Thinking back to the good old days of 2010, many of you may recall the birth of the Classic yellow M205 DUO Highlighter. This was a special edition product which merged a fountain pen with a highlighter, hence the name DUO. In essence, you could highlight text with the double broad nib using a special ink but also jot notes at the same time. In 2011, the design went on to win several awards including the ISPA Award at Paperworld, the IF Product Design Award, and the Red Dot Award. The DUO came packaged in an attractive gift box that included a bottle of yellow highlighter ink. In 2013, a green version was released based on the same premise. The product’s accolades derived from taking two long held standard-bearers of the analog world and combining them in an innovative way. The end result was a reusable product that cut waste making for a pen that reportedly sold quite well in markets like Germany thanks to its reduced ecological impact. It seems that Pelikan has decided to resurrect this model but in a distinctly different hue. This past Thursday, notice of a new M205 DUO highlighter quietly dropped thanks to Fritz Schimpf and Pen Chalet. Expected to be available sometime in mid to late October, the new DUO looks to have a more neon appearance than its predecessor. Read on as I attempt to highlight all of the pertinent details surrounding this new model.
The original M205 DUO Highlighter in yellow was just that, yellow. It was a demonstrator in a color reminiscent of your typical BiC Brite Liner. The M205 is traditionally equipped with chromium plated trim and the DUO is no exception. In the case of the original, that included a single trim ring at the piston knob, a single cap band, a beak clip, and a crown shaped clip nut at the cap top. The pen’s business end came equipped with an un-plated stainless steel nib in a double broad (BB) width. As far as I can ascertain, the new model is distinctly different in only two ways. First and perhaps most noticeable is that the color, while I would still call it yellow, skews much more fluorescent neon with what appears to be a greenish cast. If I didn’t know better, I would say that this product was a mixture of the green and yellow resins used for the prior models. The other obvious difference is the crown shaped clip nut at the top of the cap. This new version has an un-plated black plastic piece. My suspicion is that this aesthetic choice may have been dictated by the availability of materials, the lack of which we saw affect the M205 Petrol-Marbled’s final appearance.
It has been eleven years since the original dropped and it’s my understanding that this resurrection has been on the drawing board for a while now. As far as pricing goes, Fritz Schimpf lists it with an RRP of €165 which equates to a retail of €132.00. That means those of us in the USA can pick one up from EU vendors for around $110.92 when the VAT is excluded. Pen Chalet has the new model listed with an MSRP of $280 and a retail price of $224 which is not surprising given the large disparity in pricing for Pelikan’s pens in the US market. I would anticipate that, like the models that came before, this new highlighter will be bundled in special packaging that includes a bottle of highlighter ink.
Pelikan’s M205 DUO Yellow highlighters compared. On top is the original version from 2010 and below is the newest 2021 release. Note the difference in color and ornamentation
Personally, I find this shade of lemon-lime green a bit off putting and prefer the more golden yellow look of the previous model. Of course, we should all withhold judgement until some real world photographs surface. In my own use case, I found these pens quite helpful when studying during my residency and fellowship and appreciated the novelty of being able to highlight and notate text simultaneously. Would I write an essay with one of these as outfitted, no, but it is very useful for its intended purpose. What do you think of the new DUO highlighter? Is this one sure to find a spot in your flock or is it a little too lack luster to gin up that new pen excitement? Let me know in the comments below.