News: Souveräns Go From Translucent To Opaque

Pelikan M800 Souveráns

The Transparent Pelikan Fountain Pen came into the world in 1929. One of its most prominent and touted features was a large, transparent ink view chamber. It certainly was a trait that added a lot of convenience and value for the consumer who was able to quickly and easily gauge the amount of ink remaining in their pen. It became a hallmark of sorts for the brand and their writing instruments. As pen designs changed over the ensuing decades, the ink view, in one form or another, seemed to remain steadfast. In modern times, many special and limited editions have eschewed the ink view in favor of form over function, but those pens were special, and their transgressions easily forgiven. The heart of the brand, the lauded core Souverän line never gave in to such temptation. Now, forty years after the M400 was introduced to the world, the Souverän gets what is arguably its most impactful design change to date. Sure, there was a major revision of the trim in 1997 and they kicked a bird out of the nest in 2003, even going so far as to guild the cap top in 2010. To me, all of those changes pale in comparison to this newest alteration, the elimination of the barrel’s translucency. Have I gotten your attention yet? Read on to find out what this means for the future of the Souverän line.

Pelikan Souverän

A quick review of physics. Opaque, translucent, and transparent refer to how certain objects let visible light pass through them

Since the introduction of the M400 in 1982, the striped barrels that comprise Pelikan’s core lines have always demonstrated a translucency in the cellulose acetate between the colored stripes. This has been true for the Black-Green, Black-Blue, and Black-Red. I describe the material as translucent because it allows some, but not all, light to pass through it. Others might say that the material is semi-transparent. Semantics aside, it was an incredibly clever and eloquent solution to the ink view dilemma, the perfect union between form and function. For the past forty years, holding a standard Souverän up to the light allowed one to peer between the colored stripes and easily gauge if the pen needed to be filled or was good to go for the day. It was a well-received feature that honored the heritage of the brand and their pens. I would venture that the construction has since become a de facto expectation of the Souverän design. Pen Chalet, a fountain pen retailer out of the USA, appears to be the first to have informed us via a thread on Reddit that this barrel translucency will cease to exist. Pelikan is changing the material that comprises the striped cellulose acetate resulting in the now transparent portions becoming opaque. You may have already glimpsed this if you have had any experience handling some of the company’s recent special editions or their Souverän rollerballs, ballpoints, and pencils which already employ this look.

Pelikan Black-Green M600 Souverän circa 2003-2010

A Pelikan Black-Green M600 Souverän circa 2003-2010. Note the translucency between the green stripes which has provided a means for viewing ink levels over the past 40 years

According to Pen Chalet and others, the change has already come to all new production of the Black-Green and Stresemann models. The changes will soon roll out to the Black-Blue and Black-Red, expected within the coming weeks to months. This means that the forthcoming M800 Black-Red will be without an ink view, a major distinction between current and past models. What all of this means is that none of the striped Souveräns will feature an ink view of any sort. The barrels will be opaque a la the M800 Brown-Black from 2019 or the M605 Green-White from 2021. Going forwards, there will be no easy way to gauge the remaining ink in the pen though those in the know tell me that, when held against a strong light, one can kind of, sort of still see the level of ink remaining in the pen. That’s not a raging endorsement but if there is any consolation here, it’s that there won’t be any changes to the baseline pricing of these models despite the change in manufacturing methods and materials. Why this is coming about likely says more about the current climate we find ourselves in than any inherent philosophical changes at the company. Pelikan themselves cite “technical reasons” but for quite some time now, we know that Pelikan has faced significant back orders and have struggled to get their products onto store shelves. This is a multifactorial problem but much of it owes to an inability to get the materials necessary for the manufacturing process since the arrival of COVID. The new design may draw from materials that are more readily available thereby allowing the company to increase production, raise inventory, and reduce backorders. I suspect that it is less motivated by cost savings on the manufacturing side but that might play into it as well. That is all supposition on my part, but it seems reasonable none-the-less. I guess a blind Pelikan is better than no Pelikan at all? For their part, Pelikan is trying to spin the change as a positive stating, “The fact that we will use from now on the same material for fountain pen barrels and upper parts of ballpoint pens/pencils and barrels of rollerballs, will assure the sets of fountain pen with ballpoint pen, pencil and rollerball will now match.”

