Hello Old Friend,
A month or so ago, we were discussing the best beginner fountain pens and the Pelikan tradition series came up as one of them. That got me thinking of my own Pelikan m215 and how I've never *gasp* done a formal review on it. What better way to pay tribute to my trusty stylo-sidekick than to review it three years after first writing with it.
Many reviews usually speak of the pen when it is brand new, right out of the box with a small amount of use. Yes, you can certainly get an idea if you will enjoy the pen after writing with it for only 10-15 minutes, but there are little quirky things that you tend to notice weeks, if not months down the line. After all, the true test of a pen (or any other product) is how it holds up over time and use.
If I were to review the pen the first day I started writing with it, I would be able to agree with my former-self that the nib writes like a dream for being stainless steel. Impeccably smooth while retaining the characteristic of a very, very fine line (almost extra-fine). Nothing has changed in that aspect, but the one thing I have noticed after loading it up with so many varieties of ink is that some darker colors make the nib drier and stubborn to write with. Specifically, darker Noodler's colors (bulletproof black, blue-black) tended to make it hard to start writing, skipping occasionally. My favorite dark color to use with it is Sailor Jentle Blue-Black, followed by Aurora Black.
The patented Pelikan piston-filling mechanism is exceptional at getting a full fill of ink that lasts me about a month! True, I may not write with it every day, but pacing it with other pens that I use in the same manner, the time between refills is the longest for the Pelikan.
As with any fountain pen, you want to make sure that you do a routine rinse cleaning between changing ink colors and if you are planning on putting away the pen for a while. What I have noticed about the piston is that it gets a little stiff and tough to turn if its been out of use for a while, even if I clean it my very best. Not a big deal, but I do wish it was easy for me to take apart like my TWSBI so I can make sure there isn't any ink sediment stuck to the piston.
One of my favorite design features of the m215 is the length and weight of the pen while the cap is posted on the back-end. Comfortable and compact, I can write endlessly and effortlessly. However, the cap is the source of my two biggest complaints about the pen. For starters, posting it on the back will inevitably cause fine scratches on the bottom of the blue body. Not a big deal, it's typical wear and tear. What annoys me the most is the looseness of the screw threads to the top of the pen to keep it capped. Often, I would wear the pen in my shirt pocket and reach for it, only to see that I've gotten the cap, but no pen. Point up and ready to stain my shirt, the Pelikan got out of its cage! While it is a very smooth thread, it really does not tighten fully when you screw the pen shut. A slight jostle here and there and the cap loosens in a way that other pens I own do not.
Despite the minor foibles in the Pelikan's character, the m215 remains as one of my favorite fountain pens that I believe should be in all fountain pen enthusiast's collections. Unfortunately, as of this writing, the m215 has been discontinued and the specific blue/black that I have is no longer available, but I would recommend, with equal vigor, that you opt for the m205 in its place. It has almost equal size and balance, while being a bit lighter in weight.
For another opinion, check out Office Supply Geek's Review on the Pelikan m215.