News: M805 Blue Dunes Special Edition

Pelikan M805 Blue Dunes Fountain PenJust yesterday I posted the first glimpses of the M805 Blue Dunes special edition (first put out by Penbox) and, as promised, am able to follow that up today with some additional details.  The actual promotional photos now available seem to affirm my first impression of a blue Grand Place type finish but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  The official product information from Pelikan reads as follows;

“Gaze at the new Series Souverän M805 Blue Dunes and find yourself fascinated by a world of colors.  Contrasts of shadow and light interplay in hues from brilliant azure to deep, midnight blue.  The composition of flowing silhouettes displays distinct patches of color, yet it also harmoniously unites the varying shades of blue.  Like the color of sand dunes under a midnight moon, the interplay of blues in each M805 Blue Dunes writing instrument is unique.”

That is quite the colorful description and the inspiration behind the finish is definitely clearer now.  Pelikan frequently recommends ink pairings from their Edelstein line for new release and for this one they have chosen Topaz.  The M805 Blue Dunes appears to be on track for a late June 2019 release. 

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First Look: M805 Blue Dunes Special Edition

Pelikan M805 Blue DunesYesterday brought an unexpected glimpse of the next M8xx release out of Hannover, this time courtesy of U.K. based Penbox by way of their Instagram account.  The news seems to come a little ahead of schedule as we don’t have any high quality stock photos or other promotional materials available as of yet nor do we see any announcements from other vendors.  What we do have is a first look at the upcoming M805 Blue Dunes special edition in what appears to be a pre-release photo meant for retailers.  Consistent with the rumors from earlier this year, this M805 has a pattern reminiscent of 2016’s M800 Grand Place. The Blue Dunes embodies swirling shades of blue intermixed with darker tones.  We are still awaiting official word from Pelikan with regards to the inspiration behind this finish. The Blue Dunes will join the likes of the Ocean Swirl (2017) and the Vibrant Blue (2015), accented by palladium plated trim.  Based on what little info is available at the moment, this one is anticipated for a late June 2019 release.

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Review: M101N Grey-Blue (2019)

Pelikan M101N Grey-Blue Fountain PenThe M101N takes its design queues from Pelikan’s historic models of the 1930s and 40s and the re-interpretation has, by all outward appearances, been a success for the company.  This modern line was first introduced in 2011 and has steadily grown since, now counting six models amongst its ranks.  Those include the Tortoiseshell Brown (2011), the Lizard (2012), the Lizard Jubilee Edition (2013), the Tortoiseshell Red (2014), and the Bright Red (2017).  The newest model, released just this year, is the Grey-Blue.  Like the Bright Red that came before, there does not appear to be a corresponding vintage 101N model with the exact same finish.  That’s not surprising since the original 101N line encompassed only a few different models.  Also, Pelikan defies the nomenclature of the past here with its choice of styling.  The 100Ns were characterized by black caps whereas the 101Ns had colored caps or caps that matched the pattern of the barrel.  By placing a black cap on the newest M101N, the company has blurred some of the conventions of old, conventions which had remained intact up until now.  Of this modern lot, it seems that the  Tortoiseshell Brown consistently gets the most attention, and for good reason.  The Grey-Blue is no slouch however and it is worth a look given the uniqueness of the finish.  Read on to find out more.

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Meet The Vermeil Souveräns: A Look At The Nifty Fifties

Pelikan's Vermeil Souverän fountain pensIn the late 1990s and early 2000s, Pelikan introduced a series of special editions across their Souverän lines that employed sterling silver components decorated with a gold overlay.  The gilding of silver is often referred to as vermeil, a French term that is actually pronounced “ver-may.”  By plating sterling silver in such a way, an item can be imbued with a gold appearance at a fraction of the cost of pure gold.  This should not be mistaken for simple gold plating.  There are regulations that oversee what may be called vermeil in many jurisdictions.  For the U.S. market, the base metal must be sterling silver with a gold coating of at least 10 carats or finer and with a thickness of 2.5 microns (1/10,000th of an inch).  Mere gold plating has no such industry regulations.  These upgraded Souveräns have a guilloche metal cap but otherwise maintain the same visual appearance and trim as their less gilded siblings.  Each fountain pen in the series is referred to as an Mx50 and there have been nine such models over the years in addition to several companion pieces.  Care should be taken not to confuse these with the M150 and M250 of the Classic series or the M750 anniversary edition which do not have any vermeil components.

