Review: M205 Moonstone (2020)

Pelikan M205 Moonstone Fountain PenAs the year meanders towards its close, I thought it a good time to look back on some of Pelikan’s releases this year.  First up will be the M205 Moonstone fountain pen that accompanied 2020’s Edelstein Ink of the Year of the same name.  It was 2019’s M205 Star Ruby acting as a pathfinder with sparkles adorning its finish that set the stage for the Moonstone.  It represented a departure from Pelikan’s typically reserved German sensibilities and the gamble seems to have paid off as the Star Ruby was generally well received.  I think a large part of that owes to striking just the right balance as the sparkles never came off as overblown and I think that the Moonstone also hits its mark in a similar fashion.  It seems hard to believe but this year’s M205 now counts as the sixth consecutive pen to accompany the annual Edelstein Ink of the Year release.  Prior models have included the M205 Amethyst (2015), M205 Aquamarine (2016), M200 Smoky Quartz (2017), M205 Olivine (2018), and M205 Star Ruby (2019).  All of those models have been demonstrators, the overwhelming majority of which have had silver colored, chromium plated furniture (all except 2017’s Smoky Quartz).  The sparkles are again fitting here because just as they paid homage to the asterism of the star ruby gemstone, they do equal justice with the true moonstone’s adularescence.  What is that you may ask?  The actual gemstone of its namesake displays a blue to white adularescence, a phenomenon where light appears to billow across the surface giving the stone a moonlight-like sheen.  Read on to find out whether or not Pelikan’s reach for the stars hits the mark or falls flat.

 

  1. Appearance & Design (9/10) – The sparkles are there though varying shades of gray are not

Pelikan’s M205 Moonstone can be purchased individually, packaged in Pelikan’s standard G5 gift box, or combined as part of a gift set which includes the matching ink.  One line in Pelikan’s sales literature had me particularly excited pre-release; “A special material combination realizes this unique effect and creates more than one shade of grey.”  I took this to mean that we would get a pen similar to 2018’s Olivine which had a depth to its color, transitioning from light olive green into hues of dark tree-green.  I must say that I do not find that same transition with the gray of the Moonstone.  I have tried multiple different lighting scenarios and, to me, the material seems to be a uniform shade.  Sure, it appears darker at the piston assembly but that is by virtue of some of the translucence being blocked rather than anything inherent to the material.  That said, the pen still looks good, coming in a few shades darker than the M200 Anthracite demo from the early 2000s.  The color though is only one aspect of this pen’s looks.  The other side of the coin is the shimmer effect inherent to the material.  Like its predecessor, the design is well executed and while obvious, the sparkles continue to not come off as overblown.  While the M205 Moonstone is a demonstrator, the darker hue of the material and the inherent sparkles should help cover up any imperfections or staining that might otherwise be visible in clear or lighter colored demonstrators.  Still, the pen will be at a higher risk for staining compared with more opaque pens which could play a factor for you depending on your own taste and pen hygiene habits.  Rounding out the pen’s appearance, the M205 Moonstone is fitted with silver colored chromium plated furniture including a single trim ring at the piston knob, a single cap band, and the traditional beak clip.  The cap top displays the company’s single chick logo screened in silver upon a black background.  The nib is stainless steel and lacks any plating, giving it a silver colored appearance in keeping with the rest of the trim.  Taken together, the Moonstone makes for a solid special edition within the Classic Series and likely will appeal to those who felt that the Ruby Red erred just a bit too much on the pinkish side.

Pelikan M205 Moonstone Fountain Pen

 

Pelikan M205 Moonstone Fountain Pen

 

Pelikan M205 Moonstone Fountain Pen

Pelikan’s M205 Moonstone (left) next to the M200 Anthracite (right)

 


  1. Construction & Quality (9/10) – The fit and finish doesn’t leave much room for critique

Pelikan’s Classic line is characterized by a slight lack of refinement when compared with the Souverän series, befitting of their position as a lower tier entry model.  That lack of refinement takes nothing away from the fit and finish of the pen which remains solid.  I really had to look hard on this one to find the seams on the section that don’t usually get polished out on the Classic models.  The material does a great job of covering those up.  The pen is very light weight but all of the components fit together reassuringly without any obvious play in the cap or piston knob.  I have not experienced issues with the cap coming off unintentionally in the pocket which can always be a disaster in the making but the cap is still easily removed with just 3/4 of a turn.  Speaking of the cap, it posts securely to the back of the pen which is a boon to those who prefer to write that way.  The clip functions as expected and holds the pen securely in place.  Overall, the Moonstone provides no qualms regarding its craftsmanship.

