Thursday, May 5, 2016

Review: Pelikan Souverän M800 Grand Place Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren

I am annoyed with Pelikan in an affectionate, take-my-money sort of way. I mean, I had successfully navigated the tempting waters of the Stresemann, the Burnt Orange, and the Demonstrator. I reviewed two of the three, and managed not to buy them. And now they throw yet another one at me! I once again thank Appelboom profusely for loaning me this pen, even though it is so coveted and special. Without their generosity, I would not have had the pleasure of reviewing this.
Review Pelikan Souverän M800 Grand Place Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (16)
The Grand Place material is originally found in the M620 City Series, and now it has returned as a special edition, limited production in the Souverän M800 size. The Grand Place honors the heart of Brussels' old town - built in the 15th century, and a symbol of the city's independence from the artistocratic government. I imagine the colors of the pen reflect the colors of the town - buildings, sky... I have not been there, but the pen is beautiful.


Body Material: Resin
Trim: 24kt gold-plated
Nib material: 18kt bicolor
Ink capacity: ~ 1.2 ml
Nibs: EF, F, M, B
Length (capped): 141.3 mm/5.56"
Length (uncapped nib-end): 127.2 mm/5.01''
Length (posted): 165.3 mm/6.51''
Barrel Diameter: 11.1 - 13.0 mm/0.45'' - 0.51''
Section Diameter: 10.8 - 11.2 mm/0.42'' - 0.44''
Weight (all): 26 g
Weight (cap): 8 g
Weight (body): 18 g
Fill type: Piston-filler
Price: €599,00
Where to buy: Sold out, but you can browse the other Pelikans!
Discount code for 10% off your purchases, excluding Montblanc: friend
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Like the Burnt Orange, the Grand Place was packaged in Pelikan's standard gift box. The box is pretty solid, with a faux wood-like base, and a matte silver-grey lid. Inside, the soft leathery pouch holds the pen, and it's closed with an elastic and a red plastic seal. The pouch sits on a soft plastic bed. Underneath this, Pelikan includes a Moments of Joy booklet and warranty information. It's a pretty solid box. I don't care much for the packaging, but at least the pouch is useful.
Review Pelikan Souverän M800 Grand Place Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (1)

The Souverän M800 is an elegant, lovely pen. I am a fan of the Souverän design, so considering just the model and not the finish, I love it. The pen is relatively large, though not an oversize like the M1000. It has a round cap and barrel, with slightly rounded off ends. It is well proportioned so that it does not look chunky, even though it's large.
Review Pelikan Souverän M800 Grand Place Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (2)
Review Pelikan Souverän M800 Grand Place Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (3)
The finial is raised, and has a modern Pelikan logo in gold-on-brushed gold. The gold complements the warm colors in the body of the pen well. The clip is attached externally, by a ring around the top of the clip. I love Pelikan's clips - they are perfectly shaped and they suit the pens well. The clip is gold-plated and is shaped like (a much more elegant) pelican's bill. It angles up at the end, but sits close to the cap, so it doesn't add much to the width of the cap. The center band at the end of the cap is very simple - not too ornate or obnoxious, which I like. It is engraved with Pelikan Souverän Germany.
Review Pelikan Souverän M800 Grand Place Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (15)
The piston-turning knob is marked by two thin gold rings. The knob is black, as is the section. Why black? Why not a deep brown to capture the warmer colors of the body? So begins my spiral into wishing, wishing, wishing.
Review Pelikan Souverän M800 Grand Place Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (9)
The section is fairly small, relative to the pen. I only mention the size because I know this is a functional issue for a few people. It is smooth and round, tapering slightly towards the nib. It ends in a flared ridge, with a gold band around it. Myself, I like the shape and appearance of the section, but again, I wish they would have used a color instead of black - something with more depth that would have complemented the swirls of the body.

What makes the Grand Place special is the beautiful material and colors. The cap and barrel are slightly translucent, especially when held up to the light - some parts are more clear than others, depending on the swirling, but you'll see something. The material is a brown base with tan, light brown, and blue veins swirled through it. It is chatoyant, pearlescent, and truly quite beautiful. I was a bit disappointed that most of the brown appeared dark and on the colder side, and I doubt the black bits helps with that. There are a few swirls that have some red and copper tones, and I absolutely love how those parts look. I wish the whole thing looked like that.
Review Pelikan Souverän M800 Grand Place Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (4)
Review Pelikan Souverän M800 Grand Place Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (5)
This is my favorite.
Review Pelikan Souverän M800 Grand Place Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (12)
Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying this isn't completely gorgeous. It is. It's just not perfectly right for me, so while it is beautiful, I prefer the warmer tones of the M620 Grand Place.


