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.

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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.

Review: Pelikan Souverän M805 Stresemann Anthracite

Pelikan Souverän M805 Stresemann Anthracite on a Pelle cover

Pelikan Souverän M805 Stresemann Anthracite on a Pelle cover

I don’t particularly like the term grail pen, at the very least it’s overused. But the Pelikan Souverän M805 Stresemann Anthracite is the closest I’ve come to a grail pen. And not just because the long name is grail worthy and not because of the specific pen. But this pen was the result of considerable research, mostly while at pen shows.

The journey began a couple years ago when I became interested in the Pelikan M1000, the big boy of the Souverän line. I started looking at M1000s at pen shows and then started comparing it to the M800. Cutting to the end, I eventually decided that the M800 was the better pen choice as a daily writer for me. But even after that decision I didn’t come across a M800 that I considered worth the considerable expense. These pens are not cheap.

The M805 Stresemann is part of the regular M800 line, not a special or limited edition, although it is more expensive than other pens in the standard line. The 5 at the end of the model number indicates a M800 sized pen with silver trim, in this case the trim is palladium-plated and the nib is rhodium-plated.

Why I Got It

Having decided on the M800 I had begun to think I’d never find an M805 (I didn’t want gold trim) that I wanted. I had pretty much accepted that I would search pen shows until I found one I wanted. Then I saw the Stresemann and I knew it was the pen I was waiting for. I love the alternating black and grey (anthracite) stripes. The chrome trim and nib is perfect for me. It was gorgeous and I wanted it. I waited a bit to avoid an impulse purchase but I did pre-order it from Classic Fountain Pens. Due to that delay (or a delay in the extra fine nibs which was my choice) my pen shipped about a week after the pens began shipping. The anticipation was almost unbearable.

What I Got

Pelikan Souverän M805 Stresemann Anthracite cappedThe Pelikan M805 Stresemann is named after the foreign minister of the Weimar Republic who won the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1926, He was famous for his striped suits.

The anthracite striped barrel is made of cellulose acetate while the solid black pieces (section and filler knob) are made of resin (plastic). The trim is plated with palladium while the nib is 18 carat gold and rhodium plated.

While it has a conservative design that’s appropriate for any business situation it’s not a boring fountain pen. And since I’m partial to black & gray it’s a perfect color combination for me. I love the aesthetics of this pen, everything goes together perfectly. Even the nib is a single-tone silver color rather than the traditional Pelikan two-tone gold/silver nib.

While the Stresemann is pricey, it feels solidly built with a excellent fit and finish which should last for years.

I bought it from Classic Fountain Pen so that the nib would be inspected and tuned if necessary before it was sent to me. I requested that the nib be tuned with a medium ink flow while using a light pressure.

The Numbers

  • Length Capped: 5.564″ (141.32 mm)
  • Length Uncapped: 5.0265″ (127.67 mm)
  • Length Posted: 6.5″ (165.1 mm)
  • Section Length: 0.563″ (15.06 mm)
  • Section Diameter (near nib): 0.437″ (11.09 mm)
  • Section Diameter (below threads): 0.4555″ (11.57 mm)
  • Section Diameter (mid-section): 0.4215″ (10.70 mm)
  • Cap Diameter: 0.5845″ (14.84 mm)
  • Barrel Diameter: 0.53″ (13.46 mm)
  • Weight: 30 grams (with ink)
  • Weight (body only):  22 grams (with ink)

Writing With The Pen

Pelikan Souverän M805 Stresemann Anthracite extra fine nib

Since the pen was inked by John Mottishaw before it was sent I didn’t even consider washing it out before inking it up. I picked my favorite ink, Montblanc Bordeaux, for the Stresemann’s first ink. The piston worked smoothly and it was easy to get a complete fill.

The cap twists off with just under one complete turn and then the pen is ready to write. I expected more effort would be needed, so this surprised me for such a big pen and it’s one on the things I liked about the M80x. Despite the short threads the cap closes securely and I haven’t had any problems with the cap working it’s way loose while I cary the pen around.

The M805 is extremely comfortable in my hand, it’s why I picked it over the M1000. I don’t post my fountain pens but the M805 does post. When posted the pen seems a little heavy and unbalanced, but that’s the opinion of someone who doesn’t post his pens. It posts securely, but using friction, so I’d be concerned the finish would be marred over time.

There’s no ink window because the stripped barrel is translucent so it’s easy to see the ink level. Just hold the pen up so the light shines through. The stripes also shimmer a bit when they are in the light which is a nice effect.

I had extremely high expectations for this fountain pen. The first inking didn’t meet these expectations. There were a few skips, mainly when I inadvertently rotated the nib off the sweet spot. The nib seemed to have a small sweet spot. The nib was also drier than I expected. None of this was terribly bad. The requested medium flow is wetter than my typical request, yet the flow seemed dry. And the nib was smooth, just finicky about position. I wrote the pen dry in about three weeks which is fast for me, especially since this pen holds about twice as much ink as my typical pen. So I obviously liked the pen. Still, the nib felt just a little off, not quit right. The tines were perfectly aligned, so it wasn’t a problem with the nib tuning.

