Pelikan has introduced over 40 different nib widths and styles during their 90 years of fountain pen production. Time and market forces have slowly taken their toll, whittling away at the available variety and eroding character. Around the year 2012, Pelikan discontinued production of oblique nibs in the widths of OM, OB, OBB, and O3B. The following year, the larger BB and 3B nibs were also removed from the standard line-up. Correspondence from representatives of the company around that time cited low global sales as justification for the discontinuation. For the past six years, Pelikan’s fine writing instruments could only be purchased with nibs in the standard widths of EF, F, M, and B. There have been exceptions to this rule as seen with the intermittent availability of an IB (italic broad) nib option or Niche Pens batch of M8xx BB nibs first offered in 2015. Neither option has been widely available or part of the standard line-up. Many have lamented Pelikan’s lack of variety, particularly as other manufacturers have continued to offer a significantly wider array of nibs. One such example of innovation in the nib space that comes to mind is Montblanc’s Meisterstück Solitaire or 149 fountain pens equipped with a flexible 18C-750 gold calligraphy “expression” nib which can reportedly vary line widths from about 0.3 mm to 1.6 mm. These calligraphy pens buck the familiar trend of hard as nails nibs, capitalizing on a maturing market of enthusiast looking for modern day flex writing pens. While Pelikan has yet to venture into that space, we’ve recently learned, courtesy of Appelboom, that they are re-introducing IB and BB nibs, adding them to the standard line-up on a restricted basis. Read on to learn more about the reincarnation of these older nibs as well as a few other tidbits.
BB & IB nibs re-introduced
Jana Jegella, Pelikan’s Global Marketing & Product Manager, recently sat down for an interview with Joost Appelboom from the Netherlands retailer of the same name. To Joost’s credit, he was able to confirm recent rumors of the re-introduction of BB (double broad) and IB (italic broad) nibs for the M8xx line as part of the standard assortment. Jana relates that these nibs were previously perceived to be fairly niche and that the company felt that the standard range of EF through B widths covered the majority of consumer’s daily needs which was the impetus for the discontinuation of the larger widths. She suggests that the re-introduction of the broader sizes was done partly in response to customer’s questions in order to give collectors “something special.” These will only be available for the M800 and M805 lines of pens at this time. You can see Jana and Joost discuss this topic at the 17:36 minute mark in the video below
Seven Wonders of the World Series
One other small tidbit of information to share from the above interview is the fact that we can indeed expect the eventual release of The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the final pen needed to complete the Seven Wonders of the World series. It has been fifteen years since the first pen in the series was introduced leading some to speculate if it would ever be completed. Classically, the Seven Wonders were; The Great Pyramid of Giza, The Colossus of Rhodes, The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, The Lighthouse of Alexandria, The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, The Statue of Zeus at Olympia, and The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. It took seven years from the introduction of the Hanging Gardens before we saw the Zeus come into existence. The final pen is the series is reportedly in the design phase and is actively being developed. While the company’s internal timeline is unclear, we can at least expect a release to complete the series within the next five years. You can find the discussion of the Seven Wonders starting at 13:33 minutes into the clip.
UPDATE 9/20/19: The information above regarding the introduction of new nib sizes is further corroborated and clarified in the second edition Pelikan’s magazine “Passion.” Starting on page 32, we learn that the IB nib will be available exclusively in two-tone for the M800. The BB nib will be available in two-tone for the M800 and fully rhodium plated for the M805. All of the nibs will be available starting from October 2019.