Pelikan M620 – Piccadilly Circus Special Edition

  • Where to buy: N/A
  • Price: N/A
  • Recommend?: Y E S S S S S S S S S S S S. For Londonphiles (yes that’s now a word) such as myself, absolutely yes. It reflects Piccadilly perfectly and captures it in a pen AND it’s a Pelikan! Two wins right there.

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If you want a TL;DR of this pen, I adore it. I will also tell you that I have put another review on hold just so that I have another excuse to write with this pen tonight. Oh. Also, London.

I have lived in London my whole life, and I am so happy that I do. Of the 5 universities I applied to, 4 were in London (I let Mother think this is because I want to stay close to home, but really I just love the city). I really cannot put my love for this city into words. Ykno another thing I really love? Pelikans. Pelicans are pretty cool, also.

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So when I discovered that Pelikan did a City Series Edition of London, I NEEDED it. I go to a pen met up every month in London. This is where I met my Chief Enabler (you can read his review here (opens in a new tab)), and you will discover why he has this name. Because not only did he just prompt me to buy a Pilot Custom 823 and not only his Pelikan M100 ‘Stormtrooper’ (I am sure to do a review of these two pens) but also sold me this pen. And I am so thankful because, while I don’t have a grail list, this pen would certainly feature on said list.

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I received a few very weird looks when getting these pictures.. More can be found on my Instagram, 7heDaniel

So what makes this a London themed pen, other than by nomenclature? Well, the answer for that lies in the body design, which is difficult to ignore. Pelikan didn’t use this design just because it looks nice (and it does. It so does) but because it mimics the vibrant, neon aesthetic and embodies the out-going nature that Piccadilly represents. This is not a pen that is just sold with a special edition tag with new fancy design and swirls, it means something. To me, that is very important in the pen because if it didn’t have meaning, I think it would completely turn me off.

There is one issue I have with the pen: the furnishings are silver, and I am a gold guy. If I had the choice, then I would have gold furniture on this pen. However, it does not come with that option. But it isn’t something that annoys me as much as I love this pen (I’d say it’s a 3/10 annoyance but I have a 923728463763287/10 love for the pen). That being said, the pen has the Mxx0 nib which is the two-tone gold nib. This might irk some people. It makes it more personal to me so I’m not bothered by it all.

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But talking about the nib, it’s fantastic. It’s a fine, and compared to my M800 fine I think this is a ‘true fine’ while the M800 is a Pelikan fine (for those of you who don’t know, Pelikan nib grades tend to run a tad broader than other Western nibs). It isn’t as smooth, but gosh the feedback is beautiful and it sings! It is also very wet for a fine nib. Reverse writing and line variation can also be had.

The M620 is part of the same size class as the other M6xx pens. I regard 600 as a ‘normal’ size. M8xx as ‘large’ and M1xxx as ‘oversize’. I can still write with this pen without the cap posted — and that is super important as someone whom detests writing with the cap posted. I’ve tested the pens in my hand across the entire range of Pelikans before, so I knew that this size was okay for me. The pen also has the famous Pelikan pelican (ehh) clip which I adore as well as the mama and babba pelicans on the finial.

The pen is also lighter than the M8xx and M1xxx sizes. Not just because it is thinner and smaller, but this pen (along with the 400 & 200 series) doesn’t use a brass piston. So that mitigates a lot of the weight, which is great if you prefer lighter pens. Thankfully I have no preference for every single pen I buy.

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A few more size comparisons. From left to right: TWSBI Eco, TWSBI Vac 700, Pelikan Piccadilly, Sheaffer Legacy Heritage, Montegrappa NeroUno Linea
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A few more size comparisons. From left to right: TWSBI Eco, TWSBI Vac 700, Pelikan Piccadilly, Sheaffer Legacy Heritage & Montegrappa NeroUno Linea

You can buy an M600 for a cheaper price than what I got this for (and if not, you’re looking in the wrong place..!) and it will write exactly the same and feel exactly the same. But the original M60x design will not embody my favourite city in the world and something that has been a big part in my life recently (due to frequent trips into London, particularly with my girlfriend over the past two years). It’s personal to me and I love it. That’s what this hobby is about.

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I also love tea. Funnily enough, I bought this in a tea shop in Piccadilly long before I got this pen..

Only spend what you think a pen is worth; and to me, this pen is priceless.

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Pros:

  • Pelikan and London
  • M6xx size is perfect for most people; not too big and not small
  • B E A U T I F U L  aesthetic
  • The nib is amazing – as expected from Pelikan

Cons:

  • Not widely available and I think everyone should have the opportunity to play with this pen

Namisu Studio Ebonite – Bock Nibs

As I said in the main review of the pen (which you can find here), I was going to make a separate review looking at the nibs on offer for this pen (excluding the steel medium and the titanium broad nibs). I will look at the extra fine and broad steel nibs and then the medium titanium. Best ’til last? Let’s see.

