The chemist Carl Hornemann founded a paint and ink company near Hanover, Germany in 1832. This would serve as the foundation for what we know today as Pelikan. The date of the company’s official founding is regarded as April 28th, 1838 because that was the occasion of their very first price list. All of the company’s anniversaries are based off of that date meaning that 2018 marks the 180th anniversary of the brand. To honor the affair, Pelikan is releasing a very limited edition fountain pen called the Spirit of 1838. We get our first glimpse of this new model thanks to the German retailer Fritz-Schimpf. You may recall similar releases in the past such as the M750 and M760 which honored the 150th anniversary in 1988. We also saw the M101N Jubilee Pen in 2013 which was a run of just 238 pens marking the company’s 175th anniversary. Now the Spirit of 1838 follows a similar vein, being released in an edition of just 180 pens.
While not a quite a Pelikan, it looks like the bluebird of happiness may have just landed for some. Hannover may have gotten off to a late start but they are wasting no time in giving us a few rapid fire releases. Just forty-eight hours after news of the M600 Turquoise-White broke, we now get our first glimpse of the upcoming M120 Iconic Blue. This is a follow-up to the M120 Green-Black which was re-issued back in early 2016. Both of these models draw their design from the tried and true lineage of the original 120 that was made from 1955-1965. While many similarities exists between old and new, these modern versions certainly stand out on their own and make for excellent and dependable writers that are true to their school pen roots. Availability is anticipated for some time in March of this year alongside the M600 Turquoise-White.
Today is Saint Valentine’s day and Pelikan has chosen to celebrate the occasion by sending a love letter of sorts to their fans. Retailers across the globe broke news of Pelikan’s first release of 2018, the M600 Turquoise-White. The announcement comes somewhat later than anticipated and heralds the second M6xx release in the last several months, following on the heels of the M605 White-Transparent which came out at the end of last year. You’ll notice that it is styled and packaged very similarly to that model as well as the M600 Pink that pioneered this look back in 2015. This newest release is expected to hit retail shelves sometime around mid-March but I wouldn’t count on this one hanging around for too long. Pelikan’s turquoise beauty will serve to kick off what promises to be an exciting 180th anniversary season of new releases.
Rumors began to circulate late last year that Pelikan was considering increasing their European prices. It was unclear at the time as to what such an increase would look like but details have steadily emerged from the European Union over the last few weeks. It is well known that European pricing has long been cheaper than that of the USA and some other regions. US consumers have been able to save hundreds of dollars by shopping from overseas vendors. Pelikan broke routine and caused some consternation regarding the direction of their US pricing strategy when they reduced the US MSRP for their last two releases. The M605 White-Transparent and the M805 Ocean Swirl were priced well below what prior, comparable models commanded. The strategy that Pelikan seemed to be working towards was to level the playing field across the globe. Select Pelikan products from many overseas vendors are about to see a rise in cost. Unfortunately, these newly announced price increases come at the same time as the company’s 180th anniversary which will be marked by the release of many new special and limited edition pens. While this would usually be cause for celebration amongst enthusiast, the price increases could certainly dampen enthusiasm for the new products.
The 2018 Edelstein Ink of the Year has long been anticipated and Pelikan took the opportunity today via their social media accounts to make the official announcement. You may recall that Pelikan ran a social media contest back in 2016 which allowed fans the opportunity to choose this year’s limited edition color. Over 1,200 suggestions were submitted per the company but Johannes from Cologne was ultimately declared the winner of that contest with an olive-green colored entry. That ink now takes on the official moniker of Olivine in keeping with their gem stone themed line of colors (not to be confused with the Monteverde ink of the same name). This release follows the brown tinted Smoky Quartz from the 2017 limited edition run. It will be the fifteenth addition to the Edelstein line-up, a line that is currently composed of nine regular production inks. It joins the likes of Turmaline, Amber, Garnet, Amethyst, Aquamarine, and Smoky Quartz as the seventh Ink of the Year.
A few international vendors such as Germany’s Fritz Schimpf and Italy’s Casa della Stilografica gave us notice today of a new M200 soon to be added to Pelikan’s Classic line-up. Dubbed the M200 Brown Marbled, this new model is intended as a standard addition to the line-up rather than a special edition piece. This news comes just as the M605 White-Transparent is starting to ship and ahead of the M805 Ocean Swirl’s release. The upcoming M200’s availability is slated for late November. Like the Green and Blue Marbled variants available today, the barrel of the Brown Marbled will have a pearlescent appearance allowing the varying shades of brown to really shine in the light. The Classic line is Pelikan’s lower tier offering that is intended as a more affordable yet still elegant alternative to the higher end Souverän range. These models are only lacking in a little polish and some extra furniture but do not skimp on the writing experience. One thing that is shared between the lines is Pelikan’s excellent piston filling mechanism. The Classic line was last updated just a few months ago with the release of the M200 Smoky Quartz.
Over the last month, I have been repeatedly asked by fellow pen lovers as to why U.S. prices for Pelikan’s fine writing instruments far exceed that which is available elsewhere. It’s no secret that over the last few years, an increasingly growing number of U.S. consumers have awakened to the realization that Pelikan fountain pens can often be had for significant savings when purchased from overseas vendors. The U.S. market has seen a steady increase in the price of Pelikan’s fine writing instruments, the last swell coming in February of 2016. Consequently, authorized United States’ retailers have historically had to offer their Pelikan wares at significantly higher prices than competing international merchants. Regardless of what factors may have contributed to that discrepancy, the end result was a tilted playing field that made it incredibly hard for US vendors to compete in what is clearly a global economy. I have always questioned the disparity in pricing and wondered why U.S. customers are dealt with so differently? It’s a passionate issue for me because I have a deep affection for the brand but their marketing strategy has prevented me from recommending even an entry level Pelikan pen to anyone starting out in this hobby since these too are often priced higher than competing brands.
For the last month, I have done extensive research into the economics of why Pelikan’s U.S. pricing might be the way that it is and that is what I intended to present to you today. Just as I was preparing to publish that article, Pelikan/Chartpak called an audible on me and therefore I have scrapped that entire post in favor of this one. What I present to you now is evidence that there may be a major shift in U.S. pricing silently occurring and our domestic vendors and their customers are likely to reap the benefits.
After much anticipation, several overseas vendors including Appelboom and Penworld bring us our first official glimpse of the upcoming M805 Ocean Swirl fountain pen. This site first reported on the design back in July. Similar in pattern to this year’s Renaissance Brown, the Ocean Swirl depicts various shades of teal intermixed with black. Pelikan’s literature states;
“Exposure to light further enhances and adds sparkle and depth which vary in intensity. Just like in the deep sea, bright spots alternate with dark spots mimicking the light that radiates and is found in the ocean. Each writing instrument is truly unique.”
The pattern is offset smartly by the palladium plated trim characteristic of the Souverän family of pens. The barrel is expected to be translucent to allow visualization of the ink level just like we have seen with the Renaissance Brown. Similar to other M805s, the pen will measure 5.59 inches when capped and weigh in at a respectable 0.99 ounces thanks to the brass piston assembly. The nib will be rhodium plated 18C-750 gold and available in sizes EF, F, M, and B. The anticipated release date is November 2017.