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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Pelikan 101: An Infographic & Understanding The Basics

Pelikan M900 Toledo Fountain PenOver the past four years, I have endeavored to bring you news and unique insights about the Pelikan brand of fountain pens not readily available elsewhere.  Personally, it has been a lot of fun researching some of the more esoteric aspects of the company’s products and history.  Because there is so much nuance out there, I sometimes lose sight of the fact that many people still don’t fully grasp the fundamentals or overall landscape of Pelikan’s current line-up.  I could drone on about the topic but I thought this may be one area where a picture might just be worth a thousand words.  To that end, I have devised an infographic, my first, to serve as a reference for the community.  It is my hope that this graphic visual representation of information will allow for a quick and clear understanding of some of the differences amongst both Pelikan’s Classic and Souverän lines.  The nature of an infographic prevents it from being all-inclusive but I hope that you will find it a good jumping-off point into the brand’s offerings over the last few decades.  Click the link below to jump to the visual.  You can stop there but feel free to read on as I will endeavor to walk you through some of the panels of information and expound upon their contents as well as provide relevant links to past posts where appropriate.

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The “Metal” Stamp You Probably Don’t Know About

Metal marking under a Pelikan Souverän clipOne of Pelikan’s defining features is the iconic beak clip which has been around since the end of the second World War.  If you have ever had occasion to look at the underside of a post-1997 production Souverän clip, you might have noticed a single word conspicuously struck into the material; “metal.”  This can be found on the M/R/K/D 3xx, 4xx, 6xx, 8xx, and 10xx models.  While the meaning behind the stamp may appear enigmatic at first, the truth of the matter is actually rather simple.  Rest assured, this does not indicate a forgery of any kind.  While Pelikan offers no official statement to explain this, the supposed meaning is well documented, particularly amongst those who work with precious metals and the hallmarks that go along with them.  Across the world’s markets, there are regulations governing how precious and plated base metals are identified.  When there is a base metal that is manufactured or processed to simulate the appearance of precious metal and whose alloy contains less than a specified karat fineness, the law mandates that a marking shall be applied to acknowledge the presence of a base metal.  Different regions may vary in the fineness of gold that stipulates such a marking.  The statue is that whenever practical, the word ‘metal’ or the name of the metal should be struck on the base metal part(s).

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