Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Big Boy

With its thirty-four grams of brass mechanism, acrylic resin and gold plating, you have a lot of fountain pen in hand with the Pelikan Souverän M1000. This is the whopper of fountain pens, first produced in 1998 to compete with high end pens such as the Montblanc 149. There’s little doubt that Pelikan was successful in challenging Montblanc and others, as the M1000 has come to be regarded by some as a pen of the gods. I have used one for three years, and don’t for a moment hesitate to add my voice to that praise.

In terms of size, this fountain pen is a brute of a writing instrument, and I have to wonder how many fans it has among women, or anyone with less than big hands. Surely there are women who enjoy using a pen of this size, but I imagine the number must be negligible. This is a pen that measures practically 6 inches (14.6 cm) capped and very close to 7 inches (17.8 cm) posted, with a diameter of nine-sixteenths of an inch (1.42 cm). And as noted above, weighing in at a hefty 34 grams. The 18k gold nib with a rhodium tip measures a full inch (2.5 cm) in length. It has a solid brass differential piston filling mechanism, and the barrel and cap are made of diamond ground acrylic resin. It comes in either black with green stripes, or classic black. The beak-shaped clip on the cap is gold plated as are the double rings at the top, and at the bottom of the cap. And of course, the cap bears the traditional company trademark of nest, pelican and chick. There is a wide range of nib sizes to choose from, starting with F and moving up to O3B.

My M1000 is the classic black, with a B nib, and can only be described as a wet pen; the ink flows copiously from this big boy, and if I’m not careful will fill the page in the space of a few lines. This is not a pen you want to use for taking notes, or writing in a small space. On rare occasions I write a line or two in Japanese, and for that the 1000 is unsuitable, or at least one with a B nib. But I can’t imagine using even an F nib for small work. This is a pen that makes a bold statement, and it isn’t of a delicate nature. Having said that, let me coax you away from thinking this pen leaves a messy sprawl of words and puddles of ink. Once you get the feel of this pen and know what it will do, lines and pages are enhanced by its elegant flow of ink.

I would like to say that the Pelikan M1000 is suited to everyone, but I doubt even a hard up pen salesman could make that claim. It’s a good choice if you aren’t afraid of its size and boldness, and a pen that the writer must take firm control of.

I wouldn’t trade my Pelikan M1000 for two Montblanc 149 fountain pens, and that should be an indication of how much I like and enjoy using this classy giant of a pen. If you’re curious, by all means give one a whirl, but hold on to your hat.

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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America