Turquaze and Swirll // Pelikan Souveran M805 SE Ocean Swirl [REVIEW]


Pelikan Souverän M805 Special Edition: Ocean Swirl
Special Edition 2017 Piston fill 18kt Gold F nib, Architect Grind by the nib smith
$520 USD (nib smith)
Currently Inked: Blackstone Sydney Harbour Blue (bauer inks)

Hello to my first review in a while, and the much anticipated (at least by me!) review of my prize jewel, the Pelikan Ocean Swirl!! You may remember the last I talked about this excessive purchase in my Holiday Haul of 2017 noting that I went through weeks of back and forth before finally deciding to get it. I think the tipping point was seeing all the beautiful photos, esteemed reviews of the quality of a Pelikan, and also a nice 10% discount on the nib smith website close to holiday season. It is certainly a strange and wonderful feeling to own, and I’m immensely terrified of treating it poorly or scratching it up and defacing it’s resell value. But who would even want it if I put it up for sale? (especially if I somehow accidentally ding the beautiful surface which happens to all  pens I use — knock on wood)

This is an m805 Souveran, part of Pelikan’s classic fountain pen line, but one of the 2017 special edition releases. I am not sure it is available anywhere in official retailers anymore, which makes it all the more special!  Anyway, without further ado, let’s jump in.

Does this pen look super awesome? You Bet.

Here is probably still the nicest photo I took of the pen back from the holiday haul

I suppose that if this is my first ever Pelikan, I’ve really set a standard for myself. The perfect resin barrel is produced with a magical swirly and shiny pattern in a mix of turquoise to black hues. Hence the name. The classic Pelikan accents, as I have now come to learn, are all refined and beautiful, from the finial with the laser etched logo to the pelikan shaped clip to the mid and end palladium accents. The cap base has a rhodium trim with the words ‘Germany’, ‘Souveran’ and ‘Pelikan’ etched in. The end of the pen, which contains the twist control for the famed piston mechanism is finished in a piano black.


Now, if it is not already known, I am very partial to demonstrator pens. However, though this is NOT a demonstrator pen, I can safely say I still love the look of this pen. I have seen the demonstrator Pelikans (and have drooled over them), but honestly, I’m quite happy with my Oshino and TWSBI Diamond 580 so I’m not dying to pick up an even more expensive alternate.


What sets this pen apart then for me, is really the finish of the cap and barrel. Under the right lighting, the finish is truly spectacular. That is to say, under just regular lighting, the pen looks sort of…regular. It still glimmers a bit, but it definitely has some ‘dead’ spots that don’t really shimmer. So in order to see it’s full effect, rotating the barrel is necessary. The pattern itself is very cool, almost like if you mixed a lot of turquoise, blue and black paint in a bin of resin and swirled it around with a stick in multiple places, and then added some metallic shimmer before the resin settled. And again, under the right lighting, the pen is mesmerizing to look at. The cap has a very slight tinge of translucency, but otherwise the pen is completely opaque. A slight disappointment, only because I heard the Vibrant Blue before it had a translucent quality. You can see below the variation of the shiny and ‘dead’ spots of the pen.

variations in the swirl

The packaging is a bit much for me to buy for myself, but excellent if giving the pen as a gift. There is no choice of course, every Souveran comes in this packaging. It is a carboard box, with faux wood print as the base and a matte silver cover. A solid and sturdy storage box, that can put a lot of other misc. stationary goods (but I haven’t). The pen comes in a white pleather pouch for protection. The pouch isn’t extremely fancy, nor is it real leather, but I’m glad that such a high quality pen comes with a pouch at all. So overall…fancy. But it’s just another box for me to store somewhere.


Returning back to talking about the pen iteself — the nib! All Souverans and actually a majority of Pelikan pens come with a gold 18k nib. I really like the Mx05 series, because the gold nibs are all rhodium plated, whereas the Mx00 pens come in the two tone gold & silver. I favour those a little less. Personal aesthetic preference maybe? I just find it a bit tacky. But if I were presented with one, obviously I wouldn’t complain. >:} The nib is hugeee, and has room for a really pretty scroll work etched around the tip, and the signature logo etched below.


I had to make a point about this, but keep in mind this is just personal preference and aesthetic choice. I actually prefer the look of the Platinum nib compared to the Pelikan. Primarily because of the profile of the nib. See in this comparison below, how the Pelikan nib sort of has a larger ‘chunk’ of feed under the nib, whereas the Platinum looks like it arched outwards without that ‘chunk’. I’m not sure if it serves a different function whether the feed has more of a chunk or not, but either way I prefer the arched out style. It’s the small details that count!



Shall we try it out now?

The most important part, especially for a pen worth so many hundos of dollos. Suffice to say, it is quite an excellent and impressively engineered pen.

I ordered my pen from the nibsmith and decided to try out a custom nib grind since it was included in my purchase. And of course, not knowing anything about custom grinds except maybe the itallic or stub, I picked the Architect nib. (Cause I R architect). It’s a pretty neat nib effect for sure. Down strokes are thinner while horizontal strokes are wider. To be honest, I don’t write THAT much, so it’s actually not the most practical nib to me for doodling. I ordered a Fine nib pen, and after the custom grind, I find that the nib is very broad, whether I down or across stroke with it.


click to enlarge!


