Tortoiseshell has a long history of use in small items such as combs, glasses, guitar picks, knitting needles, boxes, and even as furniture inlays. The beauty of the material’s mottled appearance, its durability, and its organic warmth against the skin made tortoiseshell attractive for both manufacturers and consumers. The time invested to hunt and harvest the tortoises and the care needed in working with the shell to preserve its color made such items rather expensive. Unfortunately, the quest for profit has resulted in several of those species being hunted to near extinction with many now findings themselves on the endangered species list. The trade has been banned internationally for some time but that has not deterred harvesting shells for sale within the black market. Thankfully, more sustainable and environmentally friendly alternatives exist. The tortoise look is well suited for the likes of fountain pens and fans of Pelikan’s fine writing instruments can’t seem to get enough of such releases. The company’s tortoise finishes have been captivating people for decades thanks to their refined, upscale look. I’m happy to report that no actual tortoises have ever been harmed by Pelikan, the characteristic look instead being derived from cellulose acetate crafted to artificially resemble the mottled pattern of true tortoiseshell. There is no shortage of tortoise variants out there with some of the company’s most iconic and sought after models having been tortoises of one type or another. The original M800 Tortoiseshell Brown (1989) or the M600 Maruzen Tortoiseshell Brown (1999) come to mind as more recent examples of nearly mythical birds and that is just counting the company’s relatively recent production history to say nothing of the countless historic models such as the 400NN Light Tortoise (1957-60). To close out 2020, Pelikan has given us the M600 Tortoiseshell Red which looks to be a take on the previously released M101N Tortoiseshell Red (2014), now adapted to the more traditional Souverän line. Rather than a straight up adaptation however, this new model appears to be a reimagining of sorts. With a color scheme apropos for a December launch, this one is sure to please with its bold, vibrant hues and unique tortoiseshell application. Read on to learn if this model stacks up like Theodor Geisel’s Yertle the Turtle, king of the pond in Sala-ma-sond.
As the year meanders towards its close, I thought it a good time to look back on some of Pelikan’s releases this year. First up will be the M205 Moonstone fountain pen that accompanied 2020’s Edelstein Ink of the Year of the same name. It was 2019’s M205 Star Ruby acting as a pathfinder with sparkles adorning its finish that set the stage for the Moonstone. It represented a departure from Pelikan’s typically reserved German sensibilities and the gamble seems to have paid off as the Star Ruby was generally well received. I think a large part of that owes to striking just the right balance as the sparkles never came off as overblown and I think that the Moonstone also hits its mark in a similar fashion. It seems hard to believe but this year’s M205 now counts as the sixth consecutive pen to accompany the annual Edelstein Ink of the Year release. Prior models have included the M205 Amethyst (2015), M205 Aquamarine (2016), M200 Smoky Quartz (2017), M205 Olivine (2018), and M205 Star Ruby (2019). All of those models have been demonstrators, the overwhelming majority of which have had silver colored, chromium plated furniture (all except 2017’s Smoky Quartz). The sparkles are again fitting here because just as they paid homage to the asterism of the star ruby gemstone, they do equal justice with the true moonstone’s adularescence. What is that you may ask? The actual gemstone of its namesake displays a blue to white adularescence, a phenomenon where light appears to billow across the surface giving the stone a moonlight-like sheen. Read on to find out whether or not Pelikan’s reach for the stars hits the mark or falls flat.
I find it somewhat taxing to consistently review Pelikan’s fountain pens here on the blog, not because they aren’t great pens but because many of them are just variations on a theme. It becomes a challenge to find new things to write about with pens that are essentially unchanged aside from a fresh coat of paint. Consequently, I try to pick my reviews carefully, keeping my selection criteria to new, unique, or especially exciting features and finishes. I’m also hesitant to review pens that a majority of people won’t get to see in real life let alone own. Still, from time to time there comes a new finish so exciting that it just begs to be reviewed. That is the situation I find myself in with this year’s M1000 Raden Green Ray. This release follows the M805 Raden Royal Platinum (2018) and the M800 Raden Royal Gold (2017). The last Raden based off of the M1000 chassis was the Sunrise (2016). The newest entry in the lineup flaunts wide green stripes that reflect a rainbow of shimmering color in good light. We are so accustomed to the pinstriped pattern of Pelikan’s pens that this one cannot help but stand out. The stripes are made all the more impressive when juxtaposed against a background of deep black Japanese Urushi lacquer. The end result is really something to behold but, sadly, only 400 of these special edition M1000s were made. If pens utilizing the Raden technique appeal to you, then this is a must own Pelikan. Unfortunately, high pricing and limited production will keep this out of the hands of most so read on if for nothing more than to enjoy the eye candy.
With the first half of 2020 almost behind us, you may have noticed a relative dearth of new fountain pens releases coming out of Hannover. This is likely in no small part due to the turmoil that has engulfed the world as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic. Thus far, we have come to see just three new models brought to the market in 2o2o. These include the M200 Pastel-Green, the M1000 Raden Green Ray, and let us not forget the more limited release of the M800 Chinese Demonstrator. While we anticipate some fresh new models for the second half of the year, I thought that it might be worthwhile to take a look at what we already have in hand. Announced at the end of last year and released in late March, the M200 Pastel-Green is an interesting new member of Pelikan’s Classic line-up. The company has really embraced an array of pastel colors married to white resin accents over the last few years. That said, the Pastel-Green is now just the third pen from the M2xx series to utilize white resin, following closely on the heels of 2019’s M200 Gold-Marbled. At the risk of deluding myself, I’d like to think that perhaps someone at Pelikan is listening as it appears that some of the features that I critiqued in my Gold-Marbled review were addressed with this release. The reason that I chose to review this one today is for the uniqueness of the finish which is somewhat different from prior releases. The Pastel-Green is a special edition meaning that it will only be around for a limited time so read on to find out whether or not it’s just the trick to brighten up this otherwise bleak Spring.
