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First Pelikan: M400 Vs. M600


savingbirds
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Hello there everyone!

I am by no means new to the world of fountain pens; however, this will not only be my most expensive purchase so far, but also my first Pelikan fountain pen.

 

As a graduation gift to myself, I originally planned on getting a M400 blue stripe with a fine nib to last me, at the very least, through undergrad if not longer. One website that I stumbled upon was ISellPens.com. Though I have never bought from the site, many people claim that Todd is a very trustworthy and friendly distributor. The only reason that I am hesitant is that their prices for Pelikan pens are much lower than MSRP and competitors (Goulet Pens, Richard Binder, Nibs.com...). Another point that I noticed is that Todd sells the M400 currently for $266, while the upscale M600 at only $279.

 

My question is: has there been a mistake in the pricing, or should I take advantage of the seemingly good deal (especially after the recent price increase). Also, a $13 difference in price is really tempting, so is it worth it?

 

Thank you in advance.

“My two fingers on a typewriter have never connected with my brain. My hand on a pen does. A fountain pen, of course. Ball-point pens are only good for filling out forms on a plane.”

Graham Greene

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A 400 is a standard pen, like an Eastie or a P-75.

A 600 is a medium-large pen, with a wider girth. A tad shorter than a P-51 , a tad wider.

You can and IMO should post both.

Modern 400/600 are semi-nail, with blobby fat nibs....you only need one, in vintage nibs with some flex are 100% better, 50% better in 'true' semi-vintage regular flex of '83-97. Yes, you need a joy to write with springy regular flex nibs. There are some inks that shade better in 'real' regular flex M or F than in semi-flex.

 

 

You have not listed what pens you have.

I would suggest getting the 600.

Then later getting an '83-97 M400 with out the gold ring at the piston cap. It has a very good semi-vintage springy nib. Those '83-89 are tad springier than the '90-97.

 

If you have enough experience, 4 pens from EF-B say two nails or semi-nails, 2 regular flex....semi-vintage would be best, in they have a sharper cleaner line....it would be time to get a couple of the '50's 400's.....the 400, 400N....that have nibs with more flex.

My 500 a fancy 400 has a 'flexi'/maxi-semi-flex like my 400NN.

My 400N has a semi-flex nib like my two 140's.

A 140 is also a good pen...medium-small as was liked by the Germans, in many Pen companies made that size, but it like a 100-100N posts to standard size.

 

A 600 will take a vintage-semi-vintage 400 nib. So you can swap your better pre'98 nib into it, if you feel like it.

You can order semi-vintage '97-83 nibs or vintage nibs '50's-60's...and those in either flexi/maxi-semi-flex or semi-flex should you wish. You can do that for your semi-vintage M400 or vintage 400-400N-400NN also. Depending on which you buy.

 

To the 200 which has a better nib than the 400. I've trans-mailed six nibs...because some idiots in Germany refuse to ship out of company or try to rob on postal charges to England. 2 were as good as my vintage gold plated 120 nib....a joy to write with.

My 120 was tied with my '90's M400 for some three years, until 4 of those 200's nibs forced me to press my M400's nib a bit.....I had two Celebry pens, one in steel and one in gold both equal that I'd thought 'hard semi-flex'. I was wrong it was good springy regular flex....like my M400 and the four 200's nibs.

 

The 200 is a good pen with one of the finest nibs still made by Pelikan. I don't have any because I had a '90's M400 and a 400NN.

I almost bought a 215, that has a 200 nib.

If you buy a modern 400, look to get one with 'silver' trim, that way you can put on the 200 nibs. They cost @ $25.

You can of course put a 200's nib on any of them, including a 600.....and only you would know it's a 200's nib.

That and the other person you know that uses a fountain pen. They would understand when you say the 200's nib is better.

 

Chase the nib....that's were the fun is.

German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

RIP...200's once great nib, now a double ball.:crybaby::wallbash:

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

 

 

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Sorry for not giving you more details. Some of the pens I currently own:

  • Pilot Vanishing Point (F)
  • Pilot Custom 67 (M)
  • Pilot Custom 74 (BB)
  • TWSBI Diamond 540 (EF)
  • Platinum Standard (EF)
  • Monteverde Intima (1.1mm stub)
  • Everyday knock-around pens (Reform 1745, Romus Magestic, Lamy Vista, Platinum Cool, Hero 616, Pilot 78G...)

