Montblanc Vs. Pelikan: Who Makes The Best Pen?

Montblanc and Pelikan are both German manufacturers who specialize in luxury pens. These brands are often featured on lists of the best pen brands globally. However, many stylophiles have wondered which of these companies makes the best pen: Montblanc or Pelikan? 

With a rich history and many renowned patrons throughout history, Montblanc’s pens are widely considered the best of the best. However, Pelikan’s pens come very close. Due to this, many pen enthusiasts consider Pelikan’s writing instruments as the best alternative to Montblanc’s collection.

If you’re looking to purchase a luxury pen, it can be overwhelming to find the right option. After all, there are many aspects to consider, including brand name, materials, nibs, ink reservoirs, dimensions, and more. We’re going to use these aspects to compare Montblanc and Pelikan to determine who makes the better pen!

Does Montblanc Or Pelikan Make The Best Pens?

While browsing the internet, you’ll be able to find countless lists featuring the best writing instruments and manufacturers thereof from around the world. These lists all feature one iconic German brand: Montblanc. However, does this mean that Montblanc produces the best pens?

Many find it fitting that Montblanc was named after the highest mountain in the Alps. Since Montblanc was established in 1906, this manufacturer has remained committed to producing high-quality luxury goods, including watches and writing instruments.

Let’s consider one of Montblanc’s most famous writing instruments, the Meisterstück 149 Fountain Pen, which was first released in 1924. Also simply called the Montblanc 149, this pen is still sold today for just over $900. In 1963, John F. Kennedy famously offered his 149. Fountain pen to Konrad Adenauer, a German chancellor, so that he could sign a document.

In turn, this spawned a special edition pen that commemorated the former American president. Known as the ‘John F. Kennedy Special Edition Ballpoint Pen’, which retails for a similar price to the Montblanc 149 fountain pen and is a part of the company’s Great Characters collection.

These luxury writing instruments have cemented Montblanc’s name as one of the finest manufacturers of excellent pens. However, you might be wondering how Pelikan, a fellow German manufacturer of writing materials, compares to Montblanc’s iconic legacy.

Founded in 1838, Pelikan’s history stretches back even further than Montblanc’s.  With nearly two centuries worth of experience crafting luxury pens, Pelikan often makes appearances on lists of the best pen manufacturers – but how does this company compare to Montblanc?

Well, let’s consider Pelikan’s M1000 fountain pen, the flagship pen of the Souverän collection, which is comparable to Montblanc’s Meisterstück 149. The M1000 was first released in 1998 and is still sold today for around $700. Many consumers consider this fountain pen from Pelikan as the best alternative to a Montblanc 149.

Of course, this is reflected by the price difference between these similar writing instruments. This seems to suggest that Montblanc produces the better pen. However, it’s important to consider Pelikan’s rich history. For instance, Albert Einstein famously used a Pelikan pen while developing the Theory of Relativity between 1912 and 1921.

Around the same time, a Hungarian engineer was developing a revolutionary fountain pen. Featuring a differential piston filling system, Theodor Kovacs’ fountain pen design sought to overcome the shortcomings of writing instruments during that period. In 1929, Pelikan officially began producing fountain pens and took Kovacs’ design to market.

With both companies having such rich histories in crafting exceptional pens, it can be hard to decide which brand makes the better pen. To decide which company makes the best pen, we’re going to compare Montblanc’s Meisterstück 149 and Pelikan’s M1000 fountain pens. Not only are these flagship pens from these brands, but they’re rather alike. 

Montblanc Meisterstück 149 Vs. Pelikan M1000

To determine who makes the better pen between Montblanc and Pelikan, we’re going to compare two of their best-selling pens against one another. Let’s look at how Montblanc’s Meisterstück 149 fountain pen compares to Pelikan’s popular M1000 fountain pen!

