Review: P16 Stola III (2015)

Pelikan P16 Stola III Fountain PenThere have been many excellent reviews of Pelikan’s P16 Stola III published since it was released back in 2015.  I did not acquire one of these when they became available because I tend to favor Pelikan’s long revered piston filling mechanism over most cartridge/converter models.  That said, an opportunity arose during the recent Pelikan Hubs event in Philadelphia, thanks to Frank from Federalist Pens, which allowed me to add a P16 to the flock.  After using the pen for the past several weeks, I felt the need to add my voice to the reviews out there, largely because of how pleased I have been with this model.  I am a piston user by preference and generally have a bit of disdain for the cartridge pen.  I was softened to the cause of the cartridge pen after reviewing the P200 but was not won over.  Despite my bias, the Stola III quickly had me forgetting about any misgivings and allowed me to enjoy the writing experience.  It is a sharp looking pen with a surprisingly high end feel due to its metal barrel construction.  It’s also priced quite reasonably for what you get.  If you’re in the market for a cartridge pen, then I would have no qualms recommending the P16.  Read on to find out why. 

 

Appearance & Design (9/10) – Clean lines and a unique clip stand out on the Stola III

The ‘P’ of the P16 indicates a patronen-füller or cartridge pen.  Packaged in a simple but attractive gift box, the Stola III is a fresh look for Pelikan and is a welcomed addition to the line-up.  It has an award winning appearance having been bestowed the German Design Award of 2017 for Excellent Product Design by the German Design Council (a lot of emphasis on design there ;-).  The pen features an aluminum cap and brass barrel covered in a matte silver lacquer.  The cap is a slip fit design which feels secure and can be quickly removed for use.  Its focal point is a black, stainless steel clip done in an attractive cut out style which is reminiscent of the pelican beak clips seen on other models.  The cap top depicts the single chick Pelikan logo and the end of the barrel is capped in black to compliment the section.  The word “Pelikan” is emblazoned in a small font below the clip at the lip of the cap.   The nib is stainless steel with a simple logo and scroll work that fits well in terms of size and styling.  This model is only available in one finish so you’re out of luck if you don’t like the silver lacquer.  Unsurprisingly, this model features Pelikan’s standard but peculiar cartridge system which accepts one long or two short standard international sized cartridges.  A single long international cartridge of Pelikan’s 4001 Royal Blue is included with your purchase.  The Stola III loses a point for the complete inability to post.  No matter how you go about it, the Stola III cannot be posted securely and I found it to be more trouble than it’s worth.  If posting is important to you, as it is to me, that may play as a factor into your consideration.

Pelikan P16 Stola III Fountain Pen

The Stola III as packaged for sale

 

Pelikan P16 Stola III Fountain Pen

 


  1. Construction & Quality (9/10) – A solid feel with good fit and finish

Using a brass barrel on the Stola was a good design choice.  The pen feels very durable and I would not at all worry about an accidental fall provided the pen was capped.  The lacquer finish seems very capable of handling the stresses of daily use.  The metal also gives the pen a more premium feel, something to be appreciated at the entry level price point.  The painted black clip does show a little more wear than I’d expect for the amount of use it has seen but, other than that, the P16 leaves me little concern as far as the fit and finish goes.  Most importantly, the nib on my pen was aligned perfectly and wrote smoothly right out of the box.

Pelikan P16 Stola III Fountain Pen

A close up of the brass threads on the barrel

 

Pelikan P16 Stola III Fountain Pen

Left: Cap top depicting the one chick logo. Right: Stylized pelican beak clip

 


  1. Weight & Dimensions (9/10) – Definitely not a plastic feeling pen

The Stola III is more of a standard size.   It has some heft without being heavy and stands out above many of the more plastic options out there.  The official dimensions include a capped length of 5.28 inches, a diameter of 0.48 inches, and a weight of 1.12 ounces.  That is just a bit heavier than an M800 and only slightly lighter than an M1000.  The long international cartridge provides an ink capacity of around 1.45mL.  The pen does not feel small in the hand and can comfortably be written with without posting.  Still, I can’t help but feel that it would be that much more comfortable if it could be used posted, particularly for longer writing sessions.

Pelikan P16 Stola III Fountain Pen

 

Pelikan P16 Stola III Fountain Pen

 


  1. Nib & Performance (9/10) – A smooth writer but with limited nib options

The nib on the P16 is done in an un-plated stainless steel.  It features a simple design that works well with the aesthetics of the pen.  Nib options are rather limited though as this model only comes in a medium width.  That said, the medium nib puts down a line fairly true to its designation.  I find my model to be on the drier side using Pelikan’s 4001 ink but have not had any issues with skipping or poor performance.  Like most modern Pelikan nibs, the line lacks any variation or character out of the box.  Despite that, the nib gets the job done and makes the Stola a solid writer.

