The M800 Demonstrator: Then And Now

Pelikan M800 Demonstrator 2020 Chinese EditionThe M800 Demonstrator has had an interesting life.  It was first released in 2008 as a special edition to celebrate the company’s 170th anniversary and it came in two forms.  The first of these was a standard demonstrator in clear, transparent resin that lacked any embellishment on the barrel or cap.  The clear resin allowed for unobstructed viewing of the brass piston assembly which was complimented by Pelikan’s standard gold plated trim.  At the same time, another model was released, identical to the first save that this one featured etched descriptors of the various parts filled in with white paint.  These pointed out key features such as the spindle nut, twist stopper, and piston to name just a few.  Eight attributes in all were labeled along the barrel and piston knob.  Interestingly, this particular model featured a cut out in the brass connector of the piston assembly to allow for better visualization of the spindle within the connector, making it a true demonstrator pen.  When the same features were incorporated on an M805 variant in palladium trim in 2015, this little detail would be left out.  Most of the etched variants were annotated in the English language while a small minority would be done in Spanish.  Niche Pens once declared that, “Altogether, 3,500 Clear Demonstrators were produced, the majority with English engravings, a small number with Spanish engravings and an even smaller number with no engravings at all.”  While the veracity of that statement cannot be verified, it further imbues the M800 Demonstrator with a bit of mystique.  Both pens were readily available in their time but have been out of production for about twelve years now and are infrequently encountered.  This model is not without its fair share of intrigue and new developments for 2020 make it worth revisiting.


Pelikan M800 Demonstrator

Pelikan M800 Demonstrator


The tale outlined above seems pretty straight forward but the story doesn’t end there.  We have additional variations seen in the wild that were never intended for the market.  The first of these is the infamous Spanish model, uncommon in themselves, amongst which there exists a few examples that sport what is considered to be a mistake.  This model’s engravings are done in the Spanish language and the word “Empuñadura” is engraved on the piston knob which is supposedly not the intended description.  As the story goes, 25 of these mislabeled models were made before the error was identified and production stopped.  Pelikan was able to recall six of them resulting in 19 of the erroneous pens remaining in the wild.  Another permutation that has been found was re-sold by Martini Auctions back in 2012, this one sporting German imprints, likely a prototype that never saw large scale production.  These rare misprints and prototypes can command quite a sum when encountered on the secondary market.

Pelikan M800 Demonstrator Spanish Version


While these oddities are indeed fascinating, they are now eclipsed by a new development in the M800 Demonstrator saga.  For 2020, it appears that Pelikan has released a limited edition of 1000 etched M800 demonstrators exclusively for the Chinese market.  Officially labeled as the “M800 Demonstrator – Chinese Edition,” each pen bears etchings in either traditional or simplified Chinese which labels the various components in the same way as its predecessors.  Unlike the 2008 model, this version lacks the cut away on the piston assembly and the cap top is now gold plated.  Those features and the Chinese markings aside, the pens otherwise appear identical.  That means there are two trim rings on the piston knob, two bands at the cap lip, and one ring at the section.  The cap band is inscribed “Pelikan Souverän Germany” and the pen is equipped with an 18C-750 two tone gold nib.  All of the furniture is plated in 24 carat gold.  This impressive pen also comes with some unique packaging.  To start, there is a large, thin and somewhat nondescript outer white box with the Pelikan logo.  That gives way to an inner sleeve housing a green book with gold lettering along the spine and the company logo on the front.  The book opens to reveal a recess within which the pen resides.  A small green manual completes the package.  These look to be going for around 4200 Chinese Yuan which is roughly equivalent to $600.  If you want to pick one up and don’t speak Chinese, you’d do well to get an agent to shop for you on Taobao.  While I cannot find any official documentation from Pelikan, this new model for all the world looks to be legitimate and another example à la 2019’s King Michael I of Romania of a release with a regional hyper focus.

Pelikan M800 Demonstrator 2020 Chinese Edition

2008 – Plain and etched versions of the M800 Demonstrator are released featuring gold plated trim.  The pens are labeled in both English and Spanish.  Erroneous examples of the Spanish version are created, inadvertently resulting in a rarity.

2012 – A likely prototype variant of an M800 Demonstrator with etchings written in the German language and previously found at a pen show was sold at auction.

2015 – Plain and etched versions of the M805 Demonstrator are released featuring palladium plated trim.  This model lacks the cut away on the connector and the attributes are labeled in English only.

2020 – An etched version of the M800 Demonstrator limited to 1000 models is released in China with labels in both simplified and traditional Chinese.  This model also lacks the cut away on the connector.

