Amongst the rumors that have surfaced about Pelikan’s 2016 line-up, the one that I was most dubious of was news of a forthcoming M120. The original 120 was made from 1955-1965 as a school pen, Pelikan’s first entry into that market. The lessons learned from the 120 would ultimately go on to inform the design and marketing of the first Pelikano released some five years later in 1960. Before proceeding, it is important to distinguish between the original 120, often referred to as ‘Type I,’ and a second run of pens under the same name but with somewhat different styling made under contract by Merz & Krell from 1973-1977, the so-called ‘Type II.’ Rumors of a special edition replica paying homage to the original 120 may have just gained a bit more credibility. Penworld, a long respected family run business out of Antwerp, Belgium since 1924, has announced via Twitter and Instagram news of the upcoming M120. Quoted to be available some time around March of this year, this new release looks to be true to the original save for the appearance of the nib.
Like the original, the barrel of the M120 appears to be green with a green ink window. The section, piston knob, and cap are done in black and the furniture is gold-plated. There is a single cap band and the clip is the traditional pelican’s beak. There are no trim rings adorning this model owing to the original target of the lower end school pen market. The cap top notably now sports the single chick logo in place since 2003. The nib historically was gold-plated stainless steel which also looks to have been continued with the replica, all-be-it with the modern feed rather than the original ebonite feed with longitudinal fins. Interestingly, the new M120 appears to have a unique engraving on the nib that will allow it to stand out from the original. The engraving is purported to have been inspired by a bit of flourish taken from a historic Günther Wagner price list.
The original 120 continues to be a reliable pen used in daily service to the pleasure of many still to this day. I’m sure that there is a segment out there that will welcome this modern refresh. What are your thoughts on the upcoming M120? Perhaps not as stately or exotic as the Grand Place but, if priced right, could certainly be a work horse fountain pen with neat historic roots. I’ll be very interested to see where Pelikan prices the M120 as there is no similar model right now from which we can extrapolate a potential price point (perhaps the M200?).
UPDATE 2/1/16: La Couronne du Comte is now taking pre-orders for an anticipated March 2016 arrival. The price being asked is 189 € ($205.29). For those of us that live outside of the European Union, the price is 156.20 € ($169.66) minus the VAT. The pen is reported to include a historic gift box and a bottle of ink. I cannot say that I am surprised by the pricing but it does feel a bit like luxury pricing attached to school pen styling. I’ll be curious to see how that may impact the sale of this model. I fully expect U.S. MSRP and the subsequent street price to be higher than what will be available overseas.