Pelikan Brown-Black M800 Souverän (2019)

A Pelikan Brown-Black M800 Souverän (2019). The space between the brown stripes is opaque and does not allow for easy viewing of the ink level

Pretty thin stuff if you ask me. Personally, I am saddened to see this change come about. The semi-transparency has been a defining and oft relied on feature for me. I see this as closing the door on a heritage and while I’m open to innovation, this seems reactive to market pressures rather than anything desired by or beneficial for consumers. It strikes me as the type of decision that comes from an executive rather than a dedicated fountain pen user. Still, a business must run and if they cannot get units onto the shelves, then barrel transparency might be the least of the brand’s worries. I do think that this move will create two levels of Souverän desirability. Just as there are those that seek out the old PF and EN nibs, I’m sure there will be those that seek out the pre-2022 Souveräns with equal gusto. What are your thoughts on this change? Will it affect your purchasing habits in the future? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Pelikan Green-White M605 Souverän (2021)

A Pelikan Green-White M605 Souverän (2021). Like the Brown-Black M800, there is no translucency between the green stripes. This is the future of the Souverän line

122 responses

  1. This is extremely disappointing news. To me the transparent stripes are synonymous with ‘Pelikan’ and one of the traits that drew me to the brand ten years ago. I gave Pelikan the benefit of the doubt with their pastel line, but I was surprised when the red tortoise was non transparent and can’t imagine wanting to buy their stripes models in the future if they are all non-transparent. 😦 This is a cost-cutting measure that in my opinion destroys the brand.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If not the brand, it puts a lot of the company’s heritage on life support in my view. It reminds me of Apple getting rid of headphone jacks and USB ports only to bring them back years later once they realized they were mistaken.

      Liked by 3 people

    • I have a Souveran I bought second hand several months ago, one which I believe saw some months of use. I didn’t know this feature existed until now, but it is a feature I am sad to see go. I quite like pens with ink viewing capacities but always wished they were more subtle. Little did I know the Souveran had an ink view so subtle I never noticed. It is sad that this will be phased out. I hope it becomes an option again in the future, if not for the whole Souveran line then hopefully some model lines like the M1000 or specific colors.

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      • Also, any thoughts on what seems to be a delay on Apatite? Do you think there will be a pen alongside that ink, or is Pelikan too swarmed with other supply chain issues to do anything but the ink?

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        • The supply chain continues to lumber along. Most things seem to be coming later than promised. Pelikan can’t seem to overcome that. I don’t know how much of it is on their side versus how much is out of their control. I have not heard of a special edition pen to match the ink for this year but I also don’t expect them to break with the tradition at this point. Anything can happen these days though. I’ll report on it as soon as I hear anything.

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          • Thanks for any updates on the Apatite. I’ve heard it will start being sold in Germany this week. Hopefully May brings it as we wait patiently from what we thought was March. I’ve been checking in with Cult also here and there.

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  2. No more translucent stripes??? This is not Pelikan. Such a shape to through this heritage to the rubbish :(. Glad that I have Pelikan pens with translucent stripes. They will become precious now.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is horrible news! I’ve had an M805 Stresemann on backorder since November as a grail purchase, but now I’m tempted to cancel the order if the barrel is going to be opaque. I’ve been having a hard enough time seeing the ink level on my 2016 M400 Tortoise Shell Brown. Thank you for the news, nevertheless!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ditto…I’ve had a M600 Black/Red on order from Appelboom since the beginning of November and, given the change in design/construction, I am now concerned and considering canceling the order if they can’t provide the translucent version.

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    • I would definitely check with the vendor to find out what they will be able to fill for you before shipping. This delay is what I presume this change is in response to.

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  4. Such a shame! I’d understand if it were a temporary measure due to the supply chain, but a definitive change? I believe this will be a disastrous decision.
    Despite being a hard core Pelikan fan, I wouldn’t buy another of their stripped models and the SE would have to be very, very good to get my money if I can’t see the ink level.
    Thanks for the news!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, I seem to be a bit of an outlier here. I’m not a fan of anything transparent; I can never see properly through the so-called translucent parts anyway. The change means next to nothing to me as a fan of the brand, unless it alters the price for what I already consider to be an over-priced, albeit superior, range of pens. In fact, I’m quite keen to experience one of the newer designs now that I’ve read about them. Thank you once again Joshua!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Well on the plus side, I guess it will increase the value of the many transparent Souverans I own. It’s hard to understand why they couldn’t have included an ink window. I guess it might cost a little more to manufacture but Narwahl manages to do it for $60. Of course that’s a steel nib but even with a gold one it would be under $150. We all have to adapt but I’m afraid luxury brands like Pelikan may not know how to adapt.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Ohhh my…i just purchased an M400 White Tortoise. It’s on backorder. I will be very disappointed if the pen arrives opaque.

