Those of us in the U.S.A. awoke this morning to news of yet another forthcoming release from Pelikan. The company is once again going retro with the introduction of a new model in the M101N series. Perhaps it is no coincidence that such a pen is being brought to light during the 90th anniversary of Pelikan’s first foray into fountain pens. The newest M101N on the block has been dubbed the Grey-Blue and it will become the fifth pen in a line that takes its inspiration from the historic models of the 30s and 40s. To date, the Grey-Blue has been preceded by the Tortoiseshell Brown (2011), Lizard (2012), Tortoiseshell Red (2014), and Bright Red (2017). Whereas the first three models listed emulated some of the more popular vintage finishes, the Grey-Blue will join the Bright Red in blazing its own trail as a fresh take on an old design. Pelikan’s promotional materials state; “The grey and blue color and pattern is reminiscent of the original historical model of the 1930s,” but I do not recall any historic 101N ever having come in this color scheme. If you cannot wait to get your hands on this one, be thankful February is a short month as these are due to make their way to market sometime in March.
Rumors of the M1005 Stresemann began early last year and it was widely expected that we would see it hit the market sometime in late 2018. The year came and went without such an announcement suggesting that the release had been pushed back with a new estimated arrival set for the first quarter of 2019. The wait is now over as word of the upcoming M1005 Stresemann finally broke today from the Netherlands courtesy of our friends at Appelboom. This new model will join the M805 (2015) and the M405 (2016) in the same finish. The M1005 will be the largest model to sport the anthracite stripes and is a welcome addition to a line that hasn’t seen a refresh in some time. The last M10xx model not host to an ultra limited Maki-e or Raden finish was the M1005 black released seven years ago in 2013. In case you’re new to the blog or brand and may be unaware of the origins of the Stresemann finish, allow me to explain from where the designation derives. The former foreign minister of the Weimar Republic and Nobel prize recipient, Gustav Stresemann (1879-1929), had a proclivity for wearing suits with thin stripes which became something of a defining trait. After a time, people started drawing parallels between Pelikan’s now well-known striped pattern and the Stresemann look resulting in the nick-name that has persisted to this day.
As the embers of 2018’s excitement begin to slowly fade with the year’s close, Pelikan rekindles a sense of anticipation for next year by giving us a small taste of what’s to come. News broke yesterday of the limited edition Herzstück 1929 which pays homage to the origins of Pelikan’s fountain pen production some 90 years ago. Today, reports of the 2019 Edelstein Ink of the Year have surfaced. With the introduction of Star Ruby, the palette appears to have swung from a shade of green to more reddish hues. This will be the sixteenth gemstone inspired color to grace the line-up. The forthcoming Star Ruby will join the likes of Turmaline, Amber, Garnet, Amethyst, Aquamarine, Smoky Quartz, and Olivine as the eighth Ink of the Year. Unlike last year’s Olivine, this one was not a fan chosen shade. While details are just emerging, we can expect availability sometime in March of 2019.
Theodor Kovacs altered the course of fountain pen history when he designed the differential piston filling mechanism. Prior to his creation, fountain pens were known to have smaller ink capacities and were somewhat cumbersome to use. While not the first piston mechanism to ever grace a fountain pen, it was perhaps one of the best. Patented sometime around 1925, Mr. Kovacs entered into a partnership to see his design put into production. When that relationship fell apart due to financial hardship, he sold his patents to Günther Wagner in 1927. The company would re-patent them under their own name in 1929. Later that year, Günther Wagner introduced its first writing instrument based on the differential piston filling mechanism, the transparent Pelikan fountain pen, initially provided without a model number. Next year will mark the 90th anniversary of that original release. To commemorate such a milestone in the company’s history, Pelikan is set to make available the Herzstück 1929 Limited Edition anticipated sometime around the end of March 2019.
