Pelikan has introduced over 40 different nib widths and styles during their 90 years of fountain pen production. Time and market forces have slowly taken their toll, whittling away at the available variety and eroding character. Around the year 2012, Pelikan discontinued production of oblique nibs in the widths of OM, OB, OBB, and O3B. The following year, the larger BB and 3B nibs were also removed from the standard line-up. Correspondence from representatives of the company around that time cited low global sales as justification for the discontinuation. For the past six years, Pelikan’s fine writing instruments could only be purchased with nibs in the standard widths of EF, F, M, and B. There have been exceptions to this rule as seen with the intermittent availability of an IB (italic broad) nib option or Niche Pens batch of M8xx BB nibs first offered in 2015. Neither option has been widely available or part of the standard line-up. Many have lamented Pelikan’s lack of variety, particularly as other manufacturers have continued to offer a significantly wider array of nibs. One such example of innovation in the nib space that comes to mind is Montblanc’s Meisterstück Solitaire or 149 fountain pens equipped with a flexible 18C-750 gold calligraphy “expression” nib which can reportedly vary line widths from about 0.3 mm to 1.6 mm. These calligraphy pens buck the familiar trend of hard as nails nibs, capitalizing on a maturing market of enthusiast looking for modern day flex writing pens. While Pelikan has yet to venture into that space, we’ve recently learned, courtesy of Appelboom, that they are re-introducing IB and BB nibs, adding them to the standard line-up on a restricted basis. Read on to learn more about the reincarnation of these older nibs as well as a few other tidbits.
September is usually good for news of a new release (or two) from Pelikan and 2019 proves to be no exception. History has taught us that this is the month some of the bigger birds get unveiled. Last year, it was the M800 Stone Garden. This year, we have the M800 Brown-Black Souverän fountain pen. The newest special edition out of Hannover sports a brown and black striped barrel with a very warm tone, an appearance that could easily be mistaken for a Tortoiseshell design upon first glance. Those who were excited by Pelikan’s use of sparkles in the forthcoming M200 Star Ruby may be disappointed by the more conservative Brown-Black. As best I can recollect, this is the first traditionally striped pattern to grace the M8xx line since 2014’s Stresemann. Availability is anticipated starting sometime in mid-October.
I thought that it might be fun to explore a trio of pens that we don’t get to see nearly often enough. Many of us are intimately familiar with the M400 that revitalized Pelikan’s fine writing fortunes back in 1982. That model continues to be a cornerstone of their line-up today. Over the years, there have been many special editions based off of the M4xx chassis. Three in particular come to the forefront of my mind due to their silver embellishments. The trio of loosely related models to which I allude are the M420, M425, and M430. While the same length and diameter as your standard M400, they carry some extra weight due to the inclusion of sterling silver elements in their construction. These pens were manufactured between the late 1990s and early 2000s. Each Souverän mentioned here stands out amongst their lesser decorated siblings and I assure you that they look much better in real life than these photos depict. One pitfall to be aware of is mistaking one of these with the M730, an earlier model that sports a very similar shape and construction but is easily distinguished when you know what to look for. Now long out of production, all of the pens mentioned here are rather hard to find in today’s secondary markets which means that when you do find them for sale, they are usually much more expensive than your standard M4xx model. Read on to learn more about these silvered Souveräns.
Today marks the fifth anniversary of The Pelikan’s Perch going live. The last five years have been an incredible experience for me. When I originally started on this path, I never expected that it would lead me to so many engaged and wonderful people. I have thoroughly enjoyed researching each post and continually strive to build upon the existing foundation of Pelikan knowledge. For me, it is truly a labor of love and I hope that you have enjoyed it as much as I have. While much has changed in the world over the past five years, the mission of The Perch has not and I hope to continue to share my knowledge and perspective with you for many years to come. The Perch does not accept solicitation nor is it gifted products for review. In doing so, I have tried to remain free of bias so that I might bring you the most critical and honest reviews possible. That is why you don’t see too many giveaways on the site. One year ago was my first attempt at a contest where I gave away a new Pelikan P16 Stola III fountain pen. That giveaway was well received, so much so that I would like to repeat it in honor of The Perch’s fifth birthday and as a thank you to the community. For my second contest ever, I spent a lot of time pondering over just what might be a worthwhile prize. Thanks to the good people at Fritz Schimpf, I have been afforded the opportunity to give away a Pelikan 2019 Star Ruby M205 Demonstrator fountain pen and ink gift set, a pen certain to be on the wish list of many. Read on to learn how you might enter for a chance to win.
