Buying a high-end luxury item is about more than just the product. People who can afford such things pay the additional premium not only because of the promise of better quality but also for the luxe experience. Consequently, those products tend to come with more elegant packaging which is frequently just as integral to the purchase. For some it matters and for others it does not, but nobody likes to purchase an expensive item only to have it come packaged in a cheap, flimsy box. Ideally, the box should have shelf appeal, be aesthetically pleasing, and serve a function. Pelikan’s Souverän line, which has seemingly tried to push more into the luxe market as the years have worn on, has always had very specific packaging for its high end models. As best I can tell, there have been approximately seven major revisions to the standard assortment of presentation boxes serving the Souverän line over the past 40 years. That number is not necessarily all encompassing since it is beyond the scope of this article to recount each and every one of the regional variations and model specific gift packages that have come about (e.g. the M815) but it does a good job of approximating most of the mainstream offerings that have been employed over the years. In the last few decades, we’ve seen new presentation boxes emerge along the frequency of roughly every 8-9 years. The earliest presentation box for the Souverän from Pelikan was the GV400 and today, new for 2022, we have the G30. Several people have asked me if the new packaging is legit or some kind of knock off. The suspicion is understandable given that most people are accustomed to the G15 packaging which has been the standard for the last decade, but the new box is indeed genuine, representing the latest revision to occur during the reign of the Souverän. I thought that it might be a worthwhile and fun exercise to take a stroll down memory lane and look back at some of the unique packaging that has accompanied our Souveräns over the years before detailing this newest version. To paraphrase Maya Angelou, it’s hard to know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been.
The first Souverän fountain pen to enter the market was the M400 which debuted in 1982. Its packaging was known as the GV400, and it prevailed for most of the 1980s. When the M600 launched in 1985 and the M800 in 1987, additional boxes respectively known as GV600 and GV800 were introduced to match, a convention that was utilized for subsequent revisions. The original GV design was a cardboard box housing a silky, tan piece of cloth. The motif used to embellish the box was taken from a historic design circa 1897. The box was partitioned to provide a space to secure a pen as well as a small area for a bottle of 4001 Royal Blue ink. The GV packaging was first altered around 1990. Gone was the historic motif, eschewed in favor of a simple yet sophisticated black box with green lines. These square packages had a black cloth upon which the fountain pen would rest along with an accompanying bottle of ink. That design was seemingly short lived. By 1992, Pelikan would pivot back to an Art Nouveau styled box reminiscent of their original packaging. After another four years with this motif, the GV line would meet its end.
Circa 1996, the GS branded packaging was introduced to replace the GV. Like before, these were assigned product numbers based on the model, e.g. GS800, GS600, and GS400. The larger square boxes were done away with in favor of smaller, black and yellow rectangular packages. These came in a few variants. Smaller boxes had cardboard sleeves to hold the pen in place whereas larger packaging continued to feature a cloth bed with space for a pen as well as a small bottle of Pelikan’s 4001 Royal Blue or Black inks, bottles that were referred to as TG1. Some of the packages even came with a maple desk stand for 1 or 2 pens known as SGA1. This style of presentation box was utilized for approximately eight years before its expiry.
Packaging again changed circa 2004 and now featured a blue rectangular box with a hinged, clamshell opening and a pillowed bed that nestled a pen or pens in place. This style of presentation box was referred to as G6 when accompanying a Souverän and G5 when packaging a Classic Series model. The next major revision dropped circa 2013 with the introduction of the G15 which had been the standard up until this year (product #998.278). The G15 consisted of a tall, rectangular cardboard box with a lid that pulled off to reveal faux wood grain housing an imitation white leather pen sleeve resting upon a tray. That insert pulled out to reveal the relevant product literature and warranty information contained below, usually wrapped in some white tissue paper. It was a simple but effective presentation that served its purpose well prior to its retirement.
That brings us to the current iteration of packaging, new for 2022. The G30 presentation box brings a modest refresh after 9 years under the former’s rule (product #820.608). The new box maintains a rectangular shape though is perhaps a bit shallower. The lid is now hinged with a magnetic closure to secure it in place. The pen sleeve has been altered from an envelope with an elastic closure to a simple sleeve type design, embossed with the company logo, that remains open at the side. The standard literature/warranty booklet continues to be included, though is no longer wrapped in tissue paper, along with a message from The Pelikan team that says, “We wish you a lot of writing pleasure with your fine writing instrument!” While there is nothing earth shattering here, the presentation remains solid. It’s certainly nothing ostentatious but neither are the pens which fit in well with the more subdued and refined look. This newest presentation box should continue to serve its purpose well, especially since the packaging is usually all but forgotten five minutes after unwrapping. I hope that you have enjoyed this fun little recap. Please note that the dates quoted for the presentation boxes are approximate and should not be taken as absolute. They were sourced and extracted from an extensive review of past company literature. I’m open to any friendly corrections or additions you might want to offer if I’ve misspoken or left something out.
1984 – 1989: Souverän GV400, GV600, GV800 (1897)
1990 – 1991: Souverän GV400, GV600, GV800 (Black/Green)
1992 – 1995: GV400N, GV600N, GV800N (Art Nouveau)
1996 – 2003: GS400, GS600, GS800
2004 – 2012: G6
2013 – 2021: G15
2022 – Present: G30
*Click on any of the above galleries in order to view the full sized photos contained within*