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Pen Review: Pelikan M800

I bought the Pelikan M800 back in the 90’s, when I was young and had money. So these comments are on a pen that is around 16 years old. I was obsessed about getting a really big pen and the M800 met that criteria. The M800 is a handful of pen, with a solid feeling without being too heavy. It is noticeably larger than regular pens, and a few people over the years have made comments.

IMG_3071.JPGIt’s a piston fill pen and there’s something about piston fill pens that I love. They seem like more serious instruments than converter pens, and they hold more ink. No uncertainty about where ink comes from: It comes from bottles. The M800 exudes serious penness.

It’s not a perfect pen, however. It has ribs on bottom of nib hold extra ink, which hold quite a bit of ink. It is nice for dipping, but not nice for filling because all the ink in those ribs will end up in whatever you’re using to wipe off the nib. It has a rust ring which is the decorative ring around the lower part of the grip. They call it a rust ring because it tends to get rusty because of frequent baths in ink. My hasn’t yet started to corrode.

The reveal is short – less than quarter of an inch, and barely enough to grab the pen out of a tight sleeve in a bag. The reverse tapered section right above the clip can be a lifesaver. In a shirt pocket the pen is tall enough to stick out another quarter inch or so further, so it shows itself off. On the cap, rather than a nice medaleon as on the Parker Duofold, is just a screened graphic. This, I think, is a bit of letdown. A pen of this caliber should have higher quality embellishments. The clip, while not hinged, is pretty sturdy and grips just as well now as it did 16 years ago. The cap is a screw-on, and while I have occasional problems with my M200’s unscrewing in a pocket the M800 doesn’t. I think it’s the plastic, as it just feels tighter to unscrew.

Mine is in the traditional green striped barrel, and it’s a look that is formal but not over the top. The ink window is nice, and works well enough to get an idea if the pen is full, half full, or less. It takes some careful angling in the light to get a good view, but really it’s not something I’ve needed to see easily.

Like all Pelikans, the pen writes well and is reliable. I can ink it up with any ink I have, leave it in a drawer for a month, pick it up and it will write. On a plane I’ve had no issues, and the only time I end up with ink on my fingers is when I’m refilling it and not being careful. It’s a very usable pen that is easy to live with.

While the M800 is one of my favorite pens, I think I may get an M600 someday because after trying one I think it’s a better fit. Of course, I might just spend the rest of my life trying to decide which pen I like better.

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