    This decision by Pelikan befuddles me. They’ve removed the best feature (arguably). This might be enough to have me seeking only pre 2022 Souverans from now.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pelikan is showing a remarkable lack of good management here. They’ve already slowed down introducing new models to the point where I haven’t been looking to them at all when I want something new and fresh. And now they’re getting rid of what is one of the absolute best features on their pens. I’m just glad I have lots of older models. I definitely DO NOT want an opaque model. Function must be equal to form for me to be interested in any product.

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  9. Sad to see. But they’re stuck. Either change or no more fountain pens. I wish they’d announce they’d return to transparent when supplies exist. Some manufacturers are waiting two years for supplies. Please, PELIKAN make this temporary!

    Liked by 2 people

    • It is a rock and a hard place, for sure. While I would hope this would be a transient change, I have a feeling that it won’t be. But, I think that you are right, it may be this or no pens at all.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. I’m sorry to hear about this change as I think most want to be able to see ink status in there pens. I think it will be a net minus for the company and a net minus for Pelikan buying public. Transparency matters to pen buyers

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I understand the reasons you lay out for the change, but it is still a shame. The opaque barrel is the reason I forego getting a Stresseman model, and will likely not purchase a new pen at this time.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’ve always maintained that more ships have sunk due to accountants saving a few pence here and there than by bad captains.
    I hope Pelikan isn’t going to go the same way.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – March 6, 2022 | Fountain Pen Quest

  14. I’m also disappointed in the change. It might help if Pelikan would be more forthcoming about the reasons behind it. COVID has made all aspects of life more difficult; I could see the lack of translucency, if temporary, making pens manufactured during the pandemic historical markers of an horrific span of time in our collective experience. The smart move would have been to reach out to the Pelikan community for suggestions and support.

    Thanks again, Joshua, for keeping us informed. May I ask how you’re holding up? I hope you are getting some room to breathe with Omicron receding.

    Ruth

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, the most that they cited were “technical reasons.” I think this will be poorly received by the community and go down as a very unpopular move. Sadly, I don’t expect them to reverse course even if this was unpopular unless sales were really to tank because of it.

      COVID is low but volumes and acuity are high. Seeing the effects of a lot of people putting their health off for years. It remains a crushing scenario made all the worse by a huge loss of staff who can no longer go on day to day under the weight of the current grind. My outlook is no better as the challenges in healthcare today remain daunting. This is why you see relatively few post from me these days. Thank you for asking though.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I feel for your professional life, take care. I have worked solidly on epidemiological data analysis since February/March of 2020, and there has been no let-up. This has been in close partnership with, local and international clinicians, and I have seen them suffer greatly under pressure of work and the unavoidable personal cost that can bring. Take care, thank you for ALL of your efforts, and may there be plenty of pressure-free relaxation in the months ahead!

        Liked by 1 person

  15. This is very disappointing indeed. I’m glad I got my Stresemann before the change. I guess I’ll be seeking a Black-Blue in the vintage trays at pen shows now. I wonder whether the Pelikan Hubs could mount a protest?

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I had the opportunity to visit twice Pelikan’s factory. On the first one they explained me that due to the nature of the material it was impossible to use more than 10 % of the material for the barrel and the rest was scrap. That really impressed me and make me a fan of the brand.
    People, particularly Montblanc lovers, gets surprised when you show them the translucent capability.
    One solution can be a window just as the solid model but it seems that cost is driving everything.
    Now, with this change, there is no way I am going to buy a new model.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I do like the transparency in my vintage brown tortoise. I noticed when I changed from one brown ink to another, a change in the barrel color. Quite cool.

