For those of you that keep up with Pelikan’s usual cycle of releases, you know that by the end of March in most years, we’ve already had news of two and sometimes up to three new fountain pens. Sadly, this year, like the one before it, is not like most years. That unfortunate fact, made evident by the dearth of new releases out of Hannover, is almost certainly attributable to the chaos that the coronavirus pandemic has wrought upon supply chains across the globe. The drought may be coming to an end however as Atlas Stationers out of Chicago, IL broke news of Pelikan’s next release via their website this evening. The next pen to market will hail from the company’s Classic line and carry the moniker of M205 Petrol-Marbled. Petrol is a color scheme that Pelikan has employed with pens from some of their other lines including the Pura, Jazz, and Twist. Pelikan’s new marbled finish will combine blues and greens in a way that, to me, is reminiscent of the M805 Ocean Swirl from 2017. Rather than a standard addition to the line-up, this one looks to be a special edition release, intended only as a limited run. The Petrol-Marbled is reportedly targeted for a mid to late April 2021 ship date. I would expect most vendors to start taking pre-orders soon.
News about one of Pelikan’s most anticipated 2020 models broke today. With its release pushed back slightly due to the coronavirus pandemic, today’s newcomer makes a compelling case for the wait being wholly worthwhile. For the last several years, we have seen quite a few white pens grace the M600 line starting with 2012’s Tortoiseshell-White. Another tortoise joins the family today, bringing with it a bold and bright look. The M600 Tortoiseshell-Red puts a fresh coat of paint on an old theme which does wonders for the aesthetics. Of course, this model will quickly conjure recollections of 2014’s M1o1N Tortoiseshell-Red which employed a similar color scheme though with an overall different style. Pelikan’s supporting literature states; “This colorful series gives the classic Souverän a bright and warm appearance. The extraordinary color variation is reminiscent of a beautiful sunset and encourages us to stroll down memory lane.” The M600 Tortoiseshell-Red will be available in December and vendors are taking pre-orders now.
With the M205 Moonstone about to arrive in stores, news of Pelikan’s next product release has broken. I first saw it announced by the Polish vendor Pióromaniak. Next to market will be the M405 Silver-White. The last time a new M4xx model was introduced to the line-up was in 2016. This one conjures images of the last several M6xx releases which have employed a similar color scheme, the main difference between the two lines being their size of course. The M405 Silver-White may hit that sweet spot for those that like a smaller pen. It joins a rather exclusive group of M405 models, a model line that only came about 18 years ago making it a relative newcomer to the Souverän series. This new release will join the likes of the M405 Black (2002), Blue/Black (2003), Dark Blue (2003), and Stresemann (2016). Many of those were/are regular models in the line-up and not special edition releases. This one also looks to join the ranks as a standard edition. Look for the Silver-White to hit store shelves sometime in November of this year.
Pelikan’s schedule of new releases has been unavoidably altered for 2020 due to the global issues affecting us all today. One of the most highly anticipated models expected this year has been a fountain pen inspired by the Edelstein Ink of the Year, Moonstone. I’m happy to report that the wait is now over as Bookbinders, a stationary shop out of Australia, has given us our first glimpse of the M205 Moonstone Special Edition Demonstrator. The latest special edition to join the Classic series continues the tradition that began with the M205 Amethyst (2015) and now marks the sixth release to be based on their Edelstein line of inks. The M205 Moonstone joins ranks with the M205 Star Ruby (2019), M205 Olivine (2018), M200 Smoky Quartz (2017), M205 Aquamarine (2016), and the M205 Amethyst (2015). Last year’s Star Ruby broke the mold by employing a material with a sparkly, shimmering character. The Moonstone looks to continue this trend by utilizing the same sparkling material encased within a dark gray translucent medium. Pre-orders should be available from most vendors by September 1st with this one expected to hit store shelves sometime in early October.
