Review: M605 Tortoiseshell-Black (2022)

Pelikan M605 Tortoiseshell-Black

Few pens in recent memory have generated more excitement or buzz than the newly released M605 Tortoiseshell-Black. Part of that elation comes from the fact that the design is a refreshing new take on an old favorite. Never before have we seen the classic tortoise finish, a style that goes back decades, executed in this fashion. That fresh coat of paint is a welcome disruptor and honestly makes the M6xx series one of the more active and exciting Souverän lines in production today. Looks aside, there are some features that are less endearing, chief amongst those being the lack of a dedicated ink view. The M6xx also sits in a precarious position, too big for those that like smaller pens and too small for people that like to play with the big boys, à la the M800. Still, the M6xx does hit the sweet spot for countless Pelikan aficionados. The Tortoiseshell-Black will join the ultra-rare M600 Tortoiseshell-Brown (1999), the M600 Tortoiseshell-White (2012), and the M600 Tortoiseshell-Red (2020). It should not go unnoticed that this latest tortoise is the only x05 release across any line to wear the tortoise coat. The palladium plated trim is very complimentary to the palette of colors embodied within the barrel’s stripes but, I can’t help feeling that something is just slightly amiss with this one. Something about this tortoise finish is maybe not quite as captivating as some of the others that we have seen. Read on to learn about all of the nuances of the M605 Tortoiseshell-Black and find out if this is one you should rush to add to your flock.

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Meet The New G30 Presentation Box And Take A Stroll Down Memory Lane

Pelikan G30 Presentation Box

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.

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Tortoises So Rare, They Were Thought Extinct: The Great White Whales Of The Souverän M600 Line

Pelikan's M600 Tortoiseshell-Brown

The talk of the last few weeks has clearly been focused on the newest tortoise release from Pelikan, the upcoming M605 Tortoiseshell-Black. While this black tortoise is a new species, never before seen, the standard bearer across the lines has always been the brown tortoise. It is somewhat ironic then that the M6xx line has never enjoyed a large scale brown tortoise release. I don’t mean to imply that it’s the only Souverän to not get the brown tortoise treatment. The M3xx and M10xx models have likewise gone without, it’s just that the M6xx line is perhaps the most glaring omission since it’s also the most accessible, the other two being at the extreme ends of the Souverän line. It has been perceived by many aficionados of the M6xx to be a black hole of sorts. Perhaps as a subconscious effort to make up for that deficiency, the M6xx line has actually been graced with more unique tortoise releases than any other Souverän. Let us recap. We have had the M600 Tortoiseshell-White (2012), the M600 Tortoiseshell-Red (2020), and now the M605 Tortoiseshell-Black (2022). Many have lamented the lack of a Tortoiseshell-Brown model, but it is a little known fact that there have actually been two such releases, both targeted to the Japanese market in what were likely ultra-limited runs. Pelikan and Japan have long been odd bedfellows with a relationship spanning the 1970s through the late 1990s from which several unique models have arisen. The old-style Tortoiseshell-Brown M600 has been so seldomly seen, that many debated its very existence for the longest time. It reminds me of the coelacanth, thought extinct for 66 million years before being rediscovered in 1938 by a South African museum curator on a fishing trawler. A few years after Pelikan’s alterations to the model’s design, there was a new-style Tortoiseshell-Brown M600 released in 1999 that has been discussed on this blog previously. Collectors can search for decades and never find one of these. Having finally been able to procure an example of each, it seemed a topic worth rehashing. Read on to learn all about the traits that characterize these two ultra-rare beauties.

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News: M605 Tortoiseshell-Black Special Edition

Pelikan M605 Tortoiseshell-Black

Pelikan got out ahead of their vendors today, taking the opportunity to break the news of their next big fountain pen release via their Instagram account. Rumors about this one started at the end of March and now we finally have our first look at the upcoming M605 Tortoiseshell-Black. This newest M605 takes the iconic tortoiseshell finish that many of us know and love in a somewhat new yet still familiar direction. For the longest time, we simply had Tortoiseshell finishes in Brown. White was added to the palate about twenty years ago. More recently, the company played with shades of Red, also in an M6xx sized model interestingly enough. This new model will mark the first time that we encounter one in black. Not only will the finish display an interplay between hues of black and white, that pattern will be married to palladium plated trim. Most of the tortoise finishes to date have all featured gold trim so this will be something that further distinguishes this model. This new release will be put out as a special edition meaning that the production run is to be limited. Availability is expected for some time at the end of May. Read on to find out all that we know so far.

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Contest: Pelikan Is Hosting A Short Lived Easter Giveaway

In celebration of the upcoming Easter holiday, Pelikan is hosting a giveaway via their social media channels. Up for grabs are a total of three copies of the newest book about the brand, Pelikan Limited & Special Editions: Fine Writing Instruments 1993-2020 written by Michael Silbermann and published in 2021. In case you missed it, you can find my review of that text here. You can’t sit on this one, however, as it is only timed to last for 24 hours, and the clock is ticking. The contest is being hosted on Pelikan’s Instagram account as well as their Facebook page. The contest is open to all persons worldwide over the age of 16 not employed by or related to an employee of the company. You need to hurry though as the contest is already under way, starting at 2pm German time on Monday, April 11th (that’s 8am EST). With only a 24 hour window to enter, the contest closes at 2pm German time/8am EST on Tuesday, April 12th. Read on to find out how you can enter to win.

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The New M800 Black-Red’s Surprising ‘Old’ Look

Pelikan M800 Black-Red

Early last month, I wrote about a new initiative at Pelikan that would see the long standing translucence of the Souverän’s barrel eliminated. Gone would be the translucent stripes present for the last 40 years of the line’s heritage, exchanged for an opaque replacement. The news took many, myself included, by surprise. Likely motivated by the new realities of this post-COVID world and ongoing supply chain issues, the change was met with mixed reactions at best. Those stripes have been an integral feature for many of Pelikan’s fountain pens, allowing one to more easily gauge the remaining amount of ink in their pen without the need for a discreet ink view window. The solution was both clever and elegant to say the least. It was widely expected that the M800 Black-Red would be the first new release to fall victim to the changing times. You can imagine the consternation that this newest Souverän has fomented when the first stock to hit vendor’s shelves was literally just the opposite. That’s right, the M800 Black-Red, at least in this first wave of production, appears to be nothing other than business as usual. The stripes behind the section are, as they always have been, translucent. So, what gives? Read on to find out what I suspect may be the most likely answer.

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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.

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News: M800 Black-Red (Psst, It’s Back!)

Pelikan M800 Black-Red

Close up on a young Carol Anne Freeling answering the ring of an old rotary phone. After a brief pause to listen to the caller and with the phone still pressed to her ear, she glances over her left shoulder and says, “They’re ba-ack” in a lilting voice. This pop culture staple is from 1986’s Poltergeist II trailer and it was the first thing that sprang to my mind when I learned of the return of the M800 Black-Red. Yes, you read that correctly. News of the Black-Red’s triumphant return was first broken by The Nibsmith. Oh, it was a good run while it lasted. The M800 Black-Red was on the market as a regular production model circa 2001 until its discontinuation in 2012. Since then, they’ve become increasingly scarce on the secondary market and, consequently, all the more desirable. It is high on the list of many who missed out on the original run and one of the most requested pens that I hear people ask about Pelikan re-releasing. Someone in Hannover must have been listening because, as of mid-March, the M800 Black-Red will once again join the standard Souverän line-up and will likely be around for the foreseeable future. Read on to learn about all of the details.

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