My ongoing work as a physician on the front lines of this pandemic and the demands that the most recent COVID-19 surge placed upon me sapped my will, leaving me with precious little time and even less energy for other tasks. Now that we are at the tail end of the Omicron variant’s destructive toll, I’d like to turn my attention back to the blog, seeking some solace in the pen community, and diving back into my passion for Pelikan’s pens. I thought it only fitting to kick the year off with an absolutely Epoch post. If my little play on words was lost on you, allow me to introduce you to Pelikan’s Epoch (2004-2007). First released in 2004, the Epoch spanned five different models covering a total of eight unique finishes in its short production run of just three years. Every one of the fountain pens is a patronen-füllhalter or cartridge pen that has a unique cartridge tray, the same design that would later be utilized with the P3100 Ductus that launched during the Epoch’s final year, marking the Epoch line as a progenitor of sorts for the Ductus. Like most of Pelikan’s cartridge pens, each tray can accommodate one large or two small international cartridges imparting an ink capacity somewhere around 1.5mL. What the tray does not easily accommodate is a cartridge/converter. The Epoch’s design was named a reddot award winner in 2004. The company’s promotional literature described the Epoch as a symbiosis of tradition and modernity, a design that transcended its era, and technology ahead of its time. The marketing hype lays it on a little thick, but I think that there is more than enough here worth exploring. This post will focus on the line’s fountain pens but it should be noted that the Epoch was available as a pencil (D), rollerball (R), and ballpoint (K) in the same form factor. We’ll tackle each of the five models head on and then look at the octet as a whole, dissecting out their strengths and weaknesses. Whether you are already well acquainted with the line-up or are seeing them for the first time, there is plenty to learn about the various models.Continue reading
On deck today is a review of the fresh faced M205 Golden Beryl special edition fountain pen released last month. I have been excited to get my hands on this one and now am happy to be able to give you a closer look so that you might better judge the pen on its merits. Part of my excitement owes to the fact that we have gotten only a handful of new releases out of Hannover in 2021 when compared with years past which seems to be the new normal as forecasted in the company’s 2020 Annual Report. The exact statement in that text was; “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.” The Golden Beryl takes a somewhat different approach than the other thematic releases in the series and the question that it begs is whether or not the new tactic delivers? News of this one didn’t break until October, much later than has traditionally been the case, leading many to question whether or not we would actually see the Golden Beryl come to light. Materialize it did, joining the likes of the M205 Amethyst (2015), M205 Aquamarine (2016), M200 Smoky Quartz (2017), M205 Olivine (2018), M205 Star Ruby (2019), and the M205 Moonstone (2020) as the seventh pen in the now long running series. Interestingly, it is only the second model of those listed to incorporate gold plated trim, something we last saw on 2017’s Smoky Quartz. All of the models since 2019’s Star Ruby have utilized glitter to impart a shimmering appearance to the translucent material of the barrel and cap. Where the Golden Beryl breaks the mold is in the fact that the barrel itself is not colored in a way reminiscent of the ink that it compliments. This model actually has a clear resin which was admittedly unexpected when the product announcement came. Read on to discover whether or not the gambit was worthwhile.Continue reading
Pelikan Limited & Special Editions: Fine Writing Instruments 1993-2020
by Michael Silbermann
Leuenhagen & Paris, 2021, 280 pages
Once every several years or so, a new book detailing some facet of the Pelikan brand seems to surface. With a company history spanning over 180 years, there is certainly no shortage of material from which to draw upon. Not all of the books published have painted the company in a favorable light. It was 2018’s Tinte Und Blech which detailed the fruits of a systematic investigation looking into the involvement of Pelikan’s patriarch, Fritz Beindorff, with the Reich during World War II. Other recent tomes have taken a distinctly lighter tone when dealing with the company’s history. Some have detailed the ephemera surrounding Pelikan’s products while other have delved into the fascinating history behind the company’s advertising. Each book has been a fun read, discounting the language barrier imposed by some, and I have enjoyed exploring the various aspects of the company through their pages. Make sure to explore my site to see a more complete list of books published to date. Of course, the definitive works about the company’s history of fountain pen production remains the first and second editions of Pelikan Schreibgeräte by Dittmer and Lehmann. Last month brought a new addition to supplement the libraries of Pelikan fans across the globe. Pelikan Limited & Special Editions: Fine Writing Instruments 1993-2020 is a hardcover book detailing 27 years of fountain pen production across 280 full color pages. Its author, Michael Silbermann, has been a Pelikan employee for many years, most recently working in sales. What he has put together is the quintessential coffee table book. Read on to find out whether or not it’s worth picking up for your reading pleasure.Continue reading
