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Sailor Or Pelikan, Based On Nib Smoothness?


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Which one???


Posted, the 200/400 and 600 are light and nimble pens.


The standard sized 200 is a slightly cheaper body than a standard sized 400, with a much different nib. It is not quite so butter smooth, but is not a semi-nail like a 400/600. It is a nice springy regular flex, called 'Soft' in Japanese pens. It has a different tipping geometry more teardrop than the round double ball of the other Pelikan...400-600-800-1000.

The medium-large 600 has many pretty pens, even if some are lightly used, very many beautiful pens. It like the modern 400 is a semi-nail. It has a thicker girth. All three the 200/400 and 600 have great balance.


The Large 800 is a nail. (Don't have any if so, then the W.Germany or up to '97 regular flex. I don't chase nails.)

The oversized 1000 is now regular flex.....older Bock made nibs are semi-flex. It is not quite as large as I thought, though a big pen.


I prefer the 200's regular flex nib. A good comfortable ride, 1/2 a width narrower like vintage or semi-vintage nibs, and has a clean line. Almost 'butter smooth'. Very good and smooth. If you order nibs from England you can get them much cheaper than the States or even Germany.

For @ $90 you can get a 200, and the gold plated nibs in England cost lots less perhaps half....well in pounds, than the E27 I'd pay in Germany for a new screw in nib. So one could get EF, F, M and B.....Three more nibs for say E-80.

Is my plan to get a 200's B nib from there.....hey....$5-10 here, $5-10 there, next thing you know you have a couple bottles of ink.

I do like regular flex nibs they are better for shading inks than the wetter vintage semi-flex.


400/600 will be semi-nails and butter smooth.............good nibs to later make stubs or CI's out of.


The 200/400/600 will take semi-vintage regular flex nibs, or semi-flex vintage nibs.


The 800 and 1000 have their own nib sizes and will not do the others nibs. They will be big blobby nibbed and butter smooth.

It is possible to get the 800 used, with nice regular flex nibs..'90-97............the '87/88-90 W.Germany 800 :notworthy1: :puddle: has a great springy regular flex nib. That is the 800 I would get if I was going to buy a 800. Of course semi-vintage is not butter smooth.



M is smoother than F, which is smoother than EF. EF is worthless on laid or linen effect papers. It is too narrow.................well with Pelikan you can get a few fatter spare nibs.


Noobies because the gel pen is so much smoother than the old ball point, spoiled and think every fountain pen must be butter smooth..............when often that will be too smooth for slick paper and or with wetter inks.

Some learn how to make their nibs butter smooth, and come back a year later and ask how to get rid of butter smooth. :bunny01: :happyberet: :lticaptd:


Once you start with Pelikans, you will sooner or later go semi-vintage or vintage.....much cheaper much better nibs........IMO. They will not be, nor need be butter smooth.

Good and Smooth, the level under Butter Smooth, is quite delightful. ...Yes, sadly, if you put your mind to it....there is paper under the nib :o ....but only if you put your mind to feeling it. :P

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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Amazon has the M800/805 for ~$300.



There's an anthracite one for 295.00 as long as you're OK with a B nib. That's the best price I've seen on that version...tempting, but I'm trying not to buy another Pelikan for my next pen!

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Thank you all for your replies! Really great opinions here. To be on the "safe" side, I'll go with the Pelikan. :)



And if you have any dissatisfaction with it at all, post here asking for help. There are a lot of very knowledgeable people here who can help you sort small issues out without sending a pen back! I hate to see anyone turned off to a pen brand based on one bad experience...

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I have an m800 f and a sailor 1911 m,

Both are wonderful pens, and you truly can't go wrong either. Sailor has more feedback and is softer (a bit more flex), pelikan is harder and a bit smoother.

Consider also the filling mechanism, pelikan is an excellent piston, sailor are mainly cartridge/converter, so if you need a lot of ink in the pen, get a Pelikan or a piston sailor. But either are very very fine writing instruments.

