A Look At The M805 Ocean Swirl

Pelikan M805 Ocean Swirl

The two faces of the M805 Ocean Swirl

When I wrote my review of the M605 White Transparent, I indicated that the pre-release product photography didn’t quite portray the actual pen very accurately.  Rather than a cool white colored resin, the photos depicted a warmer, more ivory leaning cast.  I wanted to expound upon this because it seemed to be a recurring theme at the end of last year that confounded several would-be customers.  It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words and perhaps nowhere is that more true than when selling some form of goods.  Pelikan’s product photography has always been somewhat hit or miss but the actual merchandise has usually turned out to be better than advertised.  It may seem trivial, harping on the less than true pictographic portrayal of a fountain pen but, for many, those pre-release photos are the only visuals available prior to making a decision to purchase.  Far too many consumers lack access to brick and mortar stores or any other opportunity to see a real world example of a pen prior to committing to buy.  For some limited edition models, waiting for real world photos may mean missing the pre-order period which can equate to extra money spent or a missed opportunity all together.  This is why true to life photos are important for any company selling a product.  The M805 Ocean Swirl was subject to one of the most perplexing depictions in some time and therefore I thought that it was worth taking a closer look.

Given the size of Pelikan’s operation, I can only assume that they have a professional team working on their sales images.  I’m sure that when a product is sent to the photographer, a certain style or aesthetic is sought by the artist and/or company.  There are many common sins in the realm of product photography, some minor and others cardinal.  Poor lighting, an off exposure, strong shadows, or odd composition can all affect how an item is viewed by a potential customer.  Perhaps the most egregious of these errors is when a photo is not representative of the actual product.  This can come about for a multitude of reasons.  Perhaps there are strange angles or too much work done in post processing.  Colors can become inaccurate and scale difficult to judge.  Everyone wants to see a really neat shot that shows the best of the next hot release out of Hannover but what good is that shot if it’s not an honest portrayal?

Pelikan M805 Ocean Swirl

Official pre-release product shot for the M805 Ocean Swirl

 

Let us review the most recent release from Pelikan and see if we can’t illustrate some of the above points by way example.  First announced on 9/28/17, Pelikan’s product photos depicted a beautiful blue-green color interspersed with darker areas of near black, a conceit used to invoke visions of the sea.  The blue-green coloring looked nearly fluorescent in the stock photos which had more of a greenish than blue tint.  Consumers had little reason to question whether or not the pattern was carried throughout the finish.  Similarly styled pens such as the M805 Vibrant Blue and the M800 Renaissance Brown had unique but uniform patterns.  On 10/18/17, Pelikan took to their social media accounts to share a 50 second video of the pen which was our first real world glimpse.  While this started to clue us into the fact that the pattern was not uniform, the alternating darker colored bands were not very pronounced in that video.  Once the Ocean Swirl began shipping, its true colors were quickly noted.  Rather than a uniform appearance, there was instead two colorful blue-green bands that alternated with two much darker bands.  Rather than leaning green, the pen seemed to bias more towards blue.  In addition to that, each pen is not created equal.  While fairly close, some pens skew more colorful while others are clearly on the darker side.  Either by way of design or flaw, some of the caps do not line up well with these bands creating a bit of a mis-match.  The full nature of this design was never clearly depicted in any of the pre-release photography and there in lies the rub.  The Ocean Swirl is a fine pen but its appeal is hampered by how Pelikan chose to portray it.  It comes down to managing expectations and this is where Pelikan’s marketing materials need to do a better job.

Pelikan M805 Ocean Swirl

M805 Ocean Swirl stock photo. All stock photos depict a similar blue-green appearance, devoid of any hint of a non-uniform pattern

Pelikan M805 Ocean Swirl

Eleven M805s side by side demonstrating the real world variations in caps, barrels, and the overall pattern. Photo courtesy of Novelli, a well-respected Italian retailer; https://goo.gl/WfsGUd

 

At then end of the day, the M805 Ocean Swirl remains a lovely pen that is both vibrant and subdued at the same time.  I have no regrets owning one and rather than focus on the inconsistencies of the finish, I enjoy the overall look.  There has been much ado made about the finish which I think ultimately is a non-controversy.  In Pelikan’s defense, the pattern is more likely the result of the stock resin utilized rather than any purposeful design choice.  I only dabble in product photography and am no expert by any stretch.  I do know that capturing some of the unique finishes that Pelikan designs can be quite a challenge.  Hopefully, future product shots will be more complete and truly representative of the actual wares so that consumers can make better educated purchase decisions and Pelikan can avoid any blow back over mis-representation.  Overall, I think Pelikan does an adequate (not stellar) job at this which is why the example provided here stands out.  I would love to hear your thoughts so please feel free to leave a comment below.

Pelikan M805 Ocean Swirl

Top: The fluorescent blue-green pattern that makes up two of four stripes. Bottom: Dark, though not pure black, coloring that comprises the other two alternating bands


 

23 responses

  1. Pattern variations are part of the beauty of the pen in my mind. All of one or the other would be less interesting. I love my ocean swirl and am very happy that the color variations match up when capped. Now THAT would make me crazy. As always Josh, great review and GO Eagles!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Mark. The variation does add a touch of uniqueness and I too am happy with my copy. I’m hopeful that future pre-release shots may more accurately portray the models. There are some neat ones coming this year that hopefully will be portrayed to their best effect.

