Review: M600 Vibrant Orange (2018)

Pelikan M600 Vibrant OrangePelikan has several brightly colored models in its stable of past releases though only a precious few bear the moniker ‘vibrant.’  Prior to this year, we only had the M600 Vibrant Green (2014) and the M805 Vibrant Blue (2016).  It seems a biennial pattern of vibrant releases is emerging because this year we’ve been given the M600 Vibrant Orange.  It may surprise you to learn that these finishes are not unique nor did they originate with these larger birds.  Back in 2004, Pelikan gave us the M320 Orange followed by the M320 Green three years later.  The smallest of the Sovueräns, these tiny pens pioneered the vibrant finish even if they weren’t named as such.  Other manufacturers have produced similar finishes which can be seen with the Delta Dolce Vita Oro, Pineider Avatar Saffron Yellow, and the Aurora 88 Sole to name just a few.  Pelikan appears to have dusted off the old cellulose-acetate to bring us this year’s Vibrant Orange.  Looking back at the releases that have graced the M6xx line in recent years, it certainly looks as though this line, more than any other, is Pelikan’s outlet for colorful expression.  I’d wager that few lines have seen the bouquet of colors that the M6xx has which is ironic since so many voices have clamored for a Tortoiseshell Brown or Anthracite Stresemann to grace the platform.  As my little kindergartener tells me, “You get what you get and you don’t get upset.”  So it is with open arms that I welcomed the Vibrant Orange into my flock and after some use, have found it unique enough to review.  Read on to find out if this is the model for you.  I have a suspicion it may well be the last official release we see out of Hannover for 2018.

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Review: M800 Stone Garden (2018)

Pelikan M800 Stone Garden Fountain PenThe Perch may have been quiet recently but I assure you that it has not been idle.  Almost a year’s worth of research on a very interesting topic is coming to a close and I hope to get it out into the wild in the coming weeks.  For today’s post, I wanted to bring you something a little more timely because I know that a lot of people remain on the fence about this one.  I’m referring to Pelikan’s recently released M800 Stone Garden.  Pelikan’s pre-release photos continue to cause consternation amongst potential customers.  In this case, the official marketing photos look more like a computer rendered image than an actual photograph.  With so much of the decision to purchase a fountain pen relying on its visual appeal, inaccurate photos can result in significant buyer’s remorse.  Sadly, that is just how many products are advertised today.  Pelikan’s literature describes the pen as follows;

“Stone gardens are known for their serenity and peaceful effect. The new Special Edition Souverän 800 Stone Garden was created to be symbolic of this special place and the calming influence from life’s hectic everyday pace. The combination of opaque dark blue and the sophisticated marbled structure with blue and brown colors give a noble and elegant look to this series.”

While dark blues and browns are not the palette of most of the stone gardens that I have ever encountered, I’m willing to allow Pelikan some artistic license provided that the pen is able to bring something new to the table.  It has been a very conservative and dichromatic year thus far for the bigger birds as seen with the M815 Metal Striped and the M805 Raden Royal Platinum.  Read on to find out whether or not the Stone Garden can bring some much needed color to this year’s line up.

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Review: M815 Metal Striped (2018)

Pelikan M815 Metal Striped Fountain PenThe M815 Metal Striped special edition was announced in May and began shipping in late June of this year.  It is the first M8xx release during the company’s 180th anniversary which makes the stakes seem just a little bit higher.  This is not the first Pelikan pen to be labeled an M815 though.  That honor fell to the Wall Street limited edition from 1995.  While the two pens share little in common, it is nice to see Pelikan taking a new approach in tackling what is by now a familiar theme.  The current M815 marries Pelikan’s high quality resin with palladium-plated stripes made from brass.  The overall effect is a sophisticated elevation of their typical striped “Stresemann” design which enjoys a long and prestigious heritage.  The brass added to this model gives it more heft than your typical M8xx, a boon for those who like a heavier pen.  While not an exact analogy, you can think of it in terms of cramming an M1000’s weight into an M800’s body.  One thing that detractors will likely be quick to point out, and rightly so, is that this model seems to have a lot in common with the M805 Stresemann from 2015.  Let’s take a closer look and see if the M815 has enough going for it to stand on its own merits and separate itself from the pack.

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Review: M605 White Transparent (2017)

Pelikan M605 White Transparent Fountain PenThe latest East coast holiday season snow storm has come and gone but none of the new fallen snow thus far has been as white as the M605 White Transparent.  Pelikan’s latest M6xx release was preceded by a bit of uncertainty due to pre-release product photography that was somewhat poorly representative of the actual pen.  Despite that, popular opinion has been favorable towards the M605 and vendors have noted strong sales.  News of a new M6xx Souverän is usually welcomed by many as this model’s size hits the sweet spot for a large swath of enthusiasts.  Unfortunately, it is also one of the more neglected lines in the Souverän family.   The White Transparent looks very sharp with clean lines that are nicely complimented by its palladium plated furniture.  Filling the pen with your favorite colored ink allows it to take on an additional dimension thanks to the transparent barrel which provides for easy viewing of the ink chamber.  A white pen can be somewhat polarizing amongst those in the community and the White Transparent will likely be no exception.  A pen so pure white is surely to be at risk for staining and while its critics will be quick to point that out, the pen has a charm that should allow many to look past such potential shortcomings.

