Friday, March 14, 2008

The Pelikan Four

Well, here's my little flock of pelicans, or "mein schwarm pelikane” as they would say in their native tongue, but since they are writing instruments I think we should be a little more poetic and adventurous with our collective nouns, so lets call them “my scoop of pelicans”. In German perhaps something like “meine parade der pelikane” might be appropriate.
I haven’t previously reviewed all my pencils of a particular brand in quick succession, so it seems appropriate to have some sort of a wrap up at the end.

Price points and marketing indicate that Pelikan position these 4 pencils with the Souveran D800 as the leader, followed by the Souveran D400, then the Pura and lastly the Technixx. I must say I disagree significantly with this order. The Souveran D800 is the top of the line, but in my book the Technixx is second, not really all that far behind the D800 and definitely way ahead of the Souveran D400. It’s a little debatable, but I’d put the Pura ahead of the D400 as well, although it’s a fair way behind the Technixx.

So, here's my version of the pecking order within the flock.

7 comments:

Max said...

But why, oh, why are all the nice ones of them all twist mechanisms? Push-button mechanisms are so much nicer if you use your pencil a lot (for writing). Another salute goes to Lamy for making nice push-button pencils. Will now go and enjoy my Lamy 2000 along with some quality coffee and salute the finer things in life ;)

kiwi-d said...

Yep, less twistyniss would be good.

Wilson said...

Sorry if I'm repeating myself but it really comes down to "image". A lot of luxury pen companies want their offerings to look as close as possible to their fountain pens and ballpoint pens to maintain a certain look. I look at the Pelikan D400 and honestly, it doesn't look like a Pelikan to me and I've owned a LOT of Pelikan fountain pens including my preferred Pelikan 100s. In fact, I find modern Pelikans unattractive compared to the 100.

To take your Lamy 2000 example, why did they make the 2000 rollerball a capped one? Their push button Swift has a refill that writes so close to the 2000 refill unless you really want to get nitpicky.

There is also the practical concern that if they make the "push button" the entire top half of the pencil (like many Parker pencils) then the typical resin/thermoplastic body will develop vertical marks because invariably the top half will rub against the bottom half.

And as I have mentioned before I have a Caran d'Ache Metrub that has a push button which is metal and which has rubbed against the inner surface of the top of the barrel and there are quite noticeable vertical scratches. Kind of shoddy for a $300+ pencil.

The Lamy 2000 is far from perfect (I used to use them for years). The body will wear with age where an irregular patina forms where one's fingers grip the pencil. If the top part of the barrel unscrews then the clip makes a wonderful gouge horizontal gouge on the barrel. More often than not, the brushed part at the bottom of the barrel will have these weird bumps/bubbles. In fact, I had to look at 20 pencils before I could find a couple that did not have these bumps.

I prefer push buttons myself. In fact the only "twist" pencils I own are Yard-O-Leds and they are twist out of heritage than anything else.

Wilson said...

I meant to say Parker pens (like the 75).

kiwi-d said...

Hi Wilson
I'd agree with most of what you say about the Lamy 2000, but I'm not sure veryone would agree the development of a patina is a problem. Certainly you are right about the clip scratching the barrel if it unscrews. I haven't experienced the bumps/bubbles on the lwer barrel though.

Being tough :-)

Wilson said...

I re-read max's comment. Not all of the luxury pencils are twist. As I brought up, the Caran d'Aches are mostly push buttons. The Ecridors are reasonably affordable at $100 but the Varius ones at $300+ fall into the luxury category but they are sure nice other than the stupid scratching of the metal push button.

I agree that people will disagree that the patina is a problem. I'm indifferent to it since I used 2000s for years and it never bothered me. It's the same thing with people who hate shiny pencils (or other items) because they pick up fingerprints.

The scratching of the barrel by its own clip is poor design in my opinion and that one does bug me.

I didn't explain it well. I was referring to the brushed metal part at the bottom end of the barrel which is where I've seen the tiny bumps. It's almost like remnant metal from the brushing process that got clearcoated in place.

What I'm trying to say is that there is no perfect pencil and the 2000 as much as I like it is not perfect in many ways. I love my Rotring 600s but it's not perfect because I wish that it came with some kind of sliding sleeve for its own protection. I think Staedtler or someone has that sliding sleeve that could be fixed as well since I'm not really a fan of sliding sleeves in practice. That would have been cool. Even with that, it's got a few lesser nits that could be picked.

In theory, the side push button and shaker pencils are more efficient for lead advance than the top push button. The auto-advance would be the way to go if they can ever figure out the plunging thing.

kiwi-d said...

Hi Wilson
Well I've checked my two Lamy 2000's - neither have the bumps you are describing. Maybe I got lucky. 1 is about 30 years old, the other about 4 years old.