Thursday, January 19, 2017

Review: Pelikan Souverän M405 Fountain Pen - Fine @PenChalet

I thought a classic black and rhodium trim Pelikan would be a useful review! It's a very pretty pen, without being ostentatious.
Review Pelikan Souveran M405 Fountain Pen - Fine @PenChalet 12

ABOUT


Body material: Resin
Trim: Rhodium-plated, silver color
Cap: Screw on
Posts: Yes, friction
Nib material: 14kt gold, single tone rhodium-plated
Filling system: Piston-filler
Ink window: Yes
Length (capped): 125.5 mm/4.94"
Length (uncapped): 121.4 mm/4.78"
Length (posted): 148.3 mm/5.84"
Diameter (barrel): 11.4 - 11.7 mm/0.44" - 0.46"
Diameter (section): 9.1 - 9.4 mm/0.35" - 0.37"
Weight (all): 16 g
Weight (cap): 6 g
Weight (body): 10 g
Price: $308.00 USD
Where to buy: Pen Chalet
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Discount code for 10% off: GOURMETPENS

PACKAGING


This Pelikan was presented in Pelikan's standard gift box. It is a firm, coffin-like box with a faux wood base. The grey colored lid is quite snug and it stays on securely. It looks pretty good. There is a creamy leather-like bed on the inside with a faux cream leather pouch, secured by a red plastic Pelikan seal on an elastic.
Review Pelikan Souveran M405 Fountain Pen - Fine @PenChalet 1
Underneath the bed, there is a Pelikan warranty and a Pelikan booklet. The standard gift box is just very standard and a bit plain, but the pouch can be reused - great for lending pens, carrying one pen around, and shipping pens to friends!

APPEARANCE


The Souverän M405 is a smaller pen but it shares the same shape and proportions as the rest of the Souverän series. It's a small, elegant, classy pen. The cap and barrel are round, and both ends are flat with slightly rounded edges. The finial is raised and has a modern Pelikan logo in brushed silver on silver. 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 rhodium-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 Souveran M405 Fountain Pen - Fine @PenChalet 2
The cap, section, barrel, and piston turning knob are a solid, shiny black. The ink window is a deep green, but is clear so although you can't easily identify the color of your ink through the window, you can see how much ink you have left. The black and rhodium trim accents are an elegant combination, especially for those who dislike gold furniture.
Review Pelikan Souveran M405 Fountain Pen - Fine @PenChalet 6
Review Pelikan Souveran M405 Fountain Pen - Fine @PenChalet 9
Upon arrival, the black resin was highly polished and looked great. With care, it can remain this way - use soft cases and don't let it rub against other pens. You can always give it a polish, of course. The pen looks great out of the box overall - nice and clean, no weird lines or blobs. The piston-turning knob is not flush with the barrel but that is how they always are.

NIB & PERFORMANCE


The nib is a fine, 14kt gold, rhodium-plated nib. The nib is crisply engraved with 14C-585, F, the Pelikan logo, and some symmetrical flourishes. The nib has a single slit and a round breather hole. A lovely nib, although the two tone Pelikan nibs are exceptionally pretty! I was quite amused by the huge ball of tipping on this fine nib!
Review Pelikan Souveran M405 Fountain Pen - Fine @PenChalet 10
Review Pelikan Souveran M405 Fountain Pen - Fine @PenChalet 11
I am disappointed to report this nib did not perform as well as the (many) other Pelikan nibs I have used. With the exception of an overpolished M101N Red Tortoiseshell broad nib, all others have been, at the very least, satisfactory, if not exceptional. Alas, I was bound to get one I was not happy with.

This nib does write, but it's more of a medium than a fine. Drying times are average but for a fine nib, it's a bit long (30s). With a bit of pressure, it's on the wetter side. The nib is a little springy, so with some pressure, you can get lines that are medium-fine to broad or so. Oddly enough, the pen passes the free weight test, but it's still just a finicky nib. It feels a bit over polished and like the sweet spot on the giant ball of tipping is really small. Reverse writing was not possible with this nib. With normal writing, the nib would skip and hard start, so it just had to be fixed. I try to review pens without adjusting the nibs, but after this review, a quick grind fixed it right up. The sweet spot was just a bit too small prior to smoothing it out. All we did to get the nib into tip top shape was make it a little wetter and smooth it a little to widen the sweet spot.
Review Pelikan Souveran M405 Fountain Pen - Fine @PenChalet 15
What's the verdict? Not stellar performance, not a nib that would make me unable to live without the pen, but it worked. If you are a new fountain pen user and uncomfortable with tuning your own nib, I think there would be two options to deal with this: get your nib exchanged through the retailer you purchased the pen at, or send it to a nibmeister/take it to a pen show for a nibmeister to look at. Pretty easy, fortunately.

After adjustment, the nib was much more pleasant and worked as it should have - no more skips or hard starts, better flow, and it easily handled long and fast writing sessions. A great combination with a piston-filling mechanism!

IN HAND


The clip is nice - not only do I like the shape, I really like how it works. 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.

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 - they're noticeable but not uncomfortable. 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 Souveran M405 Fountain Pen - Fine @PenChalet 3
Review Pelikan Souveran M405 Fountain Pen - Fine @PenChalet 4
Review Pelikan Souveran M405 Fountain Pen - Fine @PenChalet 5
For my hands, the M405 is the perfect size. I can write with it either unposted or posted. The weight and balance are ideal - it's not too heavy and doesn't tire my hand out. The nib was smoothed so it was juicy and required almost no pressure to write. Lovely writing experience.
Review Pelikan Souveran M405 Fountain Pen - Fine @PenChalet 8
Review Pelikan Souveran M405 Fountain Pen - Fine @PenChalet 7

PROS & CONS


Review Pelikan Souveran M405 Fountain Pen - Fine @PenChalet 14

OVERALL


I very much like the pen itself - the shiny black, shiny rhodium trim, and green ink window makes for a classic Pelikan, and a beautiful color trio. The pen is on the smaller size but works well for me. Larger hands would likely prefer a larger Souverän model - the M800 seems to be the ideal size for most people. I love that Pelikan offers nibs that can be removed very easily so they are interchangeable, and it also makes cleaning up and maintenance of the piston very easy, even for new users.

The nib did not perform as I expected out of box, which was disappointing at this price, however it was something I was able to adjust at home. I would still recommend this pen to others as my experience with Pelikan nibs has almost always been positive.

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GourmetPens by Azizah Asgarali is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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