I've personally not have that much experience with flex nibs, especially vintage. Once I become established with a fixed income and job (which is to say, at least a decade from now), I can probably consider scouring the web and pen shows for vintage Pelikans. As I will most likely be using this pen everyday for mundane tasks (notetaking, homework, intermittent journalling), while I can save more intricate writings for my italics and broad nibs.

 

Thank you for the comparison of the M600 and the "51". I believe that M600 would be the perfect size, and if when I venture into the far superior world of vintage pens, I'll look back at the 400 series.

 

Final question, do you think this pen is a good deal (http://www.isellpens.com/Pelikan_Souveran_M600_Black_Blue_p/pel-m600blablu.htm)? I don't quite have the money just yet, but I don't want to wait until after the sale ends. Does anyone have any experience with Todd's pricing and sale lengths? Thank you!

“My two fingers on a typewriter have never connected with my brain. My hand on a pen does. A fountain pen, of course. Ball-point pens are only good for filling out forms on a plane.”

Graham Greene

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Hello. The M400 and M600 are both great pens. Based on your list of pens that you already own, I think you would like the size of the M600. isellpens.com is a very reliable site with great service and often very good prices. I would have no hesitation to purchase from there (no affiliation). That price is one of the better prices you'll find for a new M600 pen I believe. Just one word about the nib. Pelikan's tend to run wider than stated and certainly more so than your Pilots and TWSBI. For note taking and what not, you may want to look at an EF nib which will probably give you more of a fine line. Fine in Pelikans can border on medium. Good luck with your purchase.

PELIKAN - Too many birds in the flock to count. My pen chest has proven to be a most fertile breeding ground.

fpn_1508261203__fpn_logo_300x150.jpg

THE PELIKAN'S PERCH - A growing reference site for all things Pelikan

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Hello. The M400 and M600 are both great pens. Based on your list of pens that you already own, I think you would like the size of the M600. isellpens.com is a very reliable site with great service and often very good prices. I would have no hesitation to purchase from there (no affiliation). That price is one of the better prices you'll find for a new M600 pen I believe. Just one word about the nib. Pelikan's tend to run wider than stated and certainly more so than your Pilots and TWSBI. For note taking and what not, you may want to look at an EF nib which will probably give you more of a fine line. Fine in Pelikans can border on medium. Good luck with your purchase.

Would you consider that the Pelikan EF or F be close to the Pilot M? That seems to be the nib size that I prefer the most, as many of my finer nibs don't suit my writing style as much as I hoped.

“My two fingers on a typewriter have never connected with my brain. My hand on a pen does. A fountain pen, of course. Ball-point pens are only good for filling out forms on a plane.”

Graham Greene

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That sounds like a very good deal! I would definitely choose the 600 over the 400. It is a size that you will find very appropriate for many tasks.

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Would you consider that the Pelikan EF or F be close to the Pilot M? That seems to be the nib size that I prefer the most, as many of my finer nibs don't suit my writing style as much as I hoped.

 

In my experience nib widths can vary. However, I purchased a M805 XF nib that wrote a touch wider than my Vanishing Point medium nib. So I would think they would be comparable Pelikan EF to Pilot M.

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Fair warining, M600 is my favorite size Pelikan.

 

I've bought pens from Todd and I would say all you have heard is correct, a good place to do business and usually pretty good prices. This sounds like an extraordinary deal.

 

While flex pes may be more fun (for some folks) I would say for your stated purpose and use, a modern Pelikan is probably 'the right tool for the job'. A 400 is smaller so may be better for packing around, but my 600's fit in a sports coat pocket quite well. They also fit in a shirt pocket but have just enough heft that I worry about carrying them in a shirt with out a jacket on. I believe the nibs do run wider than Pilot nibs. If you find the EF too narrow (which I don't think will be the case) you can have the nib exchanged at Chartpak. This service is without charge but it does cost for postage and takes time.

 

Interested to hear what you choose and how it works out for you.

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In my experience nib widths can vary. However, I purchased a M805 XF nib that wrote a touch wider than my Vanishing Point medium nib. So I would think they would be comparable Pelikan EF to Pilot M.

