On deck today is a review of the fresh faced M205 Golden Beryl special edition fountain pen released last month. I have been excited to get my hands on this one and now am happy to be able to give you a closer look so that you might better judge the pen on its merits. Part of my excitement owes to the fact that we have gotten only a handful of new releases out of Hannover in 2021 when compared with years past which seems to be the new normal as forecasted in the company’s 2020 Annual Report. The exact statement in that text was; “For 2021, we will continue the tradition of reinventing the popular designs with new materials and colours, though we plan to concentrate on less product launches as we cautiously move forward in the market.” The Golden Beryl takes a somewhat different approach than the other thematic releases in the series and the question that it begs is whether or not the new tactic delivers? News of this one didn’t break until October, much later than has traditionally been the case, leading many to question whether or not we would actually see the Golden Beryl come to light. Materialize it did, joining the likes of the M205 Amethyst (2015), M205 Aquamarine (2016), M200 Smoky Quartz (2017), M205 Olivine (2018), M205 Star Ruby (2019), and the M205 Moonstone (2020) as the seventh pen in the now long running series. Interestingly, it is only the second model of those listed to incorporate gold plated trim, something we last saw on 2017’s Smoky Quartz. All of the models since 2019’s Star Ruby have utilized glitter to impart a shimmering appearance to the translucent material of the barrel and cap. Where the Golden Beryl breaks the mold is in the fact that the barrel itself is not colored in a way reminiscent of the ink that it compliments. This model actually has a clear resin which was admittedly unexpected when the product announcement came. Read on to discover whether or not the gambit was worthwhile.
Appearance & Design (8/10) – A subdued finish that doesn’t clamor for attention
The M200 Golden Beryl comes in Pelikan’s standard G5 gift packaging which is rather basic but makes for an attractive enough presentation if you intend to give the pen as a gift. That packaging consists of an outer box which houses a sliding drawer mechanism with a faux leather sleeve contained within. Opening the pouch reveals the M200 which has a rather distinct look as far as Pelikan’s demonstrators go. All of the past editions in the series to date have in some way attempted to emulate the hue of their corresponding Edelstein Ink of the Year. That is simply not the case here which is perhaps the most stunning revelation. Rather than a glittering, golden shade, the Golden Beryl is made of a clear translucent material that has a soft, satin-like finish. Embedded within the material is a golden glitter which is much more subtle and not nearly as intense as past iterations. That golden, shimmering effect doesn’t even really stand out until you view the pen in more direct, bright light. Another prominent feature is the piston mechanism and seal, which are visible by virtue of the barrel’s transparency. These are made from a white plastic which actually is very complimentary to the overall look of the pen. This appears to be the same mechanism that was employed on the Pastel-Green (2020) though it is not nearly as visible in that model. Furthering the white resin look is the cap top which is also a carry over from the Pastel-Green. Accompanying the resin are gold-plated trim elements which include a single trim ring at the section, a single cap band, and a beak shaped clip. The nib is gold-plated stainless steel which rounds out the pen’s appearance rather nicely. Overall, I do like the look of this one but it was not love at first sight. Its appearance was initially a disappointment to me as my expectation was for something with more of a golden hue. I can only presume that the conceit here was to create a pen that allows the ink within to stand out and speak for itself rather than simply emulate the ink that inspired its creation. This is definitely a new approach to the series and its success will all come down to personal preference. Is the pen attractive enough in its own right to make it a worthwhile addition to the flock? I think so but that is going to be a particularly subjective assessment with consumers’ preferences sure to land on both sides of the issue. The pen has grown on me and I’ve come to appreciate it for what it is. It just goes to show that, in the future, all bets are off about what we might expect these releases to look like.
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Construction & Quality (10/10) – A middle weight that punches above its class
The Golden Beryl is part of Pelikan’s Classic line which is not quite as finished as their more up market Souverän series. Once considered entry level pens, their rising prices over the years have bumped these to a more mid-grade position in the market and the finish is commensurate with that. There are two small seams on the section, remnants of the manufacturing process. You won’t see these on the Souveräns since they get polished out on those models but don’t let their inclusion dissuade you. They aren’t really noticeable in practice and the pen, in fact, leaves no qualms about the quality of its construction. All of the parts fit together securely. There is no play within the piston knob which snugs tightly to the barrel when not in use. The cap fastens securely and has not given me any issues with unintentionally coming undone. While that security can provide peace of mind, it’s nice to know that that cap can still be quickly removed with just 3/4 of a turn. For those of you who like to post your pens, you’re in luck because the cap of the Golden Beryl post very securely. All that said, the pen is lighter and of an all-plastic construction therefore I do not have much confidence that it would fare well should it fall from an elevation onto a hard surface but that is a bar that no pen should be held to.
Weight & Dimensions (9/10) – A small pen that shines when posted
The Golden Beryl belongs to the M200 series, and these would be considered smaller pens by today’s standards, particularly when held up against models like the M800 or M1000. If a smaller pen is not to your liking, this may not be the one for you. While comfortable enough to use unposted, I think that these models shine when posted, taking on a perfect weight and balance. The M200 has a capped length of 4.92 inches, a posted length of 5.71 inches, a diameter of 0.46 inches, and weighs just 0.49 ounces. These dimensions make it very comparable to the upmarket M400. That light weight, while off putting to some, ensures that the pen can be written with comfortably without fear of fatiguing.