I thought that it might be a worthwhile exercise to take an in-depth look at Pelikan’s new M605 Green-White fountain pen. When news of this model first broke back in early June, I immediately had two concerns. The first was that the actual product would not look at all like what was depicted in the pre-release photographs. There certainly is precedent for that as we have seen with various models over the last several years. My second worry was that the green striped barrel would not distinguish itself enough from the standard Green/Black model to be impactful. With the pen finally in hand, it quickly became clear that neither concern was founded. The newest M605 continues Pelikan’s trend of marrying colorful M6xx barrels with white resin which started in earnest circa 2015 with the M600 Pink. I was curious to see just how well the green striped barrel would marry with the white resin given what we’ve seen with the company’s other pastel colored releases. Prior models with a similar color scheme have included the M600 Violet-White (2019), the M600 Turquoise-White (2018), the M605 White-Transparent (2017), and the M600 Pink (2015). Notice that only one of those listed is another M605 sporting the typical silver colored palladium plated trim. These white resin models do have their detractors and some of that criticism is certainly valid. Sadly, the merits of the pen are marred by its regional pricing. Read on to discover whether or not the M605 Green-White is worth a second look and perhaps a spot amongst your flock.Continue reading
The subject of today’s review is the new Pelikan M205 Petrol-Marbled, a model that has already managed to generate a bit of controversy despite its relatively brief existence. First announced in March of this year, the M205 began shipping to consumers in late April. Right around that time, Pelikan released an apology when it came to light that the pre-release photos did not properly depict the actual product being shipped. The pen was initially shown with a chromium plated cap ring (technically the clipschraube/clip screw or crown cap nut) but, as it turns out, the actual product sports an un-plated, black plastic ring. A minor detail to be sure but one that affects the overall look of the pen in a rather meaningful way. Pelikan passed this off as a simple oversight but not everyone has taken that explanation at face value. Controversy aside, the Petrol-Marbled joins an expanding line of marbled finishes, predominantly found on the company’s Classic line of pens, though this is only the second M205 to flaunt a marbled finish. The first was the M205 Blue Marbled from 2016. Other, more recent entries in that style include the re-introduced M200 Green Marbled (2015), the M200 Brown Marbled (2017), and the M200 Gold Marbled (2019). The marbling of the Petrol’s finish has a dark but lively feel to it and really plays well with the light though there are inconsistencies that will mar the pen for some. It’s also hard to look at the Petrol-Marbled and not be reminded of 2017’s M805 Ocean Swirl which sports a similar color scheme, all-be-it, in a different pattern. The M205 Petrol-Marbled may well have enough going for it in the looks department to be able to rise above any small controversy over some trim. Read on to learn if it might be a good fit for you or if this is one you should sit out for the time being.Continue reading
While we await official news of this year’s upcoming releases, I wanted to take one last look back at a model from last year. I have already reviewed the M205 Moonstone and the M600 Tortoiseshell Red so this time I will be performing a shakedown of the M405 Silver-White. Pelikan has embraced the use of white resin over the past several years, predominantly amongst their M6xx models. This time around, rather than something in a medium size, the company has decided to instead show some love to their M405 line which consists of smaller pens by today’s standards. The M405 series has only been around since 2002 and the Silver-White is just the fifth pen to grace the line. It is also the first of its line to incorporate white resin into its design. The other M405 models are the Black, Blue-Black, Dark Blue, and Stresemann. Upon first glance, the Silver-White has a very similar appearance to 2017’s M605 White-Transparent. The major difference between the two are their size and the barrel’s striping. What makes the M405 Silver-White worth reviewing is the fact that it is not a limited or special edition but rather a release added to the standard line-up meaning that you will have time to pick this one up should it suit your fancy. The Silver-White is a very solid release but brings nothing new to the table. Read on to find out if this is the pen that you’ve been waiting for.
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.