Granted, the ink flow is extremely smooth, no matter how I write with it. In that sense, it’s quite impressive. The pen also does not dry out easily. I probably left ink in there since last Christmas, and it was still writing when I pulled it out again. My writing tends to be on the large side as well when I use the pen, and find that only when I angle it a certain way and get a scratchy thin part of the nib, that I can draw or write smaller. It’s not a huge deal since it means I won’t use the pen very often, and I wasn’t planning to use it much anyway. Which begs the question why I would purchase such an expensive thing to let it sit unused. I’ve found almost all my pens tend to just get scratched up just from use, even my fav new twins and didn’t want that to happen to this pen. I also tend to use the heck out of a pen if I like it, whether it’s doodling furiously or writing for the sake of writing with a neat pen and ink.


Anyway, I tried my best to doodle with the pen. It wasn’t the best experience compared to my other normal nibbed pens. Writing was also okay for me, not amazing. But very likely because I am just not used to using an Architect nib for writing. The only thing it did do great was actual architectural text. Ha Ha.

The actual feel of the pen in hand is wonderful. This is certainly a pen that encompasses both aesthetics and usability. The proportions are great in hand, even as an 800 series pen, which is one of the larger sized pens. I thought at first maybe my smaller hands would feel uncomfortable with such a large pen, but it wasn’t the case at all. The weight is quite balanced, both posted and unposted, though I prefer unposted as to not potentially scratch the barrel. The nib is quite huge, almost 2.5cm. But the proportion of the grip to the nib is designed in such a way that I can grip the pen in any way and still feel comfortable and control using it. I have learned from a few other cheaper pens I’ve purchased, that proportion makes a big difference for me, and has rendered some pens completely unusable.


Being a piston pen also means it’s ink capacity is wild. Cleaning the pen was very easy and fast as well. You can remove the nib completely and just flush out the barrel. The only thing that would have been cool is if the barrel had some slight translucency to be able to see the mechanism inside. All in all, a very solid pen with all the pros for usability.

The ever debatable question, of whether a Pelikan is worth the purchase. Usually I spend quite a bit of time with a pen before reviewing it, but unfortunately because I don’t use this pen much and the particular nib grind prevents me from rigorously using this pen all the time, my thoughts are a little more shallow than I’d like. It’s possible that I need to spend way more time with the pen to give a valued and accurate judgement, but for the price of this pen, I’m going to have to go with ‘debatable’. It is a significant investment no matter how you look at it. The argument to made however, is that if it is a pen that gets used extremely often and lovingly, then why wouldn’t it be worth it?

I think 500 is quite steep for a pen, from my middle-class perspective, but at the same time, I use the heck out of my 200$ pen, and over time have found it to be worth it. I also would say, that if you use a pen consistently and happily and it doesn’t break or fail within the first few uses, then it will eventually even out and be worth the cost.

Another thought is that this is an M800 series, which makes it one of the more expensive pens in the Pelikan lineup. So maybe the smaller series like the 200 or 400, which are still quite pricey, are a little more worth it, given the quality of the mechanism and build of the pen.


comparison side by side with other pens


  • Beautiful swirly barrel and colour
  • Nib writes extremely smoothly
  • Extreme quality build of overall pen
  • Easy to clean and refill
  • Large ink capacity
  • Feels great in hand, and well proportioned design


  • Cost


39_02_smallI thought that I had mused about this ink before but it seems I haven’t! This is a small bottle of blackstone fountain pen ink made in Australia. I bought it because I just can’t have enough turquoise-ish blue inks, but also because I was just getting into playing with sheeny inks. The second reason I picked up this bottle is because the Sydney Opera House is one of my favourite buildings in the world. This ink definitely has a lot of sheen! I cannot take photos to do it justice, but with the right paper and right lighting and enough globs of ink, the ring of pink that dries around this ink is definitely visible.  I do find that it needs globs of ink (which take a long time to dry) in order to see the sheen, otherwise it kind of just writes like a dark teal-ish blue. The ink is relatively smooth running, and I haven’t had many issues with it so far. It takes a bit longer to dry depending on the paper, so I have found that it’s not a go-to ink for me. It is also a lot darker than I thought it would be, erring on almost black. But after this review I think I’ll start giving it another try.


Thanks for reading! I know it’s been a while since the last full review. These usually take me several sit-downs, not including testing and using the pen. I like to plan out how I will draw the doodles for the review, and usually have some practice ones done as well. There is also the photo taking, editing and then of course, the writing. This one took me unusually long in between work and other things, but it’s definitely fun just musing about my thoughts on a pen, so even though it takes me a bit longer, I’m glad I get it out eventually. Till the next one!


  1. Thanks for this great and very personal review. It’s appropriate that you should have the Architect grind! (I wonder if you guys still produce that attractive print on drawings, which I think is done by using a set square to make the vertical lines in the letters, while the rest of the letter is loose and free-hand). It is probably all done by computers now 😦
    Many would agree that the M800 series pens are among the best modern pens in the world. The Ocean Swirl is a great edition to have. I always enjoy your doodles and illustrations. Even a supporting role for Eggie this time!


    1. Thanks for reading and for your wonderful comments as usual! Yes that is exactly how architect lettering is done, which I unfortunately have not really done for work since first year university 😦
      I am still so sheepish about using this pen for fear of ‘wearing’ it out xD but it really is so wonderful


  2. A very fine pen and an excellent review. So it’s not to slight those to say that your handwritten and drawn parts were my favorite. They were wonderful to see. 😃


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