News: M200 Golden Beryl Special Edition Demonstrator

Starting in 2015, Pelikan established an annual tradition of crafting fountain pens from their Classic series that matched their Edelstein limited edition Ink of the Year release. Historically, news of those models would drop in August, but the release schedule has been on its ear for well over a year now as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic and likely some internal issues as well. Many have come to fear that the tradition would finally come to an end this year given the company’s silence as 2021 begins to wind down. Whether or not we’d ever see this model come to light has been one of the most common questions that I’ve fielded over the last several months.  Pelikan put those fears to rest today with news of a new Classic model M200 to accompany this year’s Golden Beryl, the seventh such release from the company based on their line of limited edition inks.   Prior to the M200 Golden Beryl, we have had the; M205 Moonstone (2020), M205 Star Ruby (2019), M205 Olivine (2018), M200 Smoky Quartz (2017), M205 Aquamarine (2016), and the M205 Amethyst (2015).  Some of these models have made a bigger splash than others and several are now quite hard to come by. It was 2019’s Star Ruby that first employed a glitter induced shimmer effect along the translucent material of the barrel and cap and, like the M205 Moonstone that preceded it, the Golden Beryl looks to incorporate the same. Pre-orders are going live today from many vendors with this one due out sometime in November 2021. Read on to discover all of the essential details regarding the newest fountain pen out of Germany.

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News: M205 DUO Highlighter Makes A Comeback

Pelikan M205 DUO Highlighter Yellow

Thinking back to the good old days of 2010, many of you may recall the birth of the Classic yellow M205 DUO Highlighter. This was a special edition product which merged a fountain pen with a highlighter, hence the name DUO. In essence, you could highlight text with the double broad nib using a special ink but also jot notes at the same time. In 2011, the design went on to win several awards including the ISPA Award at Paperworld, the IF Product Design Award, and the Red Dot Award. The DUO came packaged in an attractive gift box that included a bottle of yellow highlighter ink. In 2013, a green version was released based on the same premise. The product’s accolades derived from taking two long held standard-bearers of the analog world and combining them in an innovative way. The end result was a reusable product that cut waste making for a pen that reportedly sold quite well in markets like Germany thanks to its reduced ecological impact. It seems that Pelikan has decided to resurrect this model but in a distinctly different hue. This past Thursday, notice of a new M205 DUO highlighter quietly dropped thanks to Fritz Schimpf and Pen Chalet. Expected to be available sometime in mid to late October, the new DUO looks to have a more neon appearance than its predecessor. Read on as I attempt to highlight all of the pertinent details surrounding this new model.

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The German Federal Minister For Labor And Social Affairs Visits Pelikan’s Vöhrum Factory

Pelikan Group Logo

Back in July, I brought you news of some rather significant strife occurring within the walls of Pelikan’s Vöhrum factory, the production facility where the company manufactures its fine writing instruments. Workers at the plant, a force numbering approximately 230 strong, had staged a public demonstration in order to protest and bring awareness to several perceived injustices. Christmas bonuses not yet paid in full and June’s wages being delayed contributed to tensions boiling over. Imagine that scenario playing out in an environment where employees have already given up five days of vacation and 15% of their collective wages in a bid to keep their jobs. Concerns had also previously been put forth about a lack of investment in the plant itself. Of course, none of this news made much of a splash outside of the local papers but the post here exposed the issues to a larger audience and generated a lot of conversation about the health of the factory and the future of Pelikan’s fine writing division, not only on this blog but on many of the pen forums as well. I have frequently been asked for updates on the situation and have continued to monitor the news out of Germany. There hasn’t been much to report until now. If you recall from my original post, works council chairman Walter Dettmer had called upon Hubertus Heil (SPD), Federal Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, to get involved in the dispute. A trip to the Peine-Vöhrum plant was scheduled for mid-August and occurred as planned just a few weeks ago. Thanks to some local reporting, I can update you with some of the goings on at that meeting.

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News: Pelikan’s Art Collection Brought To Life

Pelikan Advertising Posters

Pelikan is a brand whose longevity now spans nearly two centuries. In that time, there have been significant revisions to the company’s branding as well as a prodigious amount of advertising materials created. In that cause, famous artists have been employed including the likes of O.H.W. Hadank, Wilhelm Wagenfeld, El Lissitzky, and Kurt Schwitters. A lot of the advertising created around the brand and its products are truly works of art. The archives are full of such posters, many of which you may have come across in the past. These have served as inspiration for product packaging and were the subject of 2013’s book The Brand by Detmar Schäfer. By way of recent example, the Iconic Blue M120 from 2018 featured a poster advertising Pelikan’s watercolors designed in 1899 by Käthchen Münzer which was originally submitted as part of a sponsored poster competition, something Pelikan did fairly frequently at the dawn of the twentieth century. It seems that the company would now like to highlight some of those pieces that reside in the archive but, before doing so, they have an idea they’d like to run up the flagpole. Read on for all of the details including how you might participate in bringing a future pen to market.

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News: Pelikan Hubs 2021 Cancelled

The global coronavirus pandemic has now been raging for well over a year with no clear end in sight. There have already been almost 211 million cases reported across the globe with 4,413,638 lives lost. The death toll will likely continue to grow as long as vaccinations lag and the delta variant rampages. It’s easy to get lost in the numbers as they are an inconvenient barrier for our desire to return to some sense of normalcy. It’s important to resist becoming numb to the carnage, a global death toll slightly larger than the entire population of Los Angeles, California. I have been at the bedside for hundreds of these people, watching their health deteriorate despite maximal medical therapy until their lives were felled by the ravages of the virus. With the global situation far from under control, it should come as no surprise then that Pelikan announced via their newsletter today that Pelikan Hubs 2021 would indeed be cancelled. Long suspected to be a foregone conclusion at this point, it is nice to finally have an official statement from the company about the state of the Hubs event. I commend Pelikan’s decision, even if it was the only responsible choice they could make. While these are sad times, there is reason to have hope for a brighter future. Despite the 2020 and 2021 events having been necessarily cancelled, Pelikan began their notice with a statement tinged with optimism, a commitment to not letting the Hubs become a casualty of the pandemic.

