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Pelikan Souverän M800 Tortoiseshell Brown



nicholasyeo

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Hello again! My name is Nicholas and this is my sixth review on FPN. You may have read my reviews of the Sailor Professional Gear here, Pilot Custom Heritage 92 here, Namiki Origami Crane here, Sailor Chizusugi Cedar Wood Sapporo here, and most recently, the Omas 360 Vintage Turquoise LE here. If you'd like to know more about my pens you can find out more about me here at my profile. This review contains some high-resolutions photographs which you can view below the post.

 

INTRODUCTION: THE (Brown) TORTOISE HAS LANDED! This is probably the second Pelikan I’ve gotten my hands on - the first was a demo M205 which I got back when I was crazy about demos. I also considered the M800 demo and the M805 some time ago, but I don’t actually have any Pelikan pens. However, I know of them as pretty reliable workhorse pens with solid German build and great piston mechanisms, and the Pelikan Souverän M800 Tortoiseshell Brown was no exception.

 

This being a relatively new pen that arrived in February, I guess there aren't many photos of it so I decided to review the pen. I hope it is informative despite my lack of experience with Pelikan pens.

 

People have always wanted a Tortoiseshell Brown M800 - as this post and that post and yet another post illustrate. Last year in early March, a few sites let the cat out of the bag and the rumours were later verified as true. So the Tortoiseshell Brown M800 landed in February and here we have it! I think there was great anticipation among Pelikan lovers about this pen, especially those who wanted one but found the first production too expensive.

 

So here we go - the pen comes in a matte silver cardboard box that opens up to reveal a white faux leather pouch. The pouch looks like an envelope with a brown plastic “wax seal” and elastic band. The packaging is rather minimalist. Beneath the leather pouch is a faux leather panel that pulls upwards to reveal the guarantee booklet and another booklet which illustrates the other models that Pelikan has in their product lineup.

 

Before we begin the review proper, here’s my background - I've long been an advocate of Japanese pens. I started out with my first pen, a Lamy Vista, many years ago. And eventually I progressed to the Lamy 2000 and a Sailor Professional Gear which I still write with daily today. Recently, I got hooked on Omas pens and I got an Arte Italiana Paragon and 360. So I’m interested how the M800 holds up to those in terms of writing.

 

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1. Appearance & Design (8/10) – The Pelikan Souverän M800 Tortoiseshell Brown is a really nice and clean looking pen. I have been spying the demonstrator versions all these years and I also checked out the humongous M1000 demonstrator.

 

In the same light, the Tortoiseshell Brown version is classy and vintage look with clean, striated lines and a semi translucent barrel which allows you to see the piston in action. The translucence isn’t very obvious so I would not worry too much about staining unless you are using a very dark coloured ink or carbon ink.

 

The striations vary from orangey to gold and translucent black under the light. Holding it up, I can see through the barrel and watch the ink swish-swash around. It’s a great way of knowing how much ink is left and when you should refill the pen. The M800 design is rather uniform in terms of design and finish - all the other Souverän Tortoiseshell designs have the same striated lines. The Brown Tortoiseshell is different only in the colour of the barrel striations. The M800 is of course a fairly large pen and is quite long when the cap is posted.

 

The Tortoiseshell versions also come with gold plated accents and this is no exception. I find the gold pretty appealing together with the Brown Tortoiseshell finish and black resin. It provides a nice contrast and is not too yellowish and gaudy. Overall, the appearance and design of the pen is very conservative. I see it appealing to jacket-wearing professionals who want something that would not scream for attention but exudes an understated elegance.

 

I'm not feeling romantic about the M800 in Tortoiseshell Brown. I'm not likely to want to exercise my vocabulary here, cause it doesn't give me the oohs and ahhs that my Omas gives me and is definitely more understated. Without mention, those who missed out on one of the earlier models from the first production are sure to wanna get their hands on one of these!

 

2. Construction & Quality (10/10) – The construction and quality of the M800 is definitely top-notch. Pelikan describes the Tortoiseshell Brown model as being made of “precious resin” and the parts of the pen are plated with 24 carat gold.

 

Holding the pen in your hand, you will feel it is pretty hefty although I would not describe it as being as heavy as my stainless steel Lamy 2000. I believe the bulk of its weight comes from the piston mechanism. Thankfully, the plastic doesn’t feel cheap either. It is smooth and the striated design is suspended in the resin inside the barrel.

 

I’m also impressed with the attention to detail. The clip is polished smooth without any microscratches and the body is also free from any microscratches whatsoever. The only place I saw microscratches was on the gold ring on the cap near the words “Pelikan”, “Souveran” and “Germany”. They were only obvious under high magnification.

