Chronoswiss, founded by Gerd-Rüdiger Lang in 1983, is a mechanical watch manufacturer currently based out of Lucerne. Mr. Lang spent several years leaning his trade as an apprentice before finding employment with Heuer (now TAG-Heuer) where he would work with chronographs for approximately 15 years. Quartz movements came to dominate in the 1980s prompting Mr. Lang to seek opportunity elsewhere. After his departure, he attended school in Würzburg and graduated as a “Master Watchmaker.” Shortly thereafter, he founded his own company which specialized in mechanical watches during a time when quartz was all the rage. It wasn’t until 1987 that the “Régulateur,” a hand-wound wristwatch, was born. It was touted as the first serially manufactured wristwatch with a regulator-type dial. It is the characteristics of this watch that would go on to define the company’s iconic style. Those features include a screwed and channeled bezel, an onion-shaped crown, and screwed strap lugs. While not as historically rich as many of the traditional brands, the Régulateur would help cement Chronoswiss’s place in horology.
A little over a year ago I posted all that I knew about the Pelikan M481, a little understood model released in the early 1980s. Based on the pen’s design, it was clearly the predecessor to the M200 that followed in 1985. The M481 appears to have been largely relegated to the export market. It is the same size as the M200 but with different furniture. To briefly recount, the M481 has a single cap band, no trim ring on the barrel or piston knob, and lacks the Pelikan logo on the cap top (perhaps its most distinguishing feature). I encourage you to read my previous article linked above if you’re interested in more of this model’s details. Up until now I have assumed that the M481 was limited to a release of just three colors; black, green-black, and burgundy. I now think that there was a fourth model, not quite designated an M481 in name, with enough of the tell-tale attributes to allow one to make a reasonable inference that it was intended as part of that lineage. The variant that I’m referring to is what I now feel to be the previously misclassified M200 clear demonstrator, single cap band variant.
First broke by Iguana Sell, a luxury pen retailer located in Spain, we now have news of yet another, long rumored, new model release from Pelikan. This is the third new model for 2015 and I understand that this most recent one has been on the wish list of many enthusiasts. With a target release date of late April, Pelikan is going to bring us the M805 Clear Demonstrator. Similar in styling to the M1005 released in 2011, this release will feature a clear demonstrator with an all rhodium trim, including an 18C rhodinated nib. Many have long appreciated the M1005’s styling which won it the renowned French Le Trophée du Stylographe award following its release. While the M1005 is held in high regard, its size and price point does not suit everyone. The new M805 will help remedy that to some extent and it will reportedly come in two variants. The first will be a standard, clear demonstrator available in nib sizes F, M, and B. The second variant will have engravings in English on the barrel identifying the various components of the mechanism similar to the prior M800 clear demonstrator special edition. The second variant will be available in F and M nib sizes. The packaging looks like it will be similar to the M1005 and includes a gift box with a transparent window allowing for immediate visualization of the pen and its transparency.
Pelikan has released many special editions over the years, usually at the request of its customers. Sometimes these are brought about by the company and other times, they are special order pieces for companies that contract for a limited run. Many special editions are depicted in The Aviary which includes pens such as the M150 Bols, the M200 Deutsche Telekom, the M200 Citroenpers, and the M250 Tortoiseshell Brown. There is a much lesser known model out there that qualifies as a special edition and it is known as the M201.
The M201 was released in the year 2000 and was a run of roughly 3000 pieces. This was a clear demonstrator with a black piston assembly/mechanism which has the same design/dimensions as the M200. Since it is a post-’97 model, it is distinguished by a crown cap top, single cap band, and has a single trim ring at the piston knob. The nib is gold-plated stainless steel. It is an M200 for all intents and purposes but was manufactured for the Japanese market and branded M201. I am not familiar with any other pen being branded as an M201.