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Pelikan Ductus


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PEN REVIEW: Pelikan Ductus (silver trim P3100, B nib)

 

The Pelikan Ductus is a pen that is not very popular on this forum, if the posts in this topic are any indication. While there are certainly legitimate reasons for disliking this pen, I believe it is not deserving of the blanket condemnation some have chosen to bestow on it. I hope the detailed review that follows will get at least some of you to take a second, closer, look at this pen.

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1. First Impressions (8/10) – I bought the pen used on the FPN marketplace, but the seller was selling it in the original (large) Pelikan box with papers. Nothing excessively luxurious here -- the usual nice, but not excessively showy, Pelikan presentation.

2. Appearance & Design (8/10) – The appearance of this pen is very polarizing. The review of this pen's appearance has to be split into two parts: nib and everything else. It's as if there were two different designers for the pen -- one for the nib, one for everything else. Or maybe Pelikan took the nib from one design and attached it to the pen from some other design ....

 

The nib is, to put it as kindly as possible, ugly. I realize that "ugly" is subjective, but what else do you call an oddball shape, unadorned, nib that is not even sized in proportion to the rest of the pen? Actually, it's not entirely unadorned -- there are vertical lines running along the nib. Even the Pelikan logo on the nib is undersized, leaving a great deal of empty space on either side. The good thing is that it is 18kt gold ("rhodanized," according to the Pelikan website, which I take it means that it is plated with rhodium). Anyway, the nib gets at best a 6 out of 10 when it comes to looks, which is shockingly bad for a Pelikan. ["Looks like a garden trowel" was an unforgettable description of the nib in the above thread.]

 

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The Pontiac Aztek of nibs! [Apologies to non-North Americans for the reference to probably the worst-looking car of modern times.]

 

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Showing the pen at its best, with the M800 and M215 (lozenge design) for comparison. Note the difference in the clip shape.

 

The rest of the body, on the other hand, is stunning! It's derived from the same school that gave rise to the M215 designs. I think Pelikan was trying to create the anti-Souveran, so, whereas the Souverans (and the M215) have the pinstripe (or design, in the case of the M215) on the barrel, the Ductus has the pinstripes everywhere except the barrel. Whatever the genesis of the design, it works. The clip is also different -- not so much the usual Pelikan beak as a duck's bill when viewed face-on, and more arched than the Souveran clip. The rest of the pen gets a 10/10 from me. The clip, cap top, and rings are platinum-plated, while the rest of the cap and the filler knob are metal, lacquered black, and the pinstripes are silver. By the way, a Fahrneys catalog I was reading claims that finishing this pen requires as many as 300 steps, many of them by hand. This may go some way to explain the steep price (see discussion below as to value for money).

 

Weighting the nib equally with the rest of the pen as regards appearance and design, I give this pen overall a score of 8/10 in this category.

3. Weight & Dimensions (9/10) – It looks big and heavy, and it is, but not excessively so.

Dimensions, courtesy of the Colorado Pens web site: Cap Off: 4 5/8" x 7/16" - Cap Posted: 5 3/4" x 7/16" - Capped: 4 7/8" x 7/16" The weight is 41 or 42 grams depending on which website you consult. It is slightly taller than the M800 and heavier, too, and I had some misgivings about that, given that until now I thought the M800 was too heavy for me. However, the balance of the Ductus, unposted, is ideal for my hand, and I feel I can write for hours without fatigue (and have). This is the pen that turned me toward collecting larger pens.

4. Nib & Performance (10/10) – I'm not going to discuss the looks of the nib here, only its writing performance, which is ... heavenly! An amazingly smooth nib (I have the factory broad) that writes with no skipping, no hard starts, and simply ... disappears, so you can concentrate on marshaling your thoughts, not on manipulating your writing instrument. Actually, that goes for the pen as a whole, but every now and then, when you pause in your writing, you cannot but be distracted by the gorgeous feel of the pen in your hand.

5. Filling System (1/10) - What was Pelikan thinking? They clearly want to rank this pen alongside their M800, and have priced it accordingly, but they really let it down by saddling it with a filling system that is exclusively cartridge fill. And I mean exclusively -- not even a converter will work here! You can fill a converter with an eyedropper and insert it in place of a cartridge, but you cannot fill the converter directly from a bottle while it is inserted in the pen. The reason is that blind cap, which unscrews to reveal what Pelikan trumpets as their "innovative cartridge system." Pshaw, say I! It's just a rigid frame that holds a long international cartridge (or two standard short international cartridges, back-to-back) in place, tightly. I have nothing against cartridges, but a pen in this class should be able to fill natively from a bottle. The Sheaffer Intrigue was able to solve the problem of filling a converter while using the same blind-cap-plus-cartridge-cage strategy, so why couldn't Pelikan?

