The 2018 Edelstein Ink of the Year has long been anticipated and Pelikan took the opportunity today via their social media accounts to make the official announcement. You may recall that Pelikan ran a social media contest back in 2016 which allowed fans the opportunity to choose this year’s limited edition color. Over 1,200 suggestions were submitted per the company but Johannes from Cologne was ultimately declared the winner of that contest with an olive-green colored entry. That ink now takes on the official moniker of Olivine in keeping with their gem stone themed line of colors (not to be confused with the Monteverde ink of the same name). This release follows the brown tinted Smoky Quartz from the 2017 limited edition run. It will be the fifteenth addition to the Edelstein line-up, a line that is currently composed of nine regular production inks. It joins the likes of Turmaline, Amber, Garnet, Amethyst, Aquamarine, and Smoky Quartz as the seventh Ink of the Year.
The early days of 2018 have provided me some time for introspection (there is not much else you can do when in the midst of a bomb cyclone). There has been a lot to reflect upon personally, professionally, and globally. This past year’s world events alone have been quite tumultuous, leaving the future seemingly more uncertain than ever. Trying to turn to lighter fare, one thing that has been on the forefront of my mind recently is a question that I’ve been asked several times over the past few months. That question can be summed up in two words; “Why Pelikan?” In over three years of blogging here at the Perch, I can’t believe that I haven’t addressed this sooner. It’s true that there are many great manufacturers out there who have produced a countless number of awesome and desirable fountain pens. What then does Pelikan have that puts it above all of the other brands in my mind and how informed am I to even make that type of declaration? I hope to share with you my experiences before Pelikan and why I chose to dedicate myself to just that brand of fountain pen. I thought this would make for excellent fodder for the first post of the year. All I can say up front is that Pelikan pens have some indescribable quality, a character and a discipline, that makes owning and using them a joy that transcends the sum of their parts. By the end of this article, I hope to be able to impart upon you just a little sense of that magic.
The latest East coast holiday season snow storm has come and gone but none of the new fallen snow thus far has been as white as the M605 White Transparent. Pelikan’s latest M6xx release was preceded by a bit of uncertainty due to pre-release product photography that was somewhat poorly representative of the actual pen. Despite that, popular opinion has been favorable towards the M605 and vendors have noted strong sales. News of a new M6xx Souverän is usually welcomed by many as this model’s size hits the sweet spot for a large swath of enthusiasts. Unfortunately, it is also one of the more neglected lines in the Souverän family. The White Transparent looks very sharp with clean lines that are nicely complimented by its palladium plated furniture. Filling the pen with your favorite colored ink allows it to take on an additional dimension thanks to the transparent barrel which provides for easy viewing of the ink chamber. A white pen can be somewhat polarizing amongst those in the community and the White Transparent will likely be no exception. A pen so pure white is surely to be at risk for staining and while its critics will be quick to point that out, the pen has a charm that should allow many to look past such potential shortcomings.
Pelikan has produced many commissioned pieces over the years. These are often models made in very limited quantities for specific vendors or other patrons. Past examples include the M150 Bols demonstrator (3000 pieces), the M200 Deutsche Telekom (5000 pieces), the M200 Citroenpers (1200 pieces), and the M800 Chronoswiss (999 pieces). There also exists a little known run of green striped M800s with 20C nibs made for the Japanese market to celebrate the 120th anniversary of the Maruzen bookstore in Japan (1989). Of course, Japan also boast the better known, but still obscure, M600 Tortoiseshell brown commissioned to honor the 130th anniversary of that same company in 1999. Some of these releases are so limited in terms of quantity and scope that they can often fly under the radar and go largely unnoticed, achieving an almost mythical mystique (as in the case of the tortoise M600). Japan seems to be a particularly fertile ground for limited releases not available here in the West. One such model was recently brought to my attention by a reader from China. The pen that he introduced me to is known as the Mitsukoshi #660. This limited edition pen was released as a small run of just 400 pieces for the large retail chain Mitsukoshi of Japan circa 1995. Do I have your attention yet? Read on to learn more about this golden beauty.
