With the M800 Brown-Black just starting to ship from retailers this week and the recently announced M200 Gold Marbled still not quite a month away, fresh news breaks yet again detailing the next release out of Hannover. For those that have been particularly observant, I’ve been teasing about Pelikan plugging one of the glaring holes in their M6xx line-up this year. Once again, it is Appelboom, this time via their Instagram account, who informs us that day is now upon us with the upcoming release of the M605 Stresemann (a.k.a. Black-Anthracite). Due out in mid-November, this M605 will join the M805 (2015), M405 (2016), and M1005 (2019) models that already sport the same design. Many people have been waiting for this finish to grace the mid-sized model that so many prefer. The only other model that might make a bigger splash would be a Tortoiseshell Brown M600 but the rumor mill remains silent on that one. If you’re seeing the Stresemann name for the first time and are wondering from where it originates, it is most simply explained as a term that has long been used to describe the classic pinstriped appearance of Pelikan’s pens. An unofficial nickname of sorts for the Souverän line, it was derived from the Secretary of State of the Weimar Republic, Gustav Stresemann, who was well-known for wearing black/grey striped trousers and a jacket in black or anthracite. The Stresemann pens honor that legacy.
Pelikan brought something new to the table with the finish of the M205 Star Ruby. If you expected the company to retreat to the confines of the safe and predictable following that release, think again. Thanks to Appelboom, we get our first official glimpse of the newest addition to Pelikan’s Classic line, the M200 Gold Marbled fountain pen. Intended as an elegant yet more affordable alternative to the Souverän range, it would be understandable if you mistook this Classic model for one of the company’s more upmarket offerings. The resin of the barrel displays various shades of gold imbued with what the company calls a “mother of pearl” effect designed to create a sense of warmth and soft color. White resin accents are employed to compliment the golden hued barrel, the likes of which we’ve never before seen in the 34 year history of the Classic line (the M205 White notwithstanding). This one is anticipated to hit store shelves sometime in mid-November with vendors likely to start taking pre-orders soon. The M2xx models are known as dependable writers that incorporate Pelikan’s legendary piston filling mechanism and the marbled finish has been a part of the Classic series for decades. Recent iterations have included the M200 Green (2015), M205 Blue (2016), and M200 Brown (2017) Marbled variants. If the sparkles of the Star Ruby weren’t to your liking, read on to see if the Gold Marbled has the Midas touch.
As anticipated, Pelikan kicks off the month of October with a new Maki-e release, this one titled Japanese Umbrella. This is actually the second Maki-e pen to debut in 2019 with Five Lucky Bats having been launched this past summer. These ultra-detailed and labor intensive pieces have been a show case of the marriage between German engineering and Japanese artistry. The prior four themed models have included the Spring & Autumn (2016), Dragonfly (2017), Peacock (2018), and Five Lucky Bats (2019). Pelikan has this to say about their new Maki-e model;
“The umbrella was introduced from China to Japan during the Heian period (AD 794-1185). The traditional Japanese umbrella is made of natural material such as Japanese paper, bamboo, and wood. Thirty to seventy bamboo bones are used to open and fairly spread the umbrella made of Japanese paper. On the fountain pen, there are four Japanese umbrellas drawn in Taka-Maki-e, using techniques such as raden and kirikane. Rain is expressed using many narrow pieces of mother of pearl.”
As has been the case with many of the prior releases, this one will again be built off of the M1000 chassis. Japanese Umbrella will likely start shipping later this month or early next but beware. This limited edition will command a hefty price and many vendors will see only limited availability due to the number of pieces available. I wouldn’t wait too long if you have the means and the desire to add this one to your flock.
Pelikan has introduced over 40 different nib widths and styles during their 90 years of fountain pen production. Time and market forces have slowly taken their toll, whittling away at the available variety and eroding character. Around the year 2012, Pelikan discontinued production of oblique nibs in the widths of OM, OB, OBB, and O3B. The following year, the larger BB and 3B nibs were also removed from the standard line-up. Correspondence from representatives of the company around that time cited low global sales as justification for the discontinuation. For the past six years, Pelikan’s fine writing instruments could only be purchased with nibs in the standard widths of EF, F, M, and B. There have been exceptions to this rule as seen with the intermittent availability of an IB (italic broad) nib option or Niche Pens batch of M8xx BB nibs first offered in 2015. Neither option has been widely available or part of the standard line-up. Many have lamented Pelikan’s lack of variety, particularly as other manufacturers have continued to offer a significantly wider array of nibs. One such example of innovation in the nib space that comes to mind is Montblanc’s Meisterstück Solitaire or 149 fountain pens equipped with a flexible 18C-750 gold calligraphy “expression” nib which can reportedly vary line widths from about 0.3 mm to 1.6 mm. These calligraphy pens buck the familiar trend of hard as nails nibs, capitalizing on a maturing market of enthusiast looking for modern day flex writing pens. While Pelikan has yet to venture into that space, we’ve recently learned, courtesy of Appelboom, that they are re-introducing IB and BB nibs, adding them to the standard line-up on a restricted basis. Read on to learn more about the reincarnation of these older nibs as well as a few other tidbits.
