I find it somewhat taxing to consistently review Pelikan’s fountain pens here on the blog, not because they aren’t great pens but because many of them are just variations on a theme. It becomes a challenge to find new things to write about with pens that are essentially unchanged aside from a fresh coat of paint. Consequently, I try to pick my reviews carefully, keeping my selection criteria to new, unique, or especially exciting features and finishes. I’m also hesitant to review pens that a majority of people won’t get to see in real life let alone own. Still, from time to time there comes a new finish so exciting that it just begs to be reviewed. That is the situation I find myself in with this year’s M1000 Raden Green Ray. This release follows the M805 Raden Royal Platinum (2018) and the M800 Raden Royal Gold (2017). The last Raden based off of the M1000 chassis was the Sunrise (2016). The newest entry in the lineup flaunts wide green stripes that reflect a rainbow of shimmering color in good light. We are so accustomed to the pinstriped pattern of Pelikan’s pens that this one cannot help but stand out. The stripes are made all the more impressive when juxtaposed against a background of deep black Japanese Urushi lacquer. The end result is really something to behold but, sadly, only 400 of these special edition M1000s were made. If pens utilizing the Raden technique appeal to you, then this is a must own Pelikan. Unfortunately, high pricing and limited production will keep this out of the hands of most so read on if for nothing more than to enjoy the eye candy.
After a hiatus of nearly two months, we again have fresh news about the next release out of Hannover. March looks to be a big month for Pelikan with the previously announced M200 Pastel Green and the Edelstein IOTY Moonstone already due. Those releases will now be joined by a new Souverän, the M1000 Raden Green Ray. The last Raden model to be released was the M805 Raden Royal Platinum back in 2018. The M1000 line hasn’t seen a pen in this style since 2016’s Raden Sunrise. To make a pen with this traditional Japanese technique, a special Japanese Urushi lacquer is first applied to the barrel and cap. The stripes are then constructed with particles of Australian abalone. For the Green Ray, these colorful pieces of pearlescent shell appear to reflect hues of green, blue, and purple. Finally, another layer of lacquer is applied to seal everything in place. The artist then hand numbers and signs each piece in the Maki-e technique. Other notable past Raden releases built off of the M1xxx chassis are the Moonlight (2011), Sunlight (2013), Starlight (2014), and Sunrise (2016). This will be a limited edition of just 400 pieces worldwide and is due out in March 2020.
As anticipated, Pelikan kicks off the month of October with a new Maki-e release, this one titled Japanese Umbrella. This is actually the second Maki-e pen to debut in 2019 with Five Lucky Bats having been launched this past summer. These ultra-detailed and labor intensive pieces have been a show case of the marriage between German engineering and Japanese artistry. The prior four themed models have included the Spring & Autumn (2016), Dragonfly (2017), Peacock (2018), and Five Lucky Bats (2019). Pelikan has this to say about their new Maki-e model;
“The umbrella was introduced from China to Japan during the Heian period (AD 794-1185). The traditional Japanese umbrella is made of natural material such as Japanese paper, bamboo, and wood. Thirty to seventy bamboo bones are used to open and fairly spread the umbrella made of Japanese paper. On the fountain pen, there are four Japanese umbrellas drawn in Taka-Maki-e, using techniques such as raden and kirikane. Rain is expressed using many narrow pieces of mother of pearl.”
As has been the case with many of the prior releases, this one will again be built off of the M1000 chassis. Japanese Umbrella will likely start shipping later this month or early next but beware. This limited edition will command a hefty price and many vendors will see only limited availability due to the number of pieces available. I wouldn’t wait too long if you have the means and the desire to add this one to your flock.
Over the last several years we have become accustomed to annual releases of Maki-e inspired limited edition fountain pens from Pelikan. These models have married nearly a century of pen making experience with the expertise of Japanese artists. Recent past releases have included the Spring & Autumn (2016), Dragonfly (2017), and Peacock (2018) to name just a few. The Pelikan’s Perch has learned that the 2019 Maki-e pen will be called Five Lucky Bats. An excerpt from Pelikan’s sales literature has this to say about the new model;
“In China, the bat is considered a symbol of happiness as the pronunciation of the word ‘bat’ resembles a Chinese word which means ‘fortune is coming.’ The depiction of the bat is considered to be a lucky pattern which brings five kinds of luck: a long life, wealth and respect, health and mindfulness, virtue and grace, and to die without worry and regret. There were times when only noble people could wear clothes using motifs of the bat. In Japan as well, the bat is regarded as a symbol of luck as the word bat is pronounced as ‘komori’ which could be written in Japanese as ‘a lot of happiness.'”
