Review: Pelikan 40 Years Of Souverän Fountain Pen

Pelikan 40 Years Of Souverän Fountain Pen

In the closing days of 2022, Pelikan brought two final models to market, capping off a year of scant releases. The first of these was the M205 Apatite special edition which was reviewed on the blog earlier this month. The second release was the Pelikan 40 Years Of Souverän fountain pen which is the model under scrutiny today. “What is a Souverän?” you might ask. For the uninitiated, it is simply the term that Pelikan gives to those models hailing from their high end fine writing instrument product lines. The concept has a strong precedent. Montblanc, perhaps one of the best known manufacturers of luxury items, has been using the “Meisterstuck” branding for their high end writing instruments since the 1920s. The word ‘meisterstuck’ translates to English as ‘masterpiece.’ Pelikan’s marketing simply followed suit, coming up with the term Souverän, which translates into sovereign or commanding. The Souverän moniker was first born in March of 1982, and it came at a time of great peril for the company. It was that same year that Pelikan was forced to declare bankruptcy after facing heavy losses across multiple business sectors, in part a consequence of the business’ rapid expansion during the 1970s. The early 1980s saw a fountain pen renaissance of sorts and Pelikan attempted to capture a share of that market by going back to a design which had been so successful for them thirty years earlier. That first Souverän was the Black/Green M400 and, at least initially, it was little changed from its predecessor.  The company would ultimately be taken over, various divisions parted out, but Pelikan’s fine writing instruments division would survive the bankruptcy proceedings.  The Souverän line would continue to grow and flourish over the ensuing forty years. Other models would follow including the M600 in 1985, the M800 in 1987, the M1000 in 1997, and the now discontinued M300 in 1998. This past year marked the 40th anniversary of that first Souverän and Pelikan chose to commemorate the occasion with a special limited edition M800. Only 888 pieces, laden with plenty of gold embellishments, were produced for worldwide distribution so I thought that it was worth taking a closer look at this one. One of the things that I and many others love about the Pelikan brand is their heritage, so I take any homage to such very seriously. Unfortunately, the design of this new model leaves me wanting and I cannot help but feel that opportunities were squandered. Read on for an honest review of this commemorative fountain pen as seen through the eyes of a true Pelikan fan.

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Review: M205 Apatite (2022)

Pelikan M205 Apatite Fountain Pen

While 2022 was a year of tumultuous, rapid fire news cycles, things were overall slow in terms of new releases from Pelikan. This is a pattern that Pelikan has been getting us increasingly accustomed to in the post-COVID world. Even when overlooking the paucity of new pens, there certainly weren’t many earth shattering, “must have” releases. With only six new models introduced this past year, two of which were ultra-exclusive Maki-e releases, there hasn’t been a lot to review. While the standout for 2022 was likely the M605 Tortoiseshell-Black, it’s worth taking a look at a few of the latest releases from the company. First up is the M205 Apatite special edition fountain pen which became available to consumers last month. The Apatite is the newest release in Pelikan’s line of fountain pens designed to match their Edelstein Ink Of The Year series, the eighth such model in that line-up. The majority of pens released to date have been in the M205 family and the Apatite is no exception. That means these models are characterized by chromium plated trim which gives the furniture a silver appearance. The seven other models in the series to date include the M205 Amethyst (2015), M205 Aquamarine (2016), M200 Smoky Quartz (2017), M205 Olivine (2018), M205 Star Ruby (2019), M205 Moonstone (2020), and M200 Golden Beryl (2021). Unfortunately, compromises were made resulting in an aesthetic that makes the Apatite stand on its own, and not necessarily in a good way. Also, the Apatite departs from the glittered styling that was a major feature of the Star Ruby, Moonstone, and Golden Beryl. Read on to learn just how much of an appetite you should have for the new M205 Apatite.

