While 2022 was a year of tumultuous, rapid fire news cycles, things were overall slow in terms of new releases from Pelikan. This is a pattern that Pelikan has been getting us increasingly accustomed to in the post-COVID world. Even when overlooking the paucity of new pens, there certainly weren’t many earth shattering, “must have” releases. With only six new models introduced this past year, two of which were ultra-exclusive Maki-e releases, there hasn’t been a lot to review. While the standout for 2022 was likely the M605 Tortoiseshell-Black, it’s worth taking a look at a few of the latest releases from the company. First up is the M205 Apatite special edition fountain pen which became available to consumers last month. The Apatite is the newest release in Pelikan’s line of fountain pens designed to match their Edelstein Ink Of The Year series, the eighth such model in that line-up. The majority of pens released to date have been in the M205 family and the Apatite is no exception. That means these models are characterized by chromium plated trim which gives the furniture a silver appearance. The seven other models in the series to date include the 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). Unfortunately, compromises were made resulting in an aesthetic that makes the Apatite stand on its own, and not necessarily in a good way. Also, the Apatite departs from the glittered styling that was a major feature of the Star Ruby, Moonstone, and Golden Beryl. Read on to learn just how much of an appetite you should have for the new M205 Apatite.
Appearance & Design (7/10) – A lack of plating around the crown nut cheapens the overall appearance
When not purchased as part of the also available gift set, the M205 Apatite generally comes in Pelikan’s standard gift packaging, in my case, the new G30 box. The exact packaging you receive may vary depending on the vendor. I’ve discussed these boxes in the past so there isn’t any new ground to cover but they continue to make for an attractive presentation. The pen sleeve that is included can also provide additional utility down the road, a nice little extra. The Apatite is a pleasing shade of turquoise, a hue that stands apart from the other models in the series. The Aquamarine of 2016 is the only other model in a blue hue and the Apatite decisively skews more blue green. For those on the fence about the color, it is definitely a turquoise, brighter and more saturated than what a teal would look like. In this case, I think that the pen corresponds well with its matching Edelstein Ink. The new M205 breaks from the aesthetic of the last three years which was characterized by models incorporating a shimmering resin. The Apatite lacks any shimmer which is likely to appeal to those that have been turned off by the last several finishes. On the flip side, it certainly may be a source of disappointment for those that have enjoyed the unique look of Pelikan’s glitter-bound models. For what it’s worth, I don’t think the pen suffers from the decision to forego the glitter at all. Like all of the other models in the series, this is a demonstrator meaning all of the pen’s inner workings are on full display. Love ’em or hate ’em, demos can be polarizing. On the plus side, they allow for easily gauging the remaining amount of ink in the pen as well as showing off the piston mechanism. Like all pens, there is an inherent risk of staining the barrel which is much more likely to mar a demonstrator’s appearance (more on that below). The turquoise resin is accentuated by chromium plated trim elements which include a single trim ring at the piston knob, a single cap band, and a beak shaped clip. The silver and turquoise marry well together. What is missing is the chromium plating that has surrounded the crown nut on every past model in this series. Instead, a black plastic piece is substituted similar to what was common on M205s from the early 2000s. Only because we have had it both ways, the omission now only serves to cheapen the overall look of the pen. This is the same issue that was a blemish for the M205 Petrol-Marbled and the newest DUO Neon Yellow, both 2021 releases. It seems that Pelikan has done away with this plating since 2021 but that decision is at the expense of the aesthetic, and I can only guess that it is driven by cost considerations and supply chain issues. The absence might go overlooked until you’re aware of it and then, you can’t unsee it. I wouldn’t make so much of it except for the fact that every other pen in the series has the plated crown. For me, this is a major detractor, but you may not mind at all and I’m sure that opinions will vary widely on what is admittedly a purely cosmetic issue. Rounding out the pen’s appearance is an un-plated stainless steel nib featuring the company’s logo and nib width.
Click on a photo to view the gallery. Note the crown nut at the cap top which lacks plating on the M205 Apatite
Construction & Quality (10/10) – A well-built and dependable pen that makes for a great daily writer
The M205 belongs to Pelikan’s Classic series which sits below their more upmarket Souverän line. As such, there isn’t quite as much polish applied to the finish. For instance, the section will show two small seams which are simply a byproduct of production. These are polished away on the Souveräns but, honestly, they are hardly noticeable on the Apatite. All of the pieces fit together well, and the piston knob snugs securely to the barrel when the piston is retracted. The cap remains closed when desired and does not come loose unintentionally but can be quickly removed with 3/4 of a turn meaning that you can get to work quickly. The cap post securely to the back of the barrel and gives the pen a great feel in the hand. While I have no qualms with the fit and finish, these are resin pens that are light in weight. If subjected to a significant accident, such as a decent fall onto a hard surface, I’m not sure how well the Apatite would hold up. That said, I have no concerns about the durability of this model with daily use under normal conditions provided a modicum of good pen hygiene is observed.
Weight & Dimensions (9/10) – A smaller pen that excels when posted
The Apatite is a smaller pen by today’s standards, but I have always felt that the M2xx line embodies the heart of the 100. That too was a small model, standard for its time, which really shined when posted. The M205 does likewise. While not an issue if used without posting, posting the Apatite gives it a very pleasing and comfortable weight, size, and balance in the hand. That said, if you like your pens with some heft, the Apatite may not be the one for you. Its dimensions include a capped length of 4.92 inches, a posted length of 5.71 inches, a diameter of 0.46 inches, and a weight which is only 0.49 ounces. That puts these on par with the Souverän M400 by way of comparison. Small though it may be, the pen is a comfortable, non-fatiguing writer that can be counted on for some cramp free journaling.