The great news, at least from my point of view, is that the first ink load seems to be an anomaly. I cover the inks with more detail in the next section but the short story is that the pen improved with the second (and future) fills. The skipping stopped, even with my inadvertent nib rotation. The nib also felt right and the flow was good. I suspect it was the cleaning after the first fill. It’s not like the pen had improved over time. It was a sudden change that coincided with the second fill.

Montblanc Bordeaux is back in the pen and I used it to write the draft of this review. It was no longer finicky and performed as I had originally expected.

As I said, the M805 is a perfect size for my hand so it’s extremely comfortable to write with, even for long periods of time. I never experienced and fatigue with the pen, even during long writing sessions. While the anthracite stripes are a bit boring when the pen is just sitting on my desk, they do shimmer a bit when I’m writing with the pen if the light hits it right.

It’s a wide extra fine nib, wider than I prefer in my extra fine nibs. This makes the pen more suitable for what I’d call long-form writing. Those times where I sit down at a desk or table and my primary task is writing. I also tend to write slower during these sessions which means my writing can be bigger.

The 18kt nib has a little spring to it, not anything approaching flex, but it’s not a nail. Overall, a nice feel.

Cleaning The Pen

So far, since I’ve been immediately re-inking the pen, I’ve cleaned it out by just filling and flushing the pen with water. All the inks flushed out easily. Like all Souveräns the nib can be unscrewed and removed in order to clean out the inside of the barrel. Repeated flushes takes longer than disassembly, but unless there’s a reason other than speed, I dislike taking apart a pen just to clean it. I’m paranoid I’ll break something.

Inks Used

As I mentioned, Montblanc Bordeaux was the first ink for the M805. I already mentioned the problems I had with the first fill. I gave it a second fill of Montblanc Bordeaux before writing this review. The second time around the performance of my favorite ink was as good as I expected, good flow without any skipping or hard starts.

Rohrer & Klingner Blau-Schwärz LE was the second load for the pen. Like the Bordeaux, it’s a favorite and number two on my list. The performance was great. The ink is wetter than the bordeaux but not too wet for me overall. It’s got a good consistent flow. I like it. A lot.

Montblanc Toffee Brown was up next, another favorite 5 ink. This was the wettest of all. I liked the ink, a nice brown, and it had good saturation thanks to the quantity. When I thought about it, I’d consider the ink too wet for my tastes in this pen. Yet, the ink went through the pen faster than the R&K Blau-Schwarz which I really liked, so I obviously liked writing with the Toffee Brown.

Wrapping Up

After a less than perfect start the Pelikan Souverän M805 Stresemann Anthracite grew to be the pen I anticipated. Still, the nib is the most disappointing part of the pen. Yet it has grown on me. The extra fine is more like a fine in width, even a western fine. Initially I was disappointed in this but I now appreciate the nib for the fine writer it is. I just don’t think of it as a extra fine nib. The flow is great and the line is solid, I just expected thinner. (Also remember, the nib was tuned when I bought it, so I can’t vouch for the out-of-the-box experience.) I can’t speak to the other nib sizes, but based on my experience and what I’ve read, all the nib sizes run a little big.

For me the nib is too wide and wet to be an all around user. Although the ink can reduce the wetness, it’s still a wide line. But it is an excellent pen for those writing sessions where I don’t need an really thin nib.

The Pelikan Souverän M805 Stresemann Anthracite has been inked since I got it in mid-March. It’s been in use over four months and it’s solidly in the keeper category.

Gallery

Ink & Pen Notes: Pelikan M805 Stresemann and Montblanc Toffee Brown

Pelikan Souverän M805 Stresemann Anthracite with MB Toffee BrownI inked this pen up with Montblanc Toffee Brown as the month of May came to a close, so it lasted almost a month in a half. I’m a little surprised since I was under the impression that I did use it a lot, and while it’s a extra fine nib it’s among the widest extra fines that I have. In retrospect, the Maplewood Vanishing Point monopolized many of my days with its XXXF nib. So a month and a half is reasonable for a pen that holds so much ink.

This pen has a rather long name and I tend to shorten it. The official name is Pelikan Souverän M805 Stresemann Anthracite.

Montblanc Toffee Brown is among my top five inks, so I like it. The ink performed great, as expected, in this pen. As I mentioned this nib is wider than I like for my extra fines. The nib and ink combine to be a rather wet flow, at least it is considering my preference for drier nibs. This tendency to flow freely means I don’t typically use this pen for my daily note taking but it is well suited for what I call regular or long form writing, such as the draft to this article. The ink was problem free in the Pelikan, no hard starts or skipping.

I’ll flushed out the MB Toffee Brown (quick and easy) and will let it dry out for a day. Then I’ll refill it with Montblanc Bordeaux. It’s my favorite ink and it was the first fill for this pen. Yet of the three inks I’ve used in the pen so far it was the worst performer. Not actually bad, but it failed to meet expectations. So I’ll give it another try so I can see if the ink and the pen just don’t get along or if I simply had the new pen blues.

