Pen Review: Pelikan M1000

Material: Cotton Resin
Nib: 18k Gold Medium Nib
Appointments: 24k Gold Plated
Filling System: Piston
Length (Capped): 145.6mm
Length (Uncapped): 135.1mm
Length (Posted): 173.6mm
Section Diameter: 12.1mm
Barrel Max Diameter: 13.8mm
Cap Max Diameter: 16mm
Weight, Uncapped (with ink and/or converter): 25g
Weight, Capped (with ink and/or converter):35g

There is something particularly satisfying about using a flagship pen. You realize you are holding on to something that helped define a brand: the pinnacle of what makes that brand what it is. I have tried a few of these flagship pens in my day: the Montblanc 149, the Sailor King of Pen, and, of course, the Pelikan M1000.


The largest of the Pelikan Souveran line, the M1000 is the status pen for Pelikan, with the size (and price tag) to match. It comes in black or green stripe acrylic/resin as part of the regular production line. Special, limited editions have been made available through the years as well, including demonstrators and maki-e or raden finishes.


If you know Pelikan pens, you know the design of this pen as well. The cap, made of black resin, features a 24k gold-plated finial with a laser-etched relief logo of a mama pelican and her baby. The sides of the finial have a keystone profile, and hold on the bog-standard Pelikan bill clip. The cap hold a nearly cylindrical profile and terminates in a gold double cap band, the bottom band featuring the words PELIKAN SOUVERAN GERMANY.”


The barrel of my pen is the classic green stripe acrylic for which Pelikan is known. The green stripes are opaque, but the space between them is translucent, allowing you to see ink levels (so long as you’ve got a decent backlight.) The barrel, too, is perfectly cylindrical and comes to a termination at the piston filler knob. The knob itself is made of the same black resin as the cap and also features a double band in gold. It then comes to a nice, domed terminus.

Looks-wise, Pelikan pens walk that fine line between understated and ostentation. They are clearly showpiece pens, but most of them—the production line especially—aren’t very showy or flashy. They would be the weapon of choice for the conservative businessman or businesswoman who wanted to communicate status without having to resort to the same old boring black cigar-shaped pen everyone else has.


Under the M1000’s cap, which comes off the barrel in ¾ of a turn, is a smallish, black section. I normally struggle with Pelikan’s sections a bit due to their lilpution height in comparison to the rest of the pen. (Seriously, Just move the threads back ½” and you’d solve the problem! I checked the inside of the cap. There’s space!) On the M1000, the height of the section is less of an issue than on the smaller-sized pens because of the pen’s overall larger proportions and longer nib. The section is girthy, befitting a pen for large hands, but does have a slightly tapered profile to improve the ergonomics of the grip.


Pelikan’s nib design is one of the most beautiful in the business, and it is shown off to full effect on the M1000. Pelikan uses a rather unusual (and unique to them) nib profile: long and slender, with narrower shoulders and a shallower curvature. The face of the bi-color 18k nib is stamped with a series of intersecting, graceful, swooping curves. The Pelikan logo is stamped in the middle of the nib face along with “18C-570” and the nib gauge designation—medium in my case.

Unlike the relatively rigid nib on the smaller M400, M600, or M800 pens, the M1000 nib is bouncy nearly to the point of being soft. It has a really lovely give that shines on cursive writing and shows off the best qualities of shading or sheening inks. This is not a flex nib at all, and being 18k, shouldn’t be “pushed” to achieve line variation. But you will see a natural softness unlike any other flagship pen from the major manufacturers except, perhaps, the Dreamtouch nib from Visconti, which has a similar, albeit somewhat springier, feel to the nib on the M1000.

Once upon a time, Pelikan had their nibs made by the well-known nib manufacturer, A.G. Bock. Several years ago, Pelikan moved their nib manufacture back in-house. While I’ve not been around the hobby for long enough, nor do I have enough experience with the nibs before or after the switch to make any sort of sweeping generalization, the general consensus seems to be that the move to bring the nibs back in-house ended up resulting in poorer-performing nibs. (A couple of my sources indicate that the move back in-house was a cost-saving measure, although I have no real data to back up that assertion.)

I can, in any case, speak to the nib on my M1000. Unfortunately, the story is not great. It’s a beautiful-looking nib, and has a lovely bounce. It is not, however, a terribly good writer. Pelikan lives in its own little la-la land when it comes to nib gauges. The nib on my M1000 is a medium, but wrote out of the box like a paintbrush of a double-broad. This was due, in part, to the fact that the factory doesn’t grind their nibs to a size even remotely approaching its designation. Nor are they consistent in gauge from nib to nib. (Life is like a Pelikan medium nib…you never know what you gonna get.)


The nib had other issues as well. For starters, the tines were wide enough you could push a wheelbarrow through the nib slit, resulting in a torrential ink flow. The too-spread tines combined with being over-polished, resulting in the good old fashioned baby’s bottom that skipping and hard starts.