Bock steel fine nib review

I’m a broad guy but writing with this nib was just pure joy. I mention this in the broad review, but Bock really do nail the grades in my opinion. This is what I would expect from a Western extra fine. However, reverse writing makes it even finer. It’s actually rather impressive handling reverse writing.

Even though it’s an extra fine nib, there’s no scratch but a nice feedback that reminds you that you’re writing. I don’t like glassy smooth nibs. But in comparison to the other two nibs, this one is the hardest and has the least amount of bounce.

 fullsizeoutput_797But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have any give to it. You press hard enough and you can get some utterly ridiculous line variation with it. As you can see with the smudge, the nib gives quite a wet line, and I found it did so even without much pressure either.

fullsizeoutput_791.jpegThe broad nib is smoother than the extra fine, which is a sort of given, it’s also a little springier. Again, with the broad nib you can get some really amazing line variation out of it. However, it fails when it comes to reverse writing as it gets very dry and it’s incredibly scratchy. fullsizeoutput_792The broad nib has a really generous ink flow. Using Lamy Dark Lilac and I think it really shows the ink off nicely. However, it isn’t so wet that I can’t use it as a lefty overwriter.

And the one you’ve all (I think?) been waiting for..

fullsizeoutput_793I’ve never used a titanium nib before – it was the first nib I went to when testing this pen out. I learnt three things:

  1. These nibs are SO FUN
  2. They’re not really practical
  3. Reverse writing with a titanium nib is awful

I’m fortunate enough to have control over the paper that I use in my day to day life so I was able to use the nib pretty freely. However, when I had to write on poorer paper.. It wasn’t so friendly and didn’t really play nice because it’s incredibly wet, and you can see how that by how much darker the ink is. This also means that your converter drains quicker than with a steel nib of the same grade.

And to drain the converter even quicker, the nib is very bouncy. As I said in the sample, I gave the pen to my mother and she didn’t enjoy it at all because it was “too bouncy”. I’d go as far as saying semi-flex. This actually backs up both posts – the nib is fun but not really practical in every circumstance. Especially with the reverse writing. Whenever I’m writing out formulas, equations or annotations I sometimes like to use the reverse for a little bit because it gives me more space to write as I can write smaller. Not with this nib. Sends a shiver down my spine just thinking about it.

fullsizeoutput_794But damn. Look at how that ink is laid down..!

img_6071But it can lead to smudging from my hooked handwriting. I did notice that sometimes. Usually when I go down line by line prematurely, which I sometimes experience anyway but not as often as I did with this. Again, an absolute gusher. I have no idea what a broad will be like.

So in conclusion, if I had to get one of the nibs, I think I would go for either the titanium and learn to master it or the extra fine because that really stuck with me. Maybe it’s because I usually go for broads and it’s just something new. If practicality is what you’re after, then go for the extra fine. If you want a bit of fun, go for the titanium.

Or.. You could get the titanium for a reduced price and then order your own Bock nib and have both. Consider yourself enabled. *drops mic*

Namisu Studio Ebonite

  • Where to buy: Namisu [Here]
  • Price: £110 (+£45 for a titanium nib)
  • Recommend?: As long as you’re okay with no clip, this would be a great pen if you’re looking for something £100+ but is only offered with a steel or titanium, so £110 might be a tad steep. A great sleek pen!

Writing this review is as much a tease for me as it is for you – because this pen is still on pre-order (at time of writing, 11.02.2017). Pens with the steel nibs will be shipping out on the 15th February, with the titanium nibs shipping out on the 15th March. I know this because after only 10 minutes of using this pen I searched it up. So that’s my first impression over quickly, right?! NB – At time of publication the steel nibs will be shipping but the titanium won’t be shipped for another 4 weeks exactly.  The pens are now available for purchase from Namisu.

In this review I won’t consider the nib because I’ve been fortunate to try out a range of nibs (including a titanium!) which I shall include in a separate review which you can find here.

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Clairefontaine – Europa A4 Notebook with Lamy Dark Lilac

The design, to me, is very appealing. I enjoy the tapered design and the lack of a clip really accentuates the sleek aesthetic of the pen. The design is certainly, in my opinion at least, inspired by the Nakaya Piccolo. So.. What makes this different from the Jinhao 599 vs the Lamy Safari or the Hero 616 vs the Parker 51? Well. That’s a good question. The materials that they use for their pens are exceptionally better than that used by the typical Chinese plastic copies inspired designs (in this particular pen they highlight that the barrel is ebonite, while other bodies are (sandblasted) titanium and aluminium) that we often see, but is that an exemption? Now, I’m not saying this is a direct copy but it is very difficult to ignore the similarities between the two pens. This presents me with a difficult situation, but I feel it’s important to highlight; I am after all giving impartial reviews here. To be honest, I’m unsure how I feel. The other models in their lineup aren’t similar to other pens, that I can tell anyway. There are only a certain number of pens you can design with a tapered design. If not similar to the Nakaya, I’m sure there may well be another pen design I’d be questioning the similarities between. Benefit of the doubt? I’ll leave that one up to you because personally I struggle coming to a definite yes or no. Especially as the conical finials seem all too familiar, which is something that could have been avoided. Does it ruin the pen and the experience, however? No way.

