How Many Versions of the Same Pen Does Anybody Need?

A few weeks ago, I was severely tempted by the Pelikan Souverän M600 Vibrant Orange Special Edition. So I went shopping, and discovered that I was less keen on the Vibrant Orange, than I was on the standard red and black striped model. So, after a bit of hunting around, I picked up the truly excellent Pelikan Souverän M600, with red-striped barrel. It’s a great pen, and I gave it an equally great review. Well, recently I found myself sorely tempted by the brown and black M800 Special Edition. So, it stands to reason, well, my reason at any rate, that I would end up with something completely different.

Which I did.

In fact, about a week ago, a brand new Pelikan Souverän M600, with a green-striped barrel, landed on my desk. In all honesty, if you want to know what it’s like, you could just go back to the first review, copy it into a word-processor, and replace the word red with green and you really have the essence of my new pen. I bought it from the same shop in the United Kingdom—the most excellent Cult Pens—for the same price (a great deal cheaper than in North America), it’s just green where the other one is red. It even has an identical beautifully smooth 14K gold extra-fine nib. So what would make anybody spend what is still—despite the UK’s far more sensible Pelikan pricing—a lot of money on a pen that I have, pretty much, already got?

Because they are simply that good, and I like to keep a range of colors inked up for different purposes, so I wanted another one to keep inked with a permanent blue… and, well, you can’t put blue ink in a red pen can you?

Okay, okay, I know I’m sounding like the worst kind of spoiled First World dilettante… and, er, maybe I’d better just leave it there.

I got a nice green pen alright?

I won’t go through another full M600 review—they really are the same pen. Instead, I’ll just concentrate on the one major difference, and post a few nice photo’s.

It came in the regular Pelikan packaging… which I believe I criticized fairly heavily last time, and obviously no change there.

The only thing that held any doubt for me as I opened the package, was the barrel color. I am not a fan of brash, in-your-face colors. Although I was strangely attracted to the Vibrant Orange M600, go figure, as they say. What I wanted from the green-striped M600 was a tasteful dark-green, reminiscent of the aged leather upholstery of a winged-back chair I remember from my grandfather’s home in the English countryside. A color my beautiful youngest child referred to as stale-old-fart-green.

Thank you My Darling, I think we get the idea.

Some of the pictures on the internet show the pen as a little bright for my liking, but I have seen enough in shops and in the hands of others, to be able to have a more realistic idea. For those of you that haven’t, this isn’t a British racing green of a color, but it isn’t quite the bottle-green of my old school blazer either (may both school and blazer be consigned to Dante’s seventh circle).

Now, before everybody asks the obvious question… if you have a problem with putting unmatched inks in colored pens, then why didn’t you just get the blue-striped M600? Well, I just preferred the green thanks.

The Pelikan cap end hasn’t changed.

And the cap band is still elegantly marked with the “Pelikan Souverän Germany” branding.

Uncapped, the pen’s elegant design and color scheme continue with the two-tone nib.

The nib is Pelikan’s usual M600 14k gold offering. It runs wet, smooth, and a bit wider than it’s claimed extra-fine label… and it’s simply beautiful, to look at and to use.

The writing sample above is on a Rhodia #13 notepad with white, lined, 80gsm paper, using Platinum’s (permanent) Pigment Blue ink.

In just a few days, this pen has been promoted to a regular slot in my daily carry.

In Summary

The Pelikan Souverän M600 hits a real sweet-spot for me. It’s not that the M800 is too big, not by a long shot. I like the size of the M800, and I’ll probably pick one up one of these days, but the extra size is just not necessary (the M600 is just fine), and none of the currently available designs have—to date—really grabbed me. Certainly not enough to justify the extra cost. So, when I went looking for a brown-striped M800 Special Edition, I found that the idea of owning another (more than $400 CAD cheaper) M600 just appealed to me so much more.

The Souverän M600 is an all-round excellent pen—the piston filling mechanism is one of the best engineered systems I have ever encountered; design aesthetics are classically elegant; size, weight, and balance are all absolutely optimal for my writing style, grip, and hand size; and the quality of the Pelikan gold nibs I’ve had so far has been everything I could have wished for, which contributes to a writing experience that has been second to none. I know these are a high-cost item, especially if purchased from a North American retailer, but sourced elsewhere, they compare highly competitively with other popular luxury brands.


11 thoughts on “How Many Versions of the Same Pen Does Anybody Need?

  1. This makes perfect sense to me. You cannot go wrong with a green and black Pelikan…an absolute classic. It is good to hear that yours came with a well-finished nib. I know of others who have had some QC issues with recent purchases.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve had quality issues with M200 steel nibs, most definitely, but not with any of the gold nibs over the years. That would be a real issue for me… I do not appreciate luxury pens that don’t write.


  2. Great post! I totally told myself the first pelikan was the last before picking up the vibrant orange a year later. Can’t go wrong with that classic look though, no matter how ‘stale old fart’ it may seem. >:} There’s also something pretty awesome about owning a ‘set’ or even a ‘pair’, I’m already dreaming about the next m600 to pair with the orange…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m one of those who DID buy the M600 Vibrant Orange! For some reason I’m not drawn to the ‘stock’ Pelikan finishes. If I were to go stripy, the Stresemann finish is about the only one that I’m drawn to.

    I’ve seen plenty about the price differential between Europe and North America, so can totally understand you buying from the UK. Could I suggest you also consider The Writing Desk as a source. Their prices are usually good, and on pens over £100 they will do a free nib check. Given the growing number of reports about QC issues with Pelikan nibs, this might be a useful insurance policy if buying from a distance. (For not too much money, they will also do a limited range of custom grinds on Pelikan nibs. I had the fine on my M600 turned into a stub – not much line variation, but enough to suit my scratty handwriting.)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That vibrant orange still kind of appeals 🙂

    I like The Writing Desk, and have done some business with them in the past. I didn’t know about the nib checks and grinds though, that’s always a great touch. The only reason I tend to go for Cult Pens over and above most other UK suppliers is their free overseas delivery on orders over a certain price. They have it listed as 50GBP for a limited time at the moment, but I’ve had free deliveries from them on all my orders since mid-2017; though admittedly, not one of those has been less than fifty quid (that’s about $65USD or $85CAD to North American peoples 🙂).


    1. Yeeees, what a delightful mental image. I’m guessing smiley, happy, children’s fiction is not a big part of the Clause repertoire? You and my daughter seem to be cut from the same cloth. You should definitely be introduced.


      1. I would like that! My two favorite children’s book are “The Monster at the End of the Book (starring lovable furry Grover)” and “A is for Salad,” and assorted Gorey and Sendak, etc.

        Dead toad green happens to be one of my very favorite colors in the world.

        Liked by 2 people

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