Those of us in the U.S.A. awoke this morning to news of yet another forthcoming release from Pelikan. The company is once again going retro with the introduction of a new model in the M101N series. Perhaps it is no coincidence that such a pen is being brought to light during the 90th anniversary of Pelikan’s first foray into fountain pens. The newest M101N on the block has been dubbed the Grey-Blue and it will become the fifth pen in a line that takes its inspiration from the historic models of the 30s and 40s. To date, the Grey-Blue has been preceded by the Tortoiseshell Brown (2011), Lizard (2012), Tortoiseshell Red (2014), and Bright Red (2017). Whereas the first three models listed emulated some of the more popular vintage finishes, the Grey-Blue will join the Bright Red in blazing its own trail as a fresh take on an old design. Pelikan’s promotional materials state; “The grey and blue color and pattern is reminiscent of the original historical model of the 1930s,” but I do not recall any historic 101N ever having come in this color scheme. If you cannot wait to get your hands on this one, be thankful February is a short month as these are due to make their way to market sometime in March.
The M101N Grey-Blue will sport a barrel made of cellulose acetate done in a marbled pattern of its name sake colors. The cap, section, and piston knob will be made of a high-quality resin done in black. The furniture will include a tear drop clip and two cap bands plated with palladium. Like the Lizard from 2012, the nib will have a monotone silver appearance owing to a rhodium plating atop 14-carat gold. The nib motif eschews the logo nibs popular since 1954 in favor of a script style more true to the original design. The available nib widths will include Pelikan’s standard EF, F, M, and B (keeping in mind that EF now carries an added premium). To round out the pen’s look, the cap top will depict the company’s single chick logo and a grey translucent ink window will be present just above the section. The Grey-Blue will come packaged in a special gift box that includes a bottle of 4001 Royal Blue ink. The box and ink will both feature a historic motif (but nothing that we haven’t seen before). This release will be a special edition therefore it will only be around for a limited time.
As far as pricing goes, the U.S. MSRP is $685 with a retail price of $548. That is the highest asking price to date for an M101N in the U.S. The 2011 Tortoiseshell Brown debuted with an MSRP of $550 and a retail of $440 whereas the more recent Bright Red carried an MSRP of $650 and a retail price of $520. I guess the pricey just keep getting pricier. The EU MSRP is €495 which means those of us from outside of the EU shopping overseas (and thereby foregoing domestic warranty support) can expect retail prices of between $425-470. On a side note, Pelikan’s Facebook page has two recent postings about the Herzstück 1929 declaring availability starting in April which is a change from the previously stated March timeline. I wonder if the Grey-Blue has bumped it to a later release date though I haven’t been able to confirm that.
What do you think about the M101N Grey-Blue? I have seen a few people point out that it looks more like an M200 with its marbled finish and I can’t really dispute that. I think that the few pre-release pictures made available to date are somewhat underwhelming and hope that the actual pen is more striking in person. Still, I’m sure that many will be happy to add this one to their flock, particularly those trying to keep the set complete. I anticipate that this may even sell better than the Bright Red from two years ago. Of course, the price tag stands a good chance of crippling this one, at least domestically, particularly when you factor in over a $150 price difference between retail in the U.S.A. and EU. Personally, I’m not immediately sold on this one and will await to see it in real life before passing final judgement.