This Just In: Pelikan M815 Metal Striped SE

When the Pelikan Souverän M815 Metal Striped Special Edition was announced in mid–2018, I was immediately drawn to it. At the time, I had the M805 Stresemann, and the two pens are very similar. I’m not a Pelikan collector, so I couldn’t justify having both pens, especially since the M815 had a street price of $680 ($850 MSRP) here in the US. I also didn’t see the point of selling the Stresemann to buy the M815 Metal Striped, so I promptly forgot about the new M815.

I ended up selling off my M805 Stresemann during my fountain pen sell-off of 2019, although it wasn’t with the intent of replacing it with the M815. In fact, the M815 had completely fallen off my radar. Then I visited the Classic Fountain Pens Website (nibs.com), and their front page announced a $429 price for the M815. While that’s certainly not inexpensive, it’s less than 1/2 the MSRP and over 35% off typical retail. So, it was back on my radar.

I spent a week mulling it over and sleeping on it, then I decided to pull the trigger. Classic Fountain Pens (CFP) had the lowest price I found, including Amazon sellers. I’ve purchased fountain pens from CFP before, so they are a seller I trust, and buying from them was a no-brainer. CFP checks and tunes the nib before shipping. I asked for a light to medium ink flow using light to medium pressure.

Photo of the Pelikan M815 Metal Striped Presentation Box

The pen arrived in a unique presentation box, although nothing elaborate or expensive. The cardboard box is attractively printed with colors and a design that complements the pen. The pen floats in the box at an angle.

The pens aesthetic is one I like a lot. The palladium plating doesn’t scream bling, and complements the black resin to provide a beautiful overall look for the pen. While the Stresemann has been gone for a few months, my impression is the M815 is slightly brighter than the Stresemann, and I like it better. The overall design is one I consider standard for Pelikan M8xx fountain pens. The furniture is all palladium plated. There are two cap bands, the thicker one is engraved “Pelikan Souverän Germany.” There are another two trim rings at the piston knob. The cap is all black resin, except for the furniture. The cap finial has the Pelikan logo, and the clip is the typical beak design.

(Click any image to open gallery)

The M815 Striped Metal has a dark grey ink window above the section, which sets its design apart from the Stresemann. I worried the ink window would break up the design and bother me. The reality is that once there’s ink in the pen, especially a dark ink, the color just blends right in and I don’t notice it at all. When the pen is capped, the ink window isn’t visible at all.

The nib is rhodium-plated 18k gold with Pelikan’s standard engraving. I picked a fine nib. The nib seems a bit wide for a fine nib. Still, it is a western fine, and not too egregious. Which is unlike the factory EF nib on my earlier Stresemann, which had asperations of being a broad nib until I had it ground down to a correct extra fine size.

I picked Pelikan 4001 Blue-Black as the first ink for the pen. I like blue-blacks, and Pelikan Blue-Black is an ink I haven’t used in a long time. Somehow, I purchased a second bottle despite barely touching the original bottle of ink, so I need to use it. As expected, the piston movement was smooth, and it was easy to fill the pen.

Photo of the Pelikan M815 with a bottle of Pelikan blue-black ink

The M8xx form factor fits comfortably in my hand. The cap can be posted, but I don’t post my pens. While some people complain about fatigue with larger or heavier pens, I’m the exact opposite. The weight and size of the M815 allow me to use a loose grip and write with just the weight of the pen on the paper, no added pressure needed. For light or thin pens, my subconscious brain sends signals to grip the pen tighter, which causes fatigue. That’s a long-winded way of saying that the Pelikan M815 Striped Metal is comfortable in my hand, and it feels like I can write forever. As it is, I found myself having to get up and stretch my legs long before I needed to rest my hand. In comparison – I bought a much lighter and slightly thinner pen at the same time, and I certainly feel fatigued during the writing session.

I’m glad I added the Pelikan Souverän M815 Metal Striped Special Edition. It’s still on the first fill of ink, and it still has that new pen glow, so it’s too soon to know if it’s a Core Pen, Hanger-on, or one that should be added to the sale queue. But my initial reaction is that it will become a core pen.

Saying Goodbye: A Couple Pelikan M620 Cities Series

Pelikan M620 Shanghai and Piazza Novana for saleLast week I sold off two of my Pelikan M620 Cities Series fountain pens. The Pelikan Piazza Navona and Pelikan Shanghai both joined my accumulation in 2005. I was enamored with the designs. It was a time when I wanted to experiment with different nibs, so both cam with broad nibs.

It didn’t take too long for me to realize that broad nibs weren’t for me, no matter how much I liked the look of the pen. At least not for anything more than a brief change of pace.

I really liked the pens so when the 2013 Washington DC Pen Show came around, I brought them with me to have them ground. As I mentioned in my Piazza Navona review a fine nib felt like a waste of tipping material, so I went with a stub. I figured a stub would bring some excitement. I was wrong. While the stubs were nice, and I generally like them, they were still too wide for me to use regularly. The pens were only inked three times each since the pen show. Even when inked, they saw little use. Only the Shanghai has been inked in the last five years, and that was in 2017.

I suppose a grind to a fine or extra fine nib would get the pens more use. While the pens are beautiful, they got a lot more competition for my attention these days. Plus, the history of two bad choices (for me) leaves some bad associations with the pens. The pens are great writers and beautiful, so it was time for them to go to a better home.

I did keep one M620, the Piccadilly Circus. Aesthetically it was my least favorite of the three, but it has a medium nib. Yes, the nibs are easily interchangeable, but I do have an aversion to changing a pens original equipment. Even when that equipment is designed to be swapped.

