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  1. MarkHanks

    Nibs Of Flagship Pens

    Could someone offer a brief or comprehensive comparison of nibs that come with flagship pens from the popular premium brands? Say, Montblanc 149, Pelikan M1000, Sailor Custom Urushi etc.
  2. As most of you would know, Pelikan is a 180 year old maker of fountain pens and paraphernalia. It had launched its first fountain pen in 1929. Prior to that Pelikan manufactured dyes, inks and office-supplies. This Swiss-incorporated German pen maker is also credited with the genesis of piston filling mechanism with a differential spindle gear, which endeavoured to address the problem of limited ink capacity in fountain pens of that period. Here, the piston knob is also threaded so that it is able to unscrew itself automatically, when the piston is unscrewed, in an outward direction, thus delivering a greater and efficient ink-suction. Hungarian engineer Theodor Kovacs is credited with the invention of the original filling mechanism before selling off the patent to Günther Wagner (the man who established the company) in 1927. By the way, here goes the review of an M1000 on my blog: The M1000 Review In the earlier years, Montblanc is said to have manufactured nibs (especially the one with a heart shaped breather hole in 1929/30) for Pelikan, while Pelikan made inks for MB. Pelikan had already built a brand awareness in the writer’s mind, being one of the major ink suppliers (starting with Iron Galls Inks) in Europe. They eventually launched the 4001 line (non-Iron Gall) line of inks in 1898, which is still produced today. I was introduced to Pelikan with a m200 model pen long back. And yes, I am heavily biased towards two of my Pelikans - one is the M400 white tortoise, other is the blue striated M805. The M1XXX is considered to be the next step to M6XX/8XX, once most of your cerebral logic is destroyed! As with the model numbers, there is a general increase in nib size, dimensions and price of course, when you move from M4XX to M1XXX. Again, I do love the Souverän M 625 with dazzling sterling silver trims (Ag 92.5%). Having said that, the serene green-striated M1000 reflects and adorns the 1929 classical green-striped design. The green "transparent Pelikan fountain pen" was launched in 1929 by Wagner. It was named so, to reference the transparent ink window. The logos have changed over the years starting from a mother pelican with four chicks to a mother-single chick combination from 2003 onwards. I have learnt something form FPNer sirach’s excellent review of the m805. Incidentally, both of us had posted reviews of our m805s the same day, around the same time on FPN . The mother pelican and chick logo is symbolic of Christ, as when there is no food, the mother pelican is believed to pierce its own breast with its beak, to feed its young of its blood. It is symbolic of Christ sacrificing himself for Man, and is often represented in Christian art. I have taken the liberty to share the picture used by sirach in his review. DESIGN - THE STRIPED TRANSLUCENCY (6/6) The M1000 comes in two standard gold-trims - Green Striped and Classic Black (Green Ink Window), across four different nib widths - EF, F, M and B. The M1005 also came in silver trims of Black/Green Ink Window design, albeit with a dual tone nib. There is nothing like the allure of the M1005 demonstrator, but then there are Raden Sunlight & Starlight models too. The pen hints at a subtle piece of craftsmanship associated with building this writing instrument. Its balance somehow ensures all the necessary weight and nib leverage for comfortable writing. My hand sometimes varies from a light to moderate touch and the m1000 adapts to the change with deft, compared to a m800, partly perhaps because of a more responsive nib. The barrel is made up of highly polished pelikan famed ‘cellulose acetate’ with its diamond cut contours, which partially reveal the necessities like the piston end or ink level, while concealing the unnecessary ones. I feel that this green stripes reveal the ink levels quite well. The pinstripe pattern in the Souverän series is nicknamed Stresemann derived from Gustav Stresemann, the Chancellor of Germany for his famous striped trousers. The green stripes innately reflect both light and dark while preserving a formal appearance of the souverän as the gold plated trims continue to stand out. The translucency is subtle but useful at the same time to note ink levels. The dazzling green stripes reflect back greens between pine & emerald with ambient light, soothingly to your eyes.. The barrel