Montblanc Meisterstück 149 Vs. Pelikan M1000: Body Material

When it comes down to luxury pens, first impressions matter – both in terms of appearance and how well they write. First, however, we’ll be considering the overall design of these pens and the materials used to construct them. In terms of material, both pens are made from premium quality resin.

Of course, these fountain pens differ slightly in design, with each reflecting their manufacturer’s signature style. The current Meisterstück 149 features a deep black resin, which is contrasted with golden details. Of course, you’ll have Montblanc’s iconic white star emblem. The pen’s clip also has an individual serial number.

For Pelikan’s M1000 fountain pen, a black acrylic resin body I also available. The M1000’s body also features gold-plated trims reminiscent of Montblanc’s 149. The M1000 also features a clip shaped like a pelican beak.  Appearance alone clearly isn’t enough to distinguish these pens!

Montblanc Meisterstück 149 Vs. Pelikan M1000: Nib

If you’re wondering what makes a fountain pen the best, you need to look at the nib! As pen collectors and enthusiasts know, a good nib makes for a good fountain pen. In general, the more valuable the nib’s material is, the smoother your writing experience will be.

For the Meisterstück 149, the pen’s nib is hand-crafted. Montblanc’s 149 nibs are made from 18-carat gold, with a rhodium-coated inlay. Pelikan’s M1000 nibs are also handcrafted using 18-carat gold. The nibs for both fountain pens are available in broad, medium, fine, and extra-fine widths. Both pens support nib replacements.

Ultimately, the rhodium-plated nib of Montblanc’s 149 elevates it above Pelikan’s nib, which comes very closer. This rhodium inlay is used to hide imperfections and increase the sheen of your pen’s nib. Of course, rhodium is also a precious metal, which allows for even smoother writing.

Montblanc Meisterstück 149 Vs. Pelikan M1000: Weight

While a fountain pen can weigh as little as half an ounce, some weigh more than two ounces. Of course, the material used to construct a pen largely determines how much it will weigh. Naturally, the cap of a pen also influences its weight. The weight of a pen can affect the speed you write at.

Ultimately, how light or heavy you want your pen depends on personal preference. Pelikan’s M1000 generally has a capped weight of 1.15 ounces, while Montblanc’s M1000 has a capped weight of 1.13 ounces. Overall, these two fountain pens are highly comparable in terms of their weight – but how does this impact their performance?

While the resin material keeps these fountain pens light, their internal components add some weight that makes it feel like you’re holding a luxury fountain pen. Luckily, both fountain pens have a good balance due to these factors, which means the pens will have durable and premium feels.

The weight similar weight of these pens is already great for their nib compatibility. Generally, lighter pens work better with fine and extra-fine nibs, while heavier pens work well with medium and broad nibs. The Meisterstück 149 and the M1000 are both compatible with these various nib sizes.

The balanced weight of these fountain pens, however, means that they are most versatile when it comes to nib width. The lightweight nature of these luxury pens means they’ll always have a premium feel without negatively affecting your writing speed.

Montblanc Meisterstück 149 Vs. Pelikan M1000: Dimensions 

This aspect is closely linked to our previous point regarding the weight of writing instruments. When comparing similar fountain pens, it’s crucial that you consider the dimensions of the pen. The names of these pens even provide insight into the dimensions of the pen!

When you look at Pelikan’s Souverän collection, you’ll notice that the M1000 is the biggest pen in the collection. The M1000 is just slightly under 7-inches in length and 0.6-inches in diameter. Generally, the larger the number in a pen’s name, the larger the pen is.

Of course, this explains why the M1000 is the longest pen in the collection. It also explains why the discontinued Souverän M300 is the smallest in the collection, with a length of 5.2 inches and a diameter of 0.4-inches. There are also those that fall between these, such as the M600, which is 6-inches long.

Montblanc’s Meisterstück 149 has a length of 5.8-inches, making it considerably shorter than the M1000. The 149’s diameter is only slightly larger than that of Pelikan’s M1000, coming in at 0.63-inches. While many of Montblanc’s customers adore the 149, it can be too thick for some people.

