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Pen Pit Stop : Pelikan M405 Stresemann


namrehsnoom
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Pen Pit Stop : Pelikan Souverän M405 Stresemann
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.
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The fountain pen that makes it to the pit stop today is the "Pelikan M405 Stresemann". 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 July 2017. The pen has a stylish business-elegance, with just enough flair in the barrel to avoid being boring-looking. Mine is usually paired with a nice grey ink.
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Pen Look & Feel
The M405 Stresemann is an elegant pen, with an anthracite-striped barrel and with the cap, section and piston knob done in black resin. The pen's barrel looks quite stunning with eye-catching black/grey pinstripes. It's this pinstripe pattern that gave the pen its name, which is a respectful nod to Gustav Stresemann, who was Secretary of State of the Weimar Republic in the 1920's. Herr Stresemann was well-known for wearing black/grey striped trousers with a black jacket. He would undoubtedly have appreciated this Pelikan pen. The barrel is semi-transparent, making it easy to keep an eye on the ink-level in the pen.
Gold would not look good on this black-accented pen, so Pelikan wisely decided to use palladium trimmings (making it an M405 instead of an M400). Pelikan also dropped the tradional two-toned nib, and opted for a monotone rhodium-plated 14C gold nib. All these pieces complement each other quite nicely, making for a very elegant and beautiful pen.
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Like all Pelikans, the cap unscrews with about three quarters rotation, so it's quickly ready for action. The M400/405 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. For me, this M405 is just the right size and weight (i.e. featherweight).
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The original F-nib on this pen worked perfectly out-of-the-box producing a relatively wet line. A short while ago, I replaced the original nib with an F cursive italic I got from FPnibs.com. This F-CI nib not only performs flawlessly, but effortlessly elevates my writing to a superior level with its elegant and aesthetically pleasing line variation. My first customized nib, and it's truly a game-changer!
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The pictures above illustrate the size of the M405 Stresemann in comparison with a standard Lamy Safari. The pen is definitely smaller than a Lamy, but still reasonable in size - not so small that it gets 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 two years of use, it looks good as new. The barrel is semi-transparent, making it easy to judge ink level.
  • Weight & Dimensions : about 125 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 M400/405 model will not be your thing. Posted - the pen becomes about 150 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 M400/405 Souverän pens have gold nibs. This one comes with a rhodium-plated monotone nib, that really suits the aesthetics of the pen. The nib unit can be exchanged quite easily, and is compatible between the M120/M200/M400/M101N models. Being able to change nibs is a significant plus in my book!
  • Price : about 310 EUR, including taxes. Not cheap, but also not too expensive for a gold-nibbed pen. In my opinion you get value for money.

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Conclusion
My Pelikan Souverän M405 Stresemann is a beautiful classic-looking pen, that manages to stand out from the crowd with its elegant pin-striped barrel. A really nice pen, that I have now complemented with a really nice cursive-italic nib. Add a grey ink, and you are in writer's heaven!
So the answer to the question "would I buy this pen again?" is easy: of course I would! No doubt about it.
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  • Calabria

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Thanks for the updated review.

I absolutely love my M405 Stresemann. It's the most expensive pen I ever bought, but I had been lusting after one as soon as they came out; and in fact even before that -- when they did the M805 a couple of years before I was going "Oh, if they brought that out in a smaller size I'd be knocking over banks to get one!" Fortunately I did NOT have to turn to a life of crime B) -- due to circumstances which will never happen again I had a big shopping budget that spring and had the money to buy it (and an M405 in the Striated Blue as well :D).

I wasn't able to get the "correct" nib for mine, but that's okay. Getting a B nib was more important to me than "matchy-matchy". Although I have considered having it reground to something like a cursive italic, so I was wondering how you liked the CI regrind on yours.

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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  • 3 months later...

How much did the extra nib cost? I find the nibs to be the most disappointing part of current Pelikans - just not that interesting. Is that why you replaced the nib?

"If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live."

– Lin Yu-T'ang

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How much did the extra nib cost? I find the nibs to be the most disappointing part of current Pelikans - just not that interesting. Is that why you replaced the nib?

 

See fpnibs.com for up-to-date prices.

I like the Pelikan F-nibs just fine (pun intended), but don’t care that much for their M-nibs. I find the line they provide not crisp enough. I decided to try a customised nib, and the “cursive italic” suits me just fine. Due to the re-grind, the F-ci is a bit broader than an F in the broad strokes, and really fine in the italic stroke - giving an elegant line variation. With an M-ci you get the same effect, but with a broader line. I really like these customised nibs ... I have some more on order for my Kaweco Lilliput/Sport and my Pelikan M200 (steel nib).

Edited by namrehsnoom
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