Pelikan M205 Moonstone Fountain Pen

 

Pelikan M205 Moonstone Fountain Pen

 


  1. Weight & Dimensions (9/10) – Smaller, yes, but posting this one is where its strength lies

The M205 is considered a smaller pen in this day and age, not well suited to all hands or tastes.  The secret to the M2xx line, in my humble opinion, is that those models are born to be posted.  Doing so allows the pen to assume a near perfect size and balance, making the M205 very comfortable, even for extended writing sessions.  Without posting, the pen is not at all unpleasant to use, don’t get me wrong, it just shines when posted.  The Moonstone measures 4.92 inches when capped, 5.71 inches posted, and has a diameter of 0.46 inches.  It weighs 0.49 ounces thanks to its all plastic construction.  If a heftier pen is to your liking, look to the M600 line or higher.

Pelikan M205 Moonstone Fountain Pen

 


  1. Nib & Performance (9/10) – Nothing titillating but certainly a dependable daily writer

The M205 Moonstone only comes with nibs in the standard widths of EF, F, M, and B.  Some retailers, for an added expense, will swap the stainless steel nib for a 14C-585 transplant from an M400 which can add some variety.  Others will provide a custom grind at the point of sale which allows for a bit more character than what comes standard from the factory.  Of course, older nibs from the M2xx line can be swapped in at will as well.  My Moonstone came to me in a fine width per my usual preference in order to accommodate my smaller handwriting.  In keeping with my typical experience, the nib came nicely aligned out of the box.  With daily use, I have experienced no issues with skipping or hard starts though I fully acknowledge that will not be everybody’s experience.  No quality control in infallible, however, so if that is a major concern for you, you might want to request that your preferred vendor test the nib prior to shipping, something all the more pertinent when purchasing from a distance.  Characteristic of Pelikan’s pens, the M205 puts down a generous and wet line of ink and the stainless steel nibs tend to keep true to their size designation.  Those looking for flex should search elsewhere but the nib does have a softness that I find lacking in many of the company’s gold nibs.  I also appreciate the feed’s ability to resists drying out.  Whatever size you chose, the nib should make this pen a workhorse, capable of tackling whatever task you might ask of it.  Just don’t expect the nib to lend any character or flourish to your writing short of an aftermarket customization.

Pelikan M205 Moonstone Fountain Pen

 


  1. Filling System & Maintenance (9/10) – Pelikan’s piston filling mechanism is beyond compare

Pelikan’s differential piston filling mechanism is incorporated in the M2o5 and is on display thanks to the transparency of the pen.  The piston travels smoothly along the length of the barrel, filling the pen quickly and easily while leaving little mess to clean up afterwards.  The snap fit assembly is not user removable which is not a significant detractor given that such disassembly is rarely ever called for.  The nibs are able to be easily removed by the user which facilitates infrequent but routine lubrication of the piston, likely the only long term maintenance that will be required of you for the life of the pen.  The ability to swap out nibs also allows for easy cleaning, repairs, and can allow you to write in multiple nib widths with just the one pen.   Pelikan’s are low maintenance in general and the Moonstone does nothing to change that fact.  You should be aware that there is an inner sleeve in the section behind which ink often becomes trapped after filling which usually requires flushing with a syringe to clear.  Not a big deal once you are aware of the issue and the remedy but it can be maddening otherwise.  Overall, this demo deserves high praise for its ease of filling and maintenance.

Pelikan M205 Moonstone Fountain Pen

 


  1. Cost & Value (7/10) – Value is hard to find in the priciest markets therefore shop around for the best price

The M205 Moonstone has a US MSRP of $240 which equates to a retail price of $192 once the usual 20% discount is applied.  That is a full $24 dollars more expensive than last year’s model.  Asking nearly $200 for a lower tier entry model with a stainless steel nib seems gratuitous and prohibitive for those looking to experience the brand without shelling out the money for a Souverän.  The EU MSRP is €128, very consistent with last year’s model.  That means consumers from the US can once again pick these up for as little as €86.05 ($102.95) excluding the current 16% VAT.  It is not at all clear to me why pricing overseas was able to remain flat while the US saw a 13% increase in retail.  While I fully support shopping your local brick and mortar where possible, an $89 savings is hard to overlook so I would suggest you consider your options carefully before deciding to purchase.

Pelikan M205 Moonstone Fountain Pen

 

Pelikan M205 Moonstone Fountain Pen

 

 

Conclusion – A solid pen that is able to tame the shimmer making it suitable for all kinds of environments

  • M205 Moonstone: 52/60 or 86.6%

Overall, the Moonstone is a solid pen that has a fun look without calling undue attention to itself, something that I really appreciate.  I think this pen is just as well suited for journaling at home as it is for all but the most austere work environments.  It can certainly be a bit of a bright spot in your daily routine with so many of us on lock down or working from home.  Now that this is the second consecutive use of the sparkle effect, it is unclear if this is a new direction for Pelikan with these gemstone releases or something to be applied to each pen individually as the design may dictate.  I think the only thing that detracts from this one is the price but that can be circumvented with some savvy shopping therefore is in no way a deal breaker.  Of course, this is a special edition therefore once stock is exhausted, it will no longer be readily available so don’t wait too long if this one has been on your wish list.