Nib & Performance (9/10) – A wet writer with a pleasing bit of spring
The M200 Golden Beryl is factory equipped with a gold-plated stainless steel nib in one of the standard widths of EF, F, M, and B. If you favor something a bit fancier, any M400 nib can be swapped in with relative ease. The nib’s plating ensures that it matches the rest of the pen’s appearance though it is overall plain in its engraving, featuring only a stamped logo and the nib‘s width. I opted for a bold nib which was well aligned and wrote smoothly out of the box. Your mileage may vary and it’s always a good idea to ask your preferred vendor to check the nib before shipping if possible. The writing experience is quite dependable. The feed is always wet and ready to write, even after a prolonged period of storage. That is not to say you should leave your pens inked and unused for long periods, but Pelikans seem to weather this type of scenario well. If you find the feed a bit too generous, a drier ink can sometimes be a good remedy for that. Pelikan’s steel nibs lack any type of line variation, but they have a pleasant bit of spring and write pretty true to their designation. As I’ve said before, the area in which these nibs excel is their dependability which makes them great daily writers.
Filling System & Maintenance (10/10) – It works every time, no muss, no fuss
The Golden Beryl has a white version of Pelikan’s differential filling mechanism on full display which is a treat to watch in action. The piston seal smoothly travels toward the nib with a twist to the left. Retract the seal and the pen fills to its stated capacity of approximately 1.20mL. After a few years of use, the mechanism can stiffen up, but this is easily remedied with the application of a tiny drop of pure silicone grease to the inside of the barrel. The fact that this can be so readily accomplished by the user is a nice bonus. Of course, by virtue of being a demonstrator, this model will have an inherent risk of staining, something that should be considered if that is something bothersome to you. Much of this can be mitigated by careful ink selection and good pen hygiene. For those who like to disassemble their pens, look elsewhere. The assembly is snap fit to the barrel cannot be easily removed. Any attempts to do so risks damaging the pen. Thankfully, this is generally unnecessary and should not be considered a part of routine pen maintenance. Overall, the Golden Beryl houses a solid filling system which requires only a touch more maintenance than comparable M2xx models thanks to the fact that this one is a demonstrator.
Cost & Value (7/10) – There is value to be had but it depends on where you shop
The M200 Golden Beryl was released at the same price point as the Petrol-Marbled from earlier this year. I appreciate that there wasn’t an additional premium applied as it seems that Pelikan’s prices are forever rising. The Golden Beryl has a US MSRP of $260 with a retail price of $208 once the standard discounts are applied. That is still not competitive with Europe where these retail for €94.12 (~$106.51) for non-EU customers when the VAT is excluded. That difference in pricing between the two regions remains hard to ignore, particularly when there is little to no downside for US consumers to shop overseas. Vendors in America will likely continue to pay the price for this disparity, unable to be competitive in a global market. At EU pricing, the pen is a good deal. You get a dependable, piston filling fountain pen with a pleasing nib and solid looks. The value drops precipitously when shopping within the US but that value judgement is something each of us must make. Of course, if you have the means, I fully encourage everyone to support their local vendors where feasible.
Conclusion – A fresh take on an old theme that works well, at least in this instance
M200 Golden Beryl: 53/60 or 88.3%
The Golden Beryl goes in a different direction than past releases in the series. While I wasn’t sure at first, I do think it works in this scenario. This model was designed to complement Pelikan’s first ever shimmering ink. The use of glitter to add sparkle to the material of the barrel had already been employed on the previous two models. Making a pen that would allow the ink itself to stand out and be a prominent feature was a creative solution to the design challenge. The look of this one manages to be captivating while still remaining subdued meaning it has a wide application and works in just about any environment that you want to use it. Pricing is a perpetual issue for US consumers but thankfully the needle hasn’t moved any from other releases earlier this year. If the price is right, I think you could do a lot worse than adding this one to your flock. Of course, I expect many like myself with completionist tendencies to pick this one up simply to keep their sets current. Even if you don’t go in for the gimmick of shimmering inks, this is a solid writer with a unique look. In the end, you will get a handsome pen that should provide years of dependable service.
A rainbow of colors. Left to right: M205 Amethyst (2015), M205 Aquamarine (2016), M200 Smoky Quartz (2017), M205 Olivine (2018), M205 Star Ruby (2019), M205 Moonstone (2020), and M200 Golden Beryl (2021)
- The construction is without any quality concerns and the pen is easily maintained
- Pelikan’s wet and generous feed provides excellent resistance to drying out
- This one has a unique look with a white piston assembly and cap top that is rather alluring
- The nib has a pleasing degree of spring and writes true to its designation
- Like any demonstrator, this one will be at an increased risk of staining
- The M200 series of pens are small by today’s standards and not suited for all taste
- The available nib widths are uninspired and lack the character of old
- Pricing in the USA is overall flat from the last release but still well above other markets
A Look At The Pelikan M200 Golden Beryl
Pelikan M200 Golden Beryl 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.