Nib & Performance (9/10) – The nib is reliable, and the feed is incredibly resistant to drying out
The Apatite comes standard with an un-plated stainless steel nib which is a hallmark of the line and matches the chromium plating of the furniture nicely. Some vendors will sell upgraded models featuring a 14C-585 Souverän nib at an up-charge if you so desire. That said, I personally do not think the extra investment adds anything to the writing experience. The M205 nibs come in the widths of EF, F, M, and B. The nib has a plain appearance, adorned with only the Pelikan logo and the width stamped at the base. My example has a fine nib whose tines were well aligned out of the box though that might not be everyone’s experience. The nib puts down a wet line with a pleasing amount of spring. Those looking for flex should look elsewhere. Despite being a fine nib, it is not scratchy, gives a pleasing bit of feedback, and writes an acceptably fine line. One thing that I really appreciate about Pelikan’s nibs is the feed’s ability to resist drying out. These are always ready to write, even after a period of stasis. That said, I would not let one sit inked in a drawer for weeks on end. While you may get away with it, I would encourage the emptying and flushing of the pen if you anticipate not using it for a while which will keep things fluid and help to prevent staining. Pelikan’s inks pair well with their pens as they help to tame the wet feed, a consideration for those struggling with ink selection. Like most of their modern pens, Pelikan’s steel nibs lack any variation in the line that they put down. That said, the Apatite is more than up to the challenge of being a reliable and pleasing daily writer.
Filling System & Maintenance (10/10) – A piston filler that is easy to use and maintain
The M205 Apatite comes with Pelikan’s differential piston filling mechanism. The action is smooth and the pen fills nearly full with a single cycle. Its peak capacity is stated at 1.20mL. Since this model is a demonstrator, you get to see it all of the action unfold right in front of your eyes. Should the mechanism stiffen, usually after a few years of use, the piston can easily be lubricated by applying a tiny drop of pure silicone grease to the inside of the barrel. No special tools are required to accomplish this which makes for a nice boon to the end user. Because this is a demonstrator, there will be an inherent risk of staining, particularly when heavily saturated inks are used or poor pen hygiene habits are employed. It’s definitely worth pausing and considering if a demonstrator is the right fit for you. With a modicum of routine care, any concerns are largely rendered moot and shouldn’t be a deal breaker. I think the aesthetics of a demonstrator should be more of a consideration than the actual maintenance of one. For those that like to disassemble their pens, that’s not really an option here as the assembly is snap fit to the barrel and any attempts at disassembly risk damaging the pen, though, thankfully, this is rarely ever indicated. At the end of the day, the M205 Apatite features a time tested filling system that has never been found to be lacking.
Cost & Value (7/10) – Value is increasingly elusive but reasonable prices can be found
Quite some time ago, Pelikan’s Classic models used to qualify as high quality entry level pens, but their ever increasing price point means that these are no longer entry level models for a large swath of the population. The M205 Apatite carries a US MSRP of $280 which results in a retail of approximately $224. That’s about $16 more than last year’s Golden Beryl. When shopping overseas in the European Union, the Apatite can be had for around €121 (~$128.31) when the VAT is excluded. While the gap has narrowed some thanks to an increase in prices overseas, shopping abroad can still realize significant savings. I’m not sure that I can say the Apatite is a good value at $224 when you don’t even get a bottle of ink with it (the gift set which includes ink retails for $248). Perhaps I would feel differently if the pen came with something a bit more sophisticated than a stainless steel nib. Still, buying overseas makes this one a lot more palatable if the aesthetic appeals to you. No matter what your take on the value of this model is, purchasing one gets you a well-made and reliable pen that has a great form factor and is easy to use and maintain. You’ll have to decide if that is enough to separate you from your hard earned money.
Conclusion – A new finish that feels more like a step backwards than a leap forwards
M205 Apatite: 52/60 or 86.6%
The M205 Apatite harkens back to the early days of the series with the return of a non-shimmering resin. It also takes a step backwards in a much less nostalgic way. The lack of plating around the crown nut surrounding the cap top is a gross omission that is all the more obvious when compared with each prior release. It feels like an unsatisfying compromise that stops short of ruining the pen, but it does cheapen the overall look. That may be all well and good for some, but the premium price tag would be a little easier to swallow if the design was more consistent. It feels a little like renting a tuxedo but forgetting the cuff links. It works but something is missing. That said, the turquoise color is quite pleasant to look at and the nib, while uninspiring, is quite dependable. Those who have to have them all will rush to get this one. For everyone else, I don’t see any absolute deal breakers. If the trim doesn’t bother you and you like the color, you could do a lot worse than adding this one to your flock. At worst, you’d be getting a smallish piston filling fountain pen that packs a big punch and promises many years of reliable service.
The rainbow continues to grow. Left to right: M205 Amethyst (2015), M205 Aquamarine (2016), M200 Smoky Quartz (2017), M205 Olivine (2018), M205 Star Ruby (2019), M205 Moonstone (2020), M200 Golden Beryl (2021), and M205 Apatite (2022)
- A classic piston filling mechanism that is easy to service and maintain
- The feed is wet and does an excellent job of resisting drying out so the pen is always ready to write
- The resin lacks the glitter of past models for those that were bothered by the shimmer of the last several releases
- Since it is a demonstrator, the amount of ink remaining in the pen can be easily ascertained with a glance
- There is an increased risk of staining because the barrel’s material is translucent
- It is a small, lightweight pen that won’t appeal to those looking for more heft
- The crown nut lacks any plating, cheapening the appearance, and resulting in visual incongruence with the other models in the series
- This pen comes with premium pricing, particularly in the USA, which feels out of place for a model with a stainless steel nib
A Look At The Pelikan M205 Apatite
Pelikan M205 Apatite 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.