The latest East coast holiday season snow storm has come and gone but none of the new fallen snow thus far has been as white as the M605 White Transparent. Pelikan’s latest M6xx release was preceded by a bit of uncertainty due to pre-release product photography that was somewhat poorly representative of the actual pen. Despite that, popular opinion has been favorable towards the M605 and vendors have noted strong sales. News of a new M6xx Souverän is usually welcomed by many as this model’s size hits the sweet spot for a large swath of enthusiasts. Unfortunately, it is also one of the more neglected lines in the Souverän family. The White Transparent looks very sharp with clean lines that are nicely complimented by its palladium plated furniture. Filling the pen with your favorite colored ink allows it to take on an additional dimension thanks to the transparent barrel which provides for easy viewing of the ink chamber. A white pen can be somewhat polarizing amongst those in the community and the White Transparent will likely be no exception. A pen so pure white is surely to be at risk for staining and while its critics will be quick to point that out, the pen has a charm that should allow many to look past such potential shortcomings.
Appearance & Design (9/10) – The transparent barrel takes on a new dimension when filled
The White Transparent looks to be a follow-up to 2015’s M600 Pink. It should be no surprise then that the packaging has a similar appearance. Rather than a pink ribbon reminiscent of a corset, the M605 employs a more tasteful white ribbon on the lid of the box. To me, the effect is better employed here. Once you’ve gotten past the packaging, you will find a faux leather pouch housing the White Transparent. The first thing that you’ll notice is just how white this pen is. It cannot be overstated. This diverges from the pre-release photos which had more of an ivory cast that was clearly inaccurate. The palladium plated furniture compliments the pen nicely. When filled with your favorite ink, the M605 takes on an added dimension of color. Of course, this design will be prone to staining and therefore care should be taken to perform routine maintenance. Any spillover/seepage should be dealt with in short order to prevent regrets later. You should also be cautious with heavily saturated inks that have more potential to stain. Rounding out the pen’s looks are all of the usual trappings of the Souverän line including two trim rings at the piston knob, two cap bands, a trim ring at the section, a palladium plated cap top, and the pelican beak clip. The barrel is transparent as the name implies which allows for very easy viewing of the remaining ink in the pen. There should be no excuse for unexpectedly running out of ink with this one.
Construction & Quality (9/10) – A well put together pen that’s stylish and functional
One of the reasons that I keep coming back to Pelikan is the fact that they consistently produce a well designed pen that embodies quality craftsmanship. The White Transparent is no exception. The Souverän line is characterized by a more polished appearance when compared with their Classic line-up. There are no visible seams on the barrel and all of pieces fit together very well. There is a palladium plated trim ring at the section which can rust with prolonged exposure to caustic inks. This isn’t anything against Pelikan or the pen’s construction but it is a trade-off between style and functionality. That said, the palladium plating is usually pretty durable. The cap posts securely, something that I always look for in my pens. Like most Souveräns, I see no quality concerns with this one.
Weight & Dimensions (9/10) – A comfortable writer that hits the sweet spot for many
The M605 White Transparent is not nearly as hefty as it’s big bother, the M800. That makes it the perfect size for those who find the M800 too large and the M400 too small. The M605 measures approximately 5.28 inches capped, 6.10 inches posted, and 0.49 inches in diameter. It weighs in at around 0.57 ounces. The pen is very comfortable for longer writing sessions and fits snuggly in the breast pocket of all of my dress shirts. The size of this one makes it very portable no matter whether you carry it in your pocket or some type of bag.
Nib & Performance (8/10) – A fairly standard experience that shines with a custom grind
The White Transparent sports a monotone, rhodium plated 14C-585 gold nib. Unlike past reviews, I cannot comment on the factory qualities of this particular nib because I took the liberty of having a custom grind performed at the time of purchase. Dan Smith, a.k.a. The Nibsmith, took a factory broad nib and made it into a wonderful cursive italic. I generally do not favor custom grinds because I prefer to keep my pens original but I have grown somewhat tired of the generally faithful but rather boring lines put down by today’s modern nibs. The cursive italic grind provides broader down strokes and thinner cross strokes. The effect adds a nice bit of flourish and variety to my writing which I really appreciate and makes using this pen that much more fun. If you do choose to go with one of the standard sizes, you’ll likely be in for a wet dependable line that lacks any variation. The feed continues to impress me as it keeps the nib well saturated and really resists drying out. The score here is not for my custom nib (that gets a 10/10) but rather represents the standard modern nib offerings from Pelikan with which I’m well acquainted.
Filling System & Maintenance (10/10) – Easy to fill and easy to maintain
Pelikan’s piston filling system is the standard by which I measure all others. The piston fills the barrel to near capacity in just one cycle and the knob secures snugly to the back of the barrel when the piston is retracted. The ink capacity is about 1.30 mL which should cover a lot of pages depending on your ink/nib/paper combination of choice. Pelikan’s pistons are as easy to maintain as they are to use. You can service the piston by unscrewing the nib and applying a tiny drop of pure silicone grease, a touch of maintenance that is required relatively infrequently. The piston assembly is friction fitted to the barrel of the M605 and therefore is not meant to be removed. Doing so can run the risk of damaging your pen irrevocably. That said, it is rarely ever necessary to remove the assembly so this is more of a non-issue. What is removable is the nib which allows for customization, experimentation, and facilitates replacement if necessary.
Cost & Value (8/10) – A pricing anomaly that makes this the most affordable M6xx in years
The M605 White Transparent has a U.S. MSRP of just $475 with a U.S. retail asking price of $380. This represents a change in pricing strategy and largely serves to bring domestic prices in line with those of overseas vendors (€319.67 retail or $382.04 excluding VAT). It remains to be seen whether or not this reflects a long-term change in market strategy or if it is more of an anomaly. Still, this represents a discount of $100-200 over other recent M6xx models. I think the price makes the pen very attractive and a good value for the money. There were unsubstantiated reports towards the end of November that Chartpak had sold out of their allotment (perhaps hinting at a poor forecast on their part regarding this model’s popularity) so if you’re having trouble tracking one down domestically, overseas vendors could still have some additional availability. It will be telling to see what 2018’s domestic prices look like. I’m actually very curious to see in what direction Pelikan and Chartpak go.
Conclusion – An all white pen that can still capture the imagination
M605 White Transparent: 53/60 or 88%
The M605 White Transparent will be a welcome addition to the line and one that should prove very popular. The traditional Souverän styling is well suited to a coat of pure white. This should definitely appease many of those who’ve clamored for an M6xx release. Hopefully Pelikan will continue to pay attention to this line with future releases, perhaps bringing a Stresemann or Tortoiseshell finish to market, fulfilling the wish list of many (sorry folks, no official word on either). The only major issues that I can foresee are to do with staining which should be easily mitigated with proper care and maintenance. Of course, if white isn’t your thing, this will be an easy pen to pass up. I don’t think Pelikan is done with variations on this theme and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see another similar color combination gracing the M600 line in the future.
- An excellent value for the money compared with other recent M6xx releases
- Smart styling with palladium furniture that compliments this all white pen nicely
- The transparent barrel makes it very easy to gauge the remaining ink level and adds a splash of color
- The white resin can be prone to staining
- Factory nib options remain limited to EF, F, M, and B
- The plated ring at the section can be prone to rusting with prolonged exposure to caustic inks
A Look At The Pelikan M605 White Transparent
Pelikan M605 White Transparent 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.