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Pen Pit Stop : Pelikan M101N Lizard



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​Pen Pit Stop : Pelikan Souverän M101N Lizard

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 enters the pit stop today is the "Pelikan M101N Lizard". 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 recognisable.
I bought this pen in August 2018. The pen has a stylish business-elegance, with a vintage feel to it. It's usually paired with a nice grey ink.
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Pen Look & Feel
The M101N series are Special Edition pens that Pelikan produces for a limited time only. The design of these pens is derived from pens dating back to the 1930’s. This particular Lizard design is based on a historical model that dates back to 1937. The Lizard SE was released in December 2012 - I was lucky enough to be able to still get one in August 2018.
The M101N Lizard is a beautiful looking pen, with a stunning design of grey-black scales on cap and barrel. For me personally, the pattern is more reminiscent of snake scales, and Black Mamba would be a more appropriate name ;-) But naming aside, Pelikan produced a really beautiful pen here! The grey-black scale pattern is complemented with black accents (cap top, piston knob and grip section). A matching shaded grey ink window is built into the design, and makes it easy to view the ink level in the pen.
Gold would not look good on this black-accented pen, so Pelikan wisely decided to use palladium trimmings for the double cap ring and clip. 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.
I thought it would be nice to put the Lizard next to the Stresemann for comparison. Both are beautiful black-accented pens with silver-coloured trimmings. The M101N Lizard and M405 Stresemann are of comparable size when capped. Uncapped, the Lizard turns out to be a little bit smaller. Similarly themed elegant pens... I love them both!
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Like all Pelikans, the cap unscrews with about three quarters rotation, so it’s quickly ready for action. The M101N is a smaller pen, but can be posted, 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 M101N is just the right size and weight (i.e. featherweight).
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The pictures above illustrate the size of the M101N Lizard 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 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 more than a year of use, it looks good as new. I really appreciate the shaded grey ink window incorporated in the design, that makes 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 M101N 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 M101N 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 : I got this pen for about 460 EUR, including taxes. These are definitely more expensive than the regular M400 pens. For this, you get a limited production pen, with a vintage-inspired design.
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Conclusion
My Pelikan Souverän M101N Lizard is a beautiful vintage-looking pen, with a truly stunning grey-black scaled pattern that really makes this pen stand out from the crowd. 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: yup! I would... without hesitation.
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Gloucesterman

Nice review. Your size comparisons to the M400 and the Lamy helped me gauge my level of interest. Just recently received a new red M600 which fits me just about perfectly. I will have to use someone else's M400 for a bit before I invest in one of those.

Thank you for the information.

 

BTW, I found your "after a year" comments valuable as well.

“Don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today, because if you do it today and like it, you can do again tomorrow!”

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While I am not a fan of Pelikan pens, this is one of the 3 Pelikans that I have I really like. The other 2 being a M420 and a 7000 Majesty. This curious little pen has always had an allure that keeps me coming back again and again despite it having a VERY wet and broad medium nib, my preference being fine nibs and larger pens.

 

However the finial somehow broke this year in spring. I sent it in for service and have yet to hear whether the pen is still in Germany or lost forever.

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I have the same pen and treasure it. I like how the cap final stick up to make it easier to pull from a pen pocket. I enjoy it much more then my m2xx/400 models.

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~ namrehsnoom:

 

Thank you for posting such beautiful images.

I've returned to this thread several times to admire your photography of this special pen.

Tom K.

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Yes, it is beautiful. There was an older version, right? Any photos of that pen?

 

Erick

 

Using right now:

Penlux Masterpiece Grande "F" nib running Pelikan Olivine

PenBBS 480 "F" nib running Pelikan Brilliant Brown

Santini Italia Toscana Fifth Avenue "F" nib running PR Blue Suede

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I am really glad to read a review from the long term user perspective. I think we often get too hung up on what's new - new versions, new pens, new manufacturers - but it's over the long term that you get to know a pen's character and its little quirks, faults, virtues...

 

I know that my own large collection contains a number of absolutely vital pens that I love and use again and again, like my Pelikan 400s and m600s, Platinum 3776s, Waterman Kultur (yes, a lovely cheapie), and a lot of pens that I loved at the time but which now languish in their trays looking nice but not getting an awful lot of inking.

Too many pens, too little time!

http://fountainpenlove.blogspot.fr/

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  • 2 weeks later...

I really like the idea of reviewing pens after time has passed and you really get to put in some use and see how it holds up. Thanks for the review. Also I assume that's a resin body and not celluloid?

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I really like the idea of reviewing pens after time has passed and you really get to put in some use and see how it holds up. Thanks for the review. Also I assume that's a resin body and not celluloid?

 

from Pelikan’s website:

The patterned barrel and the cap of this fountain pen are made of cellulose acetate with a completely smooth surface. High quality resin was used for the black pieces

 

https://www.pelikan.com/pulse/Pulsar/en_US_INTL.FWI.displayShop.252222./m101n-lizard

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from Pelikan’s website:

The patterned barrel and the cap of this fountain pen are made of cellulose acetate with a completely smooth surface. High quality resin was used for the black pieces

 

https://www.pelikan.com/pulse/Pulsar/en_US_INTL.FWI.displayShop.252222./m101n-lizard

 

Oh, that's a bit unexpected. Definitely gonna look out for one of these then.

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  • 1 month later...

 

Oh, that's a bit unexpected. Definitely gonna look out for one of these then.

 

Just keep in mind that Cellulose Acetate is not the same thing as Celluloid that you asked about earlier.

“I admit it, I'm surprised that fountain pens are a hobby. ... it's a bit like stumbling into a fork convention - when you've used a fork all your life.” 

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The Good Captain

Actually, this Lizard release has been the only one that I've had problems with. The piston came unscrewed but Ross sent it back to Pelikan and it was sorted ou. If one looks carefully below the filler knob, there'a a flat side to the plastic, to let the mechanism to be removed.

I've not tried to do it though, apart from by accident...!

The Good Captain

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

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Just keep in mind that Cellulose Acetate is not the same thing as Celluloid that you asked about earlier.

You're right, and after a bit of googling I also got a mini-chemistry lesson.

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