 

Agreed

PELIKAN - Too many birds in the flock to count. My pen chest has proven to be a most fertile breeding ground.

fpn_1508261203__fpn_logo_300x150.jpg

THE PELIKAN'S PERCH - A growing reference site for all things Pelikan

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Japanese pens run 1 size smaller than western....Sailor is the Fat Japanese nib, Pilot the skinny....They vary too. :o

Semi-vintage and vintage Pelikan seem to be a 1/2 size narrower than modern.

 

Of course there is always going to be variations of slop/tolerance in each companies standards.....so much that a skinny M can be exactly what a fat F is.

Each company has it's very own standard.....always had and always will....Why should Parker make a Sheaffer sized nib?

Having started with or having many Japanese pens what you consider 'standard' are going to make most western pens much wider than what your Mark-2 Eyeball is calibrated for. You might think western nibs Fat.

 

Aurora makes a thin western nib....so did Sheaffer in the early '50's.

I have a calibrated Mark-1 Eyeball, having started long ago with US pens....so think Japanese pens are narrower than marked.

 

Well I like the narrower '50-60's 80-97 Pelikan nibs over the blobbier fatter stiffer post '98 modern nibs made for BP&RB writers who don't have three minutes to learn how to hold a fountain pen or are too stupid to do learn how..

Can't scare off the customers .... by making things difficult.

There fore modern is a one size fits all...fitting none.

Out side the 200's nib, which is a good one.

Vintage Pelikan are cheaper than a modern pen...could get two vintage Pelikans on German Ebay for what you pay for a new 400/600 and have money left over to buy ink.

Could buy the modern 400/600 used to and save a lot of money. Like that price on that 600 by 'Isellpens'.

German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

RIP...200's once great nib, now a double ball.:crybaby::wallbash:

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

 

 

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I'm waiting for the same pen, the M600, from isellpens. It was the best deal I could find after some internet searching. They're very reputable vendors, shipping is fast;

imo it's best to just take the deal while you can! The only other seller with comparable prices is Printhardcopy on ebay. I'm no expert on vintage Pelikan, but from what I've seen, if you are interested in vintage Pelikans, you can find some pristine Pelikan 400 vintage from the 50's at exactly the same price, if not cheaper, than the msrp of the M600 for ex. (as Bo Bo says), like the Pelikan 400 in green, but they are more delicate.

 

I've agonized long and hard over the M400 vs. M600 too (if you do a search you'll see how many others have as well). Unfortunately, the only way to know for sure is to test them, but from yr pens, which run on the big side, I'd agree that the M600 sounds like a better fit for you. I have small hands but personally, I've found that the tapering of the section on the modern M400 makes it less comfortable than the old style M400; I think that's why it feels small. I've read some people say that the tipping of the modern nibs means you can only hold the pen in one direction, and I'd agree. That also influences how you perceive the pen. Both things--the nib and section--really limit the number of ways you can hold the pen, which makes the size difference a more delicate issue.

Edited by paloma32

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So I emailed Todd Nussbaum, and he assured me that the price would not change anytime soon. I'll hold off my purchase probably until after midterms (plus, I'll actually get to enjoy it without stressing about marks). I've decided to go with the M600 Black w/ Blue stripes with an EF nib.

 

Thanks a lot everybody!

“My two fingers on a typewriter have never connected with my brain. My hand on a pen does. A fountain pen, of course. Ball-point pens are only good for filling out forms on a plane.”

Graham Greene

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What agreat post. I was thinking the same. I was not sure what pen to order, the M600 or M400. I decided to go for the M600... And then, the M400. Just have to wait for my wife to calm down a bit when she finds out about the m600 on the mailbox, buy her some flowers, take her out dor dinner and then( and only then), buy the M400.

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Same dillemma here, was looking at the m400 & m600 white tortoise. I went for the m600 which is a decent size for an all around carry pen. Then I got to buy the m800 clear demo, & that's when I realized that the m800 writes better than the two in terms of balance and handling. I still love my m600 though..

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Interesting topic. I got a semi-vintage 400 on Ebay and love it. I figured that since I have moderately small hands the 400 would be better than a 600. (I tried someone's 800 at a pen club meeting and it was just a little too large for me). And for me, the pen is a perfect size and weight.
I'd like to try a 600 at some point, just as a comparison. But of course it is a more expensive pen....

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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I had the same dilemma but decided to go the M8xx route. I keep a 2xx for carrying from one place to the other. I use my M8xx for major project writing.

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The 400/600 are made for posting; IMO they have much better balance posted....a 800 not.