is silky smooth. The golden gleam is matched throughout the pen starting from the famed finial and the clip, through those concentric bands in the cap, before finally converging with the dual piston rings. While the white tortoise plays with light with phenomenal efficiency, the green & blue stripes seem to have held their own conservative thoughts. The cap feels quite substantial and unscrews with a single turn, revealing a dazzling two-tone nib. The grip reveals another knot of golden glitter, towards the section end, where the big dazzling nib unit is screwed in. Two concentric golden bands with a gold plated crown embossed with the pelikan logo, adorn the cap with a signature pelican beak-shaped clip. The thicker bottom band carries the brand imprint of PELIKAN SOUVERÄN GERMANY. The logo on the finial is the one embraced by Pelikan post 2003, that of a mother pelican and one chick, gleaming in brushed gold. The staged pillars of M400, 605, 805 & 1000 glitter with light. FILLING SYSTEM (6/6) A piston filler with a sturdy knob is embellished with two concentric golden loops. Like any other pelikan, it’s imbibed with a system which is usually hassle-free and needs minimal maintenance. The piston end unscrews with three to four rotations and ink is drawn into the pen with remarkable efficiency without any fuss, once the piston is screwed back on. And of course, you can observe some of the live action through the striped windows. A brass spindle connector in the M1XXX provides weight and balance. Everything is glistening gold as you can see the connector nut in the picture. M1XXX fills upto 1.9-2 mL (similar to M800) of ink. These brass piston mechanisms can be dismantled using a 7mm wrench (TWSBI wrench would fit) on the connector nut, in a clockwise direction. On finding the piston mechanism quite snug while filling ink, I did dismantle it to lubricate the piston lip/seal. Although for any other problem, it is advisable to send the pen to Pelikan Germany/Country Authorized Service Center. Also, Pelikan International is quite responsive to facebook messages. NIB - ALL THAT MATTERS (5/6) The nib/feed section is screw-fit and comes in a standard 18k two-tone design across four stock widths - EF, F, M & B. It has the standard pelikan design with the usual convenience of a screw-fit section. Like the cousins, the tall & slender nib is efficient. With a big feed, and a spread out nib it looks forward to propel your writing imaginations and moods. The silver of two-tone finish does converge with the golden trims in terms of glitter and glimmer. The tail end specifies the nib-width and composition (18 C, 75% Au) of the gold-alloy used. Three arabesques diverge along the shoulders of the nib with two of them converging near the circular breather hole. The third curve runs across the tines towards the shoulders ending with the tail end of the nib, outside of which a golden decor runs along the shoulders across the tines, before converging onto the iridium tip. There is of-course the dazzling golden mother-baby pelikan logo, resting above the tail. This one in the picture is a Extra Fine nib and writes smooth and is decently wet. No complaints for this piece on out of the box performance. A big black plastic feed (earlier ones had ebonite feeds) with closely spaced fins ensures a good ink buffer and promises wet and even smoother starts. Even with a dipped nib section, it would write a page. In my experience with Pelikan nibs (both with earlier Bock & now in-sourced), the good nibs usually after running 80 pages of my usual B5 notebook, break in to my liking. This nib being a little different with a characteristic spring and a bit of flex, did break in within a month to fit my writing style. I feel that these days these nibs have started to lay a finer line, owing to user recommendation of the Pelikan community. Fortunately some of the mylars & buff-sticks are saved, thanks to these birds. PHYSICS OF IT (5/6) – RELATIVELY SPEAKING The pen has got the heft in it and I use it without posting. The overall capped length is around 14.6 cm. The total weight of M100X has slightly less than a third of contribution from the cap. The grip diameter is around 1.2 cm and the bit of tapering renders comfort to the fingers. The cap threads are higher up on the section and are non-intrusive for me, since I do not hold the pen very high. It is not a light & small pen and may not comfortable to you at first, I gradually became used to it. The motivation if not anything else, was the Kingsized #8 nib. Uncapped Length ~ 13.5 cmPosted Length ~ 17.7 cmNib Leverage ~ 2.8 cmOverall