I thought that it might be a worthwhile exercise to take an in-depth look at Pelikan’s new M605 Green-White fountain pen. When news of this model first broke back in early June, I immediately had two concerns. The first was that the actual product would not look at all like what was depicted in the pre-release photographs. There certainly is precedent for that as we have seen with various models over the last several years. My second worry was that the green striped barrel would not distinguish itself enough from the standard Green/Black model to be impactful. With the pen finally in hand, it quickly became clear that neither concern was founded. The newest M605 continues Pelikan’s trend of marrying colorful M6xx barrels with white resin which started in earnest circa 2015 with the M600 Pink. I was curious to see just how well the green striped barrel would marry with the white resin given what we’ve seen with the company’s other pastel colored releases. Prior models with a similar color scheme have included the M600 Violet-White (2019), the M600 Turquoise-White (2018), the M605 White-Transparent (2017), and the M600 Pink (2015). Notice that only one of those listed is another M605 sporting the typical silver colored palladium plated trim. These white resin models do have their detractors and some of that criticism is certainly valid. Sadly, the merits of the pen are marred by its regional pricing. Read on to discover whether or not the M605 Green-White is worth a second look and perhaps a spot amongst your flock.
- Appearance & Design (8/10) – The minty sea green stripes play nicely into the pen’s cool undertones
The Green-White’s packaging receives the same treatment that we have seen used for all of the colorful M6xx releases since 2015’s Pink. That means this M605 comes in a rectangular box featuring a green ribbon running along the seam of the lid. The lid itself is fastened by a magnetic closure that works well. Rather than a faux leather pouch, there is a groove cut into the cardboard in which the pen is situated. The Green-White has a subtle but commanding appearance which I think is largely due to the contrast between the green stripes and the white resin. The white hue of the resin has a very cool tone and, when paired with the silver colored palladium plated trim, comes off as rather cold in its overall feel, particularly when compared with the warmer toned gold plated models. Interspersed between the barrel’s green stripes are slivers of silver/gray which further perpetuates that feeling. Now I don’t mean to imply that the cool tones are a bad thing, it’s just the first impression that the pen gives me. As soon as you see it, it is clear that this isn’t the same shade of green utilized for the Green-Black model. Now my wife will tell you that I’m color blind so take the following assessment for what you will but to my eye, the Green-White has more of a Sea Green color versus a Forest Green for the Green-Black. If a color can invoke a visceral sensation, I would say that the Green-White conjures up images of mint. It is definitely a color that would not have married well with a darker resin. I find no seams or other manufacturing marks on the resin itself, but the barrel of my example has a clearly evident seam acquired as part of the manufacturing process. It’s a bit more noticeable than I have seen on some past models and while not overly off putting, it definitely catches the eye. The pen’s furniture includes the characteristic dual trim rings at the piston knob, dual cap bands, a single trim ring at the section, a palladium plated cap top, and a pelican’s beak clip. The design lacks a discrete ink view window and there is no transparency between the stripes. That said, the material has some translucence when the barrel is held against a strong source of light which does provide at least a crude, if not unsatisfying, method for observing the remaining ink within the pen. This shouldn’t come as a surprise since Pelikan has clearly gotten more comfortable with eschewing the ink view on many of its models over the past several years. While I appreciate a good “form versus function” argument, I would hope that this design choice is used judiciously in the future as I find the ink view to be one of Pelikan’s biggest strengths, one that should not be so casually jettisoned. I would also be remiss to not account for the added potential of staining inherent with this model. Simply stated, white resin is more prone to staining, particularly with the use of super saturated ink formulations, a threat that is compounded further when paired with lackadaisical pen maintenance. This is easily combated with good pen hygiene and, in practice, has rarely been a problem in my experience. While the possibility exists, it can be mitigated fairly easily, but may be a consideration depending on how you maintain your pens.
