Those of you familiar with my regular ranting and blabbing on FPN may remember reading --on several occasions-- about my propension to yawn uncontrollably at the sight of Pelikan designs. It is not astonishing, then, that, not willing to pass on the pleasure and pride of owning some fine models of the reputable brand, I rested my choice recently on two models that some would consider “fancy”, coming from the German maker. The first one is the M620 “Place de la Concorde” --second in the “famous city squares series”; the second, the M400 White Tortoise (a.k.a. White Honey). While some FPNer, that shall remain nameless for the duration of this review, would possibly call both models “chick sticks”, they definitely are lookers, both in a very different style.
Pelikan M400 White Tortoise
While the “Place de la Concorde”, with its horizontal rings of blue, tan and grey acrylic, is resolutely modern and parts from all previous Pelikan designs, the White Honey is definitely inscribed in the brand’s tradition, inheriting the famous tortoise barrel of vintage models. The twist is the use --along with the traditional gold plated trims-- of white acrylic for the cap, section and blind cap instead of the classic black; it makes a world of difference. While I remain somewhat cold to the tortoise black combination, the White Tortoise has a completely different feel. Where the black version reminds me of wet leather (don’t ask), this one puts me in a deep and wide armchair in a comfortable fumoir or boudoir, where whiskey, tea and cookies have been served; I call it my “Arsenic and Old Lace” pen. The details and variations of transparency of the green and yellow tortoise are very elegant, with an undeniable vintage look.
The “Place de la Concorde”, with its soft colors and silver plated trims could not be more different in appearance. Much colder, it has no less personality. The acrylic is highlighted by a gorgeous pearlized effect, seemingly flowing around the pen. The silver trims were the right choice to enhance the material, without detracting the attention. The gray and tan shades are reminiscent of Paris paved roadways and stone buildings, while the soft blue reminds me of the traditional light blue shirt that Frenchmen wear to work, adding a hint of color to their suits. The chromatic scheme is in tune with an early coffee at a Parisian terrasse, watching white collars leisurely making their last steps towards the office.
Pelikan M620 Place de la Concorde
The size of the M620 is that of the regular M600 series, at 5’’1/8 long closed and a width of 7/16’’. The White Tortoise is part of the smaller M400 series, 4’’7/8 long closed, and 6/16’’ wide. Unlike the M620, I use the M400 posted. Their weight and balance feel very similar in that configuration. Being Pelikans, they are not heavy pens, and both balance very comfortably in my hand.
The filling mechanism in both cases is the famous Pelikan piston. It is a no-nonsense, efficient, and well-designed filling system; in a word, it is German engineering. Also common to both pens are the impeccable, flawless finish and performance. Both came with fine nibs, which were smooth and laid down a wet well defined line (“were” because I reground one to an oblique and the other to a .6mm italic). The flow is irreproachable, without any skipping or hesitation (tested with Noodler’s Black, Aquamarine and Gulfstream).
In conclusion, these two pens are all that can be expected from a major manufacturer in terms of quality of fit, finish and performance. If your taste leans toward models with a little more colours and brightness than the regular Souveran line, these could definitely be for you.
Edited by Denis Richard, 22 September 2005 - 01:36.