Luckily, Montblanc employs a similar naming technique to Pelikan. If the 149’s dimensions are too large for your liking, you could opt for a different Montblanc pen. While the Meisterstück 146 isn’t much shorter than the 149, it has a smaller diameter, making it easy to handle for writers.

Ultimately, whether you want a larger or smaller pen comes down to personal preference. The same applies to your preferences regarding the pen’s girth. Many fountain pen users prefer medium-sized pens.

From this section, it’s clear that both companies cater to a wide variety of pen sizes. As we explained, the naming of these luxury pens often correlates to their size in the context of their collection. If Montblanc’s 149 or Pelikan’s M1000 is too big for you, there are many other pens to consider from their collections.

Montblanc Meisterstück 149 Vs. Pelikan M1000: Ink Reservoir

When purchasing the perfect fountain pen, it’s also important that you consider the ink reservoirs. For those pen enthusiasts who use their fountain pens a fair bit, a larger ink reservoir will be preferable. While most ink reservoirs will only last a few days before they need to be refilled, a larger reservoir will prolong the need for refills.

For Pelikan’s M1000, all models feature a 0.067 fluid ounce reservoir. For Montblanc’s 149 pens, however, the size of the ink reservoir varies between models. While some will feature 0.07 fluid ounce reservoirs like the M1000s, some 149 pens only have a 0.037 fluid ounce reservoir.

Given that Montblanc and Pelikan are both leading global pen brands, finding refills for their pens is easy. You’ll just need to consider how often you want to refill your pen! Both the M1000 and 149 feature ink refill windows, which allow you to track your ink usage between refills.

Montblanc Meisterstück 149 Vs. Pelikan M1000: Cost

We briefly looked at the price of these fountain pens in the first section of this article. However, it’s important to reconsider this now that we’ve taken a closer look at these writing instruments. As we stated, Montblanc’s Meisterstück 149 starts selling at around $900, while Pelikan’s M1000 starts at around $700.

Of course, the $200 price difference between these pens is no small consideration! Does Montblanc’s Meisterstück 149 justify the increased price? From our comparison, it’s clear that these fountain pens have many similarities. Ultimately, it comes down to choosing the best pen for your needs!

Montblanc Vs. Pelikan: Choosing The Best Pen

In the previous section, we compared Montblanc’s Meisterstück 149 to Pelikan’s M1000. So, which of these two German manufacturers makes the best pen? While it’s hard for most pens to beat the classic 149, the M1000 comes very close and is largely considered as one of the best 149 alternatives.

If you want to prioritize both your budget and the quality of your writing instrument, Pelikan’s M1000 is a perfect choice. However, if you’ve always wanted a pen from Montblanc, the extra $200 might be worth it for you.

Of course, both manufacturers sell a variety of writing instruments. In general, Pelikan offers a wider variety of mid-range pens in addition to their luxury offerings. However, for those looking for the most luxurious of pens, they can’t go wrong with one from Montblanc’s many collections.

The pen’s currently sold by both manufacturers will be considered ‘modern’ pens. Generally, this refers to any pen manufactured after 1970. Pens that were made before 1970 are considered vintage and can be costly additions to your collection.

Ultimately, you need to choose the best pen for your specific needs. When shopping for different pens from Montblanc and Pelikan, it’s important to consider the factors we used in our comparison. Do you prefer a pen that is heavier or lighter, thicker or thinner? Which nib material do you prefer? How you value these different considerations will reveal which pen is best suited to your needs!


Pelikan and Montblanc are both German luxury pen manufacturers. Both comapnies frequently appear on lists of the most renowned pen brands in the world and have rich histories of crafting exceptional pens. While Montblanc’s pens are generally considered the best, many consumers find Pelikan’s selection the perfect alternative for those looking for excellence.

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