This really isn’t “just in”, I’ve had it for over a week. A glorious week! But as that statement indicates, I haven’t had the pen long enough to give a objective review. This fountain pen still has that new pen glow which is blinding me to any faults. You’ve been warned, if you buy this pen based upon what I write don’t blame me if you find faults in your pen.
I don’t really have grail pens. I’m more impulsive than contemplative and patient. Plus, the Stresemann is a new pen and part of Pelikan’s regular M800 line of pens so it wouldn’t be hard to find. All it would take is money, which can’t be ignored but it’s obtainable. Despite these two points this pen is as close to a grail pen as I’ll get, I just didn’t know it.
I’ve spent time researching Pelikan M800 and M1000 fountain pens. This was typically done at pen shows where I found that the M800 was more my type of pen so I focused on that model. While I do think gold trim and nibs look OK in some pen designs I decided I wanted silver trim for this pen. In the world of Pelikan model numbers this meant a M805 where the “5” meant silver (or rhodium) trim. I didn’t really like the looks of the current models. Too much gold and the colors were nice enough (the green more than others) but not great. Even the models with chrome trim had gold in the nib design. For a pen of this price I wanted perfection. So while I didn’t have a specific pen in mind, I kept looking at pen shows and the usual used pen markets to see if an older pen caught my attention. None did.
Then Pelikan announced the Stresemann and I knew it was my pen. Still, I waited a week or so since I was hesitant to buy based on only pictures which would naturally make the pen look great. But I eventually placed a pre-order with Classic Fountain Pens (John Mottishaw) for one with an extra fine nib. I considered a custom stub nib but decided to go with the extra fine as a nib I would use in any situation.
The pen arrived the same day as the Long Island Pen Show. I left the show without a pen (in part because the Streseman was my pen budget for the year) but it was still a great pen day. The nib is tuned before shipment so I can’t speak to the out-of-the-box performance of the nib for factory fresh pens but my experience with Pelikan has always been good. I asked for a medium ink flow when using a light touch. This is a little wetter than I would have asked for a year ago.
The pen arrived in a faux leather pouch in a heavy cardboard box. A nice presentation without going overboard. The pen barrel had a couple of smudges on it, something like silicone grease of manufacturing residue. This could have been due to handling when tuning the nib or from the factory. I was able to wipe these off with a microfiber cloth and medium pressure but no solvents needed.
I picked my favorite ink, Montblanc Bordeaux, for its first fill. It’s a piston filler and holds a lot of ink so I’m still on my first fill. The extra fine nib is wider than many of my other extra fines but in line with my other modern western extra fines. I am glad I didn’t pick a fine nib. See the photos for a comparison with my Sheaffer Snorkel extra fine which I had inked up.
Performance has been great but not perfect. After being stored nib up overnight the first stroke was noticeably drier than normal, although not a true skip. The pen has also skipped occasionally when I’m writing fast or at strange angle such as when taking notes on slicker paper. I haven’t had any problems at all when sitting at my desk and writing normally and with proper form.
The ink does splash drops on the nib. Some may not like this but personally I love it and it enhances the pen for me. There’s no ink inside the cap so it isn’t splashing ink around.
I absolutely love the look of this pen. Black or gray pens with rhodium (or any chrome) trim are a favorite of mine. The black and gray stripes vary their looks depending on how the light hits them. Since the black stripes are also translucent the ink level can be checked so the design is both functional and decorative. It’s not a demonstrator, just translucent enough to see the ink level.
I’ve been using the pen every day since I got it and it’s been my main pen each day. It will be awhile (one or two months minimum) before I do a full review but the main difference between this and other M80X pens are cosmetic as far as I can tell. That new pen aura has me calling the Pelikan Souverän M805 Stresseman Anthracite my favorite pen. It may or may not keep that title after extended use, but it’s certainly a keeper and for me it is worth the price.