    We can hope that this might be like New Coke, and Pelikan goes back to the transparency. It’s not impossible, could take years to happen.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Disappointing enough to not buy the red stripe when it comes back. I have a blue 800 and a green 1000 so that’s probably it for me for anything new as I rely day to day on ink levels. Many of their pens are solid in color so you won’t know, like the burnt orange 800 and then there’s been an 800 demonstrator which is clear (no pun intended). The current U.S. prices are crazy compared to what I paid for the ones I have. Another issue vs. buying abroad.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I would really like to understand the factors that went into this decision. “Technical reasons” is a meaningless non-answer. Shame on Pelikan! Understanding why such a decision was made goes a long way to accepting it. Supply chain issues I understand. Controlling material costs I understand. Crippling (over) regulation of complex chemical processes and materials involved in producing things like celluloid acetates and acrylics I understand. So tell us the reason!

    As mentioned in the article, the translucent stripes in the barrel is a significant feature, and one apparently many people appreciate. To eliminate it without a good reason and/or explanation doesn’t reflect well on the brand. I find the description of the change as an improvement (better match with the ballpoint, really?) rather condescending.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree that a heart felt missive to the pen community would have been well received but that has yet to occur. There are likely many “good” reasons for such a transition but we may never know what they were. I agree, the matching statement was quite weak and no consolation whatsoever. Seems like a very “Let them eat cake” moment.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Your review could not come at a better time. I have a Stresemann which I kept trying to compare to the regular ink windows, and I was quite disappointed as it was quite abstract and not comparable to the window.
    Now eliminating any kind of gauge to a piston filler is a very bad idea, which is a crucial element of Pelikan’s functional appeal. One that I always praised Pelikan over other brands, where unless they were cartridge filler, I would no longer purchase windowless piston fillers.

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    • I too would sing there praises of Pelikan and the ink view was at the top of the list. Now, one less thing to be able praise the company and their product for.

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  21. I rather fear that this change abandoning the translucent stripes for an opaque barrel is a sign of a pen manufacturer ‘going downhill’. Pelikan is a brand with a fantastic reputation for quality, but it faces real competition from Japanese and Italian makers: it cannot commercially ‘cut corners’ on quality like this. For it to decide to abandon one of its unique selling points is tragic and bodes very ill for the future of Pelikan.
    I am fortunate in having a very large number of Pelikan 800s and 600s, many with translucent stripes etc. I would be very reluctant to buy more Pelikan models in future, having found the Red Tortoise beautiful in appearance but irritating for its lack of ink window or transparency. That said, if I put my IPhone light right onto the barrel I can make out the level of inks, but that is hardly a ‘solution’.
    I can only hope the quality of the famously wonderful Pelikan nibs won’t be similarly degraded. That would be the end of Pelikans for me.
    Perhaps the management in Hannover do look at the reaction of Pelikan fans, like on this website. I hope they do, because it seems to be the case that the new design is being universally rejected by customers…

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    • I fear the same but also see this as a move to salvage a declining business situation. Hopefully its for the best in the long run, even if consumers are on the losing end. The nibs are already shadows of their former selves so that is hard to argue. Worsening quality would really take away any redeeming properties. At least they are reliable in their current form. The only way the business will take notice is if this change negatively impacts sales.

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      • Just curious . . . how are the nibs a shadow of their former selves? I have a 90s-era M800 and was looking at purchasing, perhaps, a 600. But if the nibs are inferior, maybe I won’t. Thanks.

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        • I wouldn’t say “inferior.” The vintage nibs from the 1930s-1960s are the best of Pelikan’s nib offerings. They have character and spring and really make the writing enjoyable. The 1980s and 1990s still saw good nibs but not quite as nice as the vintage offerings. The last 20 years or so has favored much stiffer nibs with more blobby tipping, lacking anything in the way of character. They are dependable, don’t get me wrong. They do what is asked of them and when but they don’t have the same qualities that the older nibs do that really made them something special. That’s why, in my mind, I separate nibs into early-mid twentieth century, late twentieth century, and twenty-first century. For me, the older nibs are the most desirable hence anything of more recent vintage I feel comfortable as labeling “a shadow of their former selves.” Still dependable but a whole lot less interesting. Hope that helps.

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          • Thank you so much for your highly detailed response. Very informative and is making me reconsider whether I want to go 21st century, late 20th, or really vintage for my next Pelikan. Thanks again. Harry Lew

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  22. That places a big question mark next to the green and black M1000 on my list of grail pens. Opaque stripes don’t appeal to me, and many commenters in this thread appear to feel the same way. I regret not acting earlier, but I’m glad of the two older striped M800s I do have. Now I have one more thing to look for at pen shows, though I imagine Pelikan’s fundamental design change will make older M1000s more valuable.