Weight ~ 35 g (Cap ~ 10 g) Capped and uncapped comparisons with a few of the flock go below for your reference. Top to bottom (m1000, m805, m605 & m400) With an MB149 And an Emperor with the Entire Flock ECONOMIC VALUE (4/6) The M1000 retails these days at around GBP 380 (discounted), although it might be available at lower street prices. I strongly feel that this acquisition was a result of an impulse driven bid on the bay, since I had a low expectation of winning the bid in the first place. Even though it’s one of the phenomenally efficient pens with a high degree of nib appeal, I would still value it as a standardised-good value buy. A part of me which loves Pelikan for the great pens they make, rationally feels that the m1000 being a flagship pen, they need to build up its image akin to an Meisterstück 149, to command a high price and appeal, for it sells much below its RRP across internet/offline shops. May be Pelikan can start with a body/barrel combination solely made for m1000 with a custom designed nib. Then again, I would not be able to buy it OVERALL (5.2/6) Historically for me, I did not like the weight/balance of the M1000 pen. However, with frequent use, I found the balance acceptable and then comfortable!! These 18k nibs have a smooth and wet flow. The m1000 nib has a fair bit of flex (modern bit!) with an inherent softness, since with the bigger size of the nib, there is more room for it to move. Being nice and wet writers out of the box, the Extra-Fine nib puts down a fine line, which takes around 35 seconds to dry Visconti Blue Ink on MD Paper. The pen feels balanced for my hands both with or without pressure and given the tapered profile of the section, it has a good grip. This nib runs a tad finer than say a #3776 medium nib, and with some pressure it leaves a wider line. I have used single fills of Sailor Sky High (now Souten), Montblanc Toffee Brown, Visconti Blue, Iroshizuku Yama Budo/Tsuki Yo inks in rotation, and the pen has performed gracefully with all these inks. Thank you for going through the review. You can find some more pen and paraphernalia reviews here and in the below links section. Comments & feedback are welcome. So, what is your favourite Pelikan? REVIEWS & LINKS Pelikan M1000 Pelikan M805 Pelikan M605 Marine Pelikan M625 Pelikan M4XX Pelikan M200 Cognac Pelikan Nibs Patent Ink Capacities
  3. There have been many threads here listing the “flagship” pens of various well known brands (see this, this, and this). I’m posting this simply to organize the information a little bit more attractively. To be clear, I define “flagship” as follows: A “flagship” pen is a regular production model (i.e., not a limited or special edition), which is generally the largest, most expensive, and most visibly advertised item in a brand’s inventory. Where no single pen satisfies all the criteria, a judgment call may have to be made on what (if any) product is the “flagship” for a particular brand. Obviously, a brand calling one of its own products its “flagship” trumps other considerations. Any corrections, additions, or suggestions are appreciated. Brand Flagship Entry Level Other Notable Lines Country Aurora Aurora 88 Large Ipsilon De Luxe Talentum, Alpha, Optima Italy Caran D’Ache Léman Ecridor Varius, Madison Switzerland Conway Stewart Churchill None Winston, Wellington, Series 100, Marlborough United Kingdom Cross Townsend Classic Apogee, ATX, Botanica, Sauvage United States Delta Dolce Vita Oversize Unica Many Lines Italy Graf von Faber Castell Intuition Platino Wood (seems to have displaced the Classic) Guilloche Classic, Pen of the Year Germany Franklin Christoph Model 19 “1901” Model 27 “Collegia” Many Individual Models United States Lamy Lamy 2000 Safari Studio, Dialog Germany Montblanc Meisterstück 149 “Diplomat” None Writers Edition, Great Characters Edition, Starwalker, Boheme Germany Omas Paragon None Milord, Bologna, 360, Ogiva Italy Parker Duofold (Centennial) Vector Sonnet, Premier, Ingenuity, Parker 51 (discontinued), P25 (discontinued) United States Pelikan M1000 Souverän M100, M150, M200, M205, M215, M250 Classic Many Lines German Pilot Custom 845 (Some discussion on the point ) Metropolitan Falcon, Vanishing Point, Custom 823, Justus Japan Platinum President Preppy 3776 Series Japan Sailor King of Pen Many Models 1911 Series, Professional Gear Japan Sheaffer Legacy Heritage VFM Taranis, Prelude, Sagaris, 300, 100, Intensity, Ferrari United States TWSBI Diamond Eco Classic, Vac 700, Mini, 580AL Taiwan Visconti None (Possibly the Divina. See this and this) Classic Homo Sapiens, Opera, Van Gogh, Michelangelo Italy Waterman Edson Charleston Carène, Exception France
