vinci Carbon Fiber T, Stipula Model T, Vintage Fountain Pens, Delta Amerigo Vespucci LE, Pelikan Special Edition Sahara F/P, TWSBI Micarta, Danitrio Mikado, Genkai, Nakaya Decapod Cigar, Watley in Woodgrain, Marlen Yellow Liberty LE, Santa FE Style Custom "51" made by Ralph Prather, president New Mexico Pen Collector's Club.


#15 pseudo88

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Posted 09 December 2017 - 15:24

Interesting, it's a very elegant design; you have several pens I have (Ambition in pearwood) or would like to have (TWSBI, Carène). I only have one Pelikan, an m600, my Sailor Professional Gear (award winner for goofiest name) is smoother but the more I use the Pelikan the smoother it seems to write, particularly with Callifolio Équinoxe 6 and decent paper (even 32lbs HP laserjet does the trick), so yours might keep growing on you. My m600 has also been my most reliable pen, by far, and seems to hold a lot more ink, so it's the go to pen for travel.

 

Pelikans in certain finishes (rhodium trim, solid blue, solid black, demonstrators) have the perfect design for me, but I find their prices ridiculous, and unfortunately I find all the other finishes either merely acceptable or plain ugly. For the price of the next size (my m600 has the standard m400 size) I could get two Pilot or Sailor with unique nibs.


"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

B. Russell

#16 gandalf11

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Posted 09 December 2017 - 18:46

thanks for this great and honest review,im looking for some Pelikans, and now i know thanx to you than the m200 don fit me well, i will keep looking for a m600 instead.

 

thank you Sir


Saludos desde Mexico, "el respeto al derecho ajeno es la paz entre los hombres" 






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