(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)
Scandalized! That's what I was when I first saw ads for the Pelikan M600 Pink "Ladies" Collection complete with boudoir box. I busted out laughing. I scoffed. I was offended by a so-called "ladies" Pelikan, even more so by the packaging. A pen in a corset box? Seriously, Pelikan?
I posted pictures on Facebook making fun of the pen. "Look! It's a Victoria's Secret pen!" "Barbie would love this pen!" "Who would buy this atrocity?"
Me, that's who.
In spite of some claims that this isn't necessarily a women's pen, it was clearly packaged and marketed to appeal primarily to women. Classic Fountain Pens simply calls it the Pelikan M600 Pink Special Edition, but notes that in "some markets" it is known as the "Pink Ladies Pelikan."
Even though I was initially incensed by such gendered marketing (I mean this is the 21st Century, people), I realized that it's nothing new. In the past there were Lady Sheaffers and Lady Soenneckens. Pilot markets pens to women, such as the Pilot Lady White Fountain Pen. Other manufacturers do the same or offer pens that might appeal more to women, such as the Montblanc Princess Grace or the Parker Sonnet Feminine collection.
So I grew a little less critical. A little. The pens above don't come in corset boxes (though one of my friends wondered why Pelikan put the pen in a tennis shoe box . . . .) Still. I think Pelikan could have thought through the implications of the packaging and marketed the pen to a broader audience.
I decided it didn't matter to me since I would never be caught dead with a Victoria's Secret pen. But then I saw photographs of the pen by actual owners. The color was less Barbie pink, more subtle, like dark cherry. The pen looked sophisticated and gorgeous rather than bubble-gum silly.
And that's when the obsession started. Me. The one who derided Pelikan for flouting a gendered pen. Me, the one who owns nothing pink in her wardrobe. Suddenly, I was thinking how nice this pen would look next to black leather.
I fell for the Pink Pelikan, and I fell hard. I had to have one. I told myself it was for research–I must write a review for Pen Addict. I even told myself I wouldn't ink the pen. I would just write a review and send it back. But I inked the Pink, and I was hooked.
This really is a gorgeous pen in person. It comes packaged in a plain white outer box (like the sleeves that are placed over racy magazines?) Inside is the boudoir box: a corset of silver laced in pink, silky ribbon.
Fortunately, you don't have to unlace the whole box. Once you untie the bow, the two sides of the box fall open to reveal the pen.
The colors have so much more depth than in the advertising shots. The darker stripes are cherry pink with a softer pink underneath.
Like the White Pelikan Tortoise, the grip and piston are white plastic with gold rings, and the cap is white.
Unlike the Tortoise, the finial is etched gold rather than black and gold. The larger band at the base of the cap is engraved with the words "Pelikan," "Souverän," and "Germany."
The nib is two-tone 14K gold. It is engraved with the usual beautiful scrollwork and the Pelikan logo. I love the design of Pelikan nibs–they are spectacular.
I opted for a fine nib. In the past, I always purchased extra fine nibs on my Pelikans. Then I moved up to italics, and lately I've been getting oblique triple broads. This time I decided to keep things simple and go with a fine nib.
It writes perfectly–smooth and lush. I inked it with Iroshizuku Tsutsuji, purchased especially for this pen (my first truly pink ink). I have absolutely no complaints, no hard starts, no skipping.
The M600 is a good fit for many people. M800s can be too big and heavy. M400s can be too small.
The M600 is 5.2 inches when capped, just less than 5 inches uncapped, and 6 inches posted. It's a light pen, weighing only 18.2 grams. It retails for $500 at Classic Fountain Pens, and that seems to be the price across the board at most retailers. You may find it for less if you do some hunting.
The Pink Pelikan M600 is a terrific pen. It boasts the usual Pelikan quality, and hopefully this pen won't have the cap cracking issues the M400 White Tortoise did. I highly recommend this pen to both men and women who love this color. Pink can brighten anyone's day. Plus, who doesn't need a corset box in their closet?
A simply gorgeous pen with colors that are much more sophisticated in person than in photographs
This is a piston filler, which is my favorite type of filling system.
- The 14K nib is smooth and writes straight out of the (corset) box.
- The pen is light in the hand and well balanced.
- The packaging is interesting, to say the least. But if you don't like it, you don't have to keep it. Me? I'm keeping it for posterity.
- This is an expensive pen at $500.
- People with larger hands or who prefer some heft to their fountain pens may find this pen too small or light