  4. My holidays rarely match with others’ in the family. So, last afternoon, while I was staring at the chessboard to play yet another game, I thought of putting the board to a better use than just moving the pieces against myself. So, why not take three big nibs out of their temporary resting places and give them a try. In this fast-paced world, fountain pens have most certainly embarked the sail of luxury, consistent with properties of both time and money. These days, keyboards – physical, on-screen or speech-engine ones have taken over a Pen’s traditional space-time. Thankfully, notebooks and writing pads are still there to keep them alive, even if people have started to take notes in their tablets, phones or phablets. Not being a fan of very big pens, I usually go for the minus-1 flagship models. They seem to be appealing from both perspectives of cost and convenience. Rather than writing everything down, I have left it to the reader to decide the verse through pictures, mostly. The pictures lose resolution with time, as I am using a free service. Please feel free to navigate to the same topic in my blog : Tale of the lesser flagships A briefer history in time http://s25.postimg.org/5h2xulkiz/image.jpgMONT BLANC I came across a real Montblanc pretty much later in life, though used to love a pen called Camlin Premier during school days. It came with a 1-pen leather pouch, an additional screw-fit nib and it did have the striped ink windows. I say I loved it, but never wrote with it since it belonged to my dad and I was a kid. Back in 1999-2000, it cost around USD 5.00 and it was a hefty price tag for a locally made fountain pen . Later I did realize that it was yet another MB 146 inspiration, when I went to a pen store in Calcutta. As most of you would know, Montblanc was started in 1906 a Hamburg banker, Alfred Nehemias, and a Berlin engineer, August Eberstein as Simplizissimus-Füllhalter which means Simplistic Fountain pens, after they learnt about fountain pens with ink tanks from the US. By 1908, three other people by the name of Wilhelm Dziambor, Christian Lausen and later Claus Johannes Voss had taken over the business and the company took the name “Simplo Filler Pen Co.” which referred to a fountain pen design with a built-in ink-tank. In 1909, a safety fountain pen made up of hard rubber called “Rouge et Noir” was launched, which actually means Red and Black. The pen consisted of a red cap and a black body, perhaps inspired from a card-game. You can also find a limited edition of the same. In 1910, the company became Mont Blanc, inspired by the highest peak of the Alps (4810 m) and a pen called Montblanc was introduced with a white tip (which would later evolve into a white star in 1913). In 1926, the Meisterstück was launched. By 1929, the nibs were engraved with 4810, the official height of Mont Blanc peak, as an allusion to supreme quality and craftsmanship. The flagship Meisterstück 149 was launched in 1952, evolving from celluloid & brass mechanism to resin & plastic mechanism over the years. For the Meisterstück 146, the ink windows were modified to striped version somewhere around the 1970s from clear blue window and the the two-tone nib was introduced in 1993-94. You can find a brief history of Pelikan here and Pilot here. 146in Pictures http://s25.postimg.org/vuzqt8oj3/DSC_1786.jpg http://s25.postimg.org/vd4lddyy7/DSC_1801.jpg With m805, Custom 823in Pictures http://s25.postimg.org/cm2o384dr/DSC_1803.jpg http://s25.postimg.org/9c6bx63ov/DSC_1805_1.jpg http://s25.postimg.org/aeyffaz3j/DSC_1809.jpg Dimensions http://s25.postimg.org/zc1sw7nlb/DSC_1819.jpg http://s25.postimg.org/3ly2j18a7/DSC_1819_1.jpg http://s25.postimg.org/a0x3fpezz/DSC_1819_2.jpg WritingThe writing experience is simply superlative although I do find the pilot custom 823 and m805 equally good when it comes to non-flex nibs. Custom 823 with a medium nib & a wet-ink, is still able to draw a line, tad thinner than both 146 and m805 with fine points. Personally, I prefer the widths of 146 and m805. http://s25.postimg.org/comjq281b/DSC_1825.jpg Ratings With my own biases* http://s25.postimg.org/xigz8aptb/146_FP_rating_scale.jpg References http://www.montblanc.com/en-us/discover/history.html http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/montblanc-meisterstuck-fountain-pen/ http://www.forbes.com/sites/anthonydemarco/2013/05/08/leadership-changes-at-montblanc-and-jaeger-lecoultre/ Thank you for your time; hope you like the chessboard too , Sonik





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