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News: Edelstein Ink Of The Year 2023 – Rose Quartz

Pelikan Edelstein Rose Quartz Ink Of The Year 2023

The calendar has flipped, and a new year has begun which means it is time for Pelikan to clue us in on the next special edition ink to join their Edelstein line. New for 2023, this year’s special edition “Ink Of The Year” will be Rose Quartz. The shade of this new ink promises to fall somewhere on a spectrum between pink and red. This new edition will be the twentieth gemstone inspired ink to join the Edelstein line. Pelikan has been playing the special edition ink game for twelve years now, first launching Turmaline in 2012. Since that time, we have had several solid inks along with some really great but too short lived releases. Since Turmaline, we have had Amber (2013), Garnet (2014), Amethyst (2015), Aquamarine (2016), Smoky Quartz (2017), Olivine (2018), Star Ruby (2019), Moonstone (2020), Golden Beryl (2021), and Apatite (2022). Because these are special edition inks, they are generally produced for only one year therefore once supplies run out, they are gone (unless Pelikan decides to resurrect a shade or two down the line).  Rose Quarts will be available in the Spring with an anticipated launch date for some time in March 2023.

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Pelikan’s Pint-Sized Cap Top: The Long And Short Of It

Pelikan 100 Red Marbled and 101N Lizard short cap head

Pelikan incorporated a variety of rolling changes into their flagship Transparent Fountain Pen early on in its production which ultimately culminated in the model 100 that we know and love today. These iterative changes are why pens from the 1930s, in particular, can be found with some unique and oftentimes poorly documented features. Some of these changes improved functionality whereas others were geared more towards aesthetics. One of the more interesting features once employed was the long cap or short cap head, depending on your perspective. You may see the terms used interchangeably, and both are technically correct when bandied about. These are variants of the model 100/101 and 100N/101N fountain pens that are not documented in any known catalog or brochure but are officially recognized as having been available for purchase through retail channels, predominantly those outside of Europe. For instance, an advertisement from the Portuguese distributor Emegê featuring a 101N Short Cap Head Tortoise is known, an exceedingly rare find. Pelikan’s tall, domed cap head is an easily recognized feature that stands out on the company’s early fountain pens. In addition to giving the 100 and 100N their iconic shapes, it contributes to the superb balance of those models when posted as well as facilitating a solid grip for easy withdrawal from within a pocket. Putting aesthetics and ergonomics aside, the cap is also integral to the proper sealing of the pen, essential in preventing the ink contained within from drying out. While some of Pelikan’s design choices over the years have defied explanation, the short cap head at least has some documented history behind it and from a primary source to boot. That doesn’t mean there isn’t any lingering mystery still surrounding these infrequently encountered variants so read on to learn all about Pelikan’s vintage short cap head models.

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Pelikan Raises Prices, Launches A New Website, And Puts The Wish Nib On Hiatus

Price Increases

Everywhere you turn these days, goods and services invariably cost more. Everyday items such as bread, milk, diapers, and gas command prices not seen in decades. The coronavirus pandemic and the resulting supply chain crisis deserve much of the credit for getting the ball rolling but those are only the origins of this story. Russia’s war in Ukraine and the resulting economic sanctions further disrupted many of the global supply chains, adding fuel to the economic fire already raging. Sprinkle in a healthy share of corporate greed for good measure and it’s not too hard to understand how we got here. Prices are now at levels not seen since the 1980s and consumers, who had been better positioned than during past crises to weather the storm early on, are now finding that their household finances are becoming increasingly strained. This is inflation, a rise in prices or the decline of purchasing power over time, and there is little remedy for it at the moment. Pen makers are not insulated from the harsh economic climate any better than the rest of us and the cost of doing business is rising. Pelikan generally raises prices once or sometimes twice a year in order to keep up with the usual annual increases in cost. This generally manifests as a 2-3% increase on fine writing instruments and a 5% increase on inks, refills, and accessories. What we have seen as of November 1st, at least here in the US, is a much more significant increase than in years past, no doubt a reflection of the current global situation. Read on to discover how your favorite Pelikan pens and inks have been affected.