It was just eight months ago that Chinese authorities alerted the World Health Organization to several pneumonia cases of unknown cause in Wuhan City, Hubei province, China. To most of us, I’m sure it feels like much longer due to the global saga that has since ensued. We are now all too familiar with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Not since the H1N1 influenza outbreak of 1918 have we seen a pandemic with such far reaching ramifications for everyday life. Countries across the world have taken unique and unprecedented measures to try and stop the spread of the virus. These have varied in severity by location and have met with mixed degrees of success. Actions universally agreed upon to be effective have included social distancing, mask wearing, and hand hygiene. Germany’s government and healthcare system were well positioned to tackle the challenges posed by the virus at the outset but that is not to say they have had it easy. With the fourth largest economy in the world and approximately 11% of its gross domestic product spent on health care, Germany ranks among the top five countries in the European Union for the number of nurses and physicians per 1,000 people. Germany recorded its first case of COVID-19 on January 27, 2020 in Bavaria. By February 27, the total number of cases had climbed to 26. Towards the end of February mass gatherings and travel were increasingly restricted. In mid-March schools started to close and by March 22, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that the federal states and national government had jointly decided to implement a “contact ban.” This served to limit public gatherings to two people, required a physical distance of at least 5 feet, and closed many businesses. Today, Germany has reported approximately 224,000 cases and just over 9,000 deaths, a sad reminder of just how infectious and deadly this virus is. The necessary restrictions outlined above along with others have resulted in the pandemic taking a heavy toll on the operations of most businesses, Pelikan’s included. Read on to learn of the disruption that has been caused thus far and what it means for the company’s fine writing instruments division for the remainder of 2020 and beyond.
There has been a dearth of new releases from Pelikan during the first half of 202o which is likely a reflection of the turbulent times that we find ourselves in. If pre-release rumors are to be believed, the second half of the year promises to be much more exciting. That run gets kicked off today with Pelikan’s announcement of the forthcoming Maki-e release, Kingfisher. This newest model further flushes out the company’s Maki-e portfolio, adding to last year’s Five Lucky Bats and Japanese Umbrella. Pelikan describes the Kingfisher as, “a masterpiece that combines the craftsmanship of Pelikan Germany coupled with superior Japanese traditional Maki-e painting techniques.” The accompanying literature describes the newest Maki-e fountain pen thusly;
“Kingfisher is a small bird that lives near the waterside. The kingfisher has a long, dagger-like beak. The plumage of most kingfishers is bright, with green and blue being the most common colors. In Japanese, it is also called jade or blue gemstone because of its bright colors. On the fountain pen, two beautiful Kingfishers are vividly painted on the background of burning red autumn leaves. The motive fantastically expresses a colorful scene in the autumn of Japan.”
The Kingfisher is built off the M1000 chassis, consistent with most of their past Maki-e releases. Given the timing of the announcement, you can expect this model to be available next month. While there is no word yet on pricing, you should expect this ultra-limited edition to command a king’s ransom. This one is reported to be limited to just 123 pieces worldwide.
The M800 Demonstrator has had an interesting life. It was first released in 2008 as a special edition to celebrate the company’s 170th anniversary and it came in two forms. The first of these was a standard demonstrator in clear, transparent resin that lacked any embellishment on the barrel or cap. The clear resin allowed for unobstructed viewing of the brass piston assembly which was complimented by Pelikan’s standard gold plated trim. At the same time, another model was released, identical to the first save that this one featured etched descriptors of the various parts filled in with white paint. These pointed out key features such as the spindle nut, twist stopper, and piston to name just a few. Eight attributes in all were labeled along the barrel and piston knob. Interestingly, this particular model featured a cut out in the brass connector of the piston assembly to allow for better visualization of the spindle within the connector, making it a true demonstrator pen. When the same features were incorporated on an M805 variant in palladium trim in 2015, this little detail would be left out. Most of the etched variants were annotated in the English language while a small minority would be done in Spanish. Niche Pens once declared that, “Altogether, 3,500 Clear Demonstrators were produced, the majority with English engravings, a small number with Spanish engravings and an even smaller number with no engravings at all.” While the veracity of that statement cannot be verified, it further imbues the M800 Demonstrator with a bit of mystique. Both pens were readily available in their time but have been out of production for about twelve years now and are infrequently encountered. This model is not without its fair share of intrigue and new developments for 2020 make it worth revisiting.
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.