The Pelikan Souveran M800 fountain pen is one of my favorite fountain pens. It is in my mind best described by what it is not; flashy, heavy, metallic, cold, and unreliable. If you are looking for something to whip out in a meeting and have everyone start drooling over some exquisite piece of jewelry, move on, this is not your pen
So now let’s talk about what this pen is, and that is, quite possibly one of the most serious pens on the market. My personal favorite high-end utilitarian pen (something that is supposed to write, not look fancy) is the Montblanc 146 Le Grand and while I like the style of the 146 better than the Pelikan, it is not any better of a pen, and to me that says something.
Let’s start with the fact that the Pelikan Souveran M800 is balanced not only in front to back weight, but amazingly enough, doesn’t get unbalanced when posted (removing the cap and placing it over the back of the pen while you write). I am not sure how that happens, I am guessing it has something to do with the ink and most of the serious mechanics of the piston being far enough towards the nib that the little bit of extra weight from the cap doesn’t change the weight enough to notice.
I can write easily and tirelessly posted or unposted. This is nice because I really prefer posted so I do not misplace the cap.
The diameter of a pen is one place where you can really have your hand get tired after a while. Too large or too small a diameter can make anything more than quick notes a chore. This is why for me the Pelikan Souveran M800 and Montblanc 146 are in the same class as their diameter and weights are similar and I find them both to be comfortable.
Pelikan also makes the excellent Pelikan Souveran M600 pen shown above which is smaller and less expensive and in every facet an excellent pen, but it just feels too small and light for extended writing. The 600 may indeed be a better choice if all you do is take quick notes and sign checks, but if you like to write, the 800 is the way to go.
They also make the Pelikan Souveran m1000 which is a larger version much like Montblanc’s 149 is the larger version of the 146. I find the M1000 a little too large and that the Pelikan Souveran M800 is more suited to my hand size.
There is even a Pelikan Souveran m400 which reminds me too much of a Bic stick although they have managed to make it write almost as well as it’s bigger brothers. I just can not do much writing with something that small.
Since the Pelikan Souveran M800 is a top tier pen, like the 146, it includes a top tier filling system; it is a piston filler. This means there are no cartridges, you remove the cap, insert the nib of the pen into a bottle of ink, rotate the piston knob at the rear to fill the internal reservoir with ink, screw the piston cover back in, wipe off the nib with a paper towel, and replace the cap.
The Pelikan Souveran M800 holds a generous amount of ink which will easily get you through a day of serious writing. Looking at the end of the barrel near the nib you can see that section of the barrel is clear between the stripes allowing you to see how much ink is left in the pen.
Writing with the Pelikan Souveran M800 is exactly what you would expect from a German writing instrument, serious and precise. There is no flex in the nib and it is just shy of writing with a nail. That nail is very smooth, however, flowing over paper with ease and speed. You point, it writes. Starting is also easy and effortless and it tends to resist drying out well when sitting uncapped for a few minutes.
The Pelikan Souveran M800 has what I would consider a very accurate nib size. You ask for a fine, you get a fine. I personally enjoy both the fine and medium tending to prefer the fine for technical writing and correspondence. The medium is more of an all-around pen that writes better on low-grade paper.
Cleaning the Pelikan Souveran M800 is straight forward even if left to completely dry out. Soaking the nib for an hour tends to remove virtually all dried ink and the piston chamber comes clean with just a few flushes of water. This is important because many older pens that use plain cork as the seals for their pistons can have ink leach into their seals making it very difficult to get all the coloring out of one once it is stained. This is not a problem with the Pelikans.
When you get into the realm of $400-$500 pens, which the Pelikan Souveran M800 is squarely in the middle of, you have a lot of choices and you also really have to ask yourself if the Pelikan m800 pen, or any pen for that matter, is worth that kind of money. While I can not answer that question for you what I can say is if you purchase this pen you will never regret the purchase because the pen let you down.
If you are new to fountain pens, I might suggest you see if you can find a store that carries the Pelikan Souverans in stock, or visit a pen show, and try out the M400, M600, M800, and even the M1000 to see what fits your hand better. There is little worse than buying an expensive pen like the Pelikan Souveran M800 only to find out you really needed something smaller or larger for your particular hand size.
If you want a serious writing instrument, or want to give a fantastic gift to a serious writer, the only concern about purchasing the Pelikan Souveran M800 will be which color you should get (and do you want the matching Pelikan Souveran ballpoint pen).