M915 Hunting: A Cautionary Tale of Early Lacquered Finishes

Pelikan M915 HuntingPelikan’s M915 Hunting was a limited edition of just 3000 numbered pieces released in 1994.  This was back in the early days of Pelikan’s limited edition releases, officially only preceded by the Blue Ocean (1993).  This model was aimed at the community of hunters.  The pen sports a sterling silver barrel overlay done in the Toledo style and portrays a classic motif.  The scene is dominated by the depiction of a stag held at bay by two hunting dogs.  As you pan around the barrel, you see representations of classic game animals such as pheasants, quail, wood grouse, and ducks taking flight.  There is even a scene of a fox slinking away.  This entire landscape is set within an oak-leaf border.  The cap and piston knob are done in a shade of hunter green with a green lacquer used to fill in the areas between the engravings on the overlay.  The nib is the standard two-toned 18C-750 gold seen on the M8xx line.  All of this comes together to stunning effect when seen in person, regardless of what your stance on the sport of hunting is.  Unfortunately, there are concerns about the durability of this finish that I wanted to share in case you own or have occasion to come across one of these.

Pelikan M915 Hunting Brochure

M915 Hunting brochure (German language)


While it is not hard to acknowledge that the M915 Hunting is a splendid pen, it may not be the most durable.  I have always contended that the purpose of a pen is to write and all pens should be used in that capacity.  I don’t collect show pieces that are meant to sit idle, their purpose unfulfilled.  This has always been my personal approach to this hobby.  Pelikan has suited that philosophy well as their pens are usually quite durable, including many of their oldest models.  Hunting is the first Pelikan fountain pen that has caused me to question that assertion.  My personal experience as well as that of a few others with first hand knowledge has been that the green enamel on the barrel can actually soften and dull with use.  Finger prints can be seen embossed into the finish and, with ongoing and regular use, the enamel can wear away completely, resulting in a marring of the pen’s overall appeal.  It is unfortunate then that this pen may be better suited as a show piece than a daily user.

Pelikan M915 Hunting

M915 Hunting uncapped (no evidence of wear)


Pelikan M915 Hunting

Example of wear to the green lacquer of an M915 Hunting (click to enlarge)


The technique of lacquer applied to a silver overlay does not appear to have been implemented on too many other limited editions.  The Concerto (1996) is the other most notable pen with a lacquered motif.  Intended for release around Christmas 1995, production was delayed by problems encountered in testing the pen’s materials.  This was reportedly due to issues with the application of the lacquered finish.  Whatever adjustment they may have made, the Concerto appears to be a bit more durable though it seems telling that we haven’t seen this type of finish regularly used since.

Pelikan M915 Hunting

Close-up of wear (click to enlarge)


I wrote to Pelikan in Germany and their repair service confirmed that they do not have any spare parts for the M915 Hunting and therefore it appears that they are unable to repair any damage that the lacquer finish might incur with use.  This is a beautiful pen and a great writer so I’m not here to dissuade anyone from purchasing or using one.  If you do plan to use it, just take extra care and be mindful of the issues that can arise with regular use.  Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what your experience has been.

Pelikan M915 Hunting & Concerto

Early limited edition lacquered finishes; Hunting (1994) and Concerto (1996)


22 responses

  1. Joshua
    Excellent review & commentary on the Pelikan M915. I am amazed at your expert knowledge on these Pelikan pens and your communication skills thru words & photographs. I don’t know how you do all this work with a day time job & family. I appreciate it very much. Hope to see you at the DC Show if it works on your schedule.


  2. I am with you. I love fountain pens and I inked all my pens, they are meant to be used not sitting in its own box closetted away. (Though, my white tortoise, with its cap cracked and the nip section fell off, I finally had to put it to retirement.) Thanks for the review of this beautiful Hunting pen. I wish I am in your area for the Pelikan Hubs event so that I can admire your pen collection in person. Enjoy reading your posts. Thanks, Joshua.


