Pelikan Souveran M800 Italic sampled

August 19, 2010 § 1 Comment

Pelikan has launched the Souveran M800 Italic Handwriting Pen and having taken our first stock at,   it has prompted the question as to what characteristics make a good italic or calligraphy nib.

The Souveran M800 is a tried and tested design of pen with beautiful balance and size but without excessive weight. The nib is classic 18ct gold with rhodium highlights and chased decoration. As would be expected of a nominal 1.5mm nib width, it draws a lot of ink and produces an adequate, without excessively wet line.

While I love my fountain pens, I am certainly no calligrapher, so please excuse the quality of the lettering used in this demonstration. Looking at the pens in our stable we have drawn comparison with my regular Lamy Studio gash pen currently fitted with a 1.5mm calligraphy nib and my Conway Stewart Silver Duro with medium italic nib.

Lamy 1.5mm calligraphy- Pelikan M800 Italic – Conway Stewart Medium Italic

Firstly, neither the Lamy nor the Pelikan gave a 1.5mm drawn line width, instead offering 1.2mm and 1.4mm respectively, with Conway Stewart’s medium italic offering a 1.1mm. A lateral line, by comparison, offered 0.4mm, 0.5mm and 0.5mm, in order. This is a purely mechanical assessment intended for information only. Other users may find that, by deft of hand, greater variation of line width may be achieved.

The Pelikan is a relatively rounded italic nib with slightly less variation in line width than I personally like. It feels ‘soft’ to write with which may prove more comfortable for writing longer passages in an italic style. At the other end of the price scale, the stainless steel Lamy nib does everything expected, with smooth performance and a slightly keener edge than the Pelikan or the Conway Stewart. The nib is suitable for use on the majority of the Lamy range offering an italic nib on pens starting from around £12.  The Conway Stewart has a stunning nib – when it performs, producing a generous wet and consistent line.  However, despite replacing the nib, the Duro refuses to offer consistent inking with periodic skips and initial line failures and, as a result, it only comes out for special occasions when my patience requires a testing! 

Of the Lamy and Pelikan offerings, it really does come down to personal taste with the sharper vertical/lateral strokes of the Lamy and the softer feel of the Pelikan.  However, if your requirement is to create a flourish on opening your fountain pen, the Pelikan is in a league of its own.  Other fountain pens worth considering for italic or oblique type nibs are the Waterman range from Carene upwards, the Parker Duofold with straight italic, oblique, and reverse oblique nib options (available to order from, and the Graf von Faber Castell Guilloche range.

As always, we would recommend trying both pens in a real pen shop before buying.


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§ One Response to Pelikan Souveran M800 Italic sampled

  • RMN says:

    Indeed a rather soft touch. No snagging edges to the Pelikan italic.
    It is too broad for my handwriting for normal note-taking, but it is stunning for formal writing, writing a card with best wishes, an address on an envelope…
    About the Comway Stewart: I have several, have the whole italic range. The IB comes close to the Pelikan.
    My guess is you use the Conway Stewart with it’s converter. Remove the converter and try writing with a cartridge. Short international, or Watermans long international. I think your skipping problems will deminish. I am convinced Conways do not take converters well. Something to do with airbubbles, is my guess.

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