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Review: P16 Stola III (2015)

Pelikan P16 Stola III Fountain PenThere have been many excellent reviews of Pelikan’s P16 Stola III published since it was released back in 2015.  I did not acquire one of these when they became available because I tend to favor Pelikan’s long revered piston filling mechanism over most cartridge/converter models.  That said, an opportunity arose during the recent Pelikan Hubs event in Philadelphia, thanks to Frank from Federalist Pens, which allowed me to add a P16 to the flock.  After using the pen for the past several weeks, I felt the need to add my voice to the reviews out there, largely because of how pleased I have been with this model.  I am a piston user by preference and generally have a bit of disdain for the cartridge pen.  I was softened to the cause of the cartridge pen after reviewing the P200 but was not won over.  Despite my bias, the Stola III quickly had me forgetting about any misgivings and allowed me to enjoy the writing experience.  It is a sharp looking pen with a surprisingly high end feel due to its metal barrel construction.  It’s also priced quite reasonably for what you get.  If you’re in the market for a cartridge pen, then I would have no qualms recommending the P16.  Read on to find out why. 

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Review: M800 Raden Royal Gold (2017)

Pelikan M800 Raden Royal GoldFountain pens have been around since at least the 17th century and it stands to reason that the earliest variants likely adhered to the 20th century modernist architecture principle form follows function.  This principle contends that the shape of an object should be based upon its intended purpose.  I wonder how much time elapsed before pens started being embellished with unique styling and artistic sensibilities.  There are some pens that are incredibly plain and while they may excel at what they do, they fail to ignite the senses.  Others are so ornate and overblown that their artistry interferes with their function making for an all but useless show piece.  Some pens are able to straddle the line between the two extremes and that is where Pelikan’s M800 Raden Royal Gold falls.  With gold and black stripes reminiscent of a honey bee, the golden Raden finish married to the tried and true M800 chassis has resulted in an exceptional fine writing instrument, the likes of which haven’t been seen since a much more basic implementation on the now discontinued P3110 Ductus.  Of course that is just my opinion but I hope to convince you of the same.  The biggest argument against the design that I’ve heard is that this model has such a preponderance of gold that it makes for an overly ostentatious appearance (translation: too “blingy”).  I can see why someone might feel that way but let me assure you that the use of gold here behind the mother of pearl overlay is not at all gratuitous.  I always struggle with the utility of reviewing a pen made in such limited quantities and priced at such a luxury market price point.  With only 388 people destined to enjoy the Raden Royal Gold, I decided to write this review in order to share the beauty and craftsmanship of this unique release with those who will never have the pleasure of owning this exquisite fine writing instrument.

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Review: M101N Bright Red (2017)

Pelikan M101N Bright RedNews broke of the M101N Bright Red at the end of January and pens started shipping just a few weeks ago.  The M101N is a modern re-imagining of a line of pens that Pelikan first introduced in the 1930s.  Since 2011, we have had several releases in the series including the Tortoiseshell Brown (2011), the Lizard (2012),  and the Tortoiseshell Red (2014).  It’s not clear why the hiatus between the Tortoiseshell Red and the new Bright Red.  What’s interesting about the Bright Red is that there is no direct historical 101N model from which it draws upon for its design.  Perhaps that might explain the delay in a new model being put forth.  The closest approximation in Pelikan’s history appears to be the amazing 101 Coral Red.  The 101s were 100s that had colored caps but still retained the design of the 100.  While the finishes of the modern Bright Red and vintage Coral Red are similar, the look of the two models is significantly different.  There is a lot of divided sentiment about these modern releases and I find most of the accolade and adoration consistently goes to the Tortoiseshell Brown.  Read on to find out whether or not the M101N Bright Red can upset the Tortoiseshell Brown’s place on the throne.

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Review: The Pelikan P1 (1958-1963)

Pelikan P1 Rolled Gold Diamond Black Fountain Pen

Pelikan has enjoyed a long and storied history of pen production.  For this post, I’d like to focus on what may well be characterized as a bit of an oddity in the Pelikan line-up.  The P1 was introduced in September of 1958 and enjoyed only a short production run ending sometime in 1963, presumably due to poor sales.  The ‘P’ designation stands out as unusual here because this more commonly denotes a patronen-füller or cartridge pen but the P1 is in fact a piston filled fountain pen.  This model was available as both Silvexa (P1S) and Rolled Gold (P1RG) variants.  It came at a time when hooded nibs were en vogue and seemed to serve as Pelikan’s answer to the phenomenon.  That said, Pelikan’s foray came much later than most other companies since pens like Parker’s 51 & 61, Aurora’s 88, Lamy’s 27, and Waterman’s C/F had already been on the market for some time.  Until the introduction of the P1, Pelikan had been producing pens like the venerable 140 and 400, making the P1 a significant departure in design.  Be that as it may, many people have shown much affection for the P1 and I felt a bit of a historical overview and review were in order as the P1 slowly creeps up on its diamond jubilee.

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