I had to, after inking the pen the first time, close up the tines to slow down the ink flow. This helped a bit, and now the nib only writes like a western broad. It is still very wet and smooth, but continues to exhibit lesser examples of the baby’s bottom problems. Eventually, I took the nib to a nibmeister to have it adjusted and ground into a cursive italic.

I find it rather unfortunate that the nib in a pen this expensive came with so many problems. Unfortunate, but not surprising. My experience over the last few years is that Pelikan QC has become really shaky. Sometimes I get a really great writer. Sometimes it’s nearly unusable. Consistency and quality no longer appear to be the buzzwords they once were. As a result, it’s hard to assign an identity to the way a Pelikan writes, because what you get may vary a fair bit from pen to pen.


The Pelikan M1000 is a very expensive pen, befitting its status as a flagship. Pelikan recently increased its prices significantly, and in the US, this pen commands a staggering MSRP of over $1,000. It’s a solidly-built pen body, with one of the best piston-fillers in the industry. It’s classic and refined-looking, with more personality than a Montblanc 149. But for a pen in this price range, a pen that should be shouldering the very reputation of the brand, the nib issues I experienced on this M1000 were inexcusable.  I hope that Pelikan uses the money from these recent price increases to invest more heavily in quality control in their nib department.

Until then, my advice is to go ahead and get a Pelikan. They’re a great pen. Just buy them from a place with a good return policy or a retailer that will check/adjust the pen before sending it out.

  • MKR

    There is something seriously wrong at the Pelikan factory when they are putting pens into the box with the nib tines spread like that.

  • Mihail Tiberiu Tanase

    Well, I can only say from my 2 M800’s, they came with perfect tine alignment etc, yes, they both write 1 size wider than the counterpart from MB, but cannot say anything negative about QC. One was bought in 2015, the other one this year.

    Considering that M1000 is writing even wider than the M800, an M which writes like a BB doesn’t suprise me.

    • I have had better luck with my 800s as well (I’ve had three). Of the three, all of them were aligned, but one wasn’t ground very well, so it needed some work.

  • Darin Robson

    As you say my M800 is perfect(Blue Stripe) but that M1000 nib is Stunning!
    Maybe a follow up review as a CI?

  • Bryan Ghows

    The problems with the M1000 nib are spot on. I had exactly the same issues with my M nib which wrote like a BB. Despite adjustments, I decided to sell it before using it too much (and depreciating it). The lack of QC at the factory was my biggest surprise.

  • kevin parks

    Every M1000 I have bought came like that. Enormous inverse taper, hilarious baby’s botton and just blobbed ink on to the page. The whole affair is exacerbated by the huge size of the nib and the fact that they made it out of mushy 18c gold. A convergence of many bad things. I have 4 vintage 400/n/nn had 600s, and still have one of the numerous M800s. All came perfect. All 3 M1000s came arrived as, essentially defects and went back for repair, return or were sold off. The nib is too large, too mushy, too wet, too polished and always too frequently ends up with an inverse taper. Google for M1000 and too wet or taper or baby’s bottom and you can see so many complaints to lead yourself to believe that half of them leave the factory with some problem. It is a design flaw (imo) coupled with bad QC. The number of such problems for non M1000 Pelikans is dramatically lower. They should make these nibs 14k, thicker, smaller, something but I gave up on what was once pretty much my grail pen. I realize now the M800 is the best pen they make.

    • That’s really unfortunate to hear. Part of me was just hoping that I got a dud. But from what I’m hearing, that’s not really the case.

      I really like the nib’s softness, but a snappier 14k would be nice. I’ve never understood the general move toward 18k anyway. 14k gold ought to be cheaper, considering it’s got a lower gold content. And it’s better-suited to modifications for flex. But the QC problems are a little too severe for my tastes. Most issues I can resolve myself, and I don’t mind doing that. But this is different than adjustments to customize it to my preferred writing style. These are major functionality problems.

      I hope, at some point, they move nib manufacture back to Bock, since they’re clearly not handling it well in-house.

  • Achim

    If I understand right, what VAC is, then VAC is 19% in Germany and it’s included in the price.
    The retailer, SBRE Brown got his M1000 from, sells to the US, I think.

    • I think it’s VAT, not VAC, and stands for value-added tax. But you’re right. In Europe, the price is included in the price. In the US, tax is added on after the purchase. For us here in the states, anytime we buy from a European retailer, we get an automatic 20% discount, since we don’t have to pay the VAT. Depending on the make and model of the pen, it can be a very good savings.

  • slkinsey

    FYI. as of February 15 the United States pricing of Pelikan pens went up by around 6%. The M1000 now lists at $1,035 and is selling it at a base price of $829 (up from a list of $975 and a price of $780).