Like the models cited above, this one will be built off of the M1000 chassis, the same line that has been plagued by a supply chain issue in recent months. Fret not as a limited edition of this nature is likely immune to the issues affecting the rest of the series. It is unclear just when we might see this one come to market though I would anticipate a June/July release.
There is no better way to start off a new week than with news of a few upcoming releases. First up is Pelikan’s Maki-e Peacock limited edition announced by Fritz-Schimpf earlier today. This 2018 model follows the Spring & Autumn (2016) and the Dragonfly (2017) that came before it. Pelikan’s sales literature (translated from German) relates that the peacock is one of the most beautiful birds on earth due to its exceptionally beautiful, brightly colored feathers. Peacocks have also been known to eat poisonous plants without being affected causing the animal to held in high esteem amongst different cultures and religions since the early days of human history. The peacock has developed as a symbol of happiness because the bird is seen as being able to protect people from hardship and pain. This Maki-e release celebrates all of the above. Built off of the M1000 chassis, the traditional Make-e painting depicts the brightly colored plumage of the peafowl set in sharp contrast against a black background.
The chemist Carl Hornemann founded a paint and ink company near Hanover, Germany in 1832. This would serve as the foundation for what we know today as Pelikan. The date of the company’s official founding is regarded as April 28th, 1838 because that was the occasion of their very first price list. All of the company’s anniversaries are based off of that date meaning that 2018 marks the 180th anniversary of the brand. To honor the affair, Pelikan is releasing a very limited edition fountain pen called the Spirit of 1838. We get our first glimpse of this new model thanks to the German retailer Fritz-Schimpf. You may recall similar releases in the past such as the M750 and M760 which honored the 150th anniversary in 1988. We also saw the M101N Jubilee Pen in 2013 which was a run of just 238 pens marking the company’s 175th anniversary. Now the Spirit of 1838 follows a similar vein, being released in an edition of just 180 pens.
Earlier today, Pelikan International gave us a glimpse of their new 2017 Maki-e model. It was just around this time last year that we learned of the prior release, the Spring & Autumn. This new release has been given the moniker Dragonfly. Not many details are available at this time. Pelikan themselves only state;
“This limited edition “Dragonfly” is a masterpiece that combines the craftsmanship of Pelikan Germany based on 179 years of tradition and technology coupled with superior Japanese traditional Maki-e painting techniques. Each fountain pen has the Pelikan logo on the crown, a limited edition number and the artist’s signature drawn in by hand using Maki-e techniques.“
While there isn’t much to glean from that excerpt, the picture is a bit more telling. The double scroll work on the nib clues us into the fact that this is designed off of the M1000 chassis. The traditional Make-e painting depicts a dragonfly amongst a colorful background which stands out nicely against what appears to be a black pen.
Following the recent news of the upcoming Statue of Zeus, Iguana Sell, a purveyor of luxury goods out of Spain, gave us a preview of an upcoming Maki-e limited edition fountain pen today in a post on The Fountain Pen Network. The new model has been named Spring & Autumn. This appears to be an ambitious Maki-e release, encompassing both traditional Maki-e and Raden techniques in a veritable patchwork of thematic motifs. The pen’s finish is designed to symbolize both of its namesake seasons. The imagery includes cherry blossoms and maple leaves, both symbolic of their respective seasons in Japanese culture. Gold leaf is employed to create three traditional Japanese designs on the cap. These include flowing water in green, a hemp leaf in brown, and a golden stripe. There is an area of blue abalone shell on the barrel of the pen, creating a Raden effect. An additional area of stripes in violet depict eternal love. Yet another area in silver is done in the Harikiri technique. Several different Maki-e techniques exists and Harikiri entails generously sprinkling gold powder over a design and then carefully removing it with a needle in selected areas so that the original design shows through the gold dust. When taken as a whole, these different panels come together to give the front of the pen, where the clip resides, an Autumn motif whereas the opposite side depicts a Spring design.