Review: M405 Silver-White (2020)

Pelikan M405 Silver-WhiteWhile we await official news of this year’s upcoming releases, I wanted to take one last look back at a model from last year.  I have already reviewed the M205 Moonstone and the M600 Tortoiseshell Red so this time I will be performing a shakedown of the M405 Silver-White.  Pelikan has embraced the use of white resin over the past several years, predominantly amongst their M6xx models.  This time around, rather than something in a medium size, the company has decided to instead show some love to their M405 line which consists of smaller pens by today’s standards.  The M405 series has only been around since 2002 and the Silver-White is just the fifth pen to grace the line.  It is also the first of its line to incorporate white resin into its design.  The other M405 models are the Black, Blue-Black, Dark Blue, and Stresemann.  Upon first glance, the Silver-White has a very similar appearance to 2017’s M605 White-Transparent.  The major difference between the two are their size and the barrel’s striping.  What makes the M405 Silver-White worth reviewing is the fact that it is not a limited or special edition but rather a release added to the standard line-up meaning that you will have time to pick this one up should it suit your fancy.  The Silver-White is a very solid release but brings nothing new to the table.  Read on to find out if this is the pen that you’ve been waiting for.

 

Pelikan M405 Silver-White

The Silver-White’s barrel is decorated by silver stripes derived from cellulose acetate

 

  1. Appearance & Design (8/10) – Silver stripes with a “been there, done that” feel

The M405 Silver-White, more often than not, will come to you in Pelikan’s standard G15 gift packaging which I’ve addressed in past reviews and won’t belabor here.   Getting past that, you’ll find a pen with a rather sterile appearance.  Some will take a pass on this one simply for the lack of color as nothing here really pops.  The resin that makes up the cap, piston knob, and section is the same shade of white that we’ve seen on Pelikan’s other white models.  By virtue of this being an M405, the trim is palladium plated, giving it a silver appearance, which goes well with the rest of the design.  The typical Souverän trim includes two trim rings at the piston knob, one trim ring at the section, two cap bands, a plated cap top with the company logo, and a beak clip.  The barrel is made of cellulose acetate with a pattern of silver stripes running along its length.  They have a little depth to them and stand out to nice effect in good lighting.  Between each silver stripe is a sliver of white.  That portion is opaque therefore this model lacks any discrete way to view the remaining ink within the pen.  The stripes are mostly uniform though you might see some irregularity where the material came together during manufacturing.  The stripes are fairly straight, lacking any twisting around the axis that we sometimes see.  I opened my description of this pen by calling it sterile.  Normally that does not carry a favorable connotation.  Here, though, I think it works.  This model conjures images of a scalpel in my mind, particularly with its all rhodium plated nib, glinting in the light, clean and sterile, like a surgeon’s scalpel.  Just like the scalpel is a tool with a singular function, so too is this pen.  This model is not without its drawbacks though.  I have to take points off for the lack of a simple method to assess the remaining ink in the pen.  This has been one of Pelikan’s defining features since they entered the pen business but they clearly have been more brazen about getting away from it in recent years.  The other hit comes from the risk of staining.  This will be very user dependent.  I can say that none of my white Pelikans (I have several) have any staining.  I attribute that to a combination of careful ink selection and good pen hygiene.  If you favor the use of supersaturated inks or don’t clean your pens regularly, you may encounter staining with a white pen such as this.  Finally, I think that there is very little that separates this M405 from 2017’s M605 White-Transparent fountain pen.  That model employs the same palladium plating and the same white resin.  When empty, there is very little to set the two apart.  The biggest difference is the transparency and the larger size of the M605.  If you already own that model, there is little to entice you pick up the M405 unless those silver stripes really grab you.

