As anticipation grows for the upcoming M800 Grand Place and M805 Vibrant Blue, I thought that it would be fun to start off the new year with a close look at the last Souverän released in 2015, the M800 Burnt Orange. Pelikan reported in their last newsletter that stock sold out very quickly with this model, so much so that a second run is planned for sometime in April 2016. The Burnt Orange boast a beautiful combination of rich, warm colors that were well suited to its fall release. To achieve such a beautiful looking pen, some design choices had to be made and form appears to have won out over function as I’ll describe below. This is the first time that we have seen a shade of orange make its way into Pelikan’s high-end Souverän line since the M320 Orange Marbled debuted in 2004. Many other manufacturers have effectively incorporated similar colors into some of their models, the Montblanc Hemingway and the Delta Dolcevita quickly coming to mind. Read on to find out if Pelikan’s implementation on the Burnt Orange hits the mark or goes astray.
A supreme ruler or monarch is known as a sovereign or Souverän in the German language. This moniker was given to Pelikan’s higher end pen lines when the M400 was introduced in 1982 and it persist to this day. In a kingdom there can be only one ruler. In the kingdom of Pelikan fountain pens, that ruler is indisputably the M1000. Pelikan’s M1000 was first introduced in 1997 making it senior to only the M3xx line launched the following year. It is the largest of Pelikan’s fountain pens. It was likely designed to take on the similarly sized Montblanc Meisterstück 149. At launch, the all black and green striped models were available as well as an M1050 which is characterized by a cap done in the vermeil style. We have seen a few other variants over time but aside from several special editions built off of this chassis, the M1xxx platform has seen the fewest releases of any model in the line. Perhaps that owes to the premium price this pen commands or the limited market for such a large pen. Whatever the reason, what it lacks in variety, it makes up for in elegance. While larger than its siblings, the traditional and unmistakable green striped barrel stands out as an understated reminder of who manufactured this pen. The soul of the M1000, however, lies in the nib. This nib, perhaps by virtue of its sheer size, has more character than any of Pelikan’s other modern offerings and makes for a very enjoyable writing experience. I had the good fortune to be provided one of these pens by Pelikan for the purpose of this review. The pen was provided on loan and will be returned, albeit rather reluctantly. As per usual, this article was not subject to any corporate censorship. I always strive to remain impartial and objective but I leave it to you to draw your own conclusions. The M1000 is a treat to use and should be a serious consideration for anyone who favors large pens and/or soft and expressive nibs.
When I think of Pelikan, the first thought that comes to mind is their long revered piston filling mechanism. To me, this is the epitome of the perfect filling system and it has long withstood the test of time. It is one of Pelikan’s core features and one that helped to forge me into such a die-hard enthusiast. Given that the piston mechanism is such a part of the company’s identity, you can imagine my surprise when, in 2014, they released a cartridge/converter model based off of the Classic series’ M200 and M205. Pelikan contends that there has long been demand for such a filling system in a pen of classic design, particularly for those who travel and prefer the convenience of a quick cartridge swap. This demand has given rise to the black P200 and P205. I have never held much love for such pens myself. My first ever fountain pen was a cartridge pen (not a Pelikan) and I had no idea what I was doing. I could scarcely get it to work and it’s this bad experience which put me off to fountain pens all together. It would be three years before I’d return and become the devotee that I am today. Perhaps that bad experience has tainted me or maybe I am wiser today and can see past my early fumbling. Pelikan provided me a P200 on loan for the purpose of this review. The pen was freely leant and there has been no censorship of any kind to the content of this article. I’d like to think that I’ve been able to remain objective but will allow you to draw your own conclusions. I’m not sure that the P200 has taken anything away from my love of piston fillers but it may have helped alleviate some of my prior disdain for the cartridge pen in general.
In a surprise June announcement, Fountain Pen Hospital broke the news that they would be releasing a limited edition Pelikan fountain pen exclusive to them. Founded in 1946, Fountain Pen Hospital has been a long-standing and well-respected retailer of fountain pens on the East Coast of the U.S.A. so it’s not surprising that they would have the clout to arrange such a release. Still, the announcement was a bolt from the blue since there wasn’t even a hint of rumor preceding the Bayou’s arrival. The pen, dubbed the M201 Bayou, was a very limited release of just 100 fountain pens. Slated for an August issue, many of us were pleasantly surprised when shipping notifications started going out in early July. The next word that we got about the Bayou was that it had sold out after being on the market just shy of three weeks. I debated the utility in reviewing this pen given that so few people will actually ever own one but it’s such a beautiful piece that I wanted to give it its due. Officially labeled the M200 ‘water soil’ by Pelikan, this pen stands out as unique amongst the Classic series in several ways that I will describe below. The M201 designation itself is not unprecedented as Pelikan has used this moniker before to distinguish limited, local releases. The M201 clear demonstrator issued as a limited run of 3000 pieces in the year 2000 to the Japanese market is one such example. If you know your way around Pelikan’s lines, you can’t help but look at the Bayou and instantly be reminded of the M620 Grand Place, a pen which shares a very similar aesthetic. This similarity has raised more than a few questions about the genesis of this run. Read on to find out more.