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Getting it to stop rolling was an issue..

Namisu say that the Studio Ebonite is a “writing instrument that embodies the contrast between vintage materials and the latest technology.” They can achieve this by using ‘old school’ ebonite – a “rubber-based material originally used in the early 20th century for fountain pens, and later abandoned by most manufacturers in favour of various plastics, which were easier to work” and the titanium finials to give it the modern, technological look. I appreciate the idea, unfortunately I’m not sure if “titanium finials” are the pinnacle of latest technology. Using rudimentary materials like ebonite is something I quite enjoy as it shows this isn’t just ‘another pen’. It’s a nod and appreciation to the manufacturers and materials that got this hobby to where it is. Also, being made of ebonite, it gives the user an advantage where they might find the metal pens in their lineup difficult to use for extensive writing sessions.

The colour scheme is black with grey titanium furnishings. I’d say it lends itself closer towards silver than a ruthenium/grey type colour. I’m someone who prefers gold furnishings, but I am glad Namisu went with this colour scheme because gold would be far too ostentatious for this sleek pen. Even if there was a gold version, I’d still go for this colour.

The pen is a comfortable size. Uncapped it comes in at 12.8cm (a fraction over 5 inches) and capped it’s 14.0cm (a fraction over 5 and a half inches). I should also mention, and it is specified on Namisu’s website, this pen is not designed to be used posted. As someone who tries their hardest not to post pens, this is no issue. However, if you feel the need to post the pen then this is not for you as it’s “not designed to be posted”. The only posting I shall be doing with this pen is when I reluctantly give it to the Post Office.

For size comparison, it is only just about smaller than the Pelikan M600 uncapped, but larger in girth. I’d compare it to that of the TWSBI Vac 700 in that respect.

Namisu Studio Ebonite Size Pelikan TWSBI

Namisu Studio Ebonite Size

So. Pricing. On the product page, the pen can be preordered with a steel nib for £105.00 + £3.50 postage and packaging sent by Royal Mail tracked 48hr. I’m surprised that it isn’t free P&P, seeing as some retailers will do free shipping over [x] amount, which is usually around £20. That’s for UK shipping. Unfortunately I don’t know any American, Canadian or German addresses that I could try, but I did try my girlfriend’s address in the Netherlands, which gives a P&P of £7.50 for international 3-7 days tracked. For an additional £35 you can get the titanium nib. If you think about it, most manufacturers will charge a £70-100 premium for a gold nib upgrade. Considering how unique (in comparison to gold anyway) this material is, I’m surprised it’s half the price. £140 might seem a lot, but when £35 is a titanium nib upgrade (which you will read in my review of said nib, is a lot of fun and definitely worth it), is it really that much to pay? This is getting into the nibs a little, but the steel will only come in extra fine, medium & broad; there’s no fine option. Whereas the titanium nibs only come in medium and broad. The nibs are Bock, so I’m sure it’s an easy switch if you want a fine titanium instead of a broad or medium. Also means if you go for the £105 option, you’ll have a spare (#6) Bock nib unit.

So who’s this pen for? Well, others within the United Inkdom review community will know that I like to take the pens to school and out and about to test the pen thoroughly before I write reviews. My school notes are, in a way, the basis of my reviews. When taking this to school, I went to slip it into my front blazer pocket and.. Whoops. No clip. This isn’t a complaint, because I know it doesn’t come with a clip: you buy it knowing that. So I put it in my pen case, which wasn’t an issue. So if you intend on this being your sole carry, make sure you have an alternative case. This is best lived, if not in a pen case, in a pen pot because I’ve had it before where the pen almost rolled off my desk… Whoops! Of course, if you can get away with not needing a clip then it’s great for every day use because of its sleek profile.

To conclude – do I recommend this pen? Absolutely. I would have no issues recommending this to someone if they asked me what pen they should get for £100+ — so long as they are okay with no clip. That’s the only snag I think people may run into. If you can get past it, you’ll enjoy this pen I am sure.

Pros:

  • Options for a titanium nib
  • Interesting body material
  • Comfortable in the hand
  • Sleek/stealthy

Cons:

  • Clipless – which may be a problem for some people