Pelikan International’s 2020 Annual Report provided a forecast regarding what we should expect this year out of Hannover, and it has been spot on thus far. Tucked away on page 13 was the statement, “For 2021, we will continue the tradition of reinventing the popular designs with new materials and colours, though we plan to concentrate on less product launches as we cautiously move forward in the market.” It is already August and all we’ve seen come to market thus far has been the M205 Petrol-Marbled, M1000 Maki-e Seven Treasures, and the M605 Green-White. In 2019, prior to the pandemic, we already had nine new models by this point in the year and seven the year before that. Not only is the company sticking with a strategy of fewer releases, they are also embracing the rehash of popular designs with new colors. Late last evening, vendors broke news of the next release due out. This time we have the M1000 Raden White Ray, a re-imagining of 2020’s Green Ray, which is just the latest addition to a growing line of limited edition Raden releases. It will join the likes of past M1xxx Raden models which includes the Moonlight (2011), Sunlight (2013), Starlight (2014), Sunrise (2016), and Green Ray (2020). For those that don’t know, Raden is a traditional Japanese art form used to embellish lacquer ware and woodwork. Small pieces of shimmering abalone shell are utilized in the creation of unique, handcrafted designs. A Urushi lacquer is applied to the barrel and cap before strips of abalone shell are laid down after which a final layer of lacquer is applied to seal everything in place. Each pen is signed by the artist and hand numbered using the Maki-e technique. Just like the Green Ray, this will be a limited edition run of only 400 pieces worldwide. Availability is anticipated for some time in September 2021.
The Raden Green Ray featured colorful pieces of pearlescent Australian abalone shell reflecting hues of green, blue, and purple. The stripes of the Raden White Ray are comprised of particles of white mother of pearl. The mother of pearl stripes reflects more subtle hues of pinks and bluish greens based on the promotional photos. These appear to be laid out on a black resin base which provides some much-needed contrast to accentuate the colors. Accents include a black resin section and piston knob along with the standard gold-plated furniture of the Souverän featuring two trim rings at the piston knob, two cap bands, and a single trim ring at the section. A beak clip draws your eye to the cap top which sports a gold-plated rendition of Pelikan’s single chick logo. The ink view window sits behind the section and is once again done in a dark green tint. As is standard with releases of this type, every White Ray will come equipped with a two-tone 18C-750 gold nib in a medium width though will remain compatible with any M1xxx nib that you might prefer to install. As has been company tradition, these come packaged in a traditional Japanese gift box made of Paulownia wood.
With only 400 pieces produced, availability will be limited. Due to the scarcity and level of artistry involved in the embellishment of Pelikan’s flag ship fountain pen, the price is commensurately high. I have seen some European vendors list this one at €2,340.00 ($2,740.34). US pricing is not immediately available but, as a frame of reference, the Green Ray had a US MSRP of $3,900 and retailed in the neighborhood of $3,120. I would expect the White Ray to go for more based on recent trends, perhaps much more, putting this one out of reach for most.
The White Ray is a pretty pen and I really do like these broad pearlescent stripes first pioneered by the Green Ray. I always reserve final judgement until I have had the opportunity to see real world photos but this one does not grab me like the Green Ray does. The colors on this one seem more subtle and subdued in comparison. That is not a bad thing, but I think this one may appeal to those who prefer a gentler, softer look to their pens for lack of a better description. I know that many who have been holding out hopes for an M8xx release may be disappointed by this one. After all, we haven’t seen an M800 model since 2019’s Brown-Black. Still, we can make the best of it and enjoy the releases that we do get, even if it’s only looking from afar. If money were no object, would the M1000 Raden White Ray find a place in your flock? What do you think of this design compared with last year’s Raden release?