Pelikan’s unique packaging includes a green ribbon running along the lid’s opening making for a simple yet attractive presentation
The M605 Green-White (2021) next to a standard post-1997 M600 Green-Black
- Construction & Quality (9/10) – More theoretical issues than actual ones
The M605 Green-White is a well-built pen, exactly as you would expect at this price point and from a company with such a historic pedigree. Even though a seam is visible on the barrel, as previously discussed, it is not able to be felt and I have no qualms about it being a potential weak spot. It is simply a consequence of the manufacturing process. There is always the specter of corrosion haunting the trim ring at the section however this would require exposure to caustic inks over a prolonged period and likely would not manifest itself until after many years of regular use. Like the staining issue, this is more of a theoretical problem that could develop than an immediate concern. With the possibility being rather remote, I wouldn’t be overly worried about it and certainly would not let it impact my decision to purchase. Given the longevity of this feature on the Souveräns, I don’t believe Pelikan has any intention of changing it anytime soon. The cap post securely for the Green-White which I like to see as this is how I predominantly use my pens. One thing that has been a concern for many in the community is the durability of Pelikan’s white resin caps. This stems from a period surrounding the M400 Tortoiseshell White where there was an issue with the resin of the cap being brittle and prone to cracking. The issue was so pervasive that Pelikan acknowledged it and replaced the affected caps. Since that time, the issue has supposedly been corrected however reports of cracked resin on these white caps surface with every release making some weary of the material all together. I suspect that has less to do with inherently flawed materials, but rather is more likely due to cracks being more visible with white resin than with black. Still, it’s a bit too soon at this juncture to gauge whether or not that will be a problem here. One thing I would caution is that while I am a diehard poster, care must be taken to not post too forcefully as this can place undue stress on the lip of the cap. One final thought about the pen’s construction relates to how securely the cap adheres to the section’s threads. The pen can be quickly uncapped for writing with just 3/4 of a turn but resists coming unintentionally undone in the pocket. We all know what a disaster that can be, but it is of little concern here. All in all, the Green-White gives me very few qualms about the quality of its construction and I would fully expect it to perform dependably for quite some time if cared for properly.
There is a seam which can be clearly visualized running along the length of the barrel where the stripes of the material come together, a consequence of the manufacturing process. This is present on many of Pelikan’s striped models, though it tends to be a bit more noticeable here
- Weight & Dimensions (10/10) – A pen sized “just right” for a large number of enthusiasts
The M6xx line hits the sweet spot for a lot of enthusiasts. That’s because it fits nicely between the larger M800 and the smaller M400. Its size makes for an easy carry in most shirt pockets while also allowing it to be a very comfortable writer. Those who prefer the heft of the M800 will likely want to take a pass on this one. As far as writing goes, the pen is very well balanced, especially when posted meaning that even prolonged writing session are free from any fatigue. Officially, the M605 measures approximately 5.28 inches when capped, 6.10 inches when posted, and has a diameter of 0.49 inches. On the scale, it weighs in at 0.57 ounces.
- Nib & Performance (8/10) – A dependable performance thanks to a feed that doesn’t quit
Pelikan’s modern nibs are considered by many to be shadows of their vintage selves. The selection of nib widths for the M605 remains limited to only EF, F, M, and B. While each of these widths lay down a generous line of ink, they lack any sort of variability. What they cry out for with regards to character, the nibs more than make up for in terms of dependability. The 14C-585 gold nib is palladium plated giving it a monotone appearance that nicely matches the rest of the pen. It is not my preference to seek out custom grinds, but I will indulge from time to time when the opportunity presents itself. It can be a nice treat that elevates the writing experience. In this instance, I opted to have my pen ground to a italic at the point of purchase. This is an option available through Fritz Schimpf from whom I acquire many of my newer releases. As far as the stock nibs go, it has been my experience that they have been running truer to their width designation over the last few years. While I have had good experiences with Pelikan’s nibs being well aligned out of the box, I fully acknowledge that will not be the case for everyone as no quality control is infallible. If that is a concern of yours, I would encourage you to ask your preferred vendor to check the nib prior to shipping in order to save on any headaches later, particularly if you feel uncomfortable making some basic adjustments to the nib yourself. Regarding the Fritz Schimpf Italic grind, mine was cut from a stock medium nib, giving it a pleasing bit of line variation with a thicker down stroke and thinner cross stroke. It certainly is worth the investment should you be so inclined. Alternatively, several nib meisters out there will grind a stock nib to your specifications after the fact. It’s also important to once again point out the reliability of Pelikan’s feed which not only contributes to a generous, wet line but also does a phenomenal job of resisting drying out. Even if left capped and unattended for a prolonged period, odds are the pen is just going to pick up from where you left off when you get back to it. That kind of dependability deserves to be underscored. The rating that you see for this section does not reflect my custom nib but rather represents the stock factory nib offered by Pelikan.
