Top critical review
Underwhelming performance, a bad example
20 May 2017
The "Pelikan 983064 Black 1pc(s) fountain pen - fountain pens (Black, Steel)", otherwise the M200, is one of the smaller of Pelikan's M series and of almost identical size to the M400. This has a gold-plated steel nib, the M400 a 14K gold one matching their respective trim.
The steel nib is not as stiff as they often can be but allows some flexing although that does not translate to variable line widths. The Medium nib is presently not typical Pelikan as it is not laying down the expected juicy wet lines and nor is it as smooth as they can be even with a top quality, glassy-smooth paper that works very well with other fountain pens that includes another Pelikan model. Although not 'scratchy' to the point of being unusable, it has too much bite and the nib could be described as 'noisy' and likely to annoy anyone in close proximity. Pelikan's nibs also tend by reputation to be slightly wider-tipped than most Western alternatives (Parker, Sheaffer, Waterman etc) but not this; when compared to two Pilot Medium-nibbed pens that were immediately accessible (one current production and typically 'Western', the other slightly older and typically Oriental and finer in grade), it produces a finer line than the more recent Pilot but about the same as the older. Although normal recommendation would be to use a 'dry' ink such as those from Pelikan as their nibs tend to be wet, this pen may be better-served by a 'wet' and faster-running ink such as most from Diamine or Herbin. Although usable out-of-the-box, it is possible that it may need bedding-in time to achieve its best; again, that is not typical Pelikan.
A narrow but relatively dark window just before the nib section will allow an advance warning when ink levels are low, but only when held against a bright light or window. The pen will hold rather more ink than most piston filler or cartridge pens and thus not need to be refilled quite so often; however, a bottle of ink may need to be accessible.
The pen is lightweight and comfortable in the hand provided that it suits for size - it did not personally suit; most will probably need to use it with the cap posted for the extra length and balance that offers. Those with larger hands or long fingers may find it too small for comfort and demand use of one of the higher numbered models (M600, M800, M1000) which are unfortunately significantly more expensive should they wish to retain brand allegiance.
The medium nib would usually best suit most users' needs, whether personal or business. However, as fitted, this nib is not a glowing example of Pelikan's claimed normal standards. There are no obvious flaws in the setting of the tip when viewed under high magnification to explain its under-performance. It is also unfortunate that the standard packaging is so basic, boring and out-of-character with the brand's high reputation!
This pen's performance was considered so below par that it was immediately returned; it may be replaced at a later date.
Addendum - a replacement was purchased, an M205 whose nib was everything this should have been but was not and it came with the presentation box! Confidence reinstated, but the rating was given for the unit originally supplied and which was the obvious exception. Others should be better performers.