When you think of Pelikan pens, you tend to think of how they generally cost around the $150 range to start (and definitely go up from there). The brand has a lot of heritage, pedigree, and a loyal following and their higher end gold nibs really are phenomenal.
Pelikan has had what I would consider more of a "kids" pen line like the Pelikano or twist, but traditionally not a lot in the more entry level "grown up" section. Even with pens like the M100 or Pura coming in at around $100, it has traditionally pushed the brand away a bit for the first time fountain pen folks. It took me awhile to take the plunge on a Pelikan.
But, Pelikan recently has tried to remedy that by releasing a new, entry-level fountain pen called the P16 Stola III that retails for around $45 (street price of around $35).
Pen Boutique was kind enough to send me this model for review, so special thanks to them! And, through June 1st they are giving away one of these same models to a reader of the blog.
The Stola III is a clean looking, professional pen made of mostly metal parts that has a hefty weight to it. Not heavy per se, but hefty for its size. A bit of a simpler, perhaps more modern style than their 200-1000 series with a bit less embellishment and flair.
From a feel or quality standpoint I'd put this pen in the category of the Pilot Knight or many lower priced Cross or Parker fountain pens. Nice, but not like "wow" nice if that makes sense. A nice dip of the toes into the pool of wanting to try fountain pens, but with a bit more of a professional aesthetic that might look a bit less distracting than a new limited edition lime green Lamy Al Star when in that meeting at work... The Stola III is still likely to catch people's attention though.
As mentioned, the pen is mostly metal construction and the barrel is coated in a shiny metallic silver. The clip and tail of the barrel are coated in a glossy black paint which has a few dimples and imperfections. If you're a perfectionist, these types of things might drive you a bit crazy.
The pen comes standard with a steel, likely medium nib which is adorned with the Pelikan logo and some very classic, although simple, Pelikan "swoops" around the tines which adds some nice detail to the pen. No boring and generic "Iridium Tipped Germany" like a lot of lower priced pens that seem to share the same nibs...
First nib experience with the Stola III; not so good, but Pen Boutique was kind enough to send me another pen as the initial sample was having hard starts and baby's bottom type skipping issues.
The new nib definitely has a sweet spot right in the middle and hard angles to the left and right made the lines fade out. The nib writes pretty well, but is a bit on the grabby side and has some considerable feedback. While the second pen writes better, I still have run into an occasional skip in my lines.
The pen came with a standard international long cartridge, so it will also take a standard converter as well if you wanted to use bottled ink.
There are apparently a Stola I and Stola II which vary in color from the Stolla III (and don't offer a fountain pen version), but this seems like a bit of an odd convention. I could see if they were trying to play a bit off of the Lamy Dialog series where the ballpoint is the "1", rollerball is "2", and the fountain pen is "3", but this isn't the case. Anyway, small rant, but just my opinion.
Overall I think the Stola III is a pretty decent entry level pen if you're looking for something that fits this aesthetic and want to tap into the Pelikan brand at a low price. Not sure I'd personally recommend it to first timers over others like the Pilot Metropolitan or Lamy Safari (aesthetics again...), but I've heard from quite a few people that really like this pen so you might too.
As mentioned, Pen Boutique is kindly offering a giveaway for a Stola III fountain pen to a reader of The Clicky Post! To enter, visit their giveaway page until June 1st to provide your details. Thanks again Pen Boutique!