Certain pen companies around the world are well-known for specific things. Nakaya and their Urushi work. Sailor and their exquisite nibs. And, maybe more memorable than anyone else, Pelikan and their striated barrels.
This barrel style and design has been a hallmark of the brand since the early 1900's. Several colors populate the standard lineup - blue and green for example - but the limited colors really set themselves apart. None more so than Tortoiseshell.
Tortoiseshell has appeared all throughout Pelikan's history and across many different models. In recent years, the style and color have been limited to special releases, not stock products. The M400 Tortoiseshell is the most recent, hitting shelves in late 2016 with great fanfare.
Well-deserved fanfare in my book, despite the ultra-premium price. Let's discuss that now - this pen is $380 dollars. You can get the non-limited 400 series fountain pen for around $100 less. The most interesting thing? I rarely hear anyone complaining about the price. Pelikan has over 175 years of experience behind them, which remains apparent today in the quality of products they produce.
The M400 Tortoiseshell may be small and light, but it is built like a workhorse. Is it made for the biggest hands out there? No. My hands are a medium at best, giving me no issues holding it. It’s one of those pens that escapes into my hand and does what it does best: Write.
Pelikan nibs are considered some of the best in the world, and you will get no argument from me. Yes, they run a bit wider and wetter than their counterparts, which is due to their unparalleled softness. Even with this Extra Fine - which is as wide as I’m willing to go with a Pelikan gold nib - you will see tine movement and separation as you write. The line stays consistent though, and I can write my small characters without issue.
My favorite part of this pen is the piston filling mechanism. It works flawlessly and is unobtrusive. What more can’t you ask for? Easy cleaning I guess. It has that too. This piston is so smooth and integrates so nicely you don’t even notice it is there. And when it is time to clean, a few flushes of water is all it takes. Pelikan makes your life easier.
I can’t recommend this pen enough, or really any Pelikan outside of the M1000. It all boils down to how it will fit your style and your budget. The quality, consistency, and durability will always be there with Pelikan. That’s what an extremely long production history gets you. The M400 Tortoiseshell is no exception.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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