A Rare Chance to Review a Pelikan Oblique nib

Pelikan-M1000-logoWhy is this nib “rare”? It’s been about a year or two since Pelikan has discontinued nibs larger than broad. In the past, they used to have special nib sizes such as oblique broad (OB), double broad (BB) and triple broad (3B). Now, they have discontinued them and are down to extra-fine (EF), fine (F), medium (M), and broad (B). Isn’t it a disadvantage for Pelikan, as there is one less selling point to attract their customers to buy their pens, precisely because of their wide range of nib choices?

Anyway, sometimes we don’t agree with the decisions that companies make, and while I don’t agree that the big nibs – especially the obliques – should be discontinued, I did not rush out to get one for myself. I don’t know what I was thinking. However, Mike, a nice friend of mine, has lent me his OB nib which flew to Singapore all the way from Europe, and stayed with me for a good many months before I actually came down to reviewing it.

I put it onto an M1000 body for the purpose of this review.

The Pen

Pelikan-M1000The Pelikan Souverän series of fountain pens is one representing the premium pens in their fountain pen range. As the numbers go up in the Mxxx series, the size of the pens increase too. The M1000 is the biggest of the M series – it’s really huge and starting to get into the “oversized” pens range.

Pelikan-M1000-barrel

A little more about the M1000 pen before I talk about the nib: I initially did not like the green striped body design, but after discovering that it has a semi-transparent look, I was fascinated immediately. The M1000 is a piston filler, and when screwing and unscrewing the end of the pen, you can vaguely see the piston moving back and forth through the stripes of the barrel. This could potentially also allow you to see the amount of ink that is left inside the pen.

The Nib

Pelikan-M1000-section

First impressions: the nib is huge! I’ve seen a couple of big nibs, but this is long and has two tones in the nib, which I like very much. The Pelikan logo and the edge of the nib are golden, while the remaining parts of the nib are silver. In fact, the nib itself is an 18K gold nib with matching rhodium (silver) parts. There are also pretty engravings on the nib surface. Overall the nib itself gave a very pleasant first impression – it looks solid and well-made.
Pelikan-M1000-oblique-nibZooming in onto the nib itself, you can see that this is an oblique nib because of the slant angle that the nib is cut at. The word “oblique” itself means “at a slant”. This is like a modified italic nib, which produces line variations as you write. For oblique nibs, it can slant either to the left or to the right. The one on this Pelikan nib unit has a left oblique. Some may call it a left-foot oblique, and the reason is because it slants in the same direction as the toes of your left foot! The left oblique is a more common type of oblique. If it slants in the other direction, it’s either called a right oblique or a reverse oblique.

From the front

From the front

As a lefty with moderate to rather serious hooked wrist writing, I do appreciate oblique nibs, but I am not used to using them, due to lack of conditioning. I do have a tendency to adapt to the pen, rather than making the pen adapt to me. When I tried out this left oblique nib, I liked it. The writing experience was very smooth with little to no feedback. The nib was springy, almost semi-flex (but I did not try to see how far it could flex).

Here’s a writing sample:

Pelikan-M1000-oblique-writing

I used J. Herbin Perle Noire, which tends to be my go-to ink for reviews as I am familiar with it. In combination with the Pelikan oblique, the ink comes out of the pen very wet. I did not have to be afraid of finding the “sweet spot” for best ink flow and writing experience, but this nib surely gave an interesting one. Due to its size, the tines of the nib are springy, so when you apply more pressure to the nib, they do open up a little. At this point though, a lot of ink flows out and even the best paper may show some feathering.

You can see in the photo above that the Perle Noire is very saturated coming out of this nib. The huge amount of ink flow is nice, but for a lefty like me, not great for everyday use, as it would take a longer time to dry, and therefore cause smudging when my hand moves across the page (I’m an overwriter).

Besides the ink flow, the nib does squeak a little when I write. I seem to experience this when writing with Pelikans. This phenomenon is called “singing”, and it supposedly happens when the nib has been polished until it’s super smooth, and with certain nib-ink combinations, the friction on the page causes the nib to “squeak” or “sing”. Some like this, but I don’t. I prefer a smooth nib with a matt, dull feel on paper. Do you like singing nibs?

With all the above said, I suppose I’ll use this nib more for signing, than for everyday writing.

Do you have one of those discontinued Pelikan nibs? Do you think Pelikan should not have discontinued them?

Pelikan-M1000-souveran

19 Responses

  1. Bob 28 March 2017 / 12:13 AM

    I’ve had a M1000 with an OBB nib since 1998. Great wet writer and yes it does sing which I don’t find to be an issue at all. I also have OB nibs on several of my Waterman Le Man 100 pens. Great writers too with more line variation that the M1000 FWIW.

  2. captaingroovy 2 January 2016 / 1:16 PM

    I totally agree that Pelikan screwed the pooch when they dropped the BB BBB OX OXX nibs. I am sure the reason for Pelikan dropping the aforementioned nib sizes was cost needless to say I am glad that I purchased my small flock of chick and their Oblique nibs when I did. I just wished I had more money back them to have purchased a few more nibs. I will say that my 3OB in my M800 and M1000 border on being overwide for anything but signatures and short personal notes they are not nibs for letter writing.

  3. Derek 15 July 2015 / 2:35 PM

    I completely understand, as I used to be a left-handed overwriter as well, but have switched to being an underwriter after using soft nibs. Never really enjoyed the stubs I got while writing above the line, even after smoothing them substantially to be smooth even on the push strokes.