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Pelikan Hubs 2022 – Philadelphia: A Recap

Pelikan Hubs 2022 Banner

The inaugural Pelikan Hubs event occurred in 2014. Like any new venture, this one was surrounded by uncertainty, largely because no one knew quite what to expect, not even Pelikan themselves. What those few original attendees got was an evening with likeminded people enjoying each other’s company and sharing pens, inks, and paper. Despite their inauspicious beginnings, the Hubs would continue to grow year after year, reaching their peak in 2019. The event’s trajectory predicted noting but continued growth, its future appearing ever bright. Sometimes, life has a way of coming at you when you least expect it. We were all blindsided by the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 and the Hubs would ultimately be derailed by the unexpected arrival of a global pandemic. Public health considerations would force Pelikan to cancel both the 2020 and 2021 Hubs events to the disappointment of thousands of aficionados. Millions have died, irreplaceable souls who should not be forgotten, and we should not lose sight of the emotional and economic toll this pandemic has extracted upon us all. Still, life must go on and so it was to the elation of thousands that Pelikan announced the return of the Hubs event for 2022. Despite a shorter window for registration, when all was said and done, there were at least 220 Hubs spread across 47 countries counting 6,107 registered participants, numbers that actually exceeded those of the 2019 gathering, a telling reflection of the pent up demand and certainly not a bad tally for an event on hiatus for two years. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has played host to a Hub since the event’s inception. It was my honor to once again helm the festivities as the local Hub Master. This year’s Hub was held in the Pabbit room at Philadelphia hot spot Pub & Kitchen located near Rittenhouse Square. Our hosts were gracious, the food delicious, and the drinks very satisfying but all paled in comparison to the company and the jovial atmosphere. Read on for a recap of the evening’s festivities.

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The Chronoswiss Styloscope Rediscovered, Literally!

Pelikan Chronoswiss Styloscope

Treasure can be lost, perhaps tucked away for a later occasion, then forgotten with the passing of time. Sometimes, like the periodical cicadas that emerge from under the ground only once every 17 years, that treasure is rediscovered. Chronoswiss is a mechanical watch manufacturer based out of Lucerne, Switzerland and founded by Gerd-Rüdiger Lang in 1983. In order to commemorate the company’s 20th anniversary, Mr. Lang, a big fan of the M800, commissioned Pelikan to create limited edition pen known as the Styloscope which was released in 2002.  Built off of the M800 chassis, the Styloscope was a numbered, limited edition of 999 pieces which I previously described in detail here. These were sold by Chronoswiss and could not be obtained through Pelikan. Now long out of production, finding one on the secondary market can be a challenge for those who lack patience or means as these models have appreciated nicely over the past few decades. The Chronoswiss company turns 40 next year and the Styloscope has now achieved its own milestone, turning 20 years old this year. While mildly interesting news in its own right, what really punctuates that birthday is the fact that 88 unnumbered Chronoswiss Styloscope pens were just recently found by Chronoswiss’ COO, Beat Weinmann, in the company’s basement. Talk about a serendipitous discovery. After much consideration regarding their fate, Style of Zug, a self-described Swiss concept store with a focus on fine writing instruments, has been tapped as the sole distributor for these newfound beauties which are being released into the wild. Read on to find out all of the details including how you might own your own Styloscope.

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News: M1000 Maki-e Phoenix Limited Edition

Pelikan M1000 Maki-e Phoenix Limited Edition

Today brought news of another new release out of Hannover, this one quickly following on the heels of the upcoming Souverän M800 40 Years Anniversary limited edition due out next month. If you will recall, Pelikan kicked off the 2022 season with their M1000 Maki-e Snow, Moon, and Flowers limited edition. Pelikan’s next release will again be another high end Maki-e model, this one titled Phoenix. The last time we got two Maki-e releases in a single year was 2019 when both the Five Lucky Bats and Japanese Umbrella debuted. These are always ultra-exclusive models made in very limited quantities with a price tag to match. Pelikan’s promotional literature states;

“The Phoenix is surrounded by numerous meaningful legends. Phoenix is a legendary spiritual bird in Chinese mythology, appearing in myths, ornaments, works of art, and architecture in East Asia. It is often depicted as a symbol of virtue, wisdom, beauty, and goodness. Phoenix also has the meaning of harmony, peace, femininity, beauty, prosperity, expansion, ascent and success. According to Chinese legends, phoenix represents the entire universe. The phoenix‘s head represents the sky, the eyes are the sun, the back is the moon, the legs are the earth, and the tail is a planet.”

The Maki-e Phoenix utilizes the oversized M1000 chassis, made in Germany, and decorated in Japan. This model is slated to arrive sometime in November 2022.  As is the tradition with many of these ultra-limited pens, this will be an edition of just 123 pieces available for worldwide distribution.

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