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News: M1000 Raden White Ray

M1000 Raden White Ray Fountain Pen

Pelikan International’s 2020 Annual Report provided a forecast regarding what we should expect this year out of Hannover, and it has been spot on thus far. Tucked away on page 13 was the statement, “For 2021, we will continue the tradition of reinventing the popular designs with new materials and colours, though we plan to concentrate on less product launches as we cautiously move forward in the market.” It is already August and all we’ve seen come to market thus far has been the M205 Petrol-Marbled, M1000 Maki-e Seven Treasures, and the M605 Green-White. In 2019, prior to the pandemic, we already had nine new models by this point in the year and seven the year before that. Not only is the company sticking with a strategy of fewer releases, they are also embracing the rehash of popular designs with new colors. Late last evening, vendors broke news of the next release due out. This time we have the M1000 Raden White Ray, a re-imagining of 2020’s Green Ray, which is just the latest addition to a growing line of limited edition Raden releases. It will join the likes of past M1xxx Raden models which includes the Moonlight (2011), Sunlight (2013), Starlight (2014), Sunrise (2016), and Green Ray (2020). For those that don’t know, Raden is a traditional Japanese art form used to embellish lacquer ware and woodwork. Small pieces of shimmering abalone shell are utilized in the creation of unique, handcrafted designs. A Urushi lacquer is applied to the barrel and cap before strips of abalone shell are laid down after which a final layer of lacquer is applied to seal everything in place.  Each pen is signed by the artist and hand numbered using the Maki-e technique. Just like the Green Ray, this will be a limited edition run of only 400 pieces worldwide. Availability is anticipated for some time in September 2021.

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Pelikan To Sell Its German Logistics Center

Logistics center owned by Pelikan in Falkensee, Germany

Pelikan International Corporation Berhad (PICB) has seen a significant bump in its share price on the Malaysian stock market over the past several days, noting an 11% increase this past Friday alone. Why is Pelikan’s stock heating up right now? The market activity is tied directly to PICB’s subsidiary, Pelikan Group GmbH, having entered into a conditional sale and purchase agreement on July 7th to sell its logistics center located at Straße der Einheit, Falkensee, Germany. The logistics center is an expansive 135,000 square meter (~1,453,128 square foot) space that includes areas for warehouse storage, offices, and production. The buyers are wholly owned subsidiaries of HWE Investor GP S.à.r.l, part of the Hillwood Group which is based out of Dallas, Texas. The US based Hillwood Group also has operations in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Poland. They are a developer of residential, commercial, and industrial real estate. The property being disposed of came to Pelikan in April 2010 as part of their acquisition of Herlitz AG. At that time, the company acquired a 66% stake in the stationary brand for approximately $60 million (€45 million/RM221.85 million). The building’s current occupants are eCom Logistik GmbH, a logistics services company formed in 2003 as a subsidiary of Herlitz AG. Currently boasting approximately 166 employees it became the wholly owned subsidiary of Pelikan AG in 2015. Fret not if you were worried that Pelikan might be selling off its fine writing division. The property will sell for approximately $96 million (€81 million/RM399.33 million) which is expected to net the company a one-off gain of $44 million (€37 million/RM184.83) based on PICB’s audited consolidated financial statements for fiscal year 2020. Read on to discover all of the details and learn just how Pelikan plans to use the revenue this sale is expected to generate.

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Discord At The Factory: All Is Not Well At Pelikan’s Peine-Vöhrum Plant

Protest cartoon stock image

COVID-19’s global impact on just about every facet of human life has been far reaching and felt in a way that hasn’t been experienced for nearly an entire generation. Many businesses have already failed due to the unique stressors imposed by the coronavirus pandemic. Other industries have been forced to completely retool the way that they approach their operations in an effort to mitigate the impact upon their business. The reasons for why some have succeeded where others have failed are numerous and vary by industry. To better understand Pelikan’s own trials during this time, I had previously reached out to Jens Meyer, Pelikan’s Global Marketing Manager for Fine Writing Instruments. He was good enough to respond to my August 2020 and April 2021 inquiries and relay some of the problems his division has faced. Some of the challenges cited included issues with the factory’s on-site work force due to government imposed COVID-19 work restrictions, delayed acquisition of raw materials necessary in the manufacturing process, and increased shipping times which had held up the delivery of finished goods to Pelikan’s distribution partners. These impediments have left the company’s vendors without stock and new releases have been running well behind their usual robust schedule. With each missive, Jens did strike a note of optimism that the plight faced was being worked through as best as could be expected. The struggles noted would be challenging for even the healthiest of companies to surmount. Any business already confronting issues pre-pandemic would certainly experience an exacerbation of those prior tensions in addition to a slew of new problems. Such is the case as it relates to Pelikan whose tribulations have now been laid bare within the German press. While some have long suspected a more opaque back story than what had previously been acknowledged, it now seems that the issues run far deeper than anything previously reported. Read on to learn of the unrest that has bubbled to the surface at Pelikan’s Peine-Vöhrum manufacturing plant earlier this week.

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