Historic examples of lower tier pen manufacturers emulating successful models from larger companies abound. While these pens may share a lot of similarities, they can usually be distinguished by a few telltale signs. Sometimes the distinctions are so few that you might suspect a collaboration between two companies. Such was the case with Gimborn and Pelikan, two businesses that share a history together. The term doppelgänger is used to describe a person that bears an uncanny resemblance to someone else without being a twin. It’s a word that is aptly applied to the Gimborn 150 Master which is eerily similar to its cousin, the Pelikan 300. The similarities are less surprising once you understand the history of Gimborn. Read on to learn about the company’s origins and how their first fountain pen came to look an awful lot like a Pelikan.
It has been several months since we have had any fresh news of a pending Pelikan release. Customers continue to await the M1005 Stresemann now long delayed by supply chain issues. The drought has ended as news of the upcoming M205 Star Ruby Special Edition Demonstrator broke today. As expected, the company continues their streak of M2xx releases based on their Edelstein Ink of The Year. The Star Ruby will be the fifth model in that line-up and our first glimpse comes to us courtesy of Appelboom in the Netherlands. The M205 Star Ruby follows the likes of the M205 Olivine (2018), M200 Smoky Quartz (2017), M205 Aquamarine (2016), and M205 Amethyst (2015). This year’s M205 appears to be a departure from past releases in that the material has a sparkly, shimmering quality for lack of a better descriptor. Pre-orders should be available soon as this one is expected to be in stores starting sometime this September.
A removable nib has long been one of Pelikan’s hallmark features since the earliest days of the transparent Pelikan fountain pen first introduced 90 years ago. Pelikan Schreibgeräte tells us that one of the company’s early slogans was “The right nib for every hand.” The screw-in nib unit allowed retailers to keep a small cache of nibs on hand which allowed Pelikan’s products to meet a wide range of customer preferences. The convenience of this thoughtful design and the marketing put behind it allowed Pelikan to quickly earn the esteem of vendors and customers alike. Each unit consisted of a nib and an ebonite feed held together by a threaded collar which would screw into the pen’s section. Pelikan has long had mechanisms in place for the safe removal of those units. For the 1oo, 100N, and Rappen models, a special pair of pliers was developed to suit the purpose. The pliers had a series of three or four notches into which the fins of the ebonite feeds could be slotted. This would allow for a more secure method of nib removal with less risk of damaging the feed’s fragile fins (try saying that three time fast). The engineers at the company went back to the drawing board with the introduction of the 400 in 1950. Rather than a pair of pliers which still ran a risk of damaging the nib, they designed a socket wrench, also known as a box or tubular spanner, to accomplish the task.
It isn’t easy deciding which pens to review here on The Perch. I like to focus on those pieces that bring something new to the table or tell a story. I mean, there is only so much you can say about another M800 with a different color scheme. That line of thinking is what lead me to today’s review. The recently released King Michael fountain pen stands out as unique in Pelikan’s catalog for a couple of reasons. The official name of this model is the King Michael I of Romania – Royal Edition and was only sold through Herlitz in Romania making this an ultra-exclusive regional edition that was not available through the usual retail channels. In fact, acquiring one required registration on the web, being selected, and then facilitating payment via a direct bank transfer. Honoring King Michael I (10/25/1921 – 12/5/2017), the last king of Romania, this edition is limited to just 300 pieces. While the underlying bones are clearly recognizable as those of a standard M800, this model incorporates a few design elements not previously seen. That allows this edition to stand out as an example of what good can come from local distributors partnering with the company to put out a unique product. While the opportunity to own one has largely passed at this juncture, I think that this pen is worthy of a closer look.