I find it somewhat taxing to consistently review Pelikan’s fountain pens here on the blog, not because they aren’t great pens but because many of them are just variations on a theme. It becomes a challenge to find new things to write about with pens that are essentially unchanged aside from a fresh coat of paint. Consequently, I try to pick my reviews carefully, keeping my selection criteria to new, unique, or especially exciting features and finishes. I’m also hesitant to review pens that a majority of people won’t get to see in real life let alone own. Still, from time to time there comes a new finish so exciting that it just begs to be reviewed. That is the situation I find myself in with this year’s M1000 Raden Green Ray. This release follows the M805 Raden Royal Platinum (2018) and the M800 Raden Royal Gold (2017). The last Raden based off of the M1000 chassis was the Sunrise (2016). The newest entry in the lineup flaunts wide green stripes that reflect a rainbow of shimmering color in good light. We are so accustomed to the pinstriped pattern of Pelikan’s pens that this one cannot help but stand out. The stripes are made all the more impressive when juxtaposed against a background of deep black Japanese Urushi lacquer. The end result is really something to behold but, sadly, only 400 of these special edition M1000s were made. If pens utilizing the Raden technique appeal to you, then this is a must own Pelikan. Unfortunately, high pricing and limited production will keep this out of the hands of most so read on if for nothing more than to enjoy the eye candy.
Appearance & Design (10/10) – There is a whole lot of shimmer thanks to the extra broad stripes
The Raden Green Ray comes with Pelikan’s standard packaging for special editions of this nature which is not insignificant. There are two plain cardboard boxes that give way to a third box gilded with gold foil. Open that and you’ll find a brochure and warranty card along with what Pelikan bills as a traditional Japanese gift box made of Paulownia wood. I’ve previously likened the experience of unboxing one of these to opening a Christmas present and that analogy still applies here. Remove the wooden lid and you find a satin cradle holding the Raden Green Ray in place. Once in hand, it’s not so much the colors that grab you but rather the amount of color there is to behold. That is thanks in large part to the wide stripes, much wider than previously employed by the company. The colorful lines on the Green Ray have a width of 2.6mm compared with just 1.0mm for other pens in the Raden series such as the Sunrise. The stripes are made from finely ground green mother of pearl harvested from Australian abalone. These give the pen a predominant blue-green appearance accentuated by a shimmering rainbow of color when seen in the proper light. To me, the look is reminiscent of 2011’s M1000 Raden Moonlight, just with broader striations. The Urushi lacquer definitely bulks this M1000 up as I’ll outline in more detail below. Suffice it to say, there is a noticeable step where the stripes begin/end, most prominent at the ink window. Each model is individually numbered at the top of the cap and signed on the barrel by the artist with the Maki-e technique. Many of the past Raden releases have been done by the artist group Hoshukai which continues to be the case here. The furniture is gold plated and includes; a cap top sporting the company’s single chick logo, two cap bands, two trim rings at the piston knob, a trim ring at the section, and the standard beak clip. The cap band bears the inscription “Pelikan Souverän Germany.” The ink view window has a very dark green tint and all of the pens come equipped with Pelikan’s standard two-toned 18C-750 gold nib in medium width.
Construction & Quality (9.5/10) – A perfect marriage between exquisite artistry and quality craftsmanship
The Green Ray is built off of the M1000 chassis which serves as the base therefore all of the internal workings are the standard fare for that series. You get Pelikan’s differential piston filling mechanism characterized by the high quality craftsmanship the company is known for. The M1000 is a large pen and feels very solid in the hand. All of the pieces come together well and the piston knob snugs securely against the barrel when not in use. The appearance is very polished and the artistry employed to bring this one to life is front and center. If any small qualm could be pointed out, it would be the presence of the trim ring at the section, an issue that I’ve outlined in other reviews. This is nothing unique to the Green Ray but it does impart a small weakness, namely running the risk of plating loss and rusting, particularly if used with caustic inks. With good pen hygiene, I would regard this as a non-issue, particularly as this pen is not likely to see regular service as a daily writer. The cap posts securely but given the size of this pen, I would refrain from doing so as it gets a bit unwieldy and posting risks marring the finish. The Green Ray certainly seems durable enough to fare well with everyday use should you prefer to put it into regular service.
