Today’s post will explore the Pelikan M700 family of fountain pens. This is a particularly interesting and unique series as it includes two Toledo models as well as several others plated with various metals. The M7xx pens have the same dimensions as the M400 though with some added heft due to their metal construction. The five pens that comprise this line are the M700 Toledo, M710 Toledo, M730, M750, and M760. Most of these models were made in the 1980s and 1990s though some have been produced more recently. As far as Pelikan pens go, these five are amongst some of my favorites for reasons which I hope will be clear by the end of this post. They are not without their shortcomings, however, as I will try to point out. Most of these pens are now out of production and some are quite hard to find. Many will command a premium price if you do happen to stumble across one that’s for sale. Read on to learn a bit more about the idiosyncrasies of each of these models.
Chronoswiss, founded by Gerd-Rüdiger Lang in 1983, is a mechanical watch manufacturer currently based out of Lucerne. Mr. Lang spent several years leaning his trade as an apprentice before finding employment with Heuer (now TAG-Heuer) where he would work with chronographs for approximately 15 years. Quartz movements came to dominate in the 1980s prompting Mr. Lang to seek opportunity elsewhere. After his departure, he attended school in Würzburg and graduated as a “Master Watchmaker.” Shortly thereafter, he founded his own company which specialized in mechanical watches during a time when quartz was all the rage. It wasn’t until 1987 that the “Régulateur,” a hand-wound wristwatch, was born. It was touted as the first serially manufactured wristwatch with a regulator-type dial. It is the characteristics of this watch that would go on to define the company’s iconic style. Those features include a screwed and channeled bezel, an onion-shaped crown, and screwed strap lugs. While not as historically rich as many of the traditional brands, the Régulateur would help cement Chronoswiss’s place in horology.
Pens have a ubiquitous presence in our environment which makes them well suited as promotional items. We’ve all seen pens with business names and logos inscribed upon them as a means of advertising. Sometimes the inscriptions are more meaningful and are intended to commemorate an event or recognize outstanding performance or participation. Pens also serve this purpose well because they are so useful in our day to day lives. We saw this with the Lagostina M150 where a company contracted with Pelikan to have a special, limited production pen made for exclusive distribution. In this example, the pen was created as a gift for the management of the Italian cookware company Lagostina during the early 1980s. In similar fashion, Pelikan has supplied pens to their employees on occasion to commemorate certain achievements or milestones. One such event was the 25th anniversary of the opening of the manufacturing plant at Peine-Vöhrum, Germany.
Çelik Kalem, a major distributor for Pelikan pens in Turkey, follows up their announcement of the M101N Bright Red from yesterday with news of yet another upcoming release. Instead of a pen, their Instagram feed gives us our first glimpse of the Edelstein 2017 Ink of the Year, Smoky Quartz. This newest gem stone inspired color will follow on the heels of the very popular Aquamarine from last year’s limited edition run. It will be the fourteenth addition to the Edelstein line-up and the sixth Ink of the Year.
In the course of monitoring my usual sources of Pelikan news, I came across an interesting post in my Instagram feed today. Çelik Kalem, whose Turkish name translates to “Steel Pen,” gave us a photo of what appears to be the next release in the M101N series. From what I can gather, Çelik Kalem is a family run company who serves as a major distributor for Pelikan pens in Turkey and would likely be positioned to have foreknowledge of upcoming models. Pelikan will soon announce the fourth pen in their series of modern M101Ns slated for release sometime later this year. The pen is the M101N Bright Red. This model will follow the previously released Tortoiseshell Brown (2011), Lizard (2012), and Tortoiseshell Red (2014). It would be the first in the series to break from emulating their vintage counterparts. To date, all of the prior models on the market have keyed off of their predecessor’s designs from the late 1930s. I cannot recall a 101N ever having been released with this color scheme. Pelikan’s description of this model carries the tag line, “Intense luminosity and a unique presence.”
As we embark on a new year, I thought it would be fitting to look back and reminisce about the products that Pelikan brought to market in 2016. Many of those releases were rumored late in 2015 and most turned out to be true. That doesn’t mean Pelikan didn’t show up with a few surprises along the way. Pelikan, like most companies, is not a fan of pre-release spoilers so I doubt we’ll see the treasure trove of leaked models that became available at the end of 2015. I suspect that the company has since reminded their vendors of their contractual obligation to not leak info of upcoming releases. While we may not know what the future holds, we can look back and see that the last few years have witnessed a lot of interesting new designs as well as re-releases of fan favorites. I think Pelikan has overall struck a good balance though the M600 and M1000 lines continue to see the least amount of attention of any of the Souverän models. While there was a lot to like this past year, not all news was good news. 2016 saw significant price increases in the United States market, well above and beyond the rest of the world and pricing for UK customers rose due to Brexit and the weakening pound against the Dollar and Euro. The U.S. distributor, Chartpak, reversed previously stated policy and began refusing warranty services to US owners of Pelikan fountain pens purchased from overseas retailers despite those vendors being authorized by Pelikan. This was most likely done in an attempt to deter people from shopping overseas where Pelikan fountain pens can be purchased at a steep discount. Read on to get caught up on anything you may have missed this past year.
Pelikan’s 24 pen Collectors’ box was announced last year but issues with manufacturing resulted in a significant delay bringing the product to market. Vendors are finally starting to get stock and I thought that it would be worthwhile to share my impressions for those that may be interested in picking one up. Finding an adequate storage solution becomes a problem every collector faces at some point. I have seen no shortage of creative solutions during my time with this hobby and I’ve even employed a few of my own. Many people take to retrofitting objects made for other purposes to the task of fountain pen storage. I presume Pelikan hopes to change that with their own branded pen chest. The chest that I review here was purchased from Appelboom in the Netherlands and I cannot recommend them enough for their excellent customer service and communication (no personal or professional affiliation, just a satisfied customer). Read on to find out how this chest stacks up as a storage solution for your flock.
On June 23rd of this year, a referendum was held to decide whether the UK should leave or remain in the European Union (EU). With a turnout of 71.8% of eligible voters, leave won by 52% to 48%. The reasons behind the vote were multifaceted with those voting to leave citing a lack of sovereignty and an overly controlling EU that imposed far too many rules in addition to a large fee for membership. The issues run much deeper than this oversimplification and the full ramifications of Brexit itself are well beyond the scope of this post. I suggest anyone even remotely interested in this topic seek out reliable outlets for additional information on this historic and world changing vote. While it will be many years before all of the consequences of this motion are realized, one of the more immediate results has been a significant decrease in the value of the British Pound. The Pound has dropped by 18% against the US dollar and Euro compared with one year ago and hovers near a 30 year low. What this means is that British buying power is reduced and the costs of imported goods inevitably must go up. Inflation is also a real concern though this has relatively been kept in check to date. Many experts don’t expect the full economic weight of the vote to come to bear until 2017.