In January of this year, I reported that Pelikan pens equipped with an EF nib and sold in the European Union were to experience a price increase of 10-12%. We have since seen this in full effect across all of the releases out of Hanover this year. What this translates into is that an EF furnished M800 cost €44 (~$50.79) more, an M600 cost €32 (~$36.94) more, and an M205 cost €10.40 (~$12.01) more than the same model equipped with an F, M, or B nib. To add insult to injury, it’s not as if the premium price is buying anything new or improved. So why did Pelikan single out the EF nib? The official explanation offered was that EF nibs are popular, make up a decent portion of sales and, due to their extra fine width, take more time to produce due to the extra grinding and polishing that needs to occur for a smooth writing experience. If that justification sounds weak, consider the alternative explanation put forth by several sources citing that the unofficial reason for this price increase was to discourage EU vendors from selling their wares to Asia. The implication then is that the price increase represented Pelikan’s attempt to further control the market. To date, the United States has been spared from this practice. Perhaps that is due to the fact that U.S. customers already pay a significant premium when purchasing domestically. Well, it appears the other shoe has finally dropped and, to the excitement of no one, Pelikan has decided to extend the EF premium across the pond with the release of the M600 Vibrant Orange.
Yes, you read that correctly. Those of us in the United States shopping domestically are once again to be subject to an additional premium when purchasing an EF nib. Taking that one step further, our beleaguered domestic vendors who are trying hard to compete in a global market have now been levied with yet another disadvantage. The MSRP for the M600 Vibrant Orange in the USA will be $595 for pens equipped with an EF nib and $550 for those with an F, M, or B nib. That $45 difference in MSRP equates to an additional $36 added to the standard retail price ($476 vs $440). Most buyers now, regardless of your location or place of purchase, will face this gratuitous surcharge. I presume mid-November is when this is slated to take effect as I have not seen a similar premium placed on the M800 Stone Garden due out in a couple of weeks. It’s doubtful that the proposed increase is a one off and likely represents the direction of future pricing though only time will tell. As I had previously suggested, you may be well advised to avoid buying stock EF nibs and instead investing in a custom grind thereby allowing you to get your desired width from a well tuned nib. Deincentivizing cross-region sales may still be the company’s goal but I think the end result will be to further temper and cool the enthusiasm for what is clearly a luxury product. Whether this strategy comes back to haunt the company in the future is anyone’s guess.
Will this change impact your decision to purchase a new Pelikan pen and, if so, how? For me, I haven’t purchased an EF nib all year due to this policy and it now looks like I’ll just have to be content with the EF nibs that I already own. I refuse to pay a premium that offers no discernible benefit or improvement to a product. Please feel free to share your thoughts below.