 

The modern round blobby nib is easier to hold any way you want....it's line is not as clean and crisp as one of the '50-60 pens; which are stubbish; the '83-97 has a small American Bump under. That still gives a cleaner sharper line than Modern.

 

I noticed many of my lesser brands or 'no names' with semi-flex nibs from the '60's had a small American Bump under. So did the '50s-60's Pelikan 120 and the Geha school pens...Lamy 27 too I think; Artus also. It was not universal flat under the nib.

 

Many of my German 50's pens have a real flat underside of the nib. I thought as 'noobie' some idiot took the nibs to the stone or file to make a stub out of them. No, they were made so....not quite a stub, but stubbish, with a tad of flex.

 

The way I see it nibs with some flex, ie semi-flex and 'flexi'/maxi-semi-flex are not "Flex" pens. They have a tine spread of 3 X a light down stroke. Not-4-5-6 or even 7 X a light down stroke of "Flex" pens.

 

The semi-flex is a springy ++ nib that gives you flare with out any work....and is a slightly wetter nib do to ease of tine spread.

 

The Germans had a nib shape for those who preferred holding a fountain pen like a pencil. (pre BP)It was called Kuggle/ball....the bottom of the nib on my Geha 790 KM is flat, the ball on front and the top of the nib. The nib on my Osmia KM is some what thicker on the bottom but still 'flattish' on the bottom, ball on the top of the nib.

 

Modern Pelikan nibs are double Kuggle...they have a big fat ball on both sides of the nib (blobby). So you can't see any difference should you hold it flat like a vintage Kuggle nib, which wrote 'normal' for the times in that position.

German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

RIP...200's once great nib, now a double ball.:crybaby::wallbash:

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

"""""I've found that the tapering of the section on the modern M400 makes it less comfortable than the old style M400; I think that's why it feels small. I've read some people say that the tipping of the modern nibs means you can only hold the pen in one direction, and I'd agree""""""

 

Thanks lots...great info....always wondered why folks were saying a standard sized 400 was 'small'. I have the older pre'98, pre'66 400's. And have no desire to buy a modern 400...

Of course I grew up in the day of the silver dime and Standard pens.

If one grew up with Large clunker pens...I can see if not posted, Standard pens would be considered small....especially if some one is using the 'death grip'.

 

xxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

Semi-flex and 'flexi/maxi-semi-flex are not "Flex" pens. :angry:

 

Ok, because the modern 400/600 is a semi-nail....I have to qualify this.

Vintage- pre'66 &,Semi-vintage pre'98 regular flex are springy. They spread their tines when well mashed 3 X a light down stroke.

Both the Semi-flex and 'flexi/maxi-semi-flex, also spread their tines only 3 X a light down stroke.

But with different pressure rates.

Semi-flex takes half as much pressure as a vintage-semi-vintage regular flex to spread it's tines 3 X.

'flexi/maxi-semi-flex needs just 1/2 of a semi-flex or 1/4th a mashed regular flex.

 

Flex pen nibs and flex states start with a 4-5-6 or 7 X tine spread...with corresponding less pressure.

That's why I say Semi-flex and 'flexi/maxi-semi-flex are not "Flex" nibs.

Well...perhaps a 100% nail use would think a regular flex a "flex" pen. :D

Edited by Bo Bo Olson

German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

RIP...200's once great nib, now a double ball.:crybaby::wallbash:

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

 

 

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I recently bought a Pelikan from Todd. In my opinion he is first-rate. Prior to purchase I had tried out the m400 and the m600. I selected the 400 principally because of the girth. The two models are very similar. The 400 is a bit shorter, somewhat thinner, and it holds slightly less ink than the 600. Both have a 14k nib. Given the same choice today i would still select the m400. What I wouldn't do is to buy either Pelikan even at Todd's highly discounted price. These are good pens but not special. If you are looking for an ideal pen regardless of brand and price, you are most likely to find it at a local pen store. If you really want a Pelikan, i suggest that you shop the used market and be prepared to pay no more than $160. The EF nib on my m400 is narrower than a Pilot Vanishing Point's medium, but the width of the line depends on the paper. What I can't stress enough is that new Pelikan nibs are not consistent and you should be prepared to send it in for modification or repair, with proof of purchase, within 30 days of the delivery date. Keep your sales and shipping documentation!

Edited by prf5
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