News: M605 Tortoiseshell-Black Special Edition

Pelikan M605 Tortoiseshell-Black

Pelikan got out ahead of their vendors today, taking the opportunity to break the news of their next big fountain pen release via their Instagram account. Rumors about this one started at the end of March and now we finally have our first look at the upcoming M605 Tortoiseshell-Black. This newest M605 takes the iconic tortoiseshell finish that many of us know and love in a somewhat new yet still familiar direction. For the longest time, we simply had Tortoiseshell finishes in Brown. White was added to the palate about twenty years ago. More recently, the company played with shades of Red, also in an M6xx sized model interestingly enough. This new model will mark the first time that we encounter one in black. Not only will the finish display an interplay between hues of black and white, that pattern will be married to palladium plated trim. Most of the tortoise finishes to date have all featured gold trim so this will be something that further distinguishes this model. This new release will be put out as a special edition meaning that the production run is to be limited. Availability is expected for some time at the end of May. Read on to find out all that we know so far.

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The New M800 Black-Red’s Surprising ‘Old’ Look

Pelikan M800 Black-Red

Early last month, I wrote about a new initiative at Pelikan that would see the long standing translucence of the Souverän’s barrel eliminated. Gone would be the translucent stripes present for the last 40 years of the line’s heritage, exchanged for an opaque replacement. The news took many, myself included, by surprise. Likely motivated by the new realities of this post-COVID world and ongoing supply chain issues, the change was met with mixed reactions at best. Those stripes have been an integral feature for many of Pelikan’s fountain pens, allowing one to more easily gauge the remaining amount of ink in their pen without the need for a discreet ink view window. The solution was both clever and elegant to say the least. It was widely expected that the M800 Black-Red would be the first new release to fall victim to the changing times. You can imagine the consternation that this newest Souverän has fomented when the first stock to hit vendor’s shelves was literally just the opposite. That’s right, the M800 Black-Red, at least in this first wave of production, appears to be nothing other than business as usual. The stripes behind the section are, as they always have been, translucent. So, what gives? Read on to find out what I suspect may be the most likely answer.

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News: Souveräns Go From Translucent To Opaque

Pelikan M800 Souveráns

The Transparent Pelikan Fountain Pen came into the world in 1929. One of its most prominent and touted features was a large, transparent ink view chamber. It certainly was a trait that added a lot of convenience and value for the consumer who was able to quickly and easily gauge the amount of ink remaining in their pen. It became a hallmark of sorts for the brand and their writing instruments. As pen designs changed over the ensuing decades, the ink view, in one form or another, seemed to remain steadfast. In modern times, many special and limited editions have eschewed the ink view in favor of form over function, but those pens were special, and their transgressions easily forgiven. The heart of the brand, the lauded core Souverän line never gave in to such temptation. Now, forty years after the M400 was introduced to the world, the Souverän gets what is arguably its most impactful design change to date. Sure, there was a major revision of the trim in 1997 and they kicked a bird out of the nest in 2003, even going so far as to guild the cap top in 2010. To me, all of those changes pale in comparison to this newest alteration, the elimination of the barrel’s translucency. Have I gotten your attention yet? Read on to find out what this means for the future of the Souverän line.

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News: M800 Black-Red (Psst, It’s Back!)

Pelikan M800 Black-Red

Close up on a young Carol Anne Freeling answering the ring of an old rotary phone. After a brief pause to listen to the caller and with the phone still pressed to her ear, she glances over her left shoulder and says, “They’re ba-ack” in a lilting voice. This pop culture staple is from 1986’s Poltergeist II trailer and it was the first thing that sprang to my mind when I learned of the return of the M800 Black-Red. Yes, you read that correctly. News of the Black-Red’s triumphant return was first broken by The Nibsmith. Oh, it was a good run while it lasted. The M800 Black-Red was on the market as a regular production model circa 2001 until its discontinuation in 2012. Since then, they’ve become increasingly scarce on the secondary market and, consequently, all the more desirable. It is high on the list of many who missed out on the original run and one of the most requested pens that I hear people ask about Pelikan re-releasing. Someone in Hannover must have been listening because, as of mid-March, the M800 Black-Red will once again join the standard Souverän line-up and will likely be around for the foreseeable future. Read on to learn about all of the details.

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Review: Pelikan’s Epoch P36x (2004-2007)

Pelikan Epoch P360, P361, P362, P363, and P364

My ongoing work as a physician on the front lines of this pandemic and the demands that the most recent COVID-19 surge placed upon me sapped my will, leaving me with precious little time and even less energy for other tasks. Now that we are at the tail end of the Omicron variant’s destructive toll, I’d like to turn my attention back to the blog, seeking some solace in the pen community, and diving back into my passion for Pelikan’s pens. I thought it only fitting to kick the year off with an absolutely Epoch post. If my little play on words was lost on you, allow me to introduce you to Pelikan’s Epoch (2004-2007). First released in 2004, the Epoch spanned five different models covering a total of eight unique finishes in its short production run of just three years. Every one of the fountain pens is a patronen-füllhalter or cartridge pen that has a unique cartridge tray, the same design that would later be utilized with the P3100 Ductus that launched during the Epoch’s final year, marking the Epoch line as a progenitor of sorts for the Ductus. Like most of Pelikan’s cartridge pens, each tray can accommodate one large or two small international cartridges imparting an ink capacity somewhere around 1.5mL. What the tray does not easily accommodate is a cartridge/converter. The Epoch’s design was named a reddot award winner in 2004. The company’s promotional literature described the Epoch as a symbiosis of tradition and modernity, a design that transcended its era, and technology ahead of its time. The marketing hype lays it on a little thick, but I think that there is more than enough here worth exploring. This post will focus on the line’s fountain pens but it should be noted that the Epoch was available as a pencil (D), rollerball (R), and ballpoint (K) in the same form factor. We’ll tackle each of the five models head on and then look at the octet as a whole, dissecting out their strengths and weaknesses. Whether you are already well acquainted with the line-up or are seeing them for the first time, there is plenty to learn about the various models.

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How The New M205 DUO Stacks Up To Its Predecessors

Pelikan M205 DUO Neon Yellow Highlighter

The M205 DUO was originally introduced in 2010 as part of the Classic line, taking the novel approach of combining a fountain pen with a highlighter. The Pelikan brand was no stranger to either product, but this was the first time that they sought to integrate the two. The concept was well received, and the design went on to win several awards the following year (ISPA Award at Paperworld, the IF Product Design Award, and the Red Dot Award). Equipped with a double broad nib (BB), the pen could be used to highlight pertinent text but also to annotate the margins. It was a serviceable if not perfect solution to an issue faced by many students and scholars. If nothing else, the sustainability and positive ecological impact of the pen was a major focal point, perhaps even more germane today than it was eleven years ago. The first entry in the series was a yellow demonstrator followed a few years later, in 2013, by a neon green model. Each pen came with a special ink in a matching, fluorescent shade specially formulated for the DUO. Fast forward to 2021 and we have a new release in the series. Rather than a straight re-hash of a past product, this one is a new model featuring some different design elements as well as a different shade of fluorescent yellow. Instead of one of my traditional reviews, I thought that it would be more constructive to take a closer look at just what separates the current offering from past releases. Read on to discover all of the highlights that this one brings to the paper.

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Review: M200 Golden Beryl (2021)

Pelikan M200 Golden Beryl Fountain Pen

On deck today is a review of the fresh faced M205 Golden Beryl special edition fountain pen released last month. I have been excited to get my hands on this one and now am happy to be able to give you a closer look so that you might better judge the pen on its merits. Part of my excitement owes to the fact that we have gotten only a handful of new releases out of Hannover in 2021 when compared with years past which seems to be the new normal as forecasted in the company’s 2020 Annual Report. The exact statement in that text was; “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.” The Golden Beryl takes a somewhat different approach than the other thematic releases in the series and the question that it begs is whether or not the new tactic delivers? News of this one didn’t break until October, much later than has traditionally been the case, leading many to question whether or not we would actually see the Golden Beryl come to light. Materialize it did, joining the likes of the M205 Amethyst (2015), M205 Aquamarine (2016), M200 Smoky Quartz (2017), M205 Olivine (2018), M205 Star Ruby (2019), and the M205 Moonstone (2020) as the seventh pen in the now long running series.  Interestingly, it is only the second model of those listed to incorporate gold plated trim, something we last saw on 2017’s Smoky Quartz. All of the models since 2019’s Star Ruby have utilized glitter to impart a shimmering appearance to the translucent material of the barrel and cap. Where the Golden Beryl breaks the mold is in the fact that the barrel itself is not colored in a way reminiscent of the ink that it compliments. This model actually has a clear resin which was admittedly unexpected when the product announcement came. Read on to discover whether or not the gambit was worthwhile.

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The Many Anniversaries Of Maruzen

Maruzen Booksellers Storefront

The Maruzen Co., Ltd. has long been one of Japan’s leading booksellers. With a core focus on books and other periodicals, the company has cultivated a diverse portfolio that includes stationery, fashion, and information technologies. Founded in 1869 as Maruya Shosha, its success and longevity over the past 152 years is likely due to the forward thinking of founder Yuteki Hayashi. Hayashi’s ambitions were reportedly spurred on by the encouragement of Yukichi Fukuzawa, an educator and founder of Japan’s first private system of elementary and secondary schools, who was a proponent of Westernization. Great change was underway in Japan during the mid-19th century, heralded by the arrival of Commodore Matthew Perry in 1853, an American naval officer in command of the East India Squadron. He played a leading role opening Japan to the West after more than 200 years of isolationist policy under the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate which comprised the military government of Japan during the Edo period from 1603 to 1868. Hayashi saw opportunity brought about by this cultural shift and sought out translated versions of many of the seminal works of the Western world. His relationship with Fukuzawa positioned Maruzen to have a strong presence with educational institutions, a major areas of sales for the company. Maruzen further diversified its product lines throughout the twentieth century and was able to survive the damage inflicted by World War II. Many sources indicate that Maruzen played a major role introducing the fountain pen to Japan, predominantly by importing brands such as Onoto and Waterman from England and the United States. As such, it is hard to overstate the importance of Maruzen’s involvement in bringing this writing technology to the citizens of Japan. Today, the company has a number of stores and international offices to its credit. Of course, I’m not here to regale you about the company’s rich and storied history. As a stationary retailer, Maruzen has had the opportunity to partner with several manufacturers of fine writing instruments over the years in order to celebrate its various milestone anniversaries, beginning sometime around 1989. I’m sure that you have surmised by now that a Pelikan or two may have been a part of some of those past offerings. Read on to learn all about these unique and rarely seen models.

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