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    • I expect that there is enough old stock out there that we will still be able to find the translucent models though it might take more work and cost a bit of a premium.

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  23. We could just view it as another model rather than a Souverän. But its market reaction is unknown. However the fact that built-in piston fillers need windows or someway to tell if there is still ink inside is apparent and necessary, unless it turns to become a converter.

    Or is the decision maker a fountain pen user?

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    • I think the decision maker was first and foremost a business person and I guess utility is first up on the chopping block when dollars a cents are a priority.

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  24. Thanks for keeping us all informed of trends in the world of Pelikan. This news helped me to finally pull the trigger on an M800 black–green–gold that I had been wanting to add to my collection. As someone who has never had a Pelikan (yet), the aesthetic was part of the reason why I wanted to add an M800 to my collection.

    As all my other piston fillers are Lamy 2000s, I appreciate having the ability to check the ink level in a subtle manner. I now just need to wait for my pen to arrive as I had to do a bit of hunting to find it.

    As an aside, I’m quite excited to get my Pelikan—I am getting a medium as my daily drivers are on the finer side and I want something to burn through the ink, fitting, I feel, for such an impressive pen.

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  25. Add me to the list of pen collectors and users who are not interested in striped Pelikan pens that are opaque. Being able to see the ink level in a piston-filling pen is a huge plus and means that I almost always have my M800 black and blue striped Pelikan inked. I had hoped to add an iconic green model, but now will have to join others in hunting for a used one. No doubt the prices on pre-owned Pelikan will rise.

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    • I also expect these older Pelikans to become more desirable and sought after and, unfortunately, more costly on the secondary market. Guess time will tell.

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  26. I have some high-end “vintage” Souverän fountain pens. I consider the ability to see the ink level fundamental to the line. Bad move – from now on, no new Pelikan pens for me. The incredibly steep price increases were still not enough to drive me away. But this change is too much.

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    • I have been of the belief that Pelikan would eventually price themselves out of the market based on the ever increasing prices asked. Never occurred to me that they’d end up turning people away, not because of price, but for lack of utility in their product.

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  27. “Why this is coming about likely says more about the current climate we find ourselves in than any inherent philosophical changes at the company. Pelikan themselves cite “technical reasons” but for quite some time now, we know that Pelikan has faced significant back orders and have struggled to get their products onto store shelves. This is a multifactorial problem but much of it owes to an inability to get the materials necessary for the manufacturing process since the arrival of COVID. The new design may draw from materials that are more readily available thereby allowing the company to increase production, raise inventory, and reduce backorders.”

    Raw material availability when it comes to cellulose acetate [1] is a non issue – if in-fact the barrel material is actually cellulose acetate, which I find questionable. Cellulose acetate is cheap and prolific in Asia, especially South Asia (e.g., India & Pakistan). The finely crafted barrels using alternating striations are somewhat unique, but the construction of these barrels in modern times, even in mid-to-low volumes is easily automated, especially given the low raw material cost versus the very high-end product price. To me it seems there is something else going on here. Given what I have already said, I lean toward simple greed to explain this change. But if isn’t just greed driving this, then there is nothing to blame but mismanagement – or maybe a mix of the two: greed + mismanagement.

    1. Cellulose Acetate

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cellulose_acetate

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    • Even if there is something else afoot, it is unlikely that we will ever know about it. This certainly wouldn’t be the first time that Pelikan was not forthcoming about the actual reasons behind changes like this, instead choosing to put forward some fluff.

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  28. As I recall from a visit to the factory several years ago (I don’t think I’m telling tales out of school here), the core of the pen was a transparent barrel, and all of the decoration such as stripes, swirls, and solid colors came from a single sheet wrapped around the pen and carefully joined to minimize the visibility of the seam. Perhaps the issue is they moved away from a transparent core barrel and therefore exterior transparency/translucency didn’t matter any more. And in fact maybe opacity became necessary because the transpancy of the inner core wasn’t consistent. Speculation.

