A long road led to the Fedex man knocking at my door this week with a package from Pelikan, containing the M1005 Stresemann special edition.
To understand why this was a big event for me, we have to go back to July 2017, when I picked up an M1000 in classic black, with a super-juicy, super flexible fine nib.
Why did I get that M1000? The M1000 has always, it seems to me, been an utter bargain, sat unfairly in the Montblanc 149’s shadow. Both have huge gold nibs. Made in Germany. Piston fillers. Screw caps. Classic styling. Flagship size. But the Pelikan has two distinct advantages over the Montblanc: much keener pricing (you can pick a basic black version up for about £350, versus nearly twice that for a new 149) and a surprisingly springy nib.
But for all its qualities, I eventually sold that pen. I decided it was too big for me, for a start. But a significant factor in the sale was the gold trim, which Pelikan designates on all its pens with a “0” at the end (M800, M600, etc). Back in 2017 I was even more dead-set against gold trim than I am now.
I always hoped Pelikan would bring out an edition of the M1000 in rhodium trim, which Pelikan designates with a “5” (M805, M605, etc). M1005s did exist, but they were super rare and commensurately expensive. So I sadly watched as again and again another M605 or M805 special edition came out, leaving the M1000 untouched.
I stayed interested despite my many other frustrations with Pelikan, mainly over the quality of its nibs, and this Spring, my prayers were answered. No Ocean Swirl or other fancy colour scheme, but an M1005 Stresemann was announced. If you’re new to Pelikan, the Stresemann is a sober affair, designed after a politician’s grey pinstripe suit.
For a while I had owned an M805 in Stresemann, and the colour scheme is timelessly classy. Most importantly, the Stresemann’s trim is silver, not gold. At last.
So, while I held off as long as I could through the months of production delays, I knew that eventually I would buy it.
And here it is.
My first impressions surprised me. No longer did the size seem cumbersome; the M100x is a big pen, sure, but not comically so. I guess I’ve become accustomed to larger designs.
This time, the M1005 immediately fit like a glove, with a section much longer than the M800-series.
The design suits the frame of the M1005 perfectly. I’ve always felt that Pelikan has an eye for proportions, and the various silver trim rings, black plastic and the pearlescent grey stripes result in a look that’s definitively work-friendly, but not boring.
Turning the pen around in my hands, the quality control is good. Every surface is well polished, trim rings fit flush, threads are smooth, everything lines up — even the lines on the binde are almost completely straight, with few imperfections.
I admit, I was terrified that I’d have a dud nib (Pelikan and I don’t seem to get along). Things looked OK under a loupe, with slightly misaligned tines and uneven tipping, but nothing terrible. But my first writing experience made my heart sink. I filled with Lamy Agate, and the M1005 simply. Did. Not. Write. It went beyond hard starting, way beyond.
I shook the pen, I wrote lightly, I wrote with pressure, I primed the feed, I tried different paper… and still about 50% of my writing was inkless.
I flushed and filled with Iroshizuku Kiri-Same, and that seemed to do the trick. Maybe some detritus in the feed, or something in the Lamy formulation that didn’t get on with surface tension in the nib?
In the past I’ve found that Pelikan nibs actually break in over the first couple of days — it shouldn’t happen, but it really does. And now I have a fairly good writer.
So about that writing experience. Compared to my previous M1000, this pen is much less of a gusher, and much less springy. There’s still bounce, but it’s more like a normal pen. The nib is a medium, and it writes a true European medium, in my opinion. Not what I was expecting, but I’m OK with it.
I take the unpopular opinion that the M1000 nib is pretty ugly. It’s huge, which is nice, but something about the stamping makes it look a little wavy and unsharp, rather like a Land Rover Defender body panel. And the waist of the nib is almost as broad as the shoulders, so it’s not very curvy. Overall I much prefer the look of the Montblanc 149 nib.
After a couple of days of writing with the M1005 Stresemann, I’m pleased with it. I’d forgotten what a nice design the M100x is, with its quick-off cap, the generous capacity, the smooth piston. And I still love big nibs, particularly when they’re on pens as comfortable as this. The stormy grey stripes are the icing on the cake.
The M1005 Stresemann comes in at between £500 and £550 depending on where you order it from, and in the full range from EF to B. At that price, returning to the Montblanc 149 comparison, it’s still good value, but be aware that if you don’t want the Stresemann finish, you can get an M1000 for under £400 quite easily. There’s a hell of a premium for grey stripes and rhodium trim.
The M1005 Stresemann is a special edition, which means it’s not limited in number (and it’s not numbered on the pen), but won’t necessarily be around forever. If you want one — now’s the time to jump.