    Obliques are in fact no different from stubs, as all it does is shift one point of the nib’s sweet spot in one direction so that thick and thins are ‘correct’ for the user, so if you already have the line variation you want from a regular stub, there is certainly no need to switch to oblique cuts.

  4. Rameish Sivalingam 14 July 2015 / 8:39 AM

    Andrea I totally agree with your thoughts. Pelikan is sadly a little out of step here. They could have taken a market lead by posting how the various nibs perform and what the writer should look out for. Instead they cut their nib options to what’s somewhat pedestrian. They should have increased it to a flexi nib and a posting nib and a wality nib etc.

  5. Kenneth Mcgeechan 14 July 2015 / 1:31 AM

    I write every day with a 1952 Pelikan 400 with an oblique Broad nib. I love it so much I ground a safari nib to an oblique so I can have a different colour with a similar shape – not as good as the 400 but then it is a hell of a lot cheaper. It also taught me how to grind and smooth nibs 🙂

  6. andreakirkby 14 July 2015 / 1:07 AM

    I wonder whether Pelikan made a *strategic* mistake discontinuing the wider range of nibs, even if it made short term financial sense. The ability easily to change nibs on Pelikan pens is a real attraction for those who want a fantastic pen for use, rather than a bit of expensive bling to sit on the desk, as it is also for Lamy pens. Pelikan’s pen designs tend to remain stable for decades at a time, with changes made in colour and trim rather than nib and feed fit, so nibs will not become obsolete, and I’m sure the corporation could afford to carry stock of BB+ nibs and obliques – even if the dealer network couldn’t.

    Pelikan ought to look at just how much work nibmeisters are getting these days. Doesn’t that say something about what fountain pen users want out of their pens? (Or at least a significant minority of them, and, I think, a lot of the opinion-formers.) I feel Pelikan may be out of step with the market here – just as people rediscover the flexibility of the fountain pen and start to value the different sizes and types of nib, Pelikan is cutting back.

  7. Derek 12 July 2015 / 12:44 PM

    looking at the your writing sample, if you’re looking for the usual italic style line variation, should try a right-footed oblique cut 15 degrees instead. (easiest way to tell if a stub/oblique suits your writing style is to draw an asterisk).

    Thickest line = left to right downwards slant
    Second thickest = vertical line
    Third Thickest = horizontals
    Thinnest = left to right rising slant

    • Maybelline T. 13 July 2015 / 11:47 PM

      Thanks for the recommendation, but I do have a habit of turning my pen a little when I write. Plus being left handed I also hold my pen in different orientations so as to avoid getting ink smudges. So… Maybe oblique is not the right one for me after all.

  8. Mike Grove 11 July 2015 / 4:47 PM

    Oblique nibs give a little line width variation without having to flex the nib. This adds a bit of style to your writing which appeals to some…

  9. ukmike2000 11 July 2015 / 4:43 PM

    A good review – very interesting to me because I’m a leftie as well (underwriter).

    I think it is a shame that any nibs become unobtainable, but from a practicality point of view you have to wonder how much demand there was for these specials. The Japanese of course have their music nibs which are capable of performing as very broad nibs when required – but in my experience quite difficult for a leftie to use effectively.

    As for “singing nibs”, Oh how I dislike them! I would prefer one with a hint of scratch to one that sings, and I don’t like scratchy nibs so that’s how much I dislike singing nibs. Rhodia paper is one of those that seems to encourage “singing” because of its heavily filled surface.

    Keep up the good work! Mike

    • Maybelline T. 13 July 2015 / 11:49 PM

      Thank you, Mike. Glad you enjoyed the review! Yes indeed the Japanese pens have a variety of nib types too, which is another world to explore. Seems like lefties always have one problem or another when writing!

  10. Mike Grove 11 July 2015 / 2:41 PM

    Excellent review Maybelline! I’m glad you got a chance to try out the nib, and the famous M1000 too. I also have sizes F/M/B/BB/BBB.

    I was sorry when the broader nibs were discontinued (although I guess they are of limited use to many people and so weren’t making Pelikan much of a profit – so I’m glad I got them when I could).

    I have got that ‘singing’ effect once or twice with an M nib – I quickly underlined something I had written, the nib ‘sang’, and it actually left a fine spray of ink on the paper too! They’re probably not supposed to do that but it was an interesting effect…

    And yes, these nibs all write very wet – I only use them for letter writing (on Clairefontaine or Original Crown Mill papers).

    • Maybelline T. 13 July 2015 / 11:52 PM

      Hi Mike, yes the singing effect is due to the vibration caused by the nib tines as you drag it across paper. The high frequency vibration produces a sound (the singing) and the ink spray was due to the force of the vibration expelling some ink. Interesting indeed but still not my preference! 🙂

  11. rameish sivalingam 11 July 2015 / 2:19 PM

    I think a right oblique would have been better. I sill don’t quite get what’s the purpose of oblique nibs. Yes the M1000 is a huge pen!

  12. David Brennan (@2manyinks) 11 July 2015 / 11:23 AM

    Very interesting – I am glad that you enjoyed the M1000 OB I had one in the M800 size and I hated it. Though I have quite a few other oblique nibs (mainly Waterman) that I love the Pelikan just didn’t fit my handwriting. I got it ground into a stub and all is good now. 🙂

    • Maybelline T. 11 July 2015 / 11:26 AM

      Aww if only you had gotten the stub in the beginning, eh?

I would love to hear your thoughts!