Pelikan P16 Stola III Fountain Pen

A close up of the nib showing the company logo and some simple scroll work

 


  1. Filling System & Maintenance (8/10) – A cartridge/converter pen that does the job

As I’ve mentioned in other post, the cartridge/converter is not my preferred filling system.  I understand that many love it and can certainly see its utility and place in the fountain pen world.  Trying to set aside my personal bias, I utilized Pelikan’s 4001 Royal Blue long standard international cartridge for the purposes of this review.  One is included stored in the barrel with each purchase.  Like every other cartridge/converter pen of Pelikan’s that I have used, this one has a loose fit at the section, requiring the barrel to be screwed on in order to seat the cartridge properly.  I did not experience any issues with ink leakage when using a cartridge though I’d anticipate having to use extra care if using a converter.  This model will take one long standard international cartridge or two short ones.  Giving the cartridge a few light squeezes got the pen ready to write after only a minute when starting from a dry feed.  I appreciate the convenience and the ease with which a cartridge can be exchanged but won’t be giving up my piston fillers anytime soon.  Maintenance is easily accomplished via either running the section under a faucet to remove ink from the feed or by using a bulb syringe.  Without any moving parts to worry about, the P16 is certainly a lower maintenance model.  You can read more about Pelikan’s implementation of the cartridge/converter system here.

Standard international fountain pen cartridges & converters

 

Pelikan P16 Stola III fountain pen

The Stola III with a long international cartridge installed. The cartridge is firmly seated when the barrel is screwed onto the section

 


  1. Cost & Value (9/10) – A solid performer that makes for a reasonable entry into the world of Pelikan

The P16 can be found for sale in the U.S. market for about $45.  I have seen it retail for as low as $20 on Amazon by way of German retailers.   This makes it a very affordable entry level model.  It is more upscale than the Twist or Pelikano and doesn’t have the high price tag of the P200/P205 models.  I think the metal construction and simple styling make this pen a very good value for the money.  Unless you prefer the styling (and significantly higher price tag) of the more upscale P2xx models, I think the P16 is the way to go if you’re looking for an affordable and dependable writer.

Pelikan P16 Stola III Fountain Pen

 

 

Conclusion – An entry level model appropriately priced for the target audience

  • P16 Stola III: 53/60 or 88%

The P16 makes for an affordable and formidable model for anyone looking to pick up a Pelikan cartridge filler.  The pen has a nice design and comes off as quite durable.  The heft is very reassuring and the pen feels good in the hand.  For me, points are lost for an awkward but functional cartridge mechanism, an inability to post, and a lack of nib options.  I think this model is priced right for what you get and am happy to have added one to my collection.  The writing experience with the Stola has been free of any issues and I highly recommend it if you are at all in the market for an entry level Pelikan to start your flock or if you’re looking to add more of a work horse to an existing collection.

PROS

  • Solid metal construction with a brass barrel and aluminum cap
  • An excellent value for the money
  • Very reliable performance

CONS

  • Continues to utilize Pelikan’s awkward cartridge/converter system
  • Absolutely not able to post the cap to the back of the barrel
  • Nib options are limited to a medium width only

 

A Look At The Pelikan P16 Stola III
Pelikan P16 Stola III Writing Sample

 

*The pen utilized for this review is my own from my personal collection and therefore the opinions expressed are also mine and free of any undue influence.

10 responses

  1. Hi Josh—I’m a pistonic person too but I’m impressed with the Stolla III—cool clip, nary a skip. I find it’s securely postable with just a little force and technique—simultaneously press and turn a smidge once to the left and then to the right—voila! (Doesn’t feel like I’m doing any serious damage to the inner cap.)
    I like my P381 too, but mostly for it’s nice stubby 14c Broad nib. See you at the Philly Show…!
    Jack

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad that you’re happy with yours. I tried your suggestion for posting but it just feels like it wasn’t meant to be. Hope to definitely be at the Philly show but too soon to tell.

      Like

  2. Thanks for the great review as always. My tip for caps that you cannot post securely, is to borrow and post a cap that fits, from another pen..often a Sharpie or a Safari but I have tried what fits one of these Pelikans.

    Like

  3. I purchased the Stola III about a month ago and have been disappointed in the flimsiness of the cap material. I already have a couple of “dings” in the cap and I don’t treat my pens harshly at all. Never had this happen before.

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    • Thanks for the input Brian. With the aluminum construction, its not surprising that the cap is not as durable as the body. I haven’t had the same experience as you but my pens are always carried in a shirt pocket so not a lot of opportunity to acquire a ding. I appreciate you sharing your experience though.

      Like

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