Third time’s a charm…
If you look at the Pelikan fountain pen lineup there are a wide variety of models from the Twist to the m1000 and lots of options on either side. One of the bigger holes that remains is in the entry level market – something to compete with professional looking pens like the Pilot Metropolitan and Lamy Al-Star (the Pelikano and Twist may be seen as a bit too playful for the office). Enter the Pelikan Stola III. The Stola design is not new – but rather an evolution of the Stola II model with the addition of a fountain pen option (the Stola I and II only had a ballpoint and rollerball models and were not available in the US). The $36 price point puts it in the ballpark of other pens like the Eco, Safari, Prera, Metropolitan and Al-Star – but how does it hold up?
On the outside it features a very clean design with a layered matt-silver lacquered finish over a brass barrel and aluminum cap. The result is a pen that unposted is slightly smaller than the competition but weighs a little more – giving it a nice balance in your hand. The barrel cap and section are plastic while the clip features Pelikan’s iconic “beak” clip in black stainless steel. The design of the clip is a more modern open style design compared to the smaller traditional solid clips found on other Pelikan models – adding to the clean lines of the Stola. The clip is an excellent design, but can be a bit on the stiff side – I imagine this will lighten up with use.
The aluminum snap cap features the Pelikan name printed around the base while the logo is printed on the finial in black. Inside the cap is a plastic sleeve to keep the nib from drying out. The push to post with this cap can be a bit shaky if you don’t push it in securely, and for those with bigger hands you will definitely want to post this pen.
The pen comes with a long international cartridge in royal blue and can take the Pelikan Edelstein cartridges as well. While they don’t come out and say so I did discover that it will also take a standard Pelikan converter if you want to use bottled ink instead.
So how about the nib – how does it write? The steel nib only comes in a medium (M) size, and while it is quite nicely polished, I did notice the occasional skip but never any hard starts or scratchiness. The pen writes on the wet side and is quite stiff with no signs of flex but puts down line after line of text with ease. The lack of nib options is a bit odd as the competition have a wide range and here you only have one here – perhaps they will remedy this in the future as a fine or extra-fine would be a perfect match for standard copier paper. The single tone polished nib is finished off with the Pelikan logo and some simple scroll work, which is a nice compliment for a pen with such a clean design. The section here is round and may be a good alternative if you have always found the Lamy grip to be a poor match for your grip style.
Overall dimensions put this pen right in the ballpark of a Lamy Al-Star and Pilot Metropolitan at 4 .6″ (11.6cm) unposted and 6.25″(15.87cm) when posted. Weight depends on your preference – unposted it comes in at 20g(0.7oz) (which is a bit short for me) while adding the cap bumps it up to 32g(1.12oz).
The packaging is simple and yet quite well done featuring a heavy cardboard clamshell box with a black felt liner and ribbon to keep the pen in place. It’s a nicer design than the simple sleeve approach on the Lamy Safari/Al-Star and adds a little more protection to the pen during storage and shipping.
The Stola III is a great option in the entry level market, and with the addition of more nib options it should prove quite successful. I’d even go so far as to suggest some color options down the road that have made the Safari so popular – If you’re reading this Pelikan the following are just a few suggestions…
(Nutty Disclaimer: Pen Chalet provided the Stola III at no charge to Calligraphy Nut for review purposes – I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”).