The Edelstein collection of inks now spans 15 different shades inspired by various gemstones. These have been split between a standard perennial line up of eight inks with the remaining seven comprising a more limited edition series usually only available for a short time. In a surprise move during March of 2017, Pelikan announced that Aquamarine, the 2016 Ink of the Year, would become part of the regular line-up, swelling the ranks to nine. Today, Pelikan took to social media to announce another resurrection. This time it is Garnet, the 2014 Ink of the Year, that will joint the standard assortment, bringing the total number to an even ten.
“We have some great news for you! It‘s back again: our Edelstein Ink of the Year 2014 Garnet is now part of our standard assortment! 🙂 Catch it, if you can. 😊”
Garnet was billed as a dark red color. The fact that this is the second time an older limited edition has been put back into service suggests that this might be a new trend for Pelikan. That possibility may give hope to those longing for some of the inks from days gone by. Amber, Turmaline, and Amethyst come to mind as past fan favorites that have been sorely missed since their discontinuation. I’m a little bit at a loss as to why Garnet may have been chosen ahead of any one of those. It’s not that Garnet doesn’t have its admirers but it generally received somewhat mixed reviews at the time of its original release. Amber, in my opinion, would have been the smart play here, hands down. Still, I won’t complain about added variety and I’ll take heart in the fact that we may yet see some of the more desired inks make a return. What are your thoughts on Garnet’s new status?
In January of this year, I reported that Pelikan pens equipped with an EF nib and sold in the European Union were to experience a price increase of 10-12%. We have since seen this in full effect across all of the releases out of Hanover this year. What this translates into is that an EF furnished M800 cost €44 (~$50.79) more, an M600 cost €32 (~$36.94) more, and an M205 cost €10.40 (~$12.01) more than the same model equipped with an F, M, or B nib. To add insult to injury, it’s not as if the premium price is buying anything new or improved. So why did Pelikan single out the EF nib? The official explanation offered was that EF nibs are popular, make up a decent portion of sales and, due to their extra fine width, take more time to produce due to the extra grinding and polishing that needs to occur for a smooth writing experience. If that justification sounds weak, consider the alternative explanation put forth by several sources citing that the unofficial reason for this price increase was to discourage EU vendors from selling their wares to Asia. The implication then is that the price increase represented Pelikan’s attempt to further control the market. To date, the United States has been spared from this practice. Perhaps that is due to the fact that U.S. customers already pay a significant premium when purchasing domestically. Well, it appears the other shoe has finally dropped and, to the excitement of no one, Pelikan has decided to extend the EF premium across the pond with the release of the M600 Vibrant Orange.
This year has seen some rather conservative releases as far as color and styling go. When you look at the Spirit of 1838, the M815 Metal Striped, and the M805 Raden Royal Platinum you see pens with a very monochromatic or two toned styling (usually black & silver). I don’t say that to take anything away from those models but many of us out there yearn for a splash of color. The M205 Olivine and the upcoming M800 Stone Garden help scratch that itch somewhat but even their colors are more subdued. To the casual observer, it would seem that Pelikan has been using their M600 line over the last few years to provide an outlet for more colorful releases. We saw this with the Pink and the Turquoise-White for example. Well, today we have a new addition to that line, the M600 Vibrant Orange. Rumored since earlier this year, the Vibrant Orange is due out by mid-November and is sure to be a welcome addition to many who find the M600 line of pens to be the sweet spot in terms of size and weight.
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As anticipated, news broke early this morning across Europe regarding the next big release out of Hannover. All I can say is prepare to hear the sound of jaws dropping. Today we have the Pelikan M800 Stone Garden Special Edition and, if the product shots do it justice, it looks to be a gorgeous fountain pen. Of course, given the inconsistent track record of Pelikan’s product photography over the last several releases, we’ll have to reserve judgement until we can see some real world pictures. Still, there is a lot of promise here. This model follows closely on the heels of the M205 Olivine which just recently entered retail channels and the much more limited Raden Royal Platinum. The promotional literature for the Stone Garden states; “Rock gardens are known for their soothing effect. The new special edition Souverän M800 Stone Garden absorbs this atmosphere and offers tranquility in daily chores.” It is anticipated to be available around mid-October.