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.

  • Rafael Pappalardo

    Congrats! I completely agreee with your comments but the flex one. Could it be that the line variation arise from the “stub” character you mention?

    If you have the opportunity to try one M2xx (mine is M215 rings) with steel M nib you will notice a really spring nib. In comparison the M8xx gold nib is a nail.
    Anyway I am enyoing very much your series of reviews. Thanks.

  • Anna

    Thanks for the review! I recently got my hands on an M605 (with blue stripes like yours), which I love, but I’m glad to read your comments regarding the nib. I noticed these stub characteristics with mine (I also got a medium nib), and was wondering if this was usual. The line is completely different than the line produced by the medium nib on my M215! But the nib on my M605 is also very very smooth. These are great pens!

  • anaximander70

    Glad you’re enjoying your first Pelikan. I have this pen and also enjoy it very much. I ordered the “M” nib as well and was so put off by the size when it arrived that I immediately sent it off to be ground to John Mottishaw to have it ground to a fine-ish stub. Now I’m very happy with the pen.

    If you have a chance to try an M6xx pen, you might find it more comfortable. The 600 series also seems to have softer nibs, in my experience.

    Thanks for all the great reviews!

  • Pascal Leers

    I,ve ordered the Pelikan Souveran M800 in black. (With an extra fine nib.) I was having difficulties deciding between the black and the blue version. I think that the understated black and that dark green ink section(Or what it is called) just suits my taste just a little bit more.

  • Randy R

    Hey there Matt! Have you revisited this pen (the Pelikan M805) since you first reviewed it three years ago? At that time, you really liked it, but, for some indeterminate reason, you were not “in love” with it. I have my eye on an M800 Renaissance Brown and would like your comments.

    Also, are ALL Pelikan nibs one step larger in size than would be expected — ie: is a medium always closer to a broad and is a broad always closer to a double broad? As always THANKS for your videos.

    • I don’t know that I have enough experience with multiples to state it as a categorical rule, but generally, yes. Especially when you get to mediums and broads. The fine nib on my 800 Renaissance is between a fine and a medium. The last medium I got wrote like a broad.

      • Randy R

        Thanks a bunch, Matt. I’ll see how it goes!