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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Review: Pelikan’s Epoch P36x (2004-2007)

Pelikan Epoch P360, P361, P362, P363, and P364

My ongoing work as a physician on the front lines of this pandemic and the demands that the most recent COVID-19 surge placed upon me sapped my will, leaving me with precious little time and even less energy for other tasks. Now that we are at the tail end of the Omicron variant’s destructive toll, I’d like to turn my attention back to the blog, seeking some solace in the pen community, and diving back into my passion for Pelikan’s pens. I thought it only fitting to kick the year off with an absolutely Epoch post. If my little play on words was lost on you, allow me to introduce you to Pelikan’s Epoch (2004-2007). First released in 2004, the Epoch spanned five different models covering a total of eight unique finishes in its short production run of just three years. Every one of the fountain pens is a patronen-füllhalter or cartridge pen that has a unique cartridge tray, the same design that would later be utilized with the P3100 Ductus that launched during the Epoch’s final year, marking the Epoch line as a progenitor of sorts for the Ductus. Like most of Pelikan’s cartridge pens, each tray can accommodate one large or two small international cartridges imparting an ink capacity somewhere around 1.5mL. What the tray does not easily accommodate is a cartridge/converter. The Epoch’s design was named a reddot award winner in 2004. The company’s promotional literature described the Epoch as a symbiosis of tradition and modernity, a design that transcended its era, and technology ahead of its time. The marketing hype lays it on a little thick, but I think that there is more than enough here worth exploring. This post will focus on the line’s fountain pens but it should be noted that the Epoch was available as a pencil (D), rollerball (R), and ballpoint (K) in the same form factor. We’ll tackle each of the five models head on and then look at the octet as a whole, dissecting out their strengths and weaknesses. Whether you are already well acquainted with the line-up or are seeing them for the first time, there is plenty to learn about the various models.

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How The New M205 DUO Stacks Up To Its Predecessors

Pelikan M205 DUO Neon Yellow Highlighter

The M205 DUO was originally introduced in 2010 as part of the Classic line, taking the novel approach of combining a fountain pen with a highlighter. The Pelikan brand was no stranger to either product, but this was the first time that they sought to integrate the two. The concept was well received, and the design went on to win several awards the following year (ISPA Award at Paperworld, the IF Product Design Award, and the Red Dot Award). Equipped with a double broad nib (BB), the pen could be used to highlight pertinent text but also to annotate the margins. It was a serviceable if not perfect solution to an issue faced by many students and scholars. If nothing else, the sustainability and positive ecological impact of the pen was a major focal point, perhaps even more germane today than it was eleven years ago. The first entry in the series was a yellow demonstrator followed a few years later, in 2013, by a neon green model. Each pen came with a special ink in a matching, fluorescent shade specially formulated for the DUO. Fast forward to 2021 and we have a new release in the series. Rather than a straight re-hash of a past product, this one is a new model featuring some different design elements as well as a different shade of fluorescent yellow. Instead of one of my traditional reviews, I thought that it would be more constructive to take a closer look at just what separates the current offering from past releases. Read on to discover all of the highlights that this one brings to the paper.

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