      Like

  2. I was worried when I saw how large the dark bands are on some examples. On arrival, mine proved better than feared, but I would still have liked less dark. I do think the advertising photography was misleading, and that is a great disappointment from a reputable company; it led me to believe I was ordering a pen with an all-round colour pattern as on the Renaissance Brown.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No reason to think otherwise based on most of their other releases. I think it’s fine to do something different but they made zero effort to highlight that alternating color pattern and I think that’s where they do a disservice to their customers.

      Like

  3. Great write up Joshua, thank you. Like most, I wish we’d had this much info at pre-order time. But that said, I love this material and wouldn’t mind seeing Pelikan put out another similar pen. I’ve had mine inked since it got here. And it was mentioned on the forum that because the cap threads have 4 (if I remember correctly) starting points, with a little fiddling you can get the pattern to match up fairly well. That is the case with my pen, but I’m not bothered much by it when it doesn’t line up so I find that I rarely bother.

    I see a common criticism of Pelikan that it makes boring pens. MB gets the same dissing. But when they try something different another segment of their “audience” complains that they don’t like it because it is different. Apologies to Barnum but it just goes to show you can please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time, and a not insignificant number will complain no matter what 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome. With Pelikan pens, you can always adjust the position of the cap due to the threading to line it up how you want it. I usually line things up when putting a pen away for storage for instance. You’re right though, you can never please everyone but I think Pelikan has stayed true to their recipe over the years and I appreciate the consistency.

      Like

  4. Cardinal sin. The blue-green finish is lovely, but there was no depicted hint of ‘banding’ for pre-orderers—and those pens that don’t line up cap to barrel are a disgrace. Had my Renaissance Brown suffered from these ‘defects,’ I’d have returned it. Well-considered, Josh…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Jack. I know some people were certainly surprised and a few pens were returned due to the lack of an accurate pre-relase depiction but those returns were likely in the minority I’d imagine.

      Like

  5. I have not bought one, but would have expected the pen to look like the one in the publicity photo above (with the barometer) subject to individual variations in the pattern. I expected the pen to look similar, all the way round. It was only when I saw one in the flesh last Saturday, did I see that there is a roughly equal amount of black when the pen is rolled over. I do agree, that this ought to have been made more apparent in the photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a hard thing to capture in one shot and most of Pelikan’s product photos show only one angle of a pen. I wonder if they considered it a non-issue and therefore made no attempt to highlight it.

      Like

  6. Terrific job. I am still going to buy this pen. But I will need to see the exact one I am buying. Either from a vendor photo or in person at a show or store. Thanks again Joshua.

    Like

  7. Great article!
    While I agree that they should have shown all sides of the pen, so that people knew what they were buying, I actually love the dark/bright variation – it is like going from shallow waters to deep waters and back. Besides, the dark bands do have pattern.
    As for aligning cap and body, it is not an issue for me: mine has been inked for the last month and a half and I have never tried to align it.

    Now, what is really bothering me is that we’re already in February and no new Pelikan this year yet! I’m having withdrawal symptoms already! 🙂

    Like

    • I like your description and I agree that the coloring is spot on for the theme they were going for. There are a lot of releases planned for this year that go across model lines. I too am surprised that we haven’t heard any official news yet but I imagine that it won’t be long before something breaks. Stay tuned…

      Like

  8. I think maybe Pelikan wanted to give the effect of the real ocean to this pen, deeper it goes darker it is, at the end they got this bands (maybe that is related to the price cut on this models M800 OS an M600 white) also i think it is very hard to depict this patterns with pictures and even with videos, there is this beautiful dance with the light that can only be appreciated in person, i own a Renaissance Brown and i did a lot of search before my purchase and i can tell that there is no picture or video that i saw before that make justice to the beauty of the pen, the way it plays with the light is pretty unique and captivating, the beauty also came from its uniqueness

    Like

    • You’ll get no argument from me. I agree that these pearlescent finishes are hard to capture in a photographs or even videos. I think that the difference between the Renaissance Brown is the uniformity of the pattern versus the banding on the Ocean Swirl. There is nothing wrong with the banding but, based on past releases, the product shots are misleading. I think it’s something that should have been highlighted.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Mine came Christmas Eve (Really appreciate my postman delivering it). I was so excited about it all through Christmas. Somehow I want the right moment to open my box. With hectic schedule, I still haven’t done it. Happily looking at the box every night wondering what degree of brightness mine would be. Regardless, I think when I am ready to open the box, I will love it. That ocean swirl is simply stunning IMO!
    p.s. Congrats the Eagles winning the SuperBowl 🙂

    Like

    • And I thought I was too busy for things. I admire your restraint if that box is still sitting unopened since it’s now well over a month since Christmas has passed. I hope that the Ocean Swirl lives up to your expectations!

      Like

      • I also received mine Christmas Eve, but I opened it then. I ordered a fine from The Nibsmith and Dan custom ground it to a smooth cursive italic, and it is fantastic. As far as the variation in the color pattern, I think it is outstanding. The dark areas give it a more subtle look. Pelikan just should have shown more pictures highlighting this, but I have no complaints at all.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: