Review: “Pelikan Limited & Special Editions: Fine Writing Instruments 1993-2020” Book

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.

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Review: M605 Green-White (2021)

Pelikan M605 Green-White Fountain Pen

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.

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Review: M205 Petrol-Marbled (2021)

Pelikan M205 Petrol Marbled Fountain Pen

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.

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Review: M405 Silver-White (2020)

Pelikan M405 Silver-WhiteWhile 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.

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Review: M600 Tortoiseshell Red (2020)

Pelikan M600 and K600 Tortoiseshell RedTortoiseshell 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.

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Review: M205 Moonstone (2020)

Pelikan M205 Moonstone Fountain PenAs 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.

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Review: M1000 Raden Green Ray (2020)

Pelikan M1000 Raden Green RayI 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.

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Review: M200 Pastel-Green (2020)

Pelikan M200 Pastel-GreenWith 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.

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