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  29. Sad decision, I’m wondering if the switch to non transparent also means the binde will no longer be cellulose acetate but just plastic, and the reason is tied to lack of materials (perhaps reliability of logistics if not so much manufacture). When that happes a business often turns to other materials and supplies and it’s rare that they go back (once the manufacturing processes have been changed).
    Although admnittedly I do own a few Pelikans that have non transparent barrels and I don’t exceedingly complain due to the nice looking materials, the transparency of the striped barrels was a sort of characteristic feature, it is likely to drive buyers away from the striped barrel models, which used to be the “standard/traditional” models.
    Such an odd decision for a German firm to abandon tradition…

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    • Yes, I would not expect them to back track on this one. What is done is done in my mind unless the new design really were to tank with consumers. I’d like to hope “abandoning tradition” did not come lightly and that it was a decision made to preserve the brand when no other options on the table were really feasible. That is my hope anyways.

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  30. I don’t mind. It’s been a bit of utopia to expect that things will be as traditional as they were, as good as they are today and as cheap as we’d like to be. Cynically, Corporations need to survive, so if opaque pen barrel for the Souveran range is to help the company stay in the market as is today, I’m on their side. On another note, Pelikan at some point need to innovate. This could be an opportunity for them, that they probably didn’t consider.

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    • To stress out the “need” for having a window for viewing the ink inside, I’d say that – at least for me – it is more of a habit and yes indeed a great “nice to have”. However, this feature is not standard in many high-end pens I have, like the Viscontis, Writers’ series of MBs. Practically, the “risk” of running out of ink is hen travelling. What I used to do over the many years that I have been doing weekly missions out of home, was to top-up ink before boarding the airplane.

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    • You are right. The product is nothing if the company producing it cannot survive. Innovation has not been Pelikan’s strong suit. Their models are fairly fixed in a time and that’s by and large been fine. I don’t expect any innovation at this juncture but would love to be pleasantly surprised.

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  31. This is interesting. I run Pure Pens (and pelikanpens.co.uk) and we have just had a delivery of M800 Blues from Pelikan in their new gift Souveran gift boxes (i.e. all NEW stock) and ALL the pens were transparent as they were before. We have not had news on the change, but all models coming into stock this week are as they’ve always been.

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    • I’m liking the new gift boxes from what little I’ve seen of them so far. Very interesting about the pens though. I suspect that the company still has some supply left over from prior production that they are pushing out.

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      • Our stocks of the M800 Red have *just* arrived and the stripes are transparent, as they were before. How strange… we’ll see if we can get some more info on the changes.

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        • I’m not necessarily surprised by this. The email that Pelikan and their distributors sent out did say, “The switch already started to take place for Souverän Black-Green and Souverän Anthracite Stripes (Stresemann). It will follow for Souverän Black-Blue and Souverän Black-Red in the next weeks and months.” So they likely started production via the old process but intend to transition to the new. That is how I read it and reconcile the facts.

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  32. Of course I don’t like this change per se, but for me it’s not a big deal. Given the pandemic, and the unfolding events in these days, I’m so happy that Pelikan is still producing the Souverän pens, that we have come to love, at all! I have a new M400 blue that I cannot easily monitor the ink level in, except in strong light, but as I said, for me it’s not a big deal…

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    • Thats a nice pen. Glad to hear that it’s not as big an impact on yourself. I should have run a poll as it would have been interesting to see the split. I’m curious just where it would land in terms of those for, against, or indifferent about the change.

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  33. I’ve re-decided that with the desire to get a red 800 and the fact that I rarely ever empty a pen I’m going to not make this a big deal, although, I’ve not made a final decision. I have some 800’s and one 1000, so that I’m not sure if I need it.

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    • Those are very fair considerations. Most of us certainly don’t need another one. It seems that seldom ever stops many of these beauties from joining the flock. Hope you come to a decision that you’re happy with.

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  34. This and your post have also been discussed on the penexchange forums, which are probably the largest fountain pen forums in Germany and provided/sponsored and owned by Pelikan.

    It seems not all new models are opaque and in particular the new M800 red supposedly still has an ink window. Some users also report that it appears that the only change is that the colored stripes are translucent now and the black stripes no longer let light through.Apparently some older models were also already opaque, so there’s some speculation as well that there might not be a real change at all.

    Just thought this might interest some of you, the penexchange threads can be found here (in German, but Google translate should work well enough):

    https://www.penexchange.de/forum_neu/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=25249&start=135#p374488

    https://www.penexchange.de/forum_neu/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=34068

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    • I’m not surprised that ink windows are still being encountered. I think stock is going to change on a rolling basis. Whenever they retool, we usually see stuff like this. They likely already had units made under the old process that they are pushing out before transitioning to the new method. The company indicated that it would be “weeks to months” before the transition comes to the Blue-Black and Red-Black Souveräns.