    One reason, of course, to spend the $829 (or previously $780) at instead of $500 at Massdrop is that you wouldn’t have had any of the issues with the nib and you would have someplace to send it if it wasn’t to your liking. Of course, that might not be worth $300 bucks to you, and there is an argument to be made that you would get a properly adjusted nib at a lower price by buying it on Massdrop and immediately sending it off to a nibmeister. I got an M1000 B with an architect point grind from that writes like a dream.

  • Yaser Rais

    Hi great man,dear matt. Would you please tell me about the degree of mixing different inks such as blue to red to make the purple color?or is it possible? I myself have bought the lamy’s inks .and the last point ,after watching your video in YouTube channel, I bought both loamy vistar transparent one and alstar with extra fine nib,in have problem in making cracking sound on the page while I am writing,will it be smooth by using it during time or not? I would be so happy if you could help me.thanks a lot

    • I, personally, have never mixed inks, so I won’t be too much help. If you do want to try mixing inks, mix them in a separate vial in small doses and let them sit for a while. Some inks don’t like being mixed. If, a day or two later, the ink hasn’t separated, gotten gunky, or turned to slime, you’re probably okay to use it.

      As for the clicking extra fine nib, it is possible that the tines are too close together, but without seeing the nib, I couldn’t tell you. The big problem with EF nibs is that, if you adjust them to increase ink flow or reduce issues like that, you run the risk of turning them from an EF nib into a F or even a M nib. I’d try breaking it in for a while, but those Lamy nibs don’t have a lot of give to them, so you may not see much difference over time.


      • Yaser Rais

        I am thank full of your compassion and tolerance in replying my points. You are the most talented video maker as I ever compared in you tube about using and giving info about fountain pens mark.hopes for your success

  • Yaser Rais

    Sorry for misspelled loamy.

  • Yaser Rais

    Sorry for misspelled lamy

  • ZChen

    wow, the gap between tines is still an issue even for a later production model like your pen? (which I assume to be a later production since the cap top is all plated instead of just the crown being plated as in pre 2010 models like mine), I thought my M1000 medium nib was just a outlier, but now seeing your review and other comments I guess it’s par for the course.

  • Pascal Leers

    I love the M1000. (So much that I bought 2 of them.) One I bought 2 years ago. And one last december. Both with a EF nib. (They write almost like a medium). They perform very nicely. No hard start’s, no skip’s and very smooth. The nib is springy and has a nice line variation. As for the design. I like classic, understated designs. So it is perfect for me. I’m sorry to hear that you had problems with your pen Matt.

  • Dave

    Hi Matt,
    I have to say, the prices for Pelikan Pens in the US seem pretty harsh. With a little bit of luck you can get a new black M1000 for as little as ~300€ (VAT included) in Germany. Imho this makes the pen (and the other Souverän pens) a much better deal.
    Also far as I know Pelikan does free nib exchange in the first four weeks after purchase. That mitigates the nib problem a little bit, at least if you buy a new one.
    Finally an unrelated question: Could you maybe add a RSS Feed to Or is there one I just haven’t found it?

    • There is a feed, I just don’t have a link to it from the front page.

      As for the pricing, I tend to agree with you. Because Pelikan sells pens via a distributor in the US, I am sure that accounts for part of the price differential. They also handle all of the Pelikan repair requests.

      • Pascal Leers

        Here in the Netherlands the price of a Pelikan M1000 (At la couronne de Comté) is 550 euro’s at the moment (Normaly it’s 595 euro’s). But sometimes they have a discount. I bought my first M1000 2 or 3 years ago. For 490 euro. That is about the same price of a M800. A discount of 105 euro.

  • Berndt Norten

    My M805 came with an EF nib. It is really more like a generous Fine. It is exactly as wide as a Sailor MF (Medium Fine) I own. The EF nib is great but out of the box i noticed a clicking sound when i wrote. the nib had not been screwed into the section properly. I googled and sure enough this is a common issue. Then I bought a pricey IB (Italic Broad) nib to play with. It was very fussy for a few weeks but then started to write like a dream. With Rhodia paper it produces majestic lines. But it is temperamental. My TWSBI 1.1 mm stubs are more reliable. My Goulet stubs attached to $5 Jinhaos have NEVER skipped or hard started on any paper. My Pelikan IB wants a wet ink like Waterman; it doesn’t get along well with my desert island ink, the lovely Kon Peki. Would I buy an 800 series pen again? No. My M400 is a “medium” but it produces a line like my M805 EF ! Having said that my M400 is smooth as butter and is perfect. My best Pelikan? Without doubt my M140 from 1953. The beat of the 70 or so pens in my collection.

  • Ian

    my M1000 was a terrible writer. the ink flow inconsistent and frustrating. regardless of what others say about Pelikan, my encounter with both M1000 and M800 was enough to draw the line through wasting money with the brand again. I have had better results with a Lamy Safari. no apologies here, when we spend hundreds of pound on a premium pen. it should function to perfection. Pelikan are a poor choice if you desire a premium fountain pen.