The stock medium nib of an M605 made from 14C-585 gold and plated in palladium to better match the trim. In this instance, the medium nib has been ground to an italic by the German retailer Fritz Shimpf
Filling System & Maintenance (10/10) – Nearly a century of piston filling heritage represented
The M605 Green-White comes with Pelikan’s standard piston filling mechanism which has a legacy all its own. With a twist of the rear knob, the piston travels smoothly along the length of the barrel. Twist it the other way with the nib bathed in ink and the pen fills almost completely with a single cycle. The M605 has a stated capacity of approximately 1.30mL. The piston assembly is not user removable as it is snap fitted to the barrel but that is of little concern. There is essentially no legitimate indication for its removal and any attempts at doing so could irrevocably damage the pen. That doesn’t mean that maintenance cannot be easily accomplished for this model. The filling mechanism allows for a quick flush in order to facilitate long term storage or a change in ink selection. After a fair number of flushes, the piston may get a bit stiff. This can be remedied by applying the tiniest drop of pure silicone grease to the inside of the barrel which is accomplished with ease thanks to the removable nib. Historically, the nib was only intended to be exchanged by the vendor. Those swaps can now be accomplished by the end user, with care, which is great for customization, repair, and maintenance. With a legendary filling system and easy to accomplish upkeep, this Green-White Souverän is a low maintenance pen that should perform hassle free for a long time to come.
A view of the M605 Green-White’s barrel when held against a strong light source. There is enough translucence to be able to visualize the piston seal and ink contained within
Cost & Value (5/10) – Manufacturer’s suggested retail pricing in the USA borders on the absurd
While the M605 Green-White has fared well thus far, it bombs in terms of cost and value, particularly as it relates to the US market. In the USA, the MSRP is $720. Applying the standard 20% deduction, most domestic vendors are asking $576 at retail. That pricing equates to a whopping 52% increase in MSRP over 2017’s M605 White-Transparent. In Europe, the RRP is €450 (~$529.63) with a retail price for non-EU consumers around €282.35 (~$332.31) when the VAT is excluded. That makes the Green-White nearly $244 cheaper for US based consumers when sourced from overseas. This disparity in regional pricing has been long established but the chasm continues to expand at exponential rates. At some point, such outrageous figures will have diminishing returns for the company. How vendors in the USA are expected to compete in this type of climate is beyond me. With the new pricing for the M6xx line, I shudder to think what the next M800 will fetch, and one can’t help but feel as if Pelikan is on track to price themselves out of the market. I fully acknowledge that there are significant costs related to keeping manufacturing within Germany and I in no way would want to see these pens made elsewhere. Still, I cannot fathom how a pen can be sold for such radically different prices in other markets. If you can pick this one up from abroad, then I think you’d get a fine pen at a reasonable price. This model loses all value when purchasing from the US as the price tag punches higher than the pen. Don’t take my word for it though. I invite you shop around and make your own judgement as to whether or not the Green-White is a value buy.
A colorful sextet. From left to right; M600 Tortoiseshell White (2012), M600 Pink (2015), M600 Turquoise-White (2018), M600 Violet-White (2019), M605 White-Transparent (2017), and the M605 Green-White (2021)
- Conclusion – A solid pen that looks good, performs well, and cost an arm and a leg
M605 Green-White: 50/60 or 83.3%
The M605 Green-White is a solid release for Pelikan. It fits the thematic styling of the last several colorful M6xx models. With pinks, purples, and blues previously available, green feels like a natural addition to that palette. The cool tones and sea green stripes will appeal to many and the M6xx size is a favorite for quite a few. Of course, not everyone will favor the lack of heft that is more readily found with the company’s larger models. Some enthusiasts will be put off by the potential for staining and others will balk at the lack of an ink view window. These are minor quibbles though that come down to one’s own personal taste. There will also be those that are gun shy about the durability of the white resin, but it is too soon to cast any final judgement on that front. This Souverän looks to be a dependable writer, one that is likely to provide years of worry free use. All of that, however, depends on being able to meet the price of admission and that is rather steep. This model is a bust at the prices asked in the US market, but it is infinitely more palatable when sourced from overseas. I would encourage anyone interested in picking one of these up to shop around for the best deal.
The palladium plated cap top of the M605 present on all x05 Souverän models since 2010 depicts the company’s single chick logo in use since 2003
- The sea green stripes work well with the model’s cool tones
- The feed does an amazing job of resisting drying out making for a very dependable writer
- The cap post securely, does not come undone in the pocket, and is quickly removed to get down to the business of writing
- Pelikan’s M6xx models are the perfect size for many, neither too big or too small
- The pen lacks a discrete ink view window
- White resin has a potential for staining not encountered with darker colored materials
- Concerns linger about the durability of Pelikan’s white resin caps and their potential for cracking
- The price of this model in the US is prohibitive and will bar many from ownership
A Look At The Pelikan M605 Green-White
Pelikan M605 Green-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.
