Tag Archives: red

Pelikan M320 Ruby Red

Uninked and new in box for less than $200 is a ridiculous price for this, and how could I resist?

Chunky celluloids are amazing to look at!

This is a seriously tiny pen by modern standards. The smallest of the five Souverän sizes, this is Pelikan’s pocket-pen offering, though it’ll never inhabit one of my pockets. It’s far too precious for that!

The M300 is regularly available but the five different M320s were produced as special editions from 2008–10. To my eyes,the Ruby Red has the finest colours, and the translucent cellulose acetate is really quite something to behold…

How small is that nib?

A larger version of this exists as the M600 Ruby Red special edition, though the cap on that has the newer all-gold finial design. The gold-on-black finial was phased out a few years ago and for a pen that looks like the M320’s older, bigger brother you’ll have to look up the far rarer M620 Madrid from the Cities series, which has a noticeably deeper red in its material.

The black/gold finial is exquisite.

The nib on mine originally came in a very Pelikan medium — practically a broad — though the tiny 14k two-tone nib had a surprising amount of bounce! The modern nibs I have used on the M4xx/6xx/8xx sizes have all been fairly firm, but the M320 M nib I got was almost as soft as the one that was on the M1000 I tried out once.

It writes absolutely beautifully; I had the nib ground into an extra-fine by John Sorowka. The amount of spring on the nib is great!

With normal pressure, a subtle variation is pleasantly achieved.

Because of its small size and how much tipping it has, it almost functions like a Sailor Naginata-togi nib now! But a comparison with its original incarnation as a medium nib is quite something to behold

Ohto Poche

Sometimes gems turn up on Massdrop: established brands for a steal, or things that I would not otherwise have known of. My first experience with them was for the Pilot Metro, and this was another:

This definitely qualifies as adorable.

Ohto is a Japanese brand with innovative designs and pens to fit a budget. I gave this a go because I wanted a pocket-sized pen without having to bring my Waterman around. Its distinguishing feature is the way it’s designed to post: 

It almost doubles in length.

The barrel is very slim and the rings on the end stop the cap from slipping over the whole pen. This way, the pen becomes longer than every other pen I own, while still being fairly light. Herein lies the only issue I have with this pen, though: posted this way, it is a little back-weighted, but that might also be due to the fact that I hold this pen extremely close to the nib. The centre of mass lies just behind the contact point in the crook of my hand, causing the pen to feel like it wants to tip away from the paper. (As a consequence, I actually use this pen unposted.)

An extremely compact build.

This pen comes in four parts: cap, nib+barrel, cartridge, and end cap. It will only take cartridges, and the cartridge is kept in place by the end cap. The barrel has a matte finish that stops it being slippery to the grip, and the clip on the cap is tight enough not to slip off a pocket, although I do just tend to put the whole pen in the pocket instead of using the clip. There’s even a decorative jewel as a finial, which adds a little more sparkle to an already very sleek pen (refer to the picture at the top of this post).

The unmarked nib is firm, with some very tasteful scrollwork, and it writes at a Western EF. In my pen list I have marked this down as “Japanese fine”, which is probably accurate. I have not tried to swap out the nib because of how well it works, though I imagine that would be quite easy to do. Here is a writing sample:

No flex at all, sorry!

The “OHTO Poche” in the sample above is an imitation of the little logo on the pen cap. And with a pen as small as this, one can do a few tricks with it…