I seriously must be out of my mind. With as much grief as the Pelikan M205 seems to have caused me in the past, I'm still sinking money into them in hopes that some day I will buy one that knocks my socks off as sufficiently as it does other people.
I think we might finally be there...
What did it take? Buying a gold nib to switch into it. Desperate times...
I'll have to pass the credit for the prompting over to Mr. Myke Hurley of Relay FM, co-host of one of our favorite podcasts, The Pen Addict. Over a year ago I imagine it has been now, Myke bought an M205 and swapped in a gold nib. He raved and raved about it, but from what everyone else seemed to be saying was that the steel nib was still good. I decided to give the steel a try.
After going through a couple of M205s to try, they never really grabbed hold of me. Actually, three M205s to be exact. One I had sent off for repair which came back writing well, one I sold which was "ok" in my opinion, and another recent purchase I got from Pen Chalet with an italic nib which is fun. Still, buttons not really being pushed like crazy; until this gold nib.
I was perusing another pen retailer, Cult Pens, out of the UK as they stock Pelikan gold nibs ranging from the 400 to 1000 series. The M400 14k nib came in at £60 (after excluding VAT), and I had a 10% off coupon code at the time. So £64 shipped (at the time a little less than $100) got me a new nib on the way from the UK which I thought was cheap.
So, couple a Pelikan M205 from Pen Chalet with one of the coupon codes floating around for less than $90 with about $100 nib from Cult Pens, you can set yourself up with a gold Pelikan that probably rivals the M400 or M405 for about $100 or so less. Hey, I'm open to saving $100 where I can...
What this gold nib has done has actually made me really, really enjoy the Pelikan. Honestly, it is probably one of the most fantastic nibs I own. Super smooth, just enough flex, great flow; excellent. This swap, if in your budget, is something I would highly recommend.
I went with a medium which puts down a pretty wide line, but can't argue with the smoothness. Eventually I may end up purchasing another in a fine, but we'll see. Honestly, I don't want it to seem like I was throwing the M400 or M405 under the bus as I don't own one, but for the sake of giving the experience a fair shake one of those may pop up sometime in the future. A little side-by-side comparison would be nice rather than me making potentially outrageous claims.
With all of the praise I am now giving the pen, I am still a bit irked if I'm being honest. I know a lot of people have good experiences with the standard, out of the box M205, but mine were mediocre at best. I mentioned in a previous review that there is probably a lot of "it's not you, M205, it's me" going on which I'm certain clouds my willingness to move on. A $200 (retail) pen should write like a $200 pen, case closed. Compared to others in this price range like the Pilot Custom 74 or Vanishing Point (both come with gold nibs), the standard experience of the M205 doesn't stand up. I hate feeling like a am paying a premium for a "brand" if that makes sense.
Still, I know now the the M205 will be more frequent in the rotation due to the swap. This pen feels like it is finally worth its salt.