I first saw pictures of the Pelikan M101N Lizard Special Edition when it was announced back in October 2012. Even though I thought the pen was stunning and liked Pelikan nibs it didn’t quit make my wish list at the time due to its small size and large price. But it stayed on my radar. I finally pulled the trigger last December when I noticed the price had dropped.
According to Pelikan the pen is “based on a historical model that dates back to 1937.” I have to admit to ignorance on vintage Pelikans so I can’t comment on exactly what “based on” means. Still, I do think it has a bit of a classic design look to it.
In Pelikan terms, a “Special Edition” is produced for a limited time but there’s no limit on the quantity so there will be multiple runs if there’s demand. It doesn’t seem like there’s been a lot of demand for the Lizard, unlike the previous Tortoise Special Edition. Prices vary widely with some places (like nibs.com) selling for a deep discount off list. Prices on eBay also vary widely so if you decide to buy one be sure to shop around.
Why I Got It
I like black and grey and this pen has both. I love the design pattern. The clip and rings are palladium plated and the nib is rhodium plated which complements the design nicely. Did I mention I like the look of this pen?
I also expected the 14K gold nib to be a solid performer. I purchased the pen from Classic Fountain Pens (nibs.com) so the nib would be tuned before be shipped to me.
What I Got
As mentioned, I ordered the pen from Classic Fountain Pens (John Mottishaw) so the nib would be adjusted for me prior to shipping. I asked for the nib to tuned for light pressure and a light to medium flow. I’d say the flow is good so much closer to a medium flow.
Despite appearances. the pen has completely smooth surface made from cellulose acetate. The Pelikan logo is on the top of the cap and Pelikan is engraved on the clip.
The pen arrived with a leather (or maybe faux-leather) wrap which was a nice touch although it doesn’t really make the pen any better. I have to admit, while I don’t remember throwing it away I couldn’t find the box or wrap when I was doing photos for this review. I’m not heartbroken about its loss, while a nice presentation for the new pen it wasn’t something I’d use regularly.
The ink window is shaded grey so the ink color is masked, but the level is easily visible. The ink windows is just over 1/2″ tall (13.8 mm). It fits in nicely with the design of the pen. A completely clear ink window of that size would have ruined the look of the pen in my opinion.
My only complaint? While I get the idea that the design looks like scales, I don’t think “Lizard” when I see the pen.
- Length Capped: 4.84″ (122.93 mm)
- Length Uncapped: 4.5955″ (116.72 mm)
- Length Posted: 6.2165″ (157.89 mm)
- Section Length: 0.5935″ (15.07 mm)
- Section Diameter (near nib): 0.3620″ (9.20 mm)
- Section Diameter (near threads): 0.3925″ (9.97 mm)
- Cap Diameter: 0.5280″ (13.40 mm)
- Weight: 0.5 oz (14g)
Using the Pen
The pen is a piston filler, common to most Pelikan fountain pens. The piston worked smoothly and easily gave me a complete fill of ink.
The pen is shorter than the pens I typically use but it’s still long enough for me to comfortably use unposted. But I find I like the balance better when it’s posted. So if I’m writing anything more than a short note I post the pen. The pen is still light and it’s easy to use the pen for a long writing session. The cap is held in place with friction when it’s posted. It does post securely although I do have a phobia about pushing down too hard and eventual cracking the cap. (It’s well built and there are rings to help prevent cracking when posted, it’s just my personal fear.)
The 14K gold nib is amazingly smooth. The pen has never skipped and hasn’t had any hard starts. The pen rarely sits for more than a couple days without being used so it doesn’t have much chance to dry out. I did purposely leave it stored for six days, nib up, and it wrote immediately when I picked it up. I can’t say if this is the out-of-the-box experience from Pelikan or because of John Mottishaw’s adjustments before sending the pen. While it’s an extra-fine nib, since it’s a Pelikan it’s on the wide side of extra-fine, unlike my Asian nibs. Pelikan does make their own nibs.
The pen is an ideal size as a shirt pocket pen, even for shirts with shallower pockets. The clip holds the pen security in my pocket for both thin and thicker material.
Like my other Pelikan piston fillers the pen was easy enough to clean. Just repeated fills and flushes with water to flush the ink out with the occasional “thermometer shake” to get the most stubborn ink drops out. While the nib is removable I’ve yet to remove it for cleaning. I hate to tempt fate and accidentally damage the pen so I prefer a little extra time and labor to flush it out.
I used three different inks in the nearly three months I used the pen. I wrote the pen dry with all the inks because they wrote flawlessly. Being a piston filler only bottled inks can be used.
Sailor Kiwo Guro Nano Black was the first ink chosen. It’s a “nano-particle” ink, essentially a pigment ink. The ink has always smooth flowing putting down a nice dark line. It was no different in this pen. My only complaint, a minor one, is that this ink took longer to clean from the pen than the other inks used. It’s the one ink I considered removing the nib to get the last bits of ink out. The ink spent nearly 6 weeks in the pen before I finally used it all. This included a week of non-use for testing purposes.
Graf von Faber-Castell Stone Grey was the next ink in the pen and performed just as well. I just gave it about a half fill so I could change inks sooner. This was the easiest of the three inks to flush from the pen.
The last ink used before this review was Iroshizuku Yu-yake and the broken record continues – it performed as well as the other inks and was easy to clean after two weeks in the pen.
All the inks performed well in the pen. There was no significant shading with the thin nib but since the flow is good there was some line variation due to the subtle difference in the amount of ink put down when the angle of the nib was varied.
The Pelikan M101N Lizard Special Edition is a keeper. Despite it’s small size it’s very comfortable to write with, even for long sessions. While short, it’s girth is comparable to my larger pens. It is a pricey pen, but I have no regrets about getting the pen. I love the look of the pen and it’s a great writer. What more could I ask for?
The Lizard seems to get less love than the previous reissue – the Tortoise so I couldn’t find many reviews. Personally I prefer the look of the Lizard.