Pelikan M405 Silver-White

A comparison between 2017’s M605 White-Transparent (top) and 2020’s M405 Silver-White (bottom)

 

Pelikan M405 Silver-White

Where the sheet that forms the barrel comes together during the manufacturing process, the striping may be irregular. Note the thinner stripe in the center of the barrel

 

Pelikan M405 Silver-White

2016’s M405 Stresemann (left) and 2020’s M405 Silver-White (right)

 


  1. Construction & Quality (10/10) – No obvious quality concerns though some who’ve been bitten by cap cracking may be wary

The Silver-White has an overall polished feel to it.  The resin pieces have no seams and all of the components fit well together.  The palladium plating on the trim is without defect.  The cap band bears the inscription “Pelikan Souverän Germany”  and the cap itself is able to be posted securely for those that prefer to do so.  The clip has a strong hold to keep the pen secured in the pocket and the cap is easily removed with 3/4 of a turn.  Despite the design facilitating a quick removal, I have not had any issues with the cap coming undone unintentionally.  Speaking of the cap, some may be wary of this one due to historic issues with cracking of Pelikan’s white caps at the lip.  This first came about with the Tortoiseshell-White and was an acknowledged defect which was remedied by the company at the time.  Assurances have long since been given that the issue was corrected and long since resolved but there remain those that are gun shy about the fragility of the white resin.  Obviously, I haven’t had the pen long enough to give it a real stress test.  Certainly, posting too aggressively could contribute to cracks in the cap lip.  While I don’t see this being an issue at this time, I would offer a modicum of caution and recommend a light post.  One last thing that I will point out is that the piston assembly is snap fitted to the barrel and not designed for user removal but that is of little consequence as removal is rarely ever necessary.  At the end of the day, you can rest assured that the craftsmanship behind this one remains up to Pelikan’s high standards.

Pelikan M405 Silver-White

 


  1. Weight & Dimensions (9/10) – A small pen that shines when posted but will not suit those who like something bigger

The M405 is a small pen by today’s standards.  Once considered a standard size, the M405 is dwarfed by the likes of the M800 and M1000.  As such, many might find it to be too small for comfort but the line does have a dedicated following.  It is perfectly suited for pocket carry and once posted, takes on a very pleasing size with near perfect balance.   In terms of specifics, the Silver-White measures approximately 5 inches when capped and 5.87 inches when posted with a diameter of 0.46 inches.  It weighs in at 0.53 ounces making it rather light, particularly if writing without posting.  Don’t get me wrong, though, you don’t have to post the pen to use it comfortably.  It’s just that this model really shines when doing so.  For those that just aren’t comfortable writing with smaller pens, you might want to pass this one up.

Pelikan M405 Silver-White

 


  1. Nib & Performance (8/10) – Makes for a reliable daily writer that puts down a generous line of ink

As is the convention these days, the Silver-White comes equipped with Pelikan’s standard rhodium plated 14C-585 gold nib.  That means you will see the nib width stamped at the base with the gold content noted above that, then the company’s logo, and finally a bit of scroll work for added decoration.  The engraving fills the space nicely.  The plating gives the nib a monotone silver appearance.  It comes in the widths of EF, F, M, and B from the factory.  The writing experience is pretty standard for a Pelikan.  You can expect a firm nib with just the faintest hint of spring and certainly no flex.  The nib on my pen was well aligned out of the box and wrote without any hard starts or skipping.  The width, at least for my medium example, is fairly accurate to its designation.  The line it puts down is of a uniform size so don’t expect any variation out of the box.  For that, you would need to enlist the services of a nib meister for a custom grind.  The feed facilitates the nib putting down a generous amount of ink which the company’s pens are well known for.  Sometimes this can be problematic but drier inks will help to tame such generous feeds.  The nice thing here is that the nib really resists drying out which allows you to get to the business of writing that much sooner without the hassle of getting the ink flowing again.  Bottom line is that the nib functions as expected, dependable as always, just without much in the way of flourish.