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    • The M800 Black-Red that vendors have gotten in this first batch does appear to have the translucent barrel. It seems production started under the old process and that is the stock being pushed out now. Pelikan’s email to vendors said, “The switch already started to take place for Souverän Black-Green and Souverän Anthracite Stripes (Stresemann). It will follow for Souverän Black-Blue and Souverän Black-Red in the next weeks and months.” The text suggest that it could still be a few months before we see a change over in the Black-Red. That’s not official but that is how I’m reconciling these things in my mind.

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  35. I’ve been waiting to get my first Pelikan in the M100X series but looks like I will skip it based on this business decision. Kind of sad as I have been waiting for a new M1005 release in a Silver Trim for awhile now. Oh well…

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    • Plenty of older models out there on the secondary market to choose from still. I don’t see that changing anytime soon. But, yes, future models are pretty much crippled prior to arrival.

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  36. Revised Posting
    Disappointing enough to not buy the red stripe when it comes back. I have a blue 800 and a green 1000 so that’s probably it for me for anything new as I rely day to day on ink levels. Many of their pens are solid in color so you won’t know, like the burnt orange 800 and then there’s been an 800 demonstrator which is clear (no pun intended). The current U.S. prices are crazy compared to what I paid for the ones I have. Another issue vs. buying abroad. With all that said I bought one a few days ago with an EF nib and it’s on the way to the U.S. Excited. It has the transparent barrel.

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  37. Decided on an EF nib and it has the transparent barrel. En route to the U.S. A friend many years ago had the 400 or 600 rollerball like this and I always admired it but didn’t get an FP back then. Finally!

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  38. Pingback: The New M800 Black-Red’s Surprising ‘Old’ Look « The Pelikan's Perch

  39. Thanks for this post. I ordered two Pelikans the day after I read this, a Blue/Black M805 and a Tortoiseshell M400. They’ve been on my list; I’m glad I got the Blue/Black before the change. The only Souverän I had is a Stresemann I got in Berlin. Now my flock will be 7, including some 200s and a vintage 400.

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  40. Pingback: News: M605 Tortoiseshell-Black Special Edition « The Pelikan's Perch

  41. I’ve never paid much attention to the ink level in my blue 800 which is from the 90’s. After reading here, the level isn’t the easiest thing to see, I struggled and needed to hold it up to a good light to see it. Any input appreciated. Thanks.

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    • It isn’t but is much more easily accomplished with translucent stripes than with opaque ones. Either way, you still need to hold your pen up to a light source to properly gauge. As time wears on and the barrel becomes stained, that too can adversely affect the view.

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  42. I have a pelikan m400 tortoise brown it usually looks like an opaque pen, but if I pay attention and try to check the ink level, I can see the inside as if looking through a half-open vertical blind.
    This is a very brilliant and cool idea. I’m pretty sure it’s a regression for pens to be made with opaque barrels.
    pelikan’s filling system and high quality, durability make me love pelikan, but bad price policy and so on, They don’t bring good news.

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    • I can’t argue with you unfortunately. The view between the stripes was a subtle master stroke of genius that lasted 40 years. Progress or cost cutting? Hard to not see it as the latter.

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  43. Thank you Joshua for the information.
    As a relatively impecunious fountain pen enthusiast, I have been wondering how to justify £200+ for a 405 blue to supplement my two 200 models. The translucence of the stripes would have been an extra incentive, suggesting intrigue and delicacy, as well as the useful information about ink level.
    I am surprised to hear of a business struggling because it cannot meet demand…

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    • It’s a struggle not limited to just Pelikan. The pandemic and the current economic realities of the world surely have given most businesses a thing or two to think over. I guess it’s adapt to the changing times or die and none of us want to see that.

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  44. Like many fountain pen aficionados, I have Souveran models of one size or another, in all of the “standard” colors. Perhaps, I’ll try to grab one or two more pre-’22 pens. This is not a change I like, but I don’t see it as the end of the world. To me, it is the writing experience that sets Pelikan Souveran pens apart. If they dramatically changed their nibs or feeds, I’d be far more upset.

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    • The nib is the heart of any good pen. If there is something to be sacrificed, it should not be the nib. If we get to that point, then I’d say all hope is lost.

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