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Pen Pit Stop : Pelikan M120 Green-Black Special Edition


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Pen Pit Stop : Pelikan M120 Green-Black Special Edition

Welcome to the Pen Pit Stop. Here you will find reviews of pens that already have some mileage on them. More specifically, these reviews are of pens that are in my personal collection, and that have been in use for at least a year. I thought it would be fun to do it this way - no new & shiny pens here, but battered vehicles that have been put to work for at least a year. Let's find out how they have withstood the ravages of time.


The fountain pen entering the pit stop today is the "Pelikan M120 Green-Black SE (2016)". Pelikan is one of the best-known European pen-makers, with a long history dating all the way back to 1832 when the company was founded in Hanover, Germany. The brand offers both semi-entry-level pens (like the M200 series) all the way up to their flagship M1000 model. All Pelikan pens adhere to the same classical style, and as such are immediately recognizable.

I bought this pen in May 2016, and it was my first Pelikan. My eye fell on this pen because of its classical lines, and its functional design. My flagship pen at that time was the Lamy 2000 with its austere industrial styling. This pen is an equally no-nonsense writing instrument, but looks more elegant & sophisticated.

The M120 Green-Black SE is modeled after the original M120 school pens produced in the 1955-1965 timeframe. A distinguishing feature is the special nib engraving, that is inspired by a bit of flourish taken from a historic Günther Wagner pricelist.





Pen Look & Feel

The M120 Green-Black is a low-key pen, sporting a green body with black accents, and a black cap. A small gold-plated cap-band shows some branding with the words "Pelikan" and "Germany". The finial has a black-on-black engraving of a pelikan mother feeding a single chick. The pen looks all business (not contract-signing business, but the daily hard work type of business) - it definitely reflects the no-nonsense purpose of a school-pen.

Like all Pelikans, the cap unscrews with about three quarters rotation, so it's quickly ready for action. The M120 is a smaller pen, but posts easily and securely, giving it a substantial size that is very comfortable to write with, even if you have larger hands. I've got smaller hands myself, and typically use the pen unposted. The pen sports a green ink-window, that fits seamlessly with the pen's colour palette, and that lets you easily check the ink-level.

The original nib on my pen was an F, which unfortunately was not a very good writer. I later replaced it with an M200 steel M-nib that feels just right. That's something I really appreciate about the smaller Pelikan pens: the M120, M200, M101N and M400 all use the same nib-unit, so it is really easy to swap nibs between pens. And M200 steel nibs are not too expensive, so you can experiment with different nib sizes without making a dent in your wallet.




The pictures above illustrate the size of the M120 Green-Black in comparison with a standard Lamy AL-star. The pen is definitely smaller than a Lamy, but still reasonable in size - not so small that it is uncomfortable (and if you find it too small uncapped, you can simply post it).

Pen Characteristics

  • Build Quality : build quality is excellent. The pen looks really polished and refined. The pen also withstands the passing of time without any problem. After almost three years of use, it looks mostly good as new, showing only some micro-scratches.
  • Weight & Dimensions : about 130 mm when capped - and as such a rather small pen. It's also definitely a featherweight. If you prefer pens with some heft to them, the M120 model will not be your thing. Posted - the pen becomes about 155 mm long, and fits even larger hands.
  • Filling System : this is a piston-filler, that holds quite some ink. The piston is made from plastic, but works really well. Pelikan are known for their excellent piston mechanism.
  • Nib & Performance : the M120 Green-Black SE has a steel nib, with special engraving. I exchanged the original nib - which was not a great writer - with an M200 steel M-nib, which offered a much smoother writing experience. I quite like that you can buy the Pelikan nibs separately. If you accidentally damage your nib, you can simply buy a new one. I also like that the nib units are interchangeable between the M120/M200/M400/M101N models. M200 steel nibs are quite reasonably priced at 24 EUR.
  • Price : 189 EUR, including taxes. In retrospect, this is too expensive for a simple pen with a steel nib. You definitely pay a premium for the Special Edition moniker. Objectively speaking: not enough value for money.



The Pelikan M120 Green-Black Special Edition is a no-nonsense workhorse, that still manages to look stylish and elegant. I personally quite like the looks of the pen. But in my opinion, the pen is overpriced - Pelikan really charges a hefty premium for the Special Edition tag. That being said, I'm still glad that I bought this pen. It marked the start of my flock, which has grown quite a bit since this first specimen.

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  • The Good Captain


  • namrehsnoom


  • 1nkulus


  • WLSpec


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I like this pen a lot. At present it is out of my rotation, though.

The Good Captain

"Meddler's 'Salamander' - almost as good as the real thing!"

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Nice review, average pen, overpriced.

M400 gets you a 14K for a similar price and the M600 is not too far off.

Engineer :

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

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