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Pen Pit Stop : Pelikan M101N Bright Red

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Pen Pit Stop : Pelikan Souverän M101N Bright Red


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 M101N Bright Red”. 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 January 2019, mainly because I like the M101N look. It’s usually paired with a nice red ink.







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 Bright Red design was released in March 2017. At that time I hesitated … I was not totally convinced that I liked the pen enough to justify a purchase. But I kept going back to webshops to have a look at it. Finally, almost 2 years later, I caved and made the decision to buy the Bright Red.


The M101N Bright Red has a vibrant red barrel and cap sleeve with a distinctive marbled pattern. The barrel is complemented with red accents for cap top, piston knob and grip section. A matching amber ink window is built into the design, making it easy to check the ink level in the pen. The pen is complemented by gold trimmings for the double cap ring and clip. A 14-carat gold nib completes the design.


The marbled barrel pattern took a while to grow on me. It failed to fully appeal in the beginning, but over the years I found myself appreciating the pen’s overall looks more and more. There has been discussion about the colour difference between cap and barrel. That colour difference is definitely there, but – my guess – has nothing to do with a difference in material used. It’s just that the material is a bit translucent, and I think that the inner barrel and piston assembly darken up the body section a bit. Anyway… it’s part of the deal, and doesn’t bother me at all. 


The advertising surrounding this pen was a bit silly. On the Pelikan website it says: “the quality synthetic resin of the cap head and the filling handle polishes itself as it is used”. I always imagined my pen reaching out to the polishing cloth to give itself a good clean – that would be something! But alas, never happened.

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). 







The pictures above illustrate the size of the M101N Bright Red 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). Be careful when posting though – the M101N model doesn’t post as deeply and securely as the similar-sized M200/M400. If you use too much force, you might crack the cap.

Pen Characteristics

  • Build Quality :  build quality is excellent. The pen looks really polished and refined. It doesn’t really clean itself, but I can concur that it’s not a fingerprint magnet. The pen also withstands the passing of time without any problem. After two years of use, it looks good as new. I really appreciate the amber 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 pens are known for their excellent piston mechanism.
  • Nib & Performance : the M101N Souverän pens have gold nibs. This one comes with a monotone gold 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 during a sale for 351 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. 



My Pelikan Souverän M101N Bright Red is a beautiful vintage-looking pen, with a marbled-red body and red & gold finishes. This pen took some time to grow on me, but as time passes, I find myself appreciating it more and more.  Would I buy this pen again? Yes … mostly to complete my set of M101N pens. If I had to choose only one M101N, this one would not make it. That would become a duel between the Lizard and the Red Tortoise.


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Thanks for the review!

I loved the proposal to do it only after some time of use, this makes your review very authentic!


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Thank you. For some reason this model doesn't really float my boat. I've been tempted by the lizard model too but really dislike that it lacks texture. So I think I'll stick with what I have. 

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Thank you for the review.I read about the different shades of red in the barrel and the cap,do they change if you put another colour of ink?

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Excellent long form review. I've somehow resisted that pen for several years now. Been too focused on urushi pens I guess. I have the lizard and the red tortoise (and the 1st tortoise) so I've already made the same keeper decision you have.

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Thank you for this thorough review! I may be in the minority but I actually find the Bright Red the prettiest. Unfortunately, it has a different profile of the section than other pens from the M101N flock. It's funny how a small detail can affect my choices. Anyway, lovely pen (my wife has one) and brilliant Pelikan nibs.

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Thanks for the great review! Just what I needed to get back into the acquisition disorder... 😁

"There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey."

- John Ruskin (1819-1900)


Pelikan M800 Green (18C-750 OM), Pelikan 4001 Königsblau

Pelikan M200 "Citroenpers" (14C-585 M), Diamine Monaco Red

Pelikan M200 "Citroenpers" (14C-585 F), Diamine Prussian Blue

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