Pelikan M800 Demonstrator 2020 Chinese Edition

2020 M800 Demonstrator Chinese Edition outer packaging


Pelikan M800 Demonstrator 2020 Chinese Edition

Inner sleeve


Pelikan M800 Demonstrator 2020 Chinese Edition

Faux book in which the pen resides


Pelikan M800 Demonstrator 2020 Chinese Edition

Manual included with each pen


Pelikan M800 Demonstrator 2020 Chinese Edition

The manual depicts an exploded view of the M800 with the parts labeled


Pelikan M800 Demonstrator 2020 Chinese Edition

A look under the cover reveals the pen


Pelikan M800 Demonstrator 2020 Chinese Edition


Pelikan M800 Demonstrator 2020 Chinese EditionPelikan M800 Demonstrator 2020 Chinese Edition


Pelikan M800 Demonstrator 2002 Chinese Edition

Traditional and simplified Chinese versions of the 2020 M800 Demonstrator side by side


Labeled Attributes of the Etched M800 Demonstrator (English/Spanish/Chinese)
  • Spindle nut / Tuerca del husillo / 旋軸導桿
  • Grip / Empuñadura / 旋鈕
  • Connector / Pieza de unión / 連接器
  • Twist Stopper / Tope de giro / 制止間
  • Spindle / Husillo / 旋軸
  • Piston / Émbolo / 活塞
  • Ink tank / Depósito / 儲墨槽
  • Ink feeder / Alimentador / 導墨器

31 responses

  1. This is a very attractive version of the M800 Demonstrator. I have the silver version without engravings, but the Chinese gold version is rather tempting. I wonder if it will become available outside China? I could see it being a very nice addition to any collection and with an extra fine nib, it would be excellent for writing Chinese characters.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agreed. I doubt that it will become available more widely. This likely will only be available through Chinese outlets. I’m trying to get one with an EF nib but the process of buying from China is a bit convoluted.


      • Joshua,
        Thank you dearly for this alert. Taiwan uses traditional (literally, “complex”) Chinese characters, simplified in the mainland for purely revolutionary, anti-cultural purposes. Might a Taiwanese dealer have these? If you happen upon a source for the traditionally annotated version, please share it.


        • I have the simplified and traditional versions coming to me from China. I had to use a purchasing agent and go through That’s the best way I found to secure these. Still waiting to see if the gamble paid off but I’m fairly confident and the transaction went relatively smoothly.


          • You are remarkably resourceful. I will hope to get to a traditional version. In any case, I look forward one day to visiting the North American Pelikan Museum, Joshua E. Danley DO, owner, curator.


        • If you like to buy the traditional Chinese version, is a really trustworthy online shoping site for pens in Taipei, Taiwan. You can try to reach them on facebook as well. They might offer you a better price, just maybe. Search 小品雅集.


        • The simplified Chinese character is of course NOT for purely revolutionary or anti-cultural purpose as you stated.

          The simplification of Chinese character has been evolving from 221BC, because of the cursive Chinese writing to write faster.

          As a matter fact, Kuomintang, the goverment who escape to Taiwan in 1949, they first started the simplification in 1935.

          If you actually write in Chinese in school or business, you will notice the simplified Chinese is aligned with the curive wiriting which makes the writing much faster and easier.

          Please share the information and correct the wrong idea (that simplified Chinese is anti-culture stuff), these information are wrong and generated on purpose to separate people.


          • Thank you for your comments. It too is my understanding that simplification of the language goes back to thousands of years and in more recent history was undertaken to promote education and literacy. That’s not to say that there haven’t been proponents of abolishing the language in the name of modernization. I’m thinking of the anti-imperialist sentiments of the early 20th century. So while I think there are room for both points of view depending on what time frame and context you are looking, I do think that the majority of the simplification settles around the promotion of business, education, and literacy rather than anti-cultural sentiments.


    • The clear demos, particularly of the larger models, are always neat to see and the cut out in the connector on the original M800 really makes it one of Pelikan’s extra special demonstrators.


  2. I have an M800 Blue Ocean and while I’ve always considered it to be a demo I wonder if that is officially true. Do you know?


      • Thanks. I looked for 15 years and nearly killed myself getting to a keyboard when I saw it listed. Best thing about NOS is after a while you can buy it at cost. I haven’t longed for a pen since.


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  5. Help! I dropped my favorite pen, a transparent green M800 demonstrator, and the barrel broke in two just below where the nib is held. It seems unlikely that I’ll find a match for this limited edition pen but any suggestions would be appreciated.
    I might have to go with a striped barrel in green, just to be able to keep using the pen.
    Thank you.


    • Sorry to hear about your misfortune. Sounds like the section may have come undone from the barrel due to the impact. Is it a clean break? Feel free to send some pics to my email ( These do come up for sale on eBay intermittently. If you are patient, you could probably track down another green demo. It’s a great pen and well worth tracking down.


      • Thank you, Joshua.
        It is a clean break, in that the body broke in two, but it wasn’t a separation of the two parts that are fit together at the factory or would have been an easy repair. I spoke with the Fountain Pen Hospital and they will see if a replacement barrel can be found, there are two transparent green M800 for sale now on Ebay, but I will wait and see if a barrel only can be found before taking a next step.
        I’m not the type to collect without using a great pen, so the damage is what comes with the territory. Using an acrylic cement would restore use of the pen, it’s original value is lost forever unless I find a new barrel.
        What a great pen, though, and I hope to find another M800 not of the special edition type. There’s a beautiful range of designs and I’d love to try a B or BB nib, so will search the ads and maybe attend any pen shows that come up in the SF Bay Area.
        Can you recommend any clubs or shows in the Bay Area or Central/Northern California?

        Thank you,


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