Ink and Pen Notes: Pelikan M805 Stresemann and R&K Blau-Schwarz LE

Pelikan Souverän M805 Stresemann with R&K Blau-Schwarz LE ink

Pelikan Souverän M805 Stresemann with R&K Blau-Schwarz LE ink

For the Pelikan Souverän M805 Stresemann’s second ink I picked Rohrer and Klingner Blau-Schwarz LE ink which is second ink on my current Favorite 5 Ink list. It’s first ink was my favorite on the list but this ink liked the pen better than the #1 Montblanc Bordeaux.

The Stresemann was inked on April 3rd and written dry the last day of May so it lasted nearly two months to write it dry. This ink has already proven that that’s not a problem. At least as long as the pen is used regularly.

I had a few minor issues that I mentioned when I wrote about the performance of the Bordeaux in this pen. I had no such complaints about the R&K Blau-Schwarz ink.

The Blau-Schwarz ink is more free flowing than the Bordeaux. It’s possible the nib smoothed out and broke in a bit as I used it, but it’s more likely this ink just lubricates this nib better. There was no skipping at all. The Pelikan kept on writing until it was out of ink, no skipping and no thinning out until it just plain stopped writing. OK, to be honest there were a couple letters at the very end that were a little thin but those hardly count. While I described the nib, with the Bordeaux ink, as feeling a bit “off”, it feels perfect when it’s writing with the R&K Blau-Schwarz.

My only complaint is completely subjective and I’m not sure it should be a complaint. The extra fine nib is wider and wetter than I typically prefer in my extra fine nibs. Because of this the Stresemann isn’t the best choice for all nib situations. While I do use it to write in my Field Notes there’s significant show through and I write a little bigger than I’d prefer at times. It’s also a little wet for my Hobonichi planner so I have to be extra cautious to avoid accidental smudges and give it time to dry before I close it out. A blotter helps a little, but there’s a lot of smudges in that book. But for flat out writing at my desk the pen & ink are perfect.

The Rohrer & Klinger Blau-Schwarz LE continues its trend of making every fountain pen that uses it even better.

The Pelikan M805 Stresemann was great with the ink but I wanted to try a third ink so I immediately flushed it out and filled it with Montblanc Toffee Brown.

Ink and Pen Notes: Pelikan M805 Stresemann with Montblanc Bordeaux

Pelikan M805 Stresemann with MB Bordeaux ink bottleMy newest pen, the Pelikan Souverän M805 Stresemann Anthracite, wrote itself dry of Montblanc Bordeaux ink. Montblanc Bordeaux is my favorite ink and the Stresemann is destined to remain one of my favorite pens even after the new pen smell wears off. I loved the combination and it almost lived up to my high expectations. Despite this I cleaned it out rather than immediately refill it with more Bordeaux. Since it’s a new pen I want to give another ink a try. I’ll let it dry out overnight and fill it with another favorite ink, R&K Blau-Schwarz LE.

I did say “almost lived up to my high expectations”. I loved this pen at first sight (in pictures) and then had to wait. My expectations grew as I waited and as is typical for me, when I have high expectations every fault, real or perceived jumps out at me.

I did have a few skips along the way, but always when I let the pen rotate from a proper position. Still, some other nibs have been more forgiving and this nib seems to have a smallish sweet spot. This makes the pen a less than perfect choice for me when I’m taking notes. On the other hand, I really like using it so I continued to use it for note taking. For writing at my desk, with proper form, the pen is skip free.

Still, something about the nib just feels off to me. It’s not actually bad or even something I can point to. I bought it from Classic Fountain Pens which tunes the pens before shipping, so I could probably get a misaligned nib re-tuned. But it’s not misaligned. Sometimes it just doesn’t feel exactly right and I was expecting exactly right. That’s one reason I want to try a different ink.

This is a bit like complaining about winning a million dollars and then complaining about paying taxes on the free money. The pen isn’t free, so maybe not the best analogy, but it is a excellent pen as it stands today. If it still seems off the next time I go to a pen show I’ll bring it along to have a nibmeister look at it. Even though this is an extra fine nib maybe the part that feels off to me is I want more of a Japanese extra fine in width.

I filled the pen on the day I got it, March 14th. Writing it dry in less than 3 weeks is pretty good for me these days and makes it obvious I used the pen a lot compared to the others. It’s a piston filler with a relatively large capacity (about 1.3 ml compared to a short cartridge of .75 ml and .5 ml in most converters).

Cleaning the ink from the pen was easy enough, although since I’ll be inking it up nearly right away I didn’t fight to get every last trace of Bordeaux out of the pen. I would have needed more time if I was putting the pen in storage. The nib unit is removable but that’s not something I like to do for a routine cleaning so I simply filled and emptied the pen over and over with a few “thermometer shakes” mixed in (for those of you who remember “analog” mercury thermometers).

Montblanc Bordeaux hasn’t left the rotation. When this pen went dry I filled a vintage Parker Vacumatic Maxima (c. 1942) with Bordeaux.

The photos have been published before, but here they are again.