Weight & Dimensions (9/10) – An oversized pen with a bit more girth than the standard M1000
Since the Green Ray is based off of the M1000, it is a large and weighty pen. Despite its large size, it’s not at all uncomfortable to write with though it certainly could be a challenge for those with smaller hands. The layers of Urushi lacquer noticeably bulk up the pen. A standard M1000 barrel has a uniform diameter of 0.56 inches. The Green Ray’s barrel has a bit of a taper ranging from 0.55 inches near the piston knob and tops out at 0.60 inches at its widest. The extra width results in an obvious step where the barrel meets the ink window. The size difference is very noticeable next to other M1000s but is difficult to capture in photographs. The Green Ray’s other measurements include a capped length of 5.76 inches and a posted length of 7.01 inches. Thanks to the brass piston assembly, this one weighs in at 1.23 ounces. The large size of the M1000 makes it better suited as a desk pen than regular carry but that is a personal preference. Despite its size, it is able to fit well in many pen cases should you with to travel with it.
Nib & Performance (9/10) – One of the most expressive nibs in Pelikan’s modern line-up
The Raden Green Ray comes equipped with Pelikan’s standard two-toned 18C-750 gold nib in a medium width. Of course, the pen will accept any M1xxx nib should you wish to swap in something more to your taste. While the medium nib is nothing fancy, it’s so large that it has a wonderful amount of spring which makes it one of the most expressive and enjoyable writers in Pelikan’s stable. The line the Green Ray puts down is a very generous and wet one which is well paired with the company’s typical feed which does an excellent job of resisting drying out. The Raden Green Ray’s strong, reliable performance marries well with its beauty.
Filling System & Maintenance (10/10) – Easily accomplished maintenance makes this pen unstoppable
This Raden M1000 comes with a removable piston assembly and nib which makes the pen very easy to maintain. That said, removal of the piston assembly should never be undertaken as part of routine maintenance. Pelikan’s piston filling system continues to rival or best its competitors. The piston easily travels the length of the barrel and quickly fills the pen to around 1.35mL. Maintenance is accomplished by removing the nib and applying the tiniest drop of pure silicone grease which is an infrequent occurrence depending on your usage and maintenance habits. The lacquer on the exterior finish of the pen looks durable meaning that the pen should be able to continue to looks its best with minimal intervention.
Cost & Value (8/10) – This one will be highly sought after and likely to retain its value
The Raden Green Ray is a very limited edition with only 400 pens available worldwide. The Raden series of pens are always highly sought after by collectors meaning that these pens command a hefty price, made even more extravagant here as the M1000 is Pelikan’s flagship model. The U.S. MSRP is $3,900 meaning domestic retailers are selling this one for $3,120 when you factor in the 20% discount off MSRP. The price is somewhat better when shopping overseas with this one coming in at €1,932 (~$2,117.43) when you exclude the VAT. While that’s roughly $1000 cheaper, it still makes the price of the Green Ray a tough pill to swallow. This Raden model combines beauty, performance, and reliability in a large package but it is clearly meant as a luxury item for a very upscale market. The limited availability, stunning artistry, and general demand for this one will likely allow the M1000 Raden Green Ray to hold its value if not appreciate in the future.
Conclusion – One of the more captivating Raden releases seen to date
M1000 Raden Green Ray: 55.5/60 or 93%
The Raden Green Ray is one of the most unique releases that we have seen in some time. The broad stripes really take full advantage of the reflective properties of the abalone and give this model a very unique look that allows it to stand out in Pelikan’s pantheon. Since this is an M1000, the nib is also one of the most expressive in Pelikan’s modern lineup. While very limited in availability and incredibly pricey, those things are to be expected from a special edition such as this therefore I tend to give it more of a pass than with other overpriced limited editions. This pen could easily be a grail for many and would serve as one of the highlights of any collection. If I could have only one Pelikan, it would undoubtedly be a Toledo. If you allowed me to have just one other (and please don’t limit me like that) then the Green Ray would make the short list, it’s that beautiful.
A Look At The Pelikan M1000 Raden Green Ray
*The pen utilized for this review is my own from my personal collection and therefore the opinions expressed are also mine and free of any undue influence.