There’s not much else for me to say. The pens are beautiful and great writers, just not for me. I’m trying to get down to a core group of pens I can use regularly. The lack of use doesn’t give me much to say about them.

Ink & Pen Notes: Pelikan Souverän M805 Stresemann Anthracite with Monteverde Napa Burgundy

Pelikan M805 Stresemann (EF) with Monteverde Napa Burgundy bottleI filled my Pelikan Souverän M805 Stresemann Anthracite (EF) with the new Monteverde Napa Burgundy ink back on December 19th. In other words, it was inked up last year. It holds a lot of ink and the extra fine nib conserves ink. But still, I liked the ink and two and a half months seems like a long time. So while I liked it enough, it didn’t inspire me to use it more than other inks.

I wrote the full name of the pen in order to boost the word count since I don’t have much to say. Performance was flawless and I like the color. I had more than a few careless smudges so the ink takes longer than I would expect to dry. The ink was easy to flush from the pen, even after being in a piston filler for over two months. There was no need to remove the nib or take the pen apart and it was quick to clean.

The Napa Burgundy ink is slightly redder and richer than the old Burgundy, an improvement in my opinion. I have the old Monteverde Burgundy in another extra fine nib and there’s a noticeable difference.

The Pelikan 805 Stresemann was always an extra fine, but the from the factory extra fine was more like a wide medium. The nib was ground down to a more traditionally sized extra fine by Dan Smith back in August and has been inked more often than not since then. I’ll give it a short rest to give some other pens a chance to be used. That’ll give me time to decide what my next ink will be. It will be back soon.

The Monteverde Napa Burgundy is a nice ink and I do like it, but it’s not so nice that I’ll miss it in my pens. I won’t hesitate to load it up, but I’m in no rush either.

Pelikan M805 Stresemann (EF) with Monteverde Napa Burgundy writing sample

Additional Reading

I haven’t come across any blogger or forum reviews of this ink, but Goulet Pens published this short video which put the ink on display.

The Pelikan’s Perch reviewed the M805 Stresemann.

Ink and Pen Notes: Pelikan M805 Stresemann with Pelikan Blue-Black

Pelikan M805 Stresemann with Pilot Blue-BlackI inked up my Pelikan M805 Stresemann as 2015 came to a close. I finally wrote it dry this past weekend. This fill used Pelikan 4001 Blue-Black ink which is the first time for this pen & ink combination.

The pen and ink work well together. The ink is a little on the dry side while the nib is often too wet for my taste. They combine to put down a nice line on any paper without any skipping or hard starts. I still can’t write as small as with other extra fine,s but it doesn’t require a significant change on my part and it is a nice writing experience.

I did have one problem, or maybe two. I seemed to be rotating the pen more than usual while writing. I do have a tendency to do this, but it was worse than usual with this pen, even when I was consciously trying to avoid it. I’ve never been completely happy with the nib and planned to get it slimmed at a pen show. But this time around I was thinking left oblique would be a good choice and put it on my list for the DC show. Then on Sunday the nib unit fell out while I was writing. So now I wonder if the nib unit was loose and rotating itself rather than me rotating the pen. I’ll be using the pen more before the DC show and I’ll pay more attention and make sure the nib unit stays secure.

I don’t routinely take pens apart just to clean them and I’ve never removed the nib from this one. No damage done since the nib was already in contact with my desk when it slipped out. Plus the pen was just about dry so the mess was minimal, just some ink from the nib unit hitting the paper and rolling a bit. Plus, no leaking ink leading up to the separation leaving the inside of the cap ink free.

Cleaning the pen was easy. The ink flushed right out despite being in the pen nearly four months. Although, since the nib unit had just fallen out I didn’t see a reason to not keep it off while I cleaned the pen, making cleaning even easier than normal.

I have my usual complaints about this nib. It’s to wide for an extra fine. It was already on my list to be ground down a bit and that’s still the plan, probably at the D.C. show.

With a nib more to my liking this pen could see a return to my top 5 modern pens list. Even with the current nib it’s close to breaking into that top 5. For now it will get some time off, but not for too long.

Ink & Pen Notes: Pelikan M805 Stresemann with Montblanc Bordeaux

Pelikan Souverän M805 Stresemann extra fine nib with Montblanc Bordeaux writing sampleThe Pelikan Souverän M805 Stresemann Anthracite made it to my Favorite 5 Modern Pens list back in May when it still had that new pen glow. Montblanc Bordeaux has topped my favorite inks list since I first created a favorite inks list.

This combination has all the ingredients to be a blockbuster, a pen I can’t put down. Yet, I inked the pen up back on July 17th and it took nearly four months to write the pen dry. While it does hold a lot of ink, four months to write dry makes me question its choice as a fav 5 pen.

When I’m using the Stresemann I love it. It’s a great looking pen and it’s a fine writer. Well, not really fine, more like medium despite Pelikan calling this an extra fine nib. And that’s the problem my brain has with this pen. I struggle with this being a wide extra fine nib. I can’t use it in the same ways I use my other extra fine nibs. But when I use it for long writing sessions, where I sometimes use a medium, or even wider, nib I enjoy it very much.

Despite being inked for nearly four months the pen was extremely easy to flush out. It took considerably less time and water to clean than the Conway Stewart I cleaned out at the same time.

I’ll be returning the Pelikan Souverän M805 Stresemann Anthracite to the pen case, at least for a little while. As for the Montblanc Bordeaux, I still have a pen inked up with it.