Pensieve: Pelikan M800 Tortoise Review

Pensieve: Pelikan Souverän M800 Tortoiseshell Brown Review



I resisted buying the Pelikan M800 Tortoise when it first came out in 2013, even though I thought it was one of the most beautiful M800s–definitely a nice departure from the usual green striped. I already had two M800s, and I hardly ever wrote with them. So, I didn’t think I needed to buy another one. But, I managed to sell both of my M800s and decided to purchase the Tortoise.


I bought my M800 Tortoise from a seller on FPN, and it was in like new condition. It arrived in pretty unexciting packaging–a silver outer box with the pen in an imitation leather pouch. Sometimes special edition pens come in more spectacular packaging, but, really it doesn’t matter. The pen is the important thing.


My pen came with a smooth but unremarkable 18k two-toned fine nib.

M800 Fine Nib

But I wanted something special for my M800 Tortoise. After searching for a while, I found someone selling an Oblique Triple Broad M800 nib and I bought it. I’m so glad I did. It really takes the pen from terrific to extraordinary.

M800 O3B Nib

I inked it with Montblanc Toffee Brown, and, as you can see from the writing samples, the nib and ink combo make beautiful lines together.

Montblanc Toffee Brown Ink

Although the M800 is a large pen, it isn’t heavy like the older M800s with brass pistons. It weighs 29.3 grams (without ink), and I haven’t experienced any hand fatigue writing with it. I don’t post my pens, but I suspect that posting the M800 would make it feel off balance for me. Capped it is 14.1cm, and posted it is 16.4cm.


The piston filler works great, as you’d expect of a Pelikan. It holds 1.2ml which is good especially with a O3B nib gulping ink. You can see the ink level if you hold the pen up to light, but there isn’t an ink window as on some Pelikans.


The pen is strikingly beautiful. But it is hard to photograph the variegated colors of the tortoise well. Pelikan used orange and brown colors for the resin, but you can also see gray stripes. The cap and piston knob are dark brown, though they look black. The cap top is 24k gold plated with an etched Pelikan logo. The rings are also 24k gold plated.


With a flashlight, I was able to get the brown to show.

I’m really enjoying my Pelikan M800 Tortoiseshell Brown. It’s a beautiful pen and the O3B nib is glorious!

6 thoughts on “Pensieve: Pelikan M800 Tortoise Review”

  1. Great review on a wonderful pen. I especially enjoyed the photographs and that replacement nib is a monster. I couldn’t find a way to contact you back channel but I wanted to add two thoughts. I agree with you that the M800 tortoise doesn’t feel heavy or fatiguing but it does still employ the brass piston and weighs the same as my ’90’s M800. Also, Pelikan quotes the ink capacity at 1.35mL. With that nib, you’ll need every extra drop. I hope you get to enjoy that beautiful pen more so than the other two M800s that you had. I’ll look forward to future reading. Thanks!

    1. Hi Joshua,

      Thanks for the corrections. I’ll fix them as soon as I get the chance. I should’ve emptied my pen and checked the piston. It seemed so much lighter than my 90s Pelikans I assumed wrongly that it wasn’t brass. I got the ink capacity off of– they have a chart indicating the ink capacity of each pen. When I checked Pelikan’s website for the Tortoise it didn’t indicate ink capacity in its specs for the pen.

      1. Check out Pelikan’s 2014 catalog hosted on their website. The section on Souveräns details the ink capacities and sizes for each pen in a nice summary page. That is what I’ve always held as the standard since it’s coming from Pelikan themselves.

    1. Hmm. That is an excellent question. I really want to buy the upcoming M800 in vibrant blue. And I thought about selling the tortoise to pay for the blue. The problem is I bought a special O3B nib for the tortoise and sold the fine nib that came with it. I don’t want to sell that nib.

  2. Gorgeous pen. I love Pelikans; my first grail pen (I’m a fairly new collector) was the PINK Pelikan M600. My husband could not understand spending this much money on a pen; but bless him, he let me do it! Not like he had much choice…happy wife, happy life! Great review on the M800, though. I’ve never tried a nib like that, but it sounds awesome. Now I’ll be on the lookout for new nibs to try. My husband thanks you.

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