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this is rather late, but obviously both brands are great but completely different in size and feel.


Pelikan nibs in general tend to be smooth to write with. Sailor nibs give that awesome 'feedback' feel while still glide smoothly on paper. unfortunately, for those who not used to this would consider Sailor nibs as scratchy. i personally love it.


Sailor nibs also give a more controlled ink flow when writing, whereas Pelikan nibs tend to be very wet. depending on what inks you prefer to use, Pelikan nibs best with drier inks, while Sailor nibs best with more lubricated inks.


remember, Pelikan is a German brand using an Western standard nib, while Sailor is a Japanese brand using a Japanese standard nib. Sailor nibs tend to write a thinner line compared to Pelikan nibs of the same size.


the nib performance difference between the two brands depends on the nib size and ink used. and it's all personal preference. hope you enjoy whichever brand you decided on.

Edited by rudyhou


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  • 3 weeks later...

For the budget, you can get both brands with a little patience.

All aspects have been covered in previous posts.


I would try them at a store/pen group/friends, if possible. Also, factor in a few interesting inks to get the ball rolling. thumbup.gif

Engineer :

Someone who does precision guesswork based on unreliable data provided by those of questionable knowledge.

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I would say Sailor is the safe choice because their QC on their nibs is far better than Pelikan's. A Pelikan may write smoother after extensive tuning and / or modification, but a Sailor is far more likely to write well out of the box.

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I’ve had two 1911s, a standard and a large. The standard, with music nib, skipped, with too much feedback. I finally had it modified to a CI. It now writes beautifully, but it is no longer a typical Sailor. The large, with H-B nib, was quite nice, but not exceptional. I had it made a CI. It is one of my best writers. Of course, it too is no longer a typical Sailor. Unfortunately, I don’t like the Sailor hard plastic. I find it uncomfortable. I do like my Pro Slim, with EF, but I don’t use EFs often. Being smaller, the plastic doesn’t bother me.


I love all my Pelikans, my vintage, non-vintage, my CIs, and my unmodified. They are smooth, and I love the materials.

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In my opinion, Pelikan will give more of a buttery smooth writing experience than Sailor. My 400 M is significantly smoother than my 1911 MF, and even though the Sailor nib is slightly finer it has much, much more feedback than the Pelikan. Sailor nibs are still incredible, some of the best factory nibs available, but if you are going buttery smooth, I would go Pelikan.

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There's an anthracite one for 295.00 as long as you're OK with a B nib. That's the best price I've seen on that version...tempting, but I'm trying not to buy another Pelikan for my next pen!

Oh, really... I will have to look into this. I’ve been looking for a great price on an 800, so this might be the one... :)

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Ive had two 1911s, a standard and a large. The standard, with music nib, skipped, with too much feedback.

I had a Sailor music nib, too. I didn't like mine because it had to be used at a higher angle than i like to use. At a lower angle, it was skippy and unpleasant. That said, it still wrote, just not the way i would have preferred.


I can't say that about every modern Pelikan I've had. Every single modern Pelikan nibs i've had need tuning and/or a light touch up on the grinding wheel; one new nib was so messed up it would not lay down ink. No mas.


Vintage Pelikans are entirely different. They were made by a different company and have vastly different and superior writing characteristics. However, due to the flex and square cut nibs, they aren't necessarily the smoothest nibs out there.

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I would also go with Pelikan. I find most of mine are quite bouncy, very smooth nibs. No flex, but fun to write with and no scritchy scratchy sounds, though my broad italic sometimes sings to itself :-) Even in EF.


I find Sailor on the sharp side - not so smooth. You can adjust for that by selecting wetter inks.


I will say I have two dozen Pelikans, and only two Sailors (1911 and precious wood), so you can probably trust my opinions on Pelikans rather more than you can my thoughts about the Japanese pens.

Too many pens, too little time!


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