*Odd—your example looks like a darker green than Joshua’s…or is it just my PC monitor??? *
I wouldn’t read too much into it. Color balance varies a lot between monitors which is the likely culprit as you surmised. Any appreciable difference is likely due to the monitor more so than any variation in the product.
thank you for your wonderful website all about Pelikan fountain pens!
I allways enjoy reading your articles and reviews!
You present a lot of information on just one spot.
To give something back, please let me know, if I can be of any help.
I live in Germany.
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Hey Max. Thanks for the kind words. I work hard at it. Glad you’re enjoying my content. Stay safe.
Thanks for this Joshua! – Your site is always very informative and interesting
Thanks for reading. Hope the review was useful to you.
Thank you for a very useful and thorough review (as always!) I was concerned about the lack of ink window or transparency of the barrel, but your photo is very helpful in demonstrating how to check the ink level. Using an IPhone flashlight on the side of the pen is an acceptable alternative.
Your review has convinced me to buy one 🙂
After two recent M600 series pens, I wonder what Pelikan will produce in the M800 range?
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You’re most welcome. Acceptable, yes, but I wish that it wasn’t necessary. The ink view has been one of Pelikan’s hallmarks from their very first fountain pen. I don’t think that you’ll be upset with it. The M800 range hasn’t seen a new model since 2019’s Brown-Black. This drought is almost certainly part COVID and part manufacturing issues in my opinion. I’m very surprised that we haven’t seen one yet. Next release due out will be a Raden from what I’m hearing, likely in the M1000 size so the wait will go on…
Thanks for another great review, Joshua, and in my case thank you especially for the comparison photo with the standard green/black Souverän. Now I have a much better idea of what the color of the M605 Green-White looks like in real life. Thanks also for the beautiful picture of the six white M600/605s. I still dream of finding a Pink for my own collection at something that resembles a reasonable price.
Do you find the Fritz Schimpf italic grind to be fairly crisp, or is it a bit “softer” (and thus a bit more tolerant of imprecise pen angle).
It _is_ hard to understand the US pricing strategy. Perhaps there are availability limitations, maybe the demand is more inelastic than we bargain-hunters think, or who knows what is driving the pricing. It does seem to encourage grey-market purchases, though. The price difference to buy overseas seems to me for many buyers too much to ignore.
Glad that you enjoyed it. I was hoping the comparison photo would help someone out. That was one of the first questions in my head when I saw the pictures so I wanted to make sure and share. I passed on the Pink in the first go round. It was a 2015 release and I was unbelievable lucky to find one in Greece in 2018 still selling at the original sales price. Now they are untouchable. I certainly wouldn’t purchase one at the going rate today. The Fritz Schimpf italic is forgiving. More stubby than a sharp italic therefore I do find it forgiving. The US pricing strategy is a mystery and the discount from the gray market almost makes it silly to purchase elsewhere. I feel bad for the US vendors trying to compete.
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Your usual high quality review, detailed, well-researched, and well-written; thank you Joshua! And I couldn’t agree more with every point, most especially since I have been sourcing my Pelikans from the UK for years now. I’d love to buy in Canada instead, but the price differential just can’t be justified.
Thank you for the generous praise, it’s much appreciated. Yes, North American pricing is just off the charts these days. Thankfully we have other options, perhaps more so than ever before.
“Pelikan’s modern nibs are considered by many to be shadows of their vintage selves.”
This is also said by people about almost all older pen companies.
You are very right about that. It seems that the vintage are of nib making is a lost one. A pity indeed.
From time to time they launch new “white” model even thou they have isssues with this white plastic…
Since they have huge problems with workers and problems with staying alive on the market (we can clearly see the sympthomatic absence of their pens on the market since, for sure, january 2021) I was and I am wondering did they just force it out, put/made this model out of some pars just beeing arround since they have some stock of some material from the past days an it is an attempt to “look alive” on the market, or they did this one on purpose and they corrected the white plastic production formula and they want to ahow it to the world???!!
Dont get me wrong, I love Pelikan fountain pens, it is my favourite brand,I have a lot of them and at least one is always with me, I wish them to bring us pens for another at least 500 years but it seem to me that they are desparate and that they need some reconstruction inside their company asap or they will be “assimilated” by some other company…
I don’t think anything was forced out. At the end of last year, the company forecasted proceeding with a reduced release schedule, before any issues with the factory came to light. I’m sure that is due to a lot of factors. It would surprise me if they weren’t recycling stock when the opportunity presented itself. The Green-White fits in with past releases so I don’t think its any type of stop gap release but that just my impression.
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