Pelikan M405 Silver-White

Pelikan’s rhodium plated 14C-585 gold nib from the M405 in medium width

 


  1. Filling System & Maintenance (10/10) – The user removable nib remains a boon to consumers

The M405 Silver-White is equipped with Pelikan’s differential piston filling mechanism.  You’ve heard me praise it before and this go round is no different.  There is a reason Pelikan has done little in the way of revision over the past 92 years.  The pen fills quickly and easily though you can’t really gauge that by the lack of an ink view.  Maintenance can also be easily carried out by the user and rarely consists of more than the infrequent lubrication of the piston assembly which is accomplished by unscrewing the nib and applying the tiniest drop of pure silicone grease to the inside of the barrel.  The user removable nib remains a huge boon to consumers.  It facilitates maintenance, cleaning, and repair in addition to giving users a chance to swap in nibs of different widths.  The M405 should make for a low maintenance, dependable writer for years to come.

Pelikan M405 Silver-White

 


  1. Cost & Value (8/10) – A bit pricey for what it is but deals can be had if you’re willing to shop around

The M405 Silver-White has a US MSRP of $495 which equates to an average retail price of $396 when the 20% retail discount is applied.  Overseas pricing, usurpingly, is a little better at €276.  With the VAT excluded, US customers can expect to pay around €237.93 (~$286.68).  Even once you factor in shipping, that makes for a pretty good deal.  This is a standard model and therefore not subjected to limited availability, at least not for the foreseeable future.  I’m not sure that I would expect this one to appreciate much in the future but if you’re in the market for a dependable writer, want a Souverän with a gold nib, and like the color scheme, you could do a lot worse than adding one of these to your flock.  You’ll have to make your own value judgement as to whether or not the pen is worth it to you.  Shop around for the best deals if money is tight but, as always, consider supporting your local brick and mortar if you are at all able to do so. 

 

Conclusion – A solid release but one that doesn’t break any new ground

  • M405 Silver-White: 53/60 or 88.3%

The M405 Silver-White is a safe play.  It’s elegance lies in its simplicity.  There is nothing particularly exciting here but also nothing really offensive.  For those that it will appeal to, it will be a home run.  For others, the small size, lack of an ink view, and potential for staining will be deal breakers.  This one won’t move the needle any for Pelikan but it will fit in nicely with its siblings in the M405 line-up.  It’s also nice to see the company spread around the designs and bring about something a little smaller as sometimes it feels like the company caters more to those who favor larger pens.  Pelikan’s current pricing may be a turn off for some but deals can be had if you shop around.  Just make sure to employ basic pen hygiene and you should get years of dependable use out of the M405 Silver-White while still keeping it looking great.

Pelikan M405 Silver-White

A quintet of M405s. Left to right: Black (2002), Dark Blue (2003), Blue-Black (2003-2010), Stresemann (2016), and Silver-White (2020)

 

 

PROS

  • The pen has a near perfect balance when posted
  • The user removable nib facilitates easy maintenance
  • The nib and generous feed have a high resistance against drying out

CONS

  • There is no dedicated ink view window or transparency between stripes with which to gauge the remaining ink within the pen
  • White resin can have a propensity for staining if not cared for properly
  • Pricing in the US remains about $100 more than what can be found overseas

 

A Look At The Pelikan M405 Silver-White

Pelikan M405 Silver-White 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.

3 responses

  1. Wow, I am really surprised by the lack of an ink window or other ink level indicator.

    I do like that the color scheme that seems a negative version of the Stresemann. That said, for me, this one is going to have a low acquisition priority: I prefer the M600 size, and I already have a White-Transparent. It might have appealed to me a little more as a transparent instead of silver.

    Like

  2. It may well be a loose characterization, but perhaps not _so_ far off the mark, either. With Photoshop, the following is a nearly trivial exercise, but I suspect it can be done with other image-processing applications as well: take a picture that includes both this M405 Silver-White, and a Stresemann model, and the invert the colors of the entire picture. The result seems clear to me.

    Liked by 1 person

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