 

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This is the filling system of a $400 pen?

6. Cost & Value (8/10) – I bought this pen from the FPN marketplace for less than half of list price (which is $400). Clearly, the list price is absurd for a pen that lacks a bottle-filling mechanism. However, at the price I paid for it, it is very competitive, principally because of the expense that has gone into lacquering the top and blind caps and plating the caps, clip, rings, pinstripes, and even the nib.

7. Conclusion (Final score[44]: 7.3) - Hold, or behold the pen capped, and you will be very impressed by its size, heft, and the general luxuriousness of build and the attention to detail. Uncap it, and you will recoil from the appearance of the nib! Write with it, and you will be enthralled by how everything just comes together perfectly. Unscrew the blind cap to fill it, and you will fume at the absence of any bottle-filling mechanism. It would seem that the pen is frustrating and enchanting in equal parts, but the one thing that matters is how it feels while writing, and that is magic! It balances better than my M800, the weight is perfect, and the nib's performance is exemplary. If you can look beyond the shortcomings of the nib and the filling mechanism, and find one for sale at half the ludicrous list price, then this is a pen you will not regret acquiring!

Edited by ParkerBeta

S.T. Dupont Ellipsis 18kt M nib

Opus 88 Flow steel M nib

Waterman Man 100 Patrician Coral Red 18kt factory stub nib

Franklin-Christoph Model 19 with Masuyama 0.7mm steel cursive italic nib

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Thanks for this review of a pen that is indeed shrouded in silence : )

 

Unfortunately, to me this object represents everything that is "bad" about current pen manufacturing: Flash minus substance for twice the price. I think that many feel betrayed by the release of the Ductus in particular, because it came from Pelikan -- a company that has been championed by its fans as the "anti-Montblanc".

 

I think that this paragraph pretty much gets to the heart of it...

 

5. Filling System (1/10) - What was Pelikan thinking? They clearly want to rank this pen alongside their M800, and have priced it accordingly, but they really let it down by saddling it with a filling system that is exclusively cartridge fill. And I mean exclusively -- not even a converter will work here! You can fill a converter with an eyedropper and insert it in place of a cartridge, but you cannot fill the converter directly from a bottle while it is inserted in the pen. The reason is that blind cap, which unscrews to reveal what Pelikan trumpets as their "innovative cartridge system." Pshaw, say I! It's just a rigid frame that holds a long international cartridge (or two standard short international cartridges, back-to-back) in place, tightly. I have nothing against cartridges, but a pen in this class should be able to fill natively from a bottle. The Sheaffer Intrigue was able to solve the problem of filling a converter while using the same blind-cap-plus-cartridge-cage strategy, so why couldn't Pelikan?

...

This is the filling system of a $400 pen?

 

 

 

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Thanks for breaking the silence with your review. I actually like the look of the pen (although I've never seen it in person), but not at the price of an M800. And the only thing that really bugs me is the cartridge-only filling system. That doesn't accommodate the inks I like, and I really like the inks I like.

 

Doug

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Yes, thank you for the review. It's a nice addition to FPN.

 

What they were thinking? They made the same mistake that Omas made with the ACS system. Possibly the producers think that the mass market want an easy to use proprietary system... and that the disadvantage of the fountain pen is to mess with ink. But I don't see the difficulty of insert a cartridge in a pen, onestly...

 

I wonder if the Ductus has some market success out there. Possibly our "geek" view is not the more apt to be used for marketing researches... :P

However, judging the number of Ductus available on ebay compared to the Souverans, I'd say that the Ductus was a hole in the see.

Now, if only they would add variety to the Souveran line rather than subtract... will they understand?

 

Cheers,

<font face="Verdana"><b><font color="#2f4f4f">d</font></b><font color="#4b0082">iplo</font></font><br /><br /><a href='http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/index.php?showuser=6228' class='bbc_url' title=''><font face="Trebuchet MS"><br /><font size="4"><b><font color="#8b0000"><font color="#696969">Go</font> <font color="#006400">To</font> <font color="#a0522d">My</font> <font color="#4b0082">FPN</font> Profile!</font></b></font></font><br /></a>

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Your review has not only informed me of the worst filling system ever (with the possible exception of the Rotring Newton's), it has introduced foreigners, previously unsullied by contact therewith, to the Pontiac Aztec.

 

Sometimes Google is not your friend. Let us draw the shroud back over this, and never speak of it again.

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Let us draw the shroud back over this, and never speak of it again.

Deal. I already don't know what you're talking about.