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News: M600 Violet-White

Pelikan M600 Violet-WhiteSpring is in the air, a season full of promise and the renewal of life.  With it comes baseball, April showers, blooming flowers, and fresh news of the next big thing out of Hannover.  Earlier today, vendors across the globe gave us our first look at the M600 Violet-White, a light pastel purple or lilac colored model that is sure to fit right in at this time of the year.  The new model’s appearance is very much in keeping with past releases which include the M600 Turquoise-White (2018), the M605 White-Transparent (2017), the M600 Pink (2015), and the M600 Tortoiseshell White (2012).  There has been some uncertainty and delays surrounding Pelikan’s launch dates this year but, for now at least, you can anticipate the Violet-White hitting store shelves sometime in May 2019. 

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How To Differentiate The Pelikan 400 From The M400: A Guide

Pelikan 400 and M400Fountain pens were once the writing instruments that ruled all others.  In a relatively short period of time, the ballpoint pen was able to overthrow the kings of old.  Sometime around the mid-twentieth century, ballpoints had clearly become the de facto standard.  While fountain pen usage was on the wane, it never went away completely.  By the early 1980s, Pelikan saw an opportunity for a revival of sorts.  No longer the essential tool for daily life that it once was, the fountain pen was again being taken up, this time as more of a status symbol or collectors item.  The early 1980s would come to herald what could be considered a fountain pen renaissance.  It was 1982 when Pelikan chose to try to capture this market with the re-introduction of the 400, a pen that the company had a lot of success with decades earlier.  With little in the way of cosmetic differences, the new model would be called the M400 and it would become the cornerstone of a high end line of pens known as the Souverän series, a moniker likely prompted by Montblanc’s long standing Meisterstück.  Quite perilously, this came at a troubled time for Pelikan as a rapid expansion of the business in the late 1970s resulted in the company having to declare bankruptcy right around the time of the M400’s release.  The company was ultimately taken over and various divisions were parted out, either into subsidiary companies or sold off completely.  It is lucky for us that the production of fine writing instruments would survive this tumultuous time.  What separates the 400 from the M400?  How do you identify the subtle and not so subtle differences between the two?  Read on to find out.

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The Pelikan 400 And Its Many Forms

Pelikan 400, 400N, and 400NNThe Pelikan 400 of the 1950s and 60s is perhaps one of the most iconic and successful pens ever put out by the company over its 90 year history of fountain pen production.  Perhaps it is telling that Pelikan chose this model to rekindle its fountain pen production and turn the company’s fortune around in 1982 with a reincarnation of the 400 dubbed the M400 Souverän.  We will focus squarely on the original 400 for the purposes of this article which introduces the final pen in this three-part series.  If you haven’t already, be sure to check out my in-depth look at both the 300 and the 140 which were in production alongside the 400.  Glass negatives in the Pelikan archives indicate that this model was first conceived in 1939 and likely had World War II to thank for its eleven years on the drawing board.  Launched on May 25, 1950, the Pelikan 400 was produced for a period of fifteen years (not including a brief resurrection in the 1970s) but underwent several modifications in that time.  With each major revision, the suffix “N” was added to the model number.  This stood for “neu,” the German word for new, and was a designation only meant to be used internally.  This nomenclature was utilized for the 400 as well as several other similarly styled product lines and is the reason we have the 400, 400N, and 400NN.  Of course, when these pens were being marketed, they were all simply called the 400 which is why you won’t find the “N” designation in any price list.  Read on to learn more about just what changes came with each revision and how to identify them.  As you read through, be sure to click on the photos found within to enlarge them for further study.

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The Venerable Pelikan 140

Pelikan 140 Fountain PensMy recent exploration of the less commonly encountered Pelikan 300 gave me occasion to pull my 140 and 400 out of the pen cabinet.   Looking over those two models made me realize that both were equally deserving of their own post so consider this the second installment of a three-part series looking at some of Pelikan’s finest work from the 1950s and 60s.  Today we will focus on the 140, the direct successor to the Ibis 130 (1949-54).  First introduced in 1952, the 140 came in a plethora of colors, many of which are not often seen today.  The 140 was also a platform adapted to unique purposes and sold by other manufacturers without Pelikan’s branding so there is a lot of variety to be found out there.  Production officially ran from April of 1952 through July of 1965 and many small changes occurred to the line over that time, particularly early on in the run.  These changes can help to date earlier pens and I will endeavor to highlight most of them below.  Read on to learn all about this iconic model.

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