Pelikan introduced the model 100N in March of 1937. The “N” stands for new but rather than replace the model 100 that preceded it, the 100N was produced concurrently, initially just for the export market. It was designed as Pelikan’s response to a trend towards larger pens being produced by other manufacturers. The 100 was, by design, a smaller pen when capped and a very comfortably sized pen with excellent balance when posted. By 1938, the 100N was offered for sale in Germany as a way to celebrate the company’s 100th anniversary. Somewhat bigger than the 100 and with a larger ink capacity, the 100N continued to employ Pelikan’s differential piston mechanism. Production was constrained by war time rationing which limited the available building materials such as gold and cork. Shortly after its introduction, palladium and later chromium-nickel steel had to be substituted in place of gold for the nib. Around 1942, black plastic synthetic seals were first employed as a replacement for cork. Production was completely interrupted in 1944 due to the war and did not resume again until the factory reopened in 1947. The 100N saw several small iterations of design over its production, some of these better characterized than others. The earliest models had a strong resemblance to the 100 and some even sport the 4 chick logo on the cap top which was being phased out at the time of launch. Other variations such as the Danzig (Poland) produced models and the Emegê pens (Portugal) also stand out and are full topics in and of themselves.
A few international vendors such as Germany’s Fritz Schimpf and Italy’s Casa della Stilografica gave us notice today of a new M200 soon to be added to Pelikan’s Classic line-up. Dubbed the M200 Brown Marbled, this new model is intended as a standard addition to the line-up rather than a special edition piece. This news comes just as the M605 White-Transparent is starting to ship and ahead of the M805 Ocean Swirl’s release. The upcoming M200’s availability is slated for late November. Like the Green and Blue Marbled variants available today, the barrel of the Brown Marbled will have a pearlescent appearance allowing the varying shades of brown to really shine in the light. The Classic line is Pelikan’s lower tier offering that is intended as a more affordable yet still elegant alternative to the higher end Souverän range. These models are only lacking in a little polish and some extra furniture but do not skimp on the writing experience. One thing that is shared between the lines is Pelikan’s excellent piston filling mechanism. The Classic line was last updated just a few months ago with the release of the M200 Smoky Quartz.
There have been many excellent reviews of Pelikan’s P16 Stola III published since it was released back in 2015. I did not acquire one of these when they became available because I tend to favor Pelikan’s long revered piston filling mechanism over most cartridge/converter models. That said, an opportunity arose during the recent Pelikan Hubs event in Philadelphia, thanks to Frank from Federalist Pens, which allowed me to add a P16 to the flock. After using the pen for the past several weeks, I felt the need to add my voice to the reviews out there, largely because of how pleased I have been with this model. I am a piston user by preference and generally have a bit of disdain for the cartridge pen. I was softened to the cause of the cartridge pen after reviewing the P200 but was not won over. Despite my bias, the Stola III quickly had me forgetting about any misgivings and allowed me to enjoy the writing experience. It is a sharp looking pen with a surprisingly high end feel due to its metal barrel construction. It’s also priced quite reasonably for what you get. If you’re in the market for a cartridge pen, then I would have no qualms recommending the P16. Read on to find out why.
A demonstrator is a very polarizing type of fountain pen amongst enthusiasts. Some love them for the ability to see the inner workings of the piston mechanism. Nothing is left to the imagination and new shades of ink can effect a chameleonic transformation upon the pen’s appearance. Others hate them for the very same reason since every errant blob of ink may become glaringly evident and stains aren’t so well hidden. Pelikan has released many demonstrators over the course of its history including several amongst their Classic series. This is Pelikan’s lower tier line with a somewhat less ostentatious trim than the Souverän series, stainless steel nibs in place of gold ones, and a slightly less polished finish. Don’t let those differences fool you though as these are excellent fountain pens for substantially less money than what the Souverän line commands. One production theme that has often been repeated across the M2xx series is that of the brown transparent demonstrator. Since 2003, Pelikan has released four models done in a shade of brown, three of which are so similar that only a few tell tale details set them apart. The newest model to that line is several shades darker and I thought that it would be interesting to see these four distinct but related releases together so that you might see just how they stack up with one another and how much darker the Smoky Quartz actually is.