 

Doug

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I think they could have come up with a more attractive nib, but I think I can see what they were after. The lengthwise flow of the shape, indentations and lines in the nib are supposed to continue the pinstripes of the body and cap. It's not *supposed* to convey a sense of "tradition" as a standard flared out nib would. I just think they overshot (or is it undershot) the mark, and instead of coming up with "timelessly contemporary" ended up with "industrial". It could have been worse. They could have ended up with "steampunk".

 

My list of beefs with the pen starts of course with filling system ... but price, size and weight are right up there as well.

 

I do like the pinstripes though. Make it a nice light piston fill M605 cousin. Try again on the nib - maybe a slimmed down relatively unadorned nib, but not quite as much as a departure from tradition (it's not like the pinstripes are anti-conservative!).

 

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Goodness; did they misspell 'duck's arse' when naming this one?

 

And as for the Pontiac Aztec, surely there must be worse cars out there (*trots over to 'World's Worst Cars' book, trudges back*), my God, you're right; never have the scales fallen from my eyes so dramatically!!!

"Truth can never be told, so as to be understood, and not be believ'd." (Wiiliam Blake)

 

Visit my review: Thirty Pens in Thirty Days

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Thanks for a good review.

 

I like the looks of the Ductus, including the nib. The pen's weight would not bother me, I am sure. But, as most of the other responders have noted, the filling system is a design bomb. For a price equal to or greater than an M-800, I expect a quality piston filling system.

 

Whether for the aesthetics of the pen, or its filling system, I think one can see why this model gets little attention. Cummon, Pelikan, y'all can do better.

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When i saw this pen for the first time i was very impressed. It is a very good looking pen, until i saw the awfull nib and the even worst filling system. I hope one day the make a pistonfiller version with another nib.

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The MB 147 has a similar filling system.

 

I think the Ductus is actually supposed to be Pelikan's equivalent of the Starwalker line.

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PB!

 

Very nice review! Thank you!

 

I tried out your Ductus at Pen Posse, and I really liked it. I didn't notice the "ugly" nib, just the handsome pen itself. And I really liked the way it wrote. Maybe you told me about the cartridge-only feature, but it didn't register. It does seem like complicating what should be a simple c/c mechanism. That's a little odd.

 

But I liked the pen overall.

_________________

etherX in To Miasto

Fleekair <--French accent.

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The MB 147 has a similar filling system.

 

That was my thought exactly (the MB 147 Traveler). You have to wonder if the intent was to offer a pen that could travel easily, since they offer piston fillers on their higher end products (well lower too), which some folks aren't comfortable flying with on a regular basis.

 

Personally, I don't like the nib and the clip.

"I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” - Robert McClosky
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So many times I looked at this pen and so many time thought about buying it but for me the filling system of cartridge only simply is a deal killer.

Yes the nib is not very attractive but this is somthing I can live with but cartridge only ? come on Pelikan how disapointing is that!!! Never the less the pen is stunningly beautiful and if you can look beyon the cartridge only then I envy you as it looks like you are going to have a lot of fun with such a gorgeous pen.

Respect to all

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Hmmm, mixed opinions about this pen, but overall I think I like its looks, including the nib. The visual design of a pen is a matter of personal preference. For instance, some people adore the flashy type or bling bling pens (like this MB pope pen. Duofold Snake etc) while I think of Liberace when I see these pens. To each his own. :happyberet:

 

I have mixed feelings about the filling system, not because it is not piston fill (which I prefer) but because it does not take a converter. :glare:

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I kind of like the nib. Would certainly love its use.

 

Very good review, thanks!

 

Pretty balanced and fair, I'd say.

"how do I know what I think until I write it down?"

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Thank you for this review, a beam of light on this obscure object (now I understand all the darkness, and, er, the pen filling system probably deserves it). Shouldn't be difficult to redesign it with a piston filler, but that's unlikely, they were probably looking for something less expensive than a piston (and a nice revenue-maker also, with all those cartridges). I kinda like the aesthetics of the pen, anyway, but I'm not going to shell out the money for a cartridge pen. Modern fountain pen users are mainly coloured ink lovers, IMHO; if you like cartridges that much you'll probably like ballpoints/rollers even more.

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I always found ductus to be one of Pelikan's best looking pens. It has this pseudo modern elegance that is hard to describe. When ever I go to the pelikan section, I find myself staring at the ductus :)

 

 

A merciful heart is the greatest of all possessions.

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The pen community is very conservative and I think new products and designs have a hard time finding a place. If a nib is not heart shaped, it has a hard time getting a date.

 

The carriage that takes the cartridge OR CONVERTER I guess makes sure the cartridge lines up with the feed tube nipple. That may be a plus. But it seems a tad tougher to clean than it ought to.

 

I do like the nib. But then I would kind of like one of those Moore Fingertip pens. J

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