In 2007, Pelikan introduced the Majesty series of fountain pens. Production would run through 2012 and include the M7000 and M7005. They are hefty pens that incorporate a piston mechanism hidden by a sterling silver sleeve. The M7000 is characterized by a sterling silver cap with gold plated accents and a two-tone nib. A limited edition of this model made up of just 170 pens was released in 2008 in honor of the company’s 170th anniversary. That version is entirely gold plated with three diamonds embedded in the nest on the cap top. The M7005 eschews the gold plating and includes a highly polished black resin cap. Each model line had a matching ballpoint and rollerball available. The cap top features a Jugendstil frieze, the design of which was taken directly from the facade of Pelikan’s original offices in Hannover, Germany. This horizontally, engraved band depicts a motif of pelicans, originally crafted by a stonemason at the turn of the century sometime between 1900 and 1906. Jugendstil was the German counterpart to Art Nouveau, an artistic movement that was active from 1895 to 1910. The movement developed as a reaction to the historicism and neo-classicism of the official art and architecture academies and was most active in the fields of graphic arts and interior design. That original frieze remains in place to this day. The Majesty’s launch was met with mixed emotion and, like its contemporary the Ductus, opinion was split down the middle. Hampered by an undersized nib and a supersized price tag, the pen certainly had its detractors. Read on to find out if the Majesty holds up to royal scrutiny.
With two in a row, this back half of the year certainly has felt a bit heavy with reviews, a testament to some of the recent creativity that we have seen out of Hannover. Up for appraisal today is Pelikan’s newly released M200 Gold-Marbled fountain pen. Prior to now, we’ve only ever had one white pen in the M2xx line-up, the M205 White which was released 10 years ago. That white M205 holds a special place in my heart as it was the first Pelikan fountain pen that I ever purchased, something akin to Scrooge McDuck’s lucky Number One Dime. Of course, it’s hard to look at the new Gold-Marbled model and not see parallels with the M400 Tortoiseshell White. Maybe it’s just me but I don’t think that it takes a huge leap of the imagination to envision someone blurring the lines on the tortoise and blending the colors into something near to what we see on the Gold-Marbled. Regardless, this finish appears unique and worthy of review. The last M2xx not released as part of the Edelstein companion pieces was the Brown-Marbled in 2017. While that one is part of the standard line-up, the Gold-Marbled is meant as a special edition meaning once the supply chain runs dry, these will no longer be available. Read on to find out whether or not Pelikan has the Midas Touch as far as the Gold-Marbled is concerned and see if you should consider making space amongst your flock for this one.
It’s time for another review on The Perch and while I normally like to scrutinize models that are unique in some way, I’m taking a look at the M800 Brown-Black largely because of its seemingly similar appearance to a past release. If you have had any experience with the Pelikan catalog over the past decade, you might find yourself drawing parallels between this new model and an old favorite. The M800 Tortoiseshell-Brown (2013) quickly comes to mind as a special edition that also utilized stripes and brown resin components. Pelikan’s product literature describes the Brown-Black like so;
“A graceful and subtle appearance. That’s the look of the new Special Edition Souverän 800 Brown-Black. The warm brown hue resin material of this writing instrument series is perfectly complimented by dark brown stripes. The barrel with brown and black stripes is crafted out of high grade cellulose acetate which is then turned into a sleeve. The rings and the clip are elegantly decorated with 24-carat gold.”
Is the Brown-Black something we’ve seen before or a new design unto itself? I think that the best analogy I can put forth is that while it all may be chocolate it comes down to the difference between milk chocolate and dark chocolate. Does the Brown-Black have enough going for it to stand on its own merits? Read on to find out.
Pelikan’s recently released M205 Star Ruby fountain pen is a trail blazer worthy of review. It is not the form factor or the nib that stands out nor is it the filling system. All of those bits faithfully follow the company’s time tested formula that Pelikan fans and longtime readers of this blog are accustomed to. What really shines here is, well, the shine. The M205 Star Ruby has a sparkle to its finish, the likes of which we have not seen before. As Dorothy Gale says in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, “Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore” (you couldn’t expect me to review a sparkly ruby colored pen without at least one Wizard of Oz quote). That is perhaps due in large part to typically reserved German sensibilities. When you think of pens that sparkle, Japanese and Chinese brands such as Sailor and Jinhao are more likely to spring to the forefront of your mind than anything out of Germany. The Star Ruby marks the fifth consecutive time that Pelikan has released a matching pen for the Edelstein Ink of the Year collection. This year’s iteration joins the likes of the M205 Amethyst (2015), M205 Aquamarine (2016), M200 Smoky Quartz (2017), and M205 Olivine (2018). While each of those pens have a deep, rich color that compliments their namesake nicely, none have had occasion to sparkle. Perhaps Pelikan wanted to honor the asterism of its namesake. For those that don’t know, star rubies are a special class of gemstone that display a sharp, shimmering six-rayed star on their surface. True to form, however, nothing feels gratuitous here. The coloring of the pen is a deep burgundy and the sparkles are hardly overblown as some had feared. This may be one of the best looking models of the quintet but certainly won’t appeal to everyone. Read on to find out whether or not this is one you should consider adding to your flock.