    • Happy to hear that your pens get regular use. You’re welcome. I’m definitely looking forward to gathering for this years hub and letting the flock out of the roost.


    • I’m counting down the days till D.C. Tentatively planning on Saturday for now but we’ll have to see what my schedule brings. It’s definitely a priority.


  3. Bummer but good to know. I have always been attracted to this pen, it’s green and I was a hunter for most of my life. Assume you got the pen for a significant discount.


      • Sorry I think I am confused with your reply. “Product of false advertising” as referring to what? And also do you mean you returned the “M915 Hunting” and didn’t keep it?


        • Sorry for the confusion. I purchased the pen because it was advertised as “Near mint, as new.” That clearly turned out to not be the case, hence my statement of false advertising (an honest mistake on the seller’s part I believe). In the end, I returned the pen for a refund.


          • I see. Thanks. Talking about “false advertising”, recently I bought a Caelum from a vendor in Russia. The description is “new, never been used … with minor scratches due to improper storage …” However, scratches and dents are all over the pen, much more than the photos he posted 😦 The price was quite a reduction from the MSRP price, and he seems to have quite a few of the Caelums in his inventory selling at the reduced price brand new no scratch. (For mine with scratches, he gave me an extra 15% off). This has been a question in my head for years wondering how these vendors are able to reduce the prices so much. Anyway, despite the more-than-anticipated blemishes, I love the pen. After all it is a Pelikan and Caelum has Pluto on it (I am a big fan of Pluto.) The pen writes so smoothly and beautifully. Please don’t tell me it could be a fake.


          • Pelikan’s are very infrequently faked so I wouldn’t worry too much about that as long as it looks pretty faithful to the stock images. Sounds like you got a good deal but the extra scratches would turn me off. I have a hard time getting past stuff like that which is why I returned this example of Hunting. I’m glad your happy with Caelum. It’s a stunning pen from what I’ve seen in pictures though I have never had a chance to see one in person. Enjoy it!


  4. Hi Joshua, I am a BIG fan of your blog from Japan.
    Like you, I ink eight vintage M800 and never just be a collector.
    I want to share my situation with you.
    I use ‘titanium, glas cleaner’ and titanium glas hybrid coating chemical’ on the surface of the barrel of my M800 Concerto, to protect its lacquer coated surface.
    Those products are manufactured by Japan Chemitec Ltd, but I don’t know whether selling outside Japan.
    I use those for my pen, because those products are originally intended for acoustic guitar maintenance , which gives protection to lacquer coated guitar from hand sweat.
    It is like coating very very thin glass on the surface, and never damages the lacquer itself.
    Japan Chemitec Ltd is also known for manufacturing chemicals for repairing the optical discs’ surface.
    The URL of this company is as follows, but only Japanese infos are available.
    Thanks to those chemicals, my Concerto has kept its beautifulness for years.


    • Hello. Always exciting to hear from readers from across the globe. Thank you for sharing your experience maintaining the beauty of the Concerto. One has to take great care with any 3rd party agents applied to a pen lest disaster occur. Glad to hear you found a solution that works for you. It’s not something that I use personally but I’m intrigued and definitely will look into it.


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  6. I agree. The option of a new one with no scratches only came up after my purchase. Had I known the seller has more pens in perfect condition, I would have gladly forgo the 15% discount. Hope one of these days, you will give a review on the Caelum.


    • Caelum is beautiful but out of my price range. I don’t anticipate a review of one anytime soon. Besides, before seeking out a Caelum, I would personally opt for Genesis of the Olympiad which I find a bit more striking with the red resin.


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  8. Joshua, I purchased both of these pieces when they were released, and had the same experience. The Hunting would soften and show fingerprints with use…these were easily buffed out with a soft cloth, and I was so relieved that I retired the piece from use. I also head the Concerto’s release was delayed because of issues with the finish. I found it to be a bit more durable, however the silver oxidizes very rapidly and I have to store it wrapped in silver cloth. Beautiful designs, but sadly not users.
    Great article!


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