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.
Thanks to an anonymous source out of Japan, we may just have our first look at the rumored but as yet unannounced Pelikan M1000 Raden Sunrise. A Raden model was anticipated for 2016 based on rumors from earlier this year. The ad is taken from a Japanese magazine and the text labels the pen as “Akatsuki” which translates as ‘dawn’ a term that could also be construed as ‘sunrise.’ The Raden series was launched by the Kyokko (Sunlight) & Gekko (Moonlight) set in 2005, M800 sized pens employing the technique of inlaid Mother-of-Pearl. Those two fountain pens were later followed up by the Moonlight (2011), Sunlight (2013), and Starlight (2014) all of which were subsequently based off of the M1000 chassis. The Sunrise would be the 4th edition in the M1000 Raden line. Pelikan’s Raden Collection is absolutely stunning though often ultra limited due to the technique employed in creating these pens. The end result is a very small run of writing instruments which are frequently priced beyond the reach of the average collector/enthusiast. Raden is a traditional Japanese decorative craft used for lacquer ware and woodwork. Abalone is ground to a fine thickness with a stone and then embedded or glued on laquer-coated surfaces. The inlay glitters in wonderful colors when struck by light. Even though most of us will never own one, it is always exciting to see such beautiful artistry.
A supreme ruler or monarch is known as a sovereign or Souverän in the German language. This moniker was given to Pelikan’s higher end pen lines when the M400 was introduced in 1982 and it persist to this day. In a kingdom there can be only one ruler. In the kingdom of Pelikan fountain pens, that ruler is indisputably the M1000. Pelikan’s M1000 was first introduced in 1997 making it senior to only the M3xx line launched the following year. It is the largest of Pelikan’s fountain pens. It was likely designed to take on the similarly sized Montblanc Meisterstück 149. At launch, the all black and green striped models were available as well as an M1050 which is characterized by a cap done in the vermeil style. We have seen a few other variants over time but aside from several special editions built off of this chassis, the M1xxx platform has seen the fewest releases of any model in the line. Perhaps that owes to the premium price this pen commands or the limited market for such a large pen. Whatever the reason, what it lacks in variety, it makes up for in elegance. While larger than its siblings, the traditional and unmistakable green striped barrel stands out as an understated reminder of who manufactured this pen. The soul of the M1000, however, lies in the nib. This nib, perhaps by virtue of its sheer size, has more character than any of Pelikan’s other modern offerings and makes for a very enjoyable writing experience. I had the good fortune to be provided one of these pens by Pelikan for the purpose of this review. The pen was provided on loan and will be returned, albeit rather reluctantly. As per usual, this article was not subject to any corporate censorship. I always strive to remain impartial and objective but I leave it to you to draw your own conclusions. The M1000 is a treat to use and should be a serious consideration for anyone who favors large pens and/or soft and expressive nibs.