This speciality fountain pen was released by Pelikan last year, but I hadn’t ordered one until now, when I just gave up trying not to. The concept is that it is (a) a demonstrator – i.e. has a transparent outer casing (b) has a BB (double broad) nib and (c) is to be loaded with highlighter ink. Yes, it is a highlighter fountain pen.
It comes in an absolutely lovely display box. This is the nicest packaging that I have seen for a fountain pen – even the fancier ones I have tend to come in little “jewelry boxes” which could contain anything, well, anything long and thin. In contrast, the M205 Duo’s packaging is very specific to the particular pen and suits it perfectly.
The pen itself is a standard M205, except that it is a yellow demonstrator. (If you have an M200, which I do, it’s basically the same pen but with silver trim instead of gold.) It’s smaller than it looks in the pictures, but not too small even for those of us with fat fingers, and extremely lightweight. It seems quite orange in the picture below, but it isn’t, really, that orange – that is the light.
The Duo comes with a 30ml bottle of Pelikan radioactive1 fluorescent highlighter ink, and again, we come up against the limits of photography: it is not as green as it looks in the photograph below. Though it does still have a bit of a green tinge.
Here is a scan of some writing with it, which is heavily adjusted to try to make it a bit more obvious the difference in line widths. It’s basically impossible to scan fluorescent ink and have it look like real life. Let me emphasise that it this is just for nib size comparisons. What does the ink look like in practice? Imagine a particularly bright yellow highlighter that has not had a chance to dry out at all, and has been freshly uncapped. When considering the benefits of this sort of pen for use in practice, imagine that it will continue to be like that indefinitely, rather than drying out a bit and being disappointing (which has always happened with ink highlighters that I’ve used) and if it ever starts to run low you can just top it up. This is the benefit of a fountain pen highlighter, the regular flow.
The pen writes very smoothly, and if you are after a BB nib for other purposes apart from highlighting, an M205 BB nib unit will likely please you. The line is certainly thinner than you would normally get from a normal highlighter, which means that it is best for underlining and circling, but you can colour in larger sections if you really want to, and the size gives the advantage that you can also write short notes with it.
I was asked when showing this off whether you could use another ink and the answer is of course yes – it’s a piston filler and you can load it with any ink you fancy. You can also change the nib for a narrower one; I bought mine from Pelikan Pens, and they offer nib replacements pre-order, or you could buy another nib later on (Pelikans are very easy to change nibs with, the units just screw out and in again).
Why would you buy this?
The question is a fair one. I bought mine because… all right, I can’t really explain it, I just loved the idea. I don’t even do much highlighting, though I will be making an effort to do more.
You might buy it if
- you just love the idea;
- you do a lot of highlighting, have some disposable income, and want something high-quality to highlight with. This isn’t just a novelty item, it really is a good highlighting pen. The ink flow is regular and the nib, while broad, is still a lot more precise than a squishy felt tip. I couldn’t honestly tell you that it would save any money, but it would be a more effective tool.
- you want to buy a present for somebody who does a lot of highlighting, and likes pens. The box really is lovely. Do you have any academics, lawyers, students or other people who review a lot of paper papers in your life? Is it their birthday soon? Are you sure they wouldn’t rather have a case of wine? Bear in mind that you can buy this as well as a case of wine. Go on, they deserve it. It’s only money. You can’t take it with you.
Ink may not actually be radioactive. ↩