September is usually good for news of a new release (or two) from Pelikan and 2019 proves to be no exception. History has taught us that this is the month some of the bigger birds get unveiled. Last year, it was the M800 Stone Garden. This year, we have the M800 Brown-Black Souverän fountain pen. The newest special edition out of Hannover sports a brown and black striped barrel with a very warm tone, an appearance that could easily be mistaken for a Tortoiseshell design upon first glance. Those who were excited by Pelikan’s use of sparkles in the forthcoming M200 Star Ruby may be disappointed by the more conservative Brown-Black. As best I can recollect, this is the first traditionally striped pattern to grace the M8xx line since 2014’s Stresemann. Availability is anticipated starting sometime in mid-October.
It has been several months since we have had any fresh news of a pending Pelikan release. Customers continue to await the M1005 Stresemann now long delayed by supply chain issues. The drought has ended as news of the upcoming M205 Star Ruby Special Edition Demonstrator broke today. As expected, the company continues their streak of M2xx releases based on their Edelstein Ink of The Year. The Star Ruby will be the fifth model in that line-up and our first glimpse comes to us courtesy of Appelboom in the Netherlands. The M205 Star Ruby follows the likes of the M205 Olivine (2018), M200 Smoky Quartz (2017), M205 Aquamarine (2016), and M205 Amethyst (2015). This year’s M205 appears to be a departure from past releases in that the material has a sparkly, shimmering quality for lack of a better descriptor. Pre-orders should be available soon as this one is expected to be in stores starting sometime this September.
June 30th marked the end of the registration period for Pelikan Hubs 2019. A lot of new cities were chosen this year which is a testament to the buzz surrounding this event and the enthusiasm of the pen community. With each passing year, the Hubs have grown larger and more diverse and this sixth annual gathering looks to be no different. Perhaps the most important byproduct of this growth has been the ability to expand the Hub locations in order to provide access to more people. While not everyone has a Hub convenient to them, each year makes it just a little easier to find a nearby location. Using the most recent version of the map publicly available on Pelikan’s website (as of 7/3/19 at 10:00pm EST), we can get a feel for this year’s chosen venues and number of registrations. These numbers will be subject to some fluctuation between now and the actual day of the event so the analysis that follows should not be considered a final tally. Still, I’m hopeful that the insight the numbers provide will be of some general interest. Nearly two dozen new cities have been added to this year’s line-up, representing a 10% increase over last year. Growth continues to be steady with each year bringing more registrations than the one before it. For 2018, Pelikan reported that there were 181 individual Hubs spread across 44 countries with 4,896 registered participants. Based on the map data currently available, this year’s event will span 200 cities spread out amongst 46 countries with over 5,646 participants. That represents at least a 15% increase in anticipated attendance over last year and an eye opening growth of 475% since the first Hub event in 2014. The United States continues to play host to the most chosen cities and registrations with the Philippines, Canada, Australia, and India rounding out the top five. Just in case you need a reminder, this year’s Hub event will take place on Friday, September 20, 2019 at 6:30pm local time. Pelikan’s designated Hub masters should be reaching out in the next few weeks with additional details for each individual location. Of course, if you are unable to attend this year’s event, you can follow along via the hashtag #pelikanhubs on your preferred social media platform. Similar to last year, I have put together a series of maps and graphs to help better depict the information outlined above. Read on to see this year’s line-up and where your city/state/country may rank.
When you dig back through Pelikan’s long and storied history of pen making, you can find all sorts of odd editions made for local markets or done by regional distributors. Some of those models came from company sanctioned production runs while others had a more dubious genesis. The M800 Laser (2000) comes to mind as a good example of a strictly regional release. The Laser was an exclusive limited edition of only 100 pens which were specially engraved by Visconti and authorized by Pelikan Milan. This pen was made only for the Italian market, but it was not warmly welcomed in Hannover resulting in several being destroyed but that is a story for another day. My point is that it has been some time since we’ve seen a truly regional release from Pelikan which is why May 30th will be a stand out day in the company’s history. On that day, Pelikan Romania unveiled a new fountain pen titled “King Michael I of Romania – Royal Edition.” This model is not like many of the other Souveräns that we’ve seen and its unveiling was met with much more ceremony than we’ve been accustomed to. Read on to learn more about this neat and ultra-limited edition.