The 18KT bicolor gold nib is an extra-fine. I think the size of the nib suits the pen well. It is a nice, large nib, and there is just a little step from the section down to the nib and feed unit. I love Pelikan's nibs - they're so pretty! The nib is crisply engraved with 18C-750, EF, the Pelikan logo, and some symmetrical flourishes. The nib has a single slit and a round breather hole. I love that the entire nib unit is interchangeable and is so easy to remove.
Review Pelikan Souverän M800 Grand Place Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (10)
Review Pelikan Souverän M800 Grand Place Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (11)
So, an extra-fine. I reviewed the M800 Burnt Orange with an EF, and while it performed well, it did not thrill me like this one does. This EF writes more like a fine-ish fine. If you are looking for a really serious extra-fine, this might not be it. Since that is not what I care for, this one is very pleasing for me. The nib is quite smooth; not triple broad smooth, but not scratchy or very feedbacky.
Review Pelikan Souverän M800 Grand Place Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (18)
Ink flow is perfectly consistent, and the nib is really enjoyable. It has the tipping in just the right spot and shape for uniform, consistent hand writing. It doesn't skip or hard start, and it's just the right wetness. Drying times are pretty fast and it doesn't blob or behave oddly. The nib is not particularly soft, but it is a tiny bit springy. With a little bit of pressure, a small amount of line variation is possible, and it looks nice. Just a bit of character, just a bit of fun. If you are looking for a really soft gold nib, this won't give you that really bouncy writing experience. It offers a smooth writing experience with a touch of feedback, it is a reliable writer, and has just a little bit of yield to it.

I love the extra-fine because I can write really small and tidy with it. People often ask me how and why I use such broad nibs (still no answer for that, I don't know. I just like them.), but having a few very pleasant fine nibs as part of your pen selection is very useful. It does require some precise writing and a little more focus as finer nibs are less forgiving than triple broad nibs when it comes to showing errors in hand writing.

As usual, the piston performs smoothly and without issue.


The clip is nice - not only do I like the shape, I really like how it works, too. It is pretty snug, and the shape at the end lets you slide it on to papers, and into pockets and pouches quite easily. It also slides off of things easily, but it doesn't just fall off on its own. It also looks really sexy sticking out of a pocket.

I very much like the section of this pen, even more than something of similar size like the Montblanc 146. The threads are pretty close to the section, and I find them a little sharp. They do not cut into my fingers, but I can definitely feel them. In writing, I do not notice them because I grip lower, but if you grip higher up on the section, you might be bothered by them. The section doesn't feel slippery to me, and the little flared shape keeps my fingers in place.
Review Pelikan Souverän M800 Grand Place Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (6)
Review Pelikan Souverän M800 Grand Place Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (7)
Review Pelikan Souverän M800 Grand Place Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (8)
Unposted, this pen is quite comfortable. It feels well balanced, fairly light (I use a lot of heavy pens so relatively, it feels light), and not too thick. I find it quite comfortable and easy to use unposted for short, long, and/or fast writing sessions. The cap can be posted by friction, and it does so securely. I think it works - it isn't top heavy, but it's a touch long. I can still use it posted, but I prefer unposted, especially with the EF nib.
Review Pelikan Souverän M800 Grand Place Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (14)
Review Pelikan Souverän M800 Grand Place Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (13)
The pen is well made - the seams are snug and tight, and sections and ridges are smooth. The most noticeable thing is the threads that are a little sharp on the section.

Review Pelikan Souverän M800 Grand Place Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (19)
Review Pelikan Souverän M800 Grand Place Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (17)
Top to bottom: Pelikan M1005 | Pelikan M800 Grand Place | Pelikan M600 Pink | Pelikan M400 White Tortoise
While I would not hesitate to recommend the Souverän M800, the one thing holding me back on this one, aside from the reality of a limited budget, is that it's not 100% right. It's beautiful, and if I didn't already own any M800s, I would probably buy this one. However, I have three. Yeah, don't judge me. But I have three, and I really wish this one looked a bit warmer. As such, I may have to resort to tracking down an M620 Grand Place to get those redder ends. If you do not yet own any M800s and you track one of these down, snap it up. It's so pretty, they're lovely writers, super comfortable, all that jazz.

I was lent this pen for the purposes of this review. I was not compensated monetarily for my review. Everything you've read here is my own opinion. There are no affiliate links in this review. The pen has been returned to the store!


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