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.
Over the past few years, Pelikan has begun to more consistently bring us new limited edition Raden releases. It should come as no surprise then that a Raden model would be in the works for this year, a year in which the company is celebrating a historic anniversary. What does one give as a gift for a 180th anniversary? While there aren’t any well established customs for such an occasion, something in platinum seems a fitting choice. Perhaps that is why Pelikan has chosen to give us the M805 Raden Royal Platinum. For those new to the hobby, pens done in a Raden style employ a traditional Japanese art whereby finely ground abalone is embedded or glued onto laquer-coated surfaces. The result is an inlay that shines with a rainbow of colors when struck by light. This year’s release will make a worthy addition to the models that preceded it. These include the Kyokko & Gekko (2005), Moonlight (2011), Sunlight (2013), Starlight (2014), Sunrise (2016), and Royal Gold (2017). It would seem that the Royal Platinum is the kindred spirit to last year’s Royal Gold. The design and finish appear to be the same with one in silver tones and the other in gold. I suspect that many owners of the Royal Gold will be clamoring to add this one as a companion piece.
It had been widely anticipated that we would once again see an M2xx release mirroring this years Ink of the Year though doubts had started to grow. For the past three years, announcements have come anywhere from late June to early July but always on a fairly consistent timeline. It now being early August, you can imagine the angst this has generated. Fret no more because today we have been given a glimpse of the upcoming M205 Olivine Special Edition Demonstrator as previewed by the Instagram account of H&S KIRTASİYE. The Olivine will join past special editions including the M200 Smoky Quartz (2017), M205 Aquamarine (2016), and M205 Amethyst (2015). Last years M200 was a departure from the prior releases and it appears that Pelikan has once again returned to the M205 trim style which is characterized by chromium plated furniture that has a silver appearance. Details remain sparse and I’m sure that we will learn more in short order. I would imagine that pre-orders will be available from your preferred retailer in the coming weeks and I would expect this one to be available sometime around mid September.