News: Pelikan Hubs 2021 Cancelled

The global coronavirus pandemic has now been raging for well over a year with no clear end in sight. There have already been almost 211 million cases reported across the globe with 4,413,638 lives lost. The death toll will likely continue to grow as long as vaccinations lag and the delta variant rampages. It’s easy to get lost in the numbers as they are an inconvenient barrier for our desire to return to some sense of normalcy. It’s important to resist becoming numb to the carnage, a global death toll slightly larger than the entire population of Los Angeles, California. I have been at the bedside for hundreds of these people, watching their health deteriorate despite maximal medical therapy until their lives were felled by the ravages of the virus. With the global situation far from under control, it should come as no surprise then that Pelikan announced via their newsletter today that Pelikan Hubs 2021 would indeed be cancelled. Long suspected to be a foregone conclusion at this point, it is nice to finally have an official statement from the company about the state of the Hubs event. I commend Pelikan’s decision, even if it was the only responsible choice they could make. While these are sad times, there is reason to have hope for a brighter future. Despite the 2020 and 2021 events having been necessarily cancelled, Pelikan began their notice with a statement tinged with optimism, a commitment to not letting the Hubs become a casualty of the pandemic.

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News: M1000 Raden White Ray

M1000 Raden White Ray Fountain Pen

Pelikan International’s 2020 Annual Report provided a forecast regarding what we should expect this year out of Hannover, and it has been spot on thus far. Tucked away on page 13 was the statement, “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.” It is already August and all we’ve seen come to market thus far has been the M205 Petrol-Marbled, M1000 Maki-e Seven Treasures, and the M605 Green-White. In 2019, prior to the pandemic, we already had nine new models by this point in the year and seven the year before that. Not only is the company sticking with a strategy of fewer releases, they are also embracing the rehash of popular designs with new colors. Late last evening, vendors broke news of the next release due out. This time we have the M1000 Raden White Ray, a re-imagining of 2020’s Green Ray, which is just the latest addition to a growing line of limited edition Raden releases. It will join the likes of past M1xxx Raden models which includes the Moonlight (2011), Sunlight (2013), Starlight (2014), Sunrise (2016), and Green Ray (2020). For those that don’t know, Raden is a traditional Japanese art form used to embellish lacquer ware and woodwork. Small pieces of shimmering abalone shell are utilized in the creation of unique, handcrafted designs. A Urushi lacquer is applied to the barrel and cap before strips of abalone shell are laid down after which a final layer of lacquer is applied to seal everything in place.  Each pen is signed by the artist and hand numbered using the Maki-e technique. Just like the Green Ray, this will be a limited edition run of only 400 pieces worldwide. Availability is anticipated for some time in September 2021.

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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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Pelikan To Sell Its German Logistics Center

Logistics center owned by Pelikan in Falkensee, Germany

Pelikan International Corporation Berhad (PICB) has seen a significant bump in its share price on the Malaysian stock market over the past several days, noting an 11% increase this past Friday alone. Why is Pelikan’s stock heating up right now? The market activity is tied directly to PICB’s subsidiary, Pelikan Group GmbH, having entered into a conditional sale and purchase agreement on July 7th to sell its logistics center located at Straße der Einheit, Falkensee, Germany. The logistics center is an expansive 135,000 square meter (~1,453,128 square foot) space that includes areas for warehouse storage, offices, and production. The buyers are wholly owned subsidiaries of HWE Investor GP S.à.r.l, part of the Hillwood Group which is based out of Dallas, Texas. The US based Hillwood Group also has operations in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Poland. They are a developer of residential, commercial, and industrial real estate. The property being disposed of came to Pelikan in April 2010 as part of their acquisition of Herlitz AG. At that time, the company acquired a 66% stake in the stationary brand for approximately $60 million (€45 million/RM221.85 million). The building’s current occupants are eCom Logistik GmbH, a logistics services company formed in 2003 as a subsidiary of Herlitz AG. Currently boasting approximately 166 employees it became the wholly owned subsidiary of Pelikan AG in 2015. Fret not if you were worried that Pelikan might be selling off its fine writing division. The property will sell for approximately $96 million (€81 million/RM399.33 million) which is expected to net the company a one-off gain of $44 million (€37 million/RM184.83) based on PICB’s audited consolidated financial statements for fiscal year 2020. Read on to discover all of the details and learn just how Pelikan plans to use the revenue this sale is expected to generate.

