In the world of fountain pens, the pens that usually get the most attention are either expensive, exotic, or some sort of limited edition. While there is definitely a place in this hobby for those pens, some people may want a more simple and inexpensive fountain pen that they feel comfortable using regularly. One of my favorites pens in that category is the Pelikan M200/205.
My First Pelikan
I’d say that my fountain pen use and history of collecting has three distinct periods. The first was when I started using fountain pens in college. I’m pretty sure that every pen I purchased at that time came from either eBay or an antique shop, since there were no stores near me where I could go and buy one in person. The second was after college when I had a job and could buy myself things that I couldn’t afford when I was in college. The third was when I moved to San Francisco and found myself surrounded by pen, ink and paper options that I had never previously had access to.
I bought my first Pelikan during the second period, shortly after I started a new job. There used to be a shop in Denver called the Colorado Pen Company and I went there every chance I got. Often I just tried out pens and talked with the manager, but every once in a while I’d actually buy something. Most of the time I’d get myself another Retro 51 rollerball or a bottle of ink, but on one rare occasion I actually bought a fountain pen! After weeks of deliberation and testing, I settled on a Pelikan M200.Up to this point, most of my fountain pen experience came from vintage pens. I remember liking the simple lines of Pelikan pens when I saw them in the display case. When I tried writing with one, I loved the feel of the nib. While the M600 and M800 were out of my price range, I figured I could afford to buy myself an M200.
This pen held many firsts for me. It was my first Pelikan. In fact, it was my first German pen since I hadn’t even purchased a Lamy yet. It was my first pen that I ever bought from a pen shop and even my first pen that I was able to try before buying! While these days it doesn’t seem like a very exciting pen, at the time I was very excited about it and used it often.
The Pelikan M200 and M205
Let’s start out by describing the difference between the Pelikan M200 and Pelikan M205 models. Physically, they are the exact same pen, sharing the same size and dimensions for both models. The main difference between the two is the trim color. The M200 has gold trim, while the M205 has silver trim. There are some color options that are only available on either the M200 or M205, while some color options are available on both.
Similar to pretty much every other Pelikan out there, the M200/205 has an interchangeable nib unit. When I bought my first one, I was very familiar with vintage Esterbrooks and this felt very comfortable, so I’m sure that also had something to do with why I chose Pelikan. Over the years I’ve never had to replace a nib on my M200, but it’s nice to know that I could if I needed to. The nibs on the M200 are gold plated steel, while the nibs on the M205 are stainless steel.
My Pelikan Experience
I am definitely a Pelikan fan. While I don’t own many of them, every single one that I have I enjoy using. It took many years since that first Pelikan M200 purchase to add another one to my lineup, and now I’m at a grand total of 4! I found an amazing Pelikan 500 at a pen show and picked up an M800 at the same show. A few years ago I was lucky enough to have won an M205 in a giveaway on Instagram. That’s the current state of Pelikans in my collection… an M200, M205, 500 and M800.
While they are all different pens in many ways, they all are unmistakably Pelikan. The shape is consistent and the lines are distinct, whether it’s the Pelikan 500 from the 1960s or the M205 from 2020. The nibs are all a little more wet and broad than their Japanese counterparts, but still nice and smooth. The piston fillers are easy to operate and always give a great fill. Essentially, if you have one Pelikan that you like, I’m pretty sure you’ll easily find another Pelikan that you like just as much, even if it’s a different model.
Pelikan has long been known to make quality fountain pens. While they may not be the most luxurious or flashy brand out there, they are generally regarded as good writers. Most people tend to obsess over the more expensive models like the M800 and M1000. While these big pens are quite nice and come with more exotic nibs than the less expensive models, they are priced out of many peoples budgets. Fortunately, Pelikan makes the M200 and M205 fountain pens! If you’re able to use a smaller (by modern standards) fountain pen, it’s hard to find a better-writing pen than one of these at this price point. They do have steel nibs, but unless you’re looking for flex, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a nib that feels nicer to write with. The M200 and M205 make fantastic pens that are great for daily use.
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