I think the M200 is probably one of the most practical fountain pens out there. It’s built well, is a tolerable size, and holds a nice amount of ink. The pen is an OEM design start to finish, and it’s a functional one. It has a lot going for it, and that’s the reason why I’ve been carrying two of them for the past eight months.
The size is small. Smaller than I would like – the M600 is really the ideal size for me. I have an M800, and while it is impressive and fun to write with, it starts to feel too large – like I’m compensating for something. But the M200 while a tad small is a very usable size and is slim enough to fit in pen holders that won’t tolerate larger pens. The grip is an appropriate distance from the tip of the nib, and there is a nice window for checking the ink level.
The clip is strong, although not with a lot of clearance. It will be fine in suit pockets, but I would hesitate to clip it on many jacket pockets that have thicker trim, or on a thick leather pen loop. The clip is a spring design, so it has the potential to fatigue and break over time.
Unlike the rest of the series, the M200 doesn’t have the ‘rust ring’ just above the nib. I prefer this. I’m not always very fastidious about how clean my pens are, and I’ve had a Cross Townsend pit on me there. Now I worry about the rest of my pens, and worry is about the last thing I want from any hobby.
The filling mechanism is as you would expect from Pelikan – reliable, simple, and functional. I don’t have to fill the pens every couple of days or even every week. They like almost any kind of ink, although the Richard Binder semi-flex nib I have in the yellow one prefers ‘safe’ inks that flow a little better than the boutique inks. Of course, being a piston filler it doesn’t take cartridges. So if you’re going on a several month trip to bush country you’d better pack a bottle of ink.
In the black pen I have an italic nib I ground from a medium steel nib that originally came with the yellow pen. Another modification I made was to roughen up the grip area on the black pen with some sandpaper. It didn’t make as much of a difference as I’d hoped, and I didn’t bother on the yellow pen.
The cap is screw-on, and has multiple threads so it takes just under a revolution to unscrew. This isn’t much, and a few times I’ve either had the cap unscrew unexpectedly, or have found it with the cap off. A mental note to tighten the cap before storage has solved that problem. The cap posts perfectly – firmly attached without leaving any marks. I used to be against posting, this pen changed my mind.
This pen is a great user fountain pen. It writes very nice, is reliable, and has the looks to survive any formal encounter. But it’s not made of rare materials, nor is it very expensive ($80 give or take, with nib) and between the cost, materials, and interchangeable nibs it encourages experimentation.