 

PROS

  • The shimmering finish helps break up the monotony of some of Pelikan’s other models
  • The nib remains a strong point in terms of its reliability and resistance to drying out 
  • The pen is very well balanced when posted

CONS

  • Demonstrators can be prone to staining if not cared for properly
  • Ink is notorious for becoming trapped in the section which can be annoying
  • The increased MSRP in the US significantly raises the price, thereby reducing the value, and is seemingly a big ask for a pen with a stainless steel nib
Pelikan's Edelstein Ink of the Year Demonstrators

Pelikan’s matching Edelstein demonstrators thus far. Left to right; M205 Amethyst (2015), M205 Aquamarine (2016), M200 Smoky Quartz (2017), M205 Olivine (2018), M205 Star Ruby (2019), and M205 Moonstone (2020)

 

 

A Look At The Pelikan M205 Moonstone

 

Pelikan M205 Moonstone 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.

14 responses

  1. I was disappointed by the lack of moonstone-ness to the pen, which is one of the reasons I took a pass on the pen. But “adularescence”: what a great word! And I loved your phrasing of the effect: “light appears to billow across the surface.”

    How are you doing with the new rise in COVID cases?

    Like

    • I agree. I was hoping for more but am ok with what we got. I imagine there is only so much you can do within reason. COVID is an emotional drain day in and day out. The increased volume is a struggle but at least not as many have found their way to the ICU this time around, not yet anyways (though that doesn’t mean they aren’t super sick).

      Like

  2. Where you expecting another special or limited edition at the end of the month; do you suspect it has been delayed into 2021 with all the worldwide problems going on right now?

    Like

    • Yes on both accounts. I expect we’ll hear about one more model but I also expect it to not arrive until 2021. They may push off the announcement, I suspect, depending on how far out they have to push the release. Pelikan’s supply chain and manufacturing have clearly been disrupted by the realities of the pandemic.

      Like

  3. Joshua
    Great review of the Pelikan M205 Moonstone. The sparkles are an interesting twist in the transparent models. I have a hunch the moonstone might come out as an m400 or m600.

    Like

  4. Although the nearest I have come to an M200 or M205 thus far is an M250, thank you for a thorough and thoughtful, fascinating review. I may now be closer.
    I assume you found the Pelikan wax seal photo online. You don’t perchance know where one could find the stamp?

    Liked by 1 person

    • A vendor that I’ve purchased from a few times has the stamp. Sends each package that I purchase with one so I cut them off of the packaging and save them. I don’t know where to locate such a stamp short of having once custom made. There was an M800 pen that Pelikan sold in Japan circa 1990 for the reunification of East and West Germany. It came with a stamp and sealing wax but I’ve never seen what the stamp actually was of. Sorry I can’t be of more help than that.

      Like

      • You’ve sketched a horizon for any thought to find the stamp, a great help. Thank you. Please, do you feel at liberty to share the name of the vendor?

        Like

        • I would share if I could recall. I receive packages fairly regularly and that wasn’t a recent one so I am having a hard time coming up with it. I can recall that it was a vendor from overseas, either in China or Japan.

          Like

          • Possibly a source for the recent Chinese M800 demonstrators? But never mind this. I’ll contact Pelikan. Thank you for scouring your memory for clues.

            Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for the excellent review, Joshua, as usual. The photos and the video (especially in full-screen mode) show the characteristics of the finish on the Moonstone quite well. I was going to wait to see the pen in person, but from my viewpoint, your images and videos gave me enough information to go forward with an order—fortunately or unfortunately from an overseas dealer for reasons already stated.

    Pelikan’s pricing and distribution strategy in the US remains a mystery to me. I like to buy local as well when possible, but as you observe, the grey market savings under current conditions is just too much to ignore.

    It is a bit sad for me to see the few US-based vendors seemingly having to offer Pelikan products at non-competitive prices, and then after nothing moves for along time, and the inventory gets sold off at fire-sale prices long after introduction. I can’t believe such dynamics are good for the dealers.

    Working via an exclusive importer/distributor has a number attractive advantages for many manufacturers, but I am not sure Pelikan is doing their brand any favors with the current North American marketing approach.

    I have had a bottle of Moonstone ink for a while, and I appreciate its sometimes almost pencil-like appearance. The pen looks like a nice complement to the ink.

    Like

    • Glad to have been some help in making your decision to purchase. My apologies to your wallet. It’s my understanding that Pelikan and the US distributor are well aware of the discrepancies in pricing and were working towards some type of relief but no word as to what that might look like. Its a complex situation but one that is very untenable for US vendors. Hopefully things will improve in the future. Only time will tell.

      Liked by 1 person

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