Hi and welcome to the review of the Pelikan Souveran M805 Ocean Swirl with an Medium nib. Everybody has probably heard about Pelikan pens since they are one of the oldest pen manufacturers in Europe and probably the whole world. Pelikan is known for its use of high quality materials and great craftsmanship. It’s one of the few companies which still uses cellulose acetate to create the pens not opting to change to newer plastics. The use of precious metals, cellulose, high quality plastics as well their piston filling system is a part why Pelikan pens command a premium price. Let’s dive into the review shall we!
The premium price point warrants premium packaging. The Pelikan Souveran M805 Ocean Swirl came in a high quality gift box. The design of it is simple, elegant and high class. The only thing you notice is the Pelikan branding right in the middle of the box which is not distracting and I would say an integral part of the design. I don’t really think this box would be better without that logo. Turns out that branding matters! The colors used also evoke quality as the beige and brown harmonize perfectly. The underside has a wooden texture on it but the box is not made out of real wood.
After you lift up the top part of the box you are greeted with a nice faux leather envelope with a “wax” stamp seal on it and the Pelikan logo embossed into the bottom right corner.
The pen is located under the envelope on a bed of soft faux leather.
Before we go to examine the pen let’s first check out what’s in the envelope. The faux leather is really soft to the touch, I would say this is a really nice thing to have and Pelikan certainly provides an excellent gift box to boot. Now it’s up to you to decide whether you like boxes or not. I’ve seen comments on reddit mentioning that they don’t really keep the boxes pens come with but I assume they are referring to cheaper pens like the Lamy Safari which comes in a small paper box. Interestingly enough there’s no guarantee that your awesome Pelikan will come in a beautiful gift box like this. Grey market pens bought from overseas from not so reliable sources might simply include the pen in a cheap paper box, just as how it happened to this user on reddit. That’s how I got my pen from the distributor as well and I had to pay separately for the gift box. Don’t worry, if you purchase a Pelikan fountain pen from Pennonia, we’ll include the gift box.
The wax seal is actually made out of plastic, that’s why I put it in quotation marks previously. It can be slid to the side because it’s held there by an elastic band. Once you open up the envelope you get two booklets. The first is entitled “Moments of Joy” and it an informational booklet about the pen and Pelikan as a company. It includes interesting tidbits as well as all the logos Pelikan used since its inception. The second booklet is the warranty card.
The Fountain Pen
Okay, now comes the main attraction, the pen itself. The pen stands out from the standard line of Pelikan Souveran (if you can call Souveran pens standard) because it sports the unique Ocean Swirl design. The color of the ocean varies between blue and emerald green, light and dark depending on the type of light that hits the Pelikan. Bright sunlight usually brings out the blue hues while yellowish indoor lights bring out the greens. It’s especially interesting when you turn on your lights during the day. The Ocean Swirl is a member of the M805 line which means that the accessories are silver in color on this pen, including the nib. Of course everything is plated with rhodium.
On my model the barrel and cap reflect light easily on one side making it very bright and saturated while the other side is really dark, almost black even. The interesting thing is that these reflective and dark sides are at different places on the cap and the barrel, this means that when the cap is completely screwed on it can appear really dark while the barrel will light up like fireworks creating a stark contrast between the two. In this one position it almost looks like the cap is black and I must say I actually think this pen would look great with a glossy black cap since it would be in symmetry with the glossy black piston knob.
The finial on this pen looks like it’s metal but I honestly can’t tell. If you know please let me know in the comments below. It has the Pelikan logo laser etched into it, this one has the newest logo with only one Pelikan chick in the nest. It’s pretty neat.
Going down we can see the trademark Pelikan shaped clip. It’s not spring loaded and is very stiff. It will definitely hold the pen in place if you decide to clip it to a shirt, pocket or a pen loop on a notebook. However I’d definitely get a pen case for this pen. It’s a pretty expensive pen and I’d be devastated if something would happen to it.
Going further down; the cap ends with two metal rings. The thicker one includes the following text “Pelikan Souveran Germany”. It’s also important to note that the cap is a screw on type cap which will keep your nib nicely sealed away and is generally more resistant to wear and tear than snap on cap.
The barrel of the pen features the same design as the cap which is clearly visible in the photos so I will not waste them talking about the swirly pattern. The grip section is a glossy black plastic with a metal ring at one end with the threads for the screw cap at the other. Towards the nib it is slanted outwards to stop your fingers from sliding down and it does an adequate job. The grip section is rather short. I often find myself holding the threads of the section instead of the smooth surface where your fingers should be. It’s not that big of an issue, but it’s also not as comfortable as it would be if I held it lower. The problem is that most of us are used to ballpoint pens and those require a lot of force to hold and to write compared to a fountain pen and I subconsciously always start to hold my pens tightly. Then I realize and ease up, so that’s why it can cause some discomfort. The look and aesthetics of this pen are worth it for me though plus it’s partly my fault for holding too tight. It’s just something to keep in mind if you’re like me. On the other hand I saw a lot of people who hold their pens as close as possible to the nib, sometimes even getting inky fingers. If you’re this person, this pen is for you.