 

The cap screws on but not with so many turns as to make it hard to open when you wish to start writing. It also posts perfectly and securely, and does not cause the pen to become imbalanced.

 

On a whole, I could find no issue with construction and quality, and I do believe that the pen will see many many years of use. I was impressed with the nib and the etchings, everything was perfect and the tines were aligned properly. I can only conclude that this pen may even be a heirloom for future generations if maintained properly!

 

3. Weight & Dimensions (8/10) – Constructed from “precious resin”, the M800 Tortoiseshell Brown is fairly weighted. The majority of the weight in the pen comes from the brass piston mechanism situated above. You would see that in the demonstrator version. I would therefore say that this pen is top heavy if the cap is posted.

 

The pen is considered large and has a comfortable weight which will probably see you through hours of use. The M800 may be a tad large for those with small hands. But it is always better for a pen to be larger than for it to be smaller than your hands. I find it absolutely acceptable in length and prefer not to post the cap when writing.

 

I suspect that the M600 would better suit me, but I don't think that the M800 is a problem. I would also prefer the M800 because it is more of a flagship pen for Pelikan.

 

Here are some of the very technical specifications for people who’d like to know:

Weight : 28.2 grams

Length with cap closed : 14.2 cm

Length with cap posted : 16 cm

Diameter : 1.3 cm

 

4. Nib & Performance (7/10) – The M800 comes with a pretty nice nib. It’s fairly large and thus proportionate to the pen barrel, and made of 18 carat gold. The two-tone design is nice and classy and the etchings are really detailed. I like how it has been polished very well and is virtually free of microscratches. The nib's etchings attract the colour of the ink you're using and that looks quite beautiful!

 

I have always been an advocate of Japanese nibs, but the M800 certainly could hold its own. I’m not putting away my Sailor Professional Gear anytime soon, but I must say that the M800 is definitely a great writer. I still prefer my Omas nibs over the Pelikan ones, but I must say that the M800 nib is still better than the M205 nib on the demo I once had. I think it's a tradeoff - the Omas has a great nib and the Pelikan has a great piston filling system which is way smoother.

 

I wasn’t impressed with the steel M205 nib on the clear demo I had in the past, but this one writes well out of the box. I still feel it has room for improvement, and a good nibmeister can definitely make it sing! Of course, the great thing about Pelikan nibs is that they are screw fit and therefore easy to switch out.

 

On my F nib, flow is moderate, I think it is rather dry on Tomoe River Paper and with Pelikan Edelstein Sapphire which was what I used in my test. I can see the ink glisten on the paper, but it is definitely much more dry compared to my Lamy 2000, which lays down a lot of ink on the page. The nib lays down a nice clean and crisp line and could be said to be Equivalent to a Japanese MF/FM nib in terms of line width. Pelikan’s 18K nib is hard and there is no flex/spring to the nib.

 

There is slight feedback but not so much as to make writing uncomfortable or scratchy. The nib also writes well from right to left and from left to right. Some nibs I have encountered on other pens do tend to write better from left to right. I’m not too sure how this impacts writing though.

 

5. Filling System & Maintenance (10/10) - The filling system on the M800 is faultless. It is absolutely perfect, holds a great amount of ink and smooth in operation. Being able to see the piston mechanism moving in the barrel is a bonus, and the translucent barrel is useful as you would know when your ink is low.

 

The piston mechanism is really really solid and turns smoothly. Pelikan’s mechanism is also very efficient. As Pelikan’s website describes, the differentiated piston mechanism causes the spindle inside the pen to turn quicker than the piston knob by employing two different threads. It’s amazing how this mechanism has remained the same through the years.

 

It is of course possible to strip down the pen using a spanner, and I find that the one which comes with TWSBI works perfectly. I would not recommend doing that often unless necessary. It would be far easier to unscrew the nib from the section and apply silicone grease to the barrel, working the piston a few times. This will allow you to grease the piston mechanism and keep it working for generations!

 

6. Cost & Value (8/10) – The Pelikan Souverän M800 Tortoiseshell Brown is a great pen that works like any German car! It doesn’t scream for attention but comes in a Special Edition one-time production by Pelikan.

 

It isn’t labelled or etched with a LE number, and the packaging isn’t anything amazing. But it is a really great workhorse, an exercise in utilitarianism that writes well and is built to last. Those who enjoy something understated and enjoy quality and performance would definitely want one of these. The modern Tortoiseshell Brown is clearly much less expensive than the first production, so I guess there is great value in this pen.

