News: Pelikan Re-Introduces Broader Nib Widths & Other Tidbits

Pelikan BB nibsPelikan 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.

Pelikan's Seven Wonders of the World Series

Left to right: The Great Pyramid of Giza (2004), The Colossus of Rhodes (2005), The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus (2006), The Lighthouse of Alexandria (2007), The Hanging Gardens of Babylon (2009), and The Statue of Zeus at Olympia (2016)

 

The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus

The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus

 

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.

29 responses

  1. I cannot tell if they intend to sell these nibs only as individual units, meaning not as an option with an available M8xx pen. If you have to buy the units separately then that easily tacks on a few hundred dollars to already expensive pens. Seeing as I like a BB ground to a cursive italic that means ever more cost to get a nib that writes the way I like it to. Sad that they didn’t bring back obliques as I have never tried a Pelikan Oblique nib. I am happy nonetheless but I think Pelikan is missing out on sales by limiting the nib options and forcing most of us to turn to nibmeisters for the variation we desire. Good for the nibmeisters at least. I would love to order the new brown-black with an IB nib!!

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    • I agree that Pelikan is missing out but that is an anecdotal assessment. I’m sure that they have tons of market data to support their current stance. I would think vendors would be able to get these and install them at the time of purchase. Will have to wait and see how this plays out.

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      • Joshua, forgive me for slanting my assessment on personal bias. I appreciate the reminder that it is not a statistically informed opinion. Nonetheless, I do long for more nib options and agree with others who mention Pilot and Sailor manage it well. That being said I sold all my Pilots and Sailors and have over 30 Pelikan fountain pens now. I am a loyalist after many good experiences, and I want to be proud of the nibs my favorite brand offers! I have heard the moaning of some who feel that most Pelikan nibs are duds. Yet, out of 32 of mine, only one which is the M620 San Francisco had baby’s bottom. It needed only minor work I did in a few minutes to become a great writer. Out of so many pens, many modern, I think Pelikan is doing a great job!

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        • I echo your sentiments. I think those who bemoan the quality control of Pelikan’s nibs do so rather harshly and out of frustration. I would agree that, by the numbers, there are far more quality nibs than not out of the box. I think a lot of people don’t account for the handling that these pens/nibs see after they leave the factory. Factory -> Distributor -> Retailer -> Customer. That pen is changing hands several times with three different shippings in between.

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  2. Great post, Joshua! I’ve been looking to get an M800 within the next few months, so maybe I could give these nibs a try. I’ve never used broad nibs but they look like fun to write with.

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  3. Pilot offers the Custom Heritage 912 in 15 different nib sizes. In fairness, there isn’t a huge difference with many of them, but I’d still love to see Pelikan offer that kind of variety.

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  4. Wide ranging and detailed as ever. Liked the inserted YT video. Have yet to really experiment with broad or IB nibs but this has certainly whetted the appetite to wet a different nib or two…

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  5. This is great news and a step in the right direction, in my opinion.
    I’d really like to see the obliques back too.

    Now, let us just hope the BB and IB don’t come at a premium, like the ridiculous premium on EF nibs.

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    • Jana obviously did not comment on any premium but that was an obvious concern of mine as well. Hopefully it won’t be the case. Given the price of these pens, particularly in the U.S. market, a premium for these nibs would be a good way to hinder their success.

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  6. Our prayers have been answered. I have to say I agree with your comments concerning wider nib widths and Pelikan’s competitors. Lamy, love them or loathe them, still make BB, OB and OBB nibs, as do Montblanc, Aurora and Visconti. Offering only EF, F, M, and B nibs puts Pelikan at a disadvantage. They’re missing a trick with a limited nib range. Yes, they write wider than most of their competitors, but it is still delightful to see these nibs reintroduced.

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  7. I have in my flock a black M215 (with rectangles) that I bought on a whim in the mid 2000s from a retailer in NYC. The pen came fitted with a steel IB. Is that an unusual nib in steel and/or on the 2xx series?

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