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Discord At The Factory: All Is Not Well At Pelikan’s Peine-Vöhrum Plant

Protest cartoon stock image

COVID-19’s global impact on just about every facet of human life has been far reaching and felt in a way that hasn’t been experienced for nearly an entire generation. Many businesses have already failed due to the unique stressors imposed by the coronavirus pandemic. Other industries have been forced to completely retool the way that they approach their operations in an effort to mitigate the impact upon their business. The reasons for why some have succeeded where others have failed are numerous and vary by industry. To better understand Pelikan’s own trials during this time, I had previously reached out to Jens Meyer, Pelikan’s Global Marketing Manager for Fine Writing Instruments. He was good enough to respond to my August 2020 and April 2021 inquiries and relay some of the problems his division has faced. Some of the challenges cited included issues with the factory’s on-site work force due to government imposed COVID-19 work restrictions, delayed acquisition of raw materials necessary in the manufacturing process, and increased shipping times which had held up the delivery of finished goods to Pelikan’s distribution partners. These impediments have left the company’s vendors without stock and new releases have been running well behind their usual robust schedule. With each missive, Jens did strike a note of optimism that the plight faced was being worked through as best as could be expected. The struggles noted would be challenging for even the healthiest of companies to surmount. Any business already confronting issues pre-pandemic would certainly experience an exacerbation of those prior tensions in addition to a slew of new problems. Such is the case as it relates to Pelikan whose tribulations have now been laid bare within the German press. While some have long suspected a more opaque back story than what had previously been acknowledged, it now seems that the issues run far deeper than anything previously reported. Read on to learn of the unrest that has bubbled to the surface at Pelikan’s Peine-Vöhrum manufacturing plant earlier this week.

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Günther Wagner’s Black Horse: A History Of The Rap-Pen

Günther Wagner's Rappen Fountain Pen

Günther Wagner launched the Transparent Fountain Pen under the Pelikan marque in 1929, a brand that he had trademarked some 51 years earlier. That piston filling fountain pen subsequently underwent several small revisions in a relatively short period of time, revisions that ultimately culminated into what we know today as the model 100, so named in 1931. Following its introduction, the model 100 represented Pelikan’s flagship fountain pen product. In the business world, it is common practice for manufacturers to target different market segments with alternate versions of a product. This strategy allows companies to reach a larger number of potential customers. Market segments might be targeted based on demographics such as age, sex, and income. Alternatively, they can be based on geography or focus on consumer versus commercial variations of a product or service. Perhaps you have seen examples of businesses selling a lower-priced product targeting the less affluent with marketing that stresses cost, value, and affordability. That same company may also offer a higher-end version of the product which might have more embellishments or some particularly attractive packaging thereby raising the price. Consumers who are more well off are frequently willing to pay an extra sum for those additional features and benefits. The products don’t even have to vary that much as marketing can frequently convince those with the cash that the higher priced brand/product is of a better quality, regardless of whether or not that is truly the case. Günther Wagner was no stranger to this practice as his company owned several brands, each geared towards appealing to a different group of consumers, predominantly based on income. While the 100 was the work horse of the Pelikan line targeting a largely middle-class population, the 110, 111, T111, and 112 were manufactured as higher end variations of the same product in an effort to appeal to the more upscale market. An effort to target the opposite end of that spectrum is how we came to meet the Rappen brand of fountain pen in 1932, Günther Wagner’s lower tier offering, priced as a more affordable alternative to the Pelikan model 100. The Rappen was able to be produced with lower production cost while maintaining quality workmanship and distinguished itself significantly from the company’s flagship models. Read on to learn how the Rappen came to serve lower end markets for well over a decade.

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News: M605 Green-White Special Edition

Pelikan M605 Green-White Fountain Pen

For those that have found the M205 Petrol-Marbled to be too small and the M1000 Maki-e Seven Treasures to be too large and expensive, Pelikan now brings a third option to the table for 2021. Today broke with news of the forthcoming M605 Green-White fountain pen. This mid-size model keeps with Pelikan’s trend, predominantly over the past five years, of bringing brighter barrel colors with white resin accents to the M6xx line. Starting with the M600 Tortoiseshell White in 2012, we have since seen the M600 Pink (2015), M605 White Transparent (2017), M600 Turquoise-White (2018), and M600 Violet-White (2019). This time we get an eye-catching shade of green arranged in stripes made of cellulose acetate accented by white resin and palladium plated furniture. If we’ve learned anything recently, it is that pre-release photos can be deceiving but there appears to be a lot to like here. If this one looks like a nice addition for your flock, it is expected to be available at retailers worldwide starting in July of this year. This will be a special edition therefore will only be available while supplies last.

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