September is usually good for news of a new release (or two) from Pelikan and 2019 proves to be no exception. History has taught us that this is the month some of the bigger birds get unveiled. Last year, it was the M800 Stone Garden. This year, we have the M800 Brown-Black Souverän fountain pen. The newest special edition out of Hannover sports a brown and black striped barrel with a very warm tone, an appearance that could easily be mistaken for a Tortoiseshell design upon first glance. Those who were excited by Pelikan’s use of sparkles in the forthcoming M200 Star Ruby may be disappointed by the more conservative Brown-Black. As best I can recollect, this is the first traditionally striped pattern to grace the M8xx line since 2014’s Stresemann. Availability is anticipated starting sometime in mid-October.
The barrel of this new M800 is constructed from cellulose acetate and depicts alternating brown and black stripes. The brown stripes have a very warm, almost golden, hue that contrast nicely with the black. Complimenting the barrel are a cap, piston knob, and section made from a dark brown resin. Also found here is Pelikan’s typical 24 carat gold-plated furniture which includes a single trim ring at the section, two trim rings at the piston knob, two cap bands, a plated cap top with a single chick logo, and a beak clip. It is a bit difficult to tell for sure from the available photos but it does not appear that the Brown-Black has a discrete ink view window, much like some of the recent striped M6xx models. The nib has Pelikan’s typical two-tone look thanks to its rhodium plating. Made from 18C-750 gold, it will be available in the standard widths of EF, F, M, and B. The M800 is one the company’s larger models measuring 5.59 inches capped with a stated ink capacity of 1.35mL.
This special edition will also have a matching K800 ballpoint available for purchase. The U.S. MSRP and retail pricing for the pair are unknown at this time. Appelboom, the first vendor that I’ve seen to break today’s news, is offering the fountain pen for $515.94 when equipped with an F, M, or B nib and $568.98 with an EF nib. In general, U.S. vendors have not been passing the EF premium along to consumers (likely due to the already significantly higher pricing found in the U.S. market). The ballpoint is being offered for $361.64. A few extra dollars can be trimmed off of these prices with some of the discount codes available through various European vendors. While we await U.S. pricing, remember that the Stone Garden had an MSRP of $775 with a retail price around $620 domestically. That should at least serve as a frame of reference and I would expect the Brown-Black to be priced similarly. Retailers should be taking pre-orders starting in the next few days.
I had hoped that the Star Ruby was a sign that Pelikan might be embracing a more progressive design philosophy but the Brown-Black proves that isn’t the case. Pelikan once again retreats to the comfort and safety of yet another variation of brown. Don’t get me wrong, this M800 certainly is handsome in its own right. The warm tones of brown look like they would fit in nicely alongside the Burnt Orange that I usually like to pull out this time of year. The Brown-Black’s look does skirt awfully close to a tortoise-like finish (as demonstrated in the comparison above) which some might appreciate but it is sufficiently different to allow it to stand on its own. What are your thoughts on the new Brown-Black M800 and will you be adding one of these to your flock?