 

I know everyone is still waiting for the White Tortoiseshell in a M800 size and I can only say good luck to that! Surely it is somewhere on the horizon. The Tortoiseshell Brown M800 is a pen of fantastic build and the timeless elegance of the Souverän range continues to win many hearts.

 

7.Conclusion (Final score, 8.5/10) - Pelikan calls the Tortoiseshell Brown M800 a Special Edition. I’m not too familiar what that means in terms of production quantity, but apparently the pen will be produced one time only and in limited numbers.

 

After doing some research online I learnt that the last time a Tortoiseshell Brown M800 was produced was in 1987 when the M800 was first introduced into the market. Of course, after that production stopped and available models went at sky-high prices in excess of US$2000.

 

If you’re looking for a classy jacket pen, a workhorse that will write well and deliver good performance all around, I would definitely recommend the M800. It is a beautiful pen and I absolutely love how solidly constructed the pen is, especially in terms of its piston mechanism.

 

The fact that the nibs are interchangeable is also great, because you aren’t limited in terms of nib choices, and you may switch out the nib for another one custom ground by your preferred nibmeister.

 

Given that this pen is a Special Edition, I shall be honest and tell you that I wasn’t too impressed with the packaging. I wouldn’t call it sloppy, but the box appears to be constructed out of hard cardboard and given a “wood” treatment. Maybe they’re like German cars - rather simplistic and utilitarian on the outside but containing a powerful engine.

 

Till my next review, here are some pictures! Enjoy...

 

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Edited by nicholasyeo
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Wonderful Pictures! Thanks for this very timely review! I can't wait until mine hits my dealer so I can pick it up!

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Wonderful Pictures! Thanks for this very timely review! I can't wait until mine hits my dealer so I can pick it up!

 

I certainly do hope the review was informative and balanced. An congratulations in advance on your soon to be baby Tortoiseshell Brown! :thumbup:

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Great photos of a beautiful pen. I need to order one of these before they're gone.

"One can not waste time worrying about small minds . . . If we were normal, we'd still be using free ball point pens." —Bo Bo Olson "I already own more ink than a rational person can use in a lifetime." —Waski_the_Squirrel

I'm still trying to figure out how to list all my pens down here.

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All I can say is: WOW on those photos!

See with what large letters I have written you with my own hand. GaVIxi

The pen is the interpreter of the soul: what one thinks, the other expresses. (MdC)

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Thanks for the in depth review and the copious photos. They will help keep me going until my tortoiseshell arrives. How many turns does it take to remove and replace the cap. I was under the impression that the m800 took less than a full turn to uncap?

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Thanks for the in depth review and the copious photos. They will help keep me going until my tortoiseshell arrives. How many turns does it take to remove and replace the cap. I was under the impression that the m800 took less than a full turn to uncap?

 

Hi there! Congratulations upon your new pen as well! I'm sure you'll love it. Anyway the cap takes no more than one full turn to uncap which is really handy if you stop and start writing often.

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Great review! And outstanding pictures.

Pushed me over the edge; I just hit "send" confirming a pre-order...

 

Haha, I must apologise to your wallet and at the same time I am sure you will enjoy this engineering marvel!

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Thanks for the great review and superb photos. I'm under the impression the striated barrel is made out of a modern celluloid acetate - harder than thermoplatic resins and resulting in the sparkle.

 

My 600 had double or triple cut threads which is why the cap unscrews so quickly.

 

I know what you mean about Omas. I had a faceted Milord in a bluish grey, and just loved the surprise of seeing the intricate cap ring, as if by magic, repeated on the section when the pen was opened.

 

Bob

Pelikan 100; Parker Duofold; Sheaffer Balance; Eversharp Skyline; Aurora 88 Piston; Aurora 88 hooded; Kaweco Sport; Sailor Pro Gear

 

Eca de Queroiz: "Politicians and diapers should be changed frequently, and for the same reason."

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Thanks for the great review and superb photos. I'm under the impression the striated barrel is made out of a modern celluloid acetate - harder than thermoplatic resins and resulting in the sparkle.

 

My 600 had double or triple cut threads which is why the cap unscrews so quickly.

 

I know what you mean about Omas. I had a faceted Milord in a bluish grey, and just loved the surprise of seeing the intricate cap ring, as if by magic, repeated on the section when the pen was opened.

 

Bob

 

The barrel certainly is beautiful. Pelikan calls it resin, but I am sure even if it was, its of the highest quality. The sparkle is indeed beautiful. I'm not crazy about celluloid pens, not yet at least... I have seen some, and Omas really does make some incredible ones. Someday...

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