Pen Review: Pelikan Souverän M805


There’s really no doubt about it. Pelikan makes a beautiful pen. My first foray into the German manufacturer’s line is this stunner, the Souverän M805. One step down from the mammoth M1000 series, the M805 is still quite a hefty pen, with a 13mm barrel (nearly the same diameter as a Montblanc 149), and a section that sits at around 11mm.  The piston-filling mechanism works quite smoothly, and the pen can hold a generous amount of ink inside its rather capacious body. The 805 has silver-plated hardware (as opposed to the 800 series, which has gold-plated fittings), and a semi-transparent barrel.  The quality of manufacture is spectacular. Everything feels solidly built, the materials feel luxurious, even the threads are perfectly cut. This pen is well-engineered, well-built, and, well, awesome.  And then, of course, it has that very large Pelikan nib.

Ah, the Pelikan nibs. When I purchased my pen from my local store, the proprietor warned me that Pelikan nibs always ran about one size larger than their name specified. He wasn’t lying. My medium nib writes with a broader line than any other broad nib I have in my collection.  It lays down a very thick line for a medium. It is also ground in a slightly more oblong shape than a standard round nib, resulting in a bit of variation between the horizontal strokes and the vertical strokes. It is by no means a full stub nib, but it does have a couple of stub-like tendencies.  Ink flow is generous but not too wet, and the pen does write quite smoothly, with only the barest hint of feedback.  One other thing I’d like to point out is that this pen is one of the few in my collection that did not require at least some minor tuning before writing to my preference. It worked perfectly right out of the box, from the very first inking.

Ink on the nib

Ink on the nib

I also have to make a quick note about the design of Pelikan’s nibs. In short, they are stunning. It is my opinion that Pelikan’s nibs are some of the most beautifully-designed nibs found in modern pens.  They are elegant, yet still somewhat understated. And those looping, interlocking channels that swoop across the face of the nib provide an excellent display when the nib creep brings a bit of ink to the surface of the nib.  This is actually a good thing, because if my experience with this nib is typical, I would say that Pelikan nibs almost always have some ink on the surface. This nib just creeps. It’s almost a feature rather than a bug. (You can tell I work in the software industry.)

As beautiful as this pen is, and it truly is, I’m not 100% head-over-heels in love with it. I’m not entirely sure why that is. As I state in the video above, I really do like this pen, and it’s staying in my collection. I’m sure it will be part of my regular pen rotation.  But there’s something about the pen that’s keep it from catapulting it into the very top of my pen loves. It may be the grip. It may just be that I have to get used to the unusual grind of the nib.

In any case, I really do like this pen. There is a reason why Pelikan pens are considered classics. They are refined, elegant, understated, well-built, and they write beautifully.