Pelikan’s M300 was introduced in 1998 and has the distinction of being the youngest and smallest member of the Souverän family. All told, there have been seven models of the M3xx series released over the past 17 years. To date, the penultimate release in that line has been the M320 Ruby Red which debuted in 2010 and is the subject of this review. While the M300 comes in the traditional green striped and black variants, the M320 is characterized by unique finishes that were first introduced in 2004. In their order of release; there has been the Orange Marbled (2004), Jade Green (2007), Ruby Red (2010), and Pearl (2011). These pens are diminutive, dwarfed by each and every one of their siblings in the other lines, including the M100/150 of the Classic series. Consequently, this makes them well suited to an environment such as a purse or vest pocket. Do not let their small size fool you as the M3xx line remain true Souveräns boasting all of the same furniture as well as Pelikan’s piston filling mechanism. Whether or not this pen is for you will be a matter of personal preference and surely this pen’s size will be the biggest limiting factor to its appeal. Read on below to find out about all of this pen’s qualities and quirks.
Pelikan’s M805 anthracite Stresemann has been out for a few months now and reviews have steadily been cropping up. To those other voices, I would like to add my own take on this pen. I have had the opportunity to use the Stresemann for the past three weeks as my continuous every day carry along with the companion K805 ballpoint. While my experience has generally been positive as you will read below, there were some small inconveniences that, while not deal breakers by any stretch, did hinder my full enjoyment of the pen. To be upfront, this pen was provided to me as a loan by Pelikan themselves and will be returned to them after this review (the first such occurrence for this blog). That said, this article was not subject to any censorship nor do I feel a loaned pen has had any impact on my objectivity. Still, I provide that information to you at the start in order to allow you to better draw your own conclusions. I think that the most striking thing about this M805 is how Pelikan took a somewhat drab color and really elevated it to another level. This pen stands out in the M8xx line up in a unique way and will be hard for many to pass up. Unlike so many special edition releases that disappear once the production run has ended and stock is sold off, the Stresemann is reported to be a regular production model. If you don’t have the funds for one right now, it seems as if they will be around for the foreseeable future. I know many hope that this color bleeds into the other Souverän lines and based on my experience with the M805, that would be a very welcomed occurrence. Unfortunately, only those in Hannover know whether that will ever become a reality or not. While we can only hope for now that this pattern will translate to the other lines, read on below to find out how the Stresemann does the M8xx line justice.
It seems as if it were just yesterday that Pelikan announced a new M200 model for 2015 and, two months later, we now have the Café Crème (pronounced kah/fay krehm) in hand. The company has been producing many special editions in recent times within both its Classic and Souverän lines. For the M200 line, Pelikan gave us the clear transparent demonstrator in 2012 which they followed up in 2014 with the cognac transparent demonstrator. Both of those releases were nice pens but ultimately were little more than re-releases of prior M200 models with a slight upgrade of the cap top trim. While this was welcomed by many due to the relative scarcity of examples from the original release on the secondary market, the new models overall have felt uninspired and stale. What’s more is that pen collectors/users are very polarized over demonstrator models with one camp loving them and another loathing them without much middle ground in between. This years release does not feel rehashed but instead seems to offer a truly new and unique pen that brings back some excitement to Pelikan’s entry-level line-up. Inspired by the world of coffee, this pen is anything but stale and whatever your taste may be, this release hopefully signals a game change from the creative minds at Pelikan.
This is the third and final installment of my series exploring the M600. In my first post, I endeavored to explore the differences between both the old and new style M600’s. The second post reviewed those pens from the two different eras in a head to head comparison. For this post, I wanted to focus on another member of the M6xx family, one that defies the usual styling of the series and makes it somewhat of an oddity in the line-up. The pen up for review here is the M640 Mount Everest, released in 2008. This pen is part of the “Beauty of Nature” series which is composed of six pens in total released from 2007-2011. The theme behind these pens is centered upon celebrating the beauty of the natural world around us. What makes this series somewhat unique is that there are several departures in design from most of the other pens in the Souverän series, regardless of model, which I will try to highlight below. This departure in design has polarized some of the fan base as many have found it difficult to embrace certain design elements. The pen being reviewed today is from my personal collection but this review should be able to be generalized to all of the pens in the series.