It can be quite frustrating when you finally decide upon buying a certain pen only to find that it is not just out of stock with your preferred vendor but others as well. Such has been the case for perhaps the last six months for those in the market for a new Pelikan M800 or M1000 for instance. Vendors have consistently been frustrated by estimated delivery schedules that seem to be constantly pushed back. That’s not to say that some models aren’t making it out into circulation. Special editions such as the M600 Tortoiseshell-Red and the M205 Petrol-Marbled have found their way into retail channels and consumer’s hands. As I first reported in August of last year when discussing COVID-19’s impact on Pelikan’s operations, the global supply chain continues to feel the ramifications brought about by the coronavirus pandemic which is still infecting people across the globe. This has hindered Pelikan from receiving certain materials necessary for their manufacturing in a timely manner while also disrupting the company’s ability to deliver its finished goods to their distribution partners effectively. Last year, Pelikan’s Global Marketing Manager for Fine Writing Instruments, Jens Meyer, was optimistic that most issues would be hammered out by the fourth quarter of 2020. In saying that, he also conceded that, for some select products, it might take a little bit longer to end the backlog, particularly with Pelikan’s standard assortment. Since that backlog has now persisted through the first quarter of 2021, I reached back out to see where the company stood. Read on to see just how he responded to that line of questioning.
Jens has a long history with Pelikan, working for the company over the last 20 years in various roles, all culminating in his current position of leadership. Is it the pandemic that remains the source of blame for the persistent backlog or is something else afoot at Pelikan? Vendors have been offered little in the way of official explanation leading some to question whether other factors may be at play. The statement provided to me from Jens is as follows;
“There have been many factors causing difficulties in the manufacture of several Pelikan fine writing series. The unprecedented supply chain disruption caused by COVID-19 has caused many challenges in the manufacture of our Pelikan products. Pelikan fortunately was able to deliver 6 new models during this time including the M200 Pastel Green, M1000 Raden Green Ray, Maki-e Kingfisher, M205 Moonstone, M405 Silver-White, and the M600 Tortoiseshell-Red. Like most manufacturers, Pelikan has incurred the challenges of both factory shutdowns and lack of our skilled workers availability. The good news is, that the majority of the backlog is currently in manufacturing and will be gradually shipped to distributors. The remaining backlog will be manufactured and shipped in May and June (2021). By end of June we will be caught up and in stock of all Pelikan models.”
For those that have been frustrated by the current lack of inventory, it looks like relief is promised by the end of June barring any unforeseen circumstances. Hopefully Pelikan will be able to get back on track just as they anticipate doing.
In addition to the lack of availability of some models within their standard assortment, there have also been a few changes that have recently come to light that are worth mentioning as well. First announced in January of this year, Golden Beryl, the eighteenth gemstone inspired ink in the Edelstein line-up and the tenth Ink of the Year, was originally slated for an April 2021 release. That has now been pushed back one month with shipping anticipated to begin May 17th. No explanation has been provided for the delay. Golden Beryl has been highly anticipated as it is the first ever shimmering ink to come to the Edelstein line, so any delay is disappointing. Still, those who have been wondering when it will actually drop can take heart in the fact that we are only a month away at this point provided there are no additional delays.
Finally, Pelikan did a public mea culpa today. The M205 Petrol-Marbled announced at the end of last month just started shipping out to consumers this week. In the pre-release photos that accompanied the original announcement, the crown nut on the cap top was depicted as being plated in chromium. This is not uncommon for Pelikan’s newer M2xx releases and looked quite nice. This is also how all of Pelikan’s authorized vendors have the pen appearing in the advertisements on their sites. It seems that this was not the correct cap top after all and that the shipped version of the pen will have just a “satined black ring” at the cap top. The official update reads;
“Dear all! We needed to correct the pictures of this beautiful series: Unfortunately we communicated pictures that do not show the right ring at the cap top. The correct version has a satined black ring at the cap top. Please excuse the inconveniences caused. We were so focused on the beautiful marbled material.”
It is a bit disappointing that this mistake was only identified/admitted to after pens have already started shipping. Hopefully the change is not enough of a deal breaker to have anyone cancel or return their orders. As far as aesthetics go, I liked it better with the chromium plated ring but that’s just my personal taste. As I await my own pen to be delivered, I suspect that the uniformity of the marbling has the potential to be a bigger issue than a small amount of plated trim.
I hope that these small updates help to keep you informed of the most current developments at Pelikan, at least so far as the company is willing to share. I expect that, as the backlog of standard models gets cleared, we’ll be seeing more special editions released, predominantly in the second half of the year so keep an eye on this blog for the latest news brought to you as soon as it becomes available.