Next comes the barrel itself. It contains a piston filling mechanism and can hold around 1.5 ml of ink. Pelikan actually recommends that you turn the pen upside down after your first fill and then to turn the piston backwards to push out the air so you can fill the barrel completely if you want. I personally wouldn’t recommend this since you are almost guaranteed to spill ink somewhere. If you decide to do it, get paper towels ready. Holding the pen in your hands is quite comfortable apart from that one thing mentioned previously. It is well balanced and the material has a really soft touch to it. It’s a joy to hold this pen in your hand actually. The cap can be posted too which is a nice feature and it doesn’t disrupt the balance of the pen.
Now there’s one thing you might have noticed if you already know your stuff about Pelikan pens and it’s that this pen doesn’t have an ink window so you don’t actually know how much ink you still have left. Luckily we’re in 2018 and you have a smartphone with an LED flash which will be bright enough to shine through the pen’s barrel in order to reveal the level of ink left. So if you ever wondered: How do you know how much ink is left in your Ocean Swirl? Just fire up that torch. N.B. you don’t actually have to be in a dark room to do this, I just turned the lights of to make it more visible for the camera.
Finally at the end we have the piston turning knob or screw or whatever you want to call it. Turn it left to push down the piston and turn it right to bring it up and to subsequently draw in the ink. When the piston is down, the knob rises, separating from the barrel and that’s how you know where the piston is in the barrel.
The nib and writing
The nib size on my pen is medium. I wanted to play it safe so I didn’t went with the broad nib. I personally like to stay away from extra fine and fine nibs since they highlight my bad handwriting but I still appreciate them from time to time. The nib on the M800 series is made out of 18 karat gold and this is plated with rhodium. Just out of curiosity, the M400 and M600 series has 14 karat gold and the smaller model numbers have stainless steel nibs that are only PLATED with gold (24 karat though). The nib features the standard Pelikan ornamental design and it’s quite the looker. Enough talk about the design though, we’re here for the writing review.
The nib on the Pelikan is quite big however during writing you don’t really notice it. I find the medium nib to be really thick. Faber-Castell and Lamy M nibs write thinner. Now for some this might be a problem since I know a lot of people prefer F nibs. I would watch out when ordering Pelikan pens since it might be possible the Pelikan F nib will put down too thick lines for you. For the most part I don’t mind because I actually like B nibs since those really showcase the ink when you write with them and also hide my bad handwriting. The downside is that it sucks to write if you need to preserve space. While writing I did notice something specific to this pen that gives it a unique experience or rather a strange feeling. Most pens I use have a nib that is straight but the nib of the Pelikan is curved downwards towards the paper and I notice this every single time I write with this IF I have written with another pen previously. For instance I’m using my Faber-Castell Loom as a general daily note taker and the nib is straight as a needle. The Loom has a smaller and shorter nib physically but for me the M805 Ocean Swirl feels like it’s shorter and it’s probably because the nib changes direction before hitting the pen. Now this isn’t a bad point for the Pelikan, I just wanted to highlight this difference because it always takes my brain a few seconds to adjust. It doesn’t affect the writing experience negatively.
I filled up the pen using Edelstein Topaz and did a writing test on a small 80g/m2 Rhodia Notepad. I chose Rhodia because that’s what most people prefer but this pen is my daily driver for a while now and I had the chance to write on a variety of papers. I enjoy writing with the pen. It’s comfortable to hold and exactly the right weight. The feed doesn’t struggle at all to keep the ink flowing and the nib doesn’t suffer from hard starts. The nib was really smooth and it didn’t scratch the paper I used it on. It’s also possible to write with it upside down. No problems. My next purchase will be a B nib though for sure. Even though the M nib writes with a thick line already, I’m curious what Pelikan thinks a B nib should be like.
I think this pen is a work of art and a great writing experience. The design is really unique and it’s especially beautiful in direct sunlight. Writing with it is comfortable even for longer periods so I think it’s a win (unless you hold it really tight, but that’s a user issue and not the pen’s fault). I would recommend this pen to anyone who thinks about getting a Pelikan pen. One major downside that I haven’t touched upon is the price though. It costs quite a lot of money and that money can buy you quite a few pens instead of one Pelikan. This is up to you to decide whether you want to spend the cash or not since at the end of the day people can claim that gold nibs are better than steel nibs but honestly I think some come really close. The nib performance of my Loom is almost on the same level(which I think is commendable). If nib performance would be the only criteria to choose pens, I’d consider any pen above 50€ to be overpriced, however nib performance is always the last thing I think about when looking for a new pen. I think the first thing people take into consideration is whether the pen is visually appealing to them, how it feels in the hand, what materials are used and unless the writing/nib is really horrible they will forgive the smaller issues it might have. For me it was worth it since it’s not everyday you buy an expensive pen like this.
Thanks for reading, if you have any comments, suggestions, critique or just simply don’t agree with me on something please leave a comment below! I’d love to hear your thoughts on this pen and the review itself. Thank you for reading!
Weight (with cap): 28g
Weight (without cap): 19g
Length (with cap): 14 cm
Length (without cap): 12,7 cm
Length (posted): 16,5 cm
Price: 500 €
Nib sizes: EF, F, M, B