Tortoiseshell has a long history of use in small items such as combs, glasses, guitar picks, knitting needles, boxes, and even as furniture inlays. The beauty of the material’s mottled appearance, its durability, and its organic warmth against the skin made tortoiseshell attractive for both manufacturers and consumers. The time invested to hunt and harvest the tortoises and the care needed in working with the shell to preserve its color made such items rather expensive. Unfortunately, the quest for profit has resulted in several of those species being hunted to near extinction with many now findings themselves on the endangered species list. The trade has been banned internationally for some time but that has not deterred harvesting shells for sale within the black market. Thankfully, more sustainable and environmentally friendly alternatives exist. The tortoise look is well suited for the likes of fountain pens and fans of Pelikan’s fine writing instruments can’t seem to get enough of such releases. The company’s tortoise finishes have been captivating people for decades thanks to their refined, upscale look. I’m happy to report that no actual tortoises have ever been harmed by Pelikan, the characteristic look instead being derived from cellulose acetate crafted to artificially resemble the mottled pattern of true tortoiseshell. There is no shortage of tortoise variants out there with some of the company’s most iconic and sought after models having been tortoises of one type or another. The original M800 Tortoiseshell Brown (1989) or the M600 Maruzen Tortoiseshell Brown (1999) come to mind as more recent examples of nearly mythical birds and that is just counting the company’s relatively recent production history to say nothing of the countless historic models such as the 400NN Light Tortoise (1957-60). To close out 2020, Pelikan has given us the M600 Tortoiseshell Red which looks to be a take on the previously released M101N Tortoiseshell Red (2014), now adapted to the more traditional Souverän line. Rather than a straight up adaptation however, this new model appears to be a reimagining of sorts. With a color scheme apropos for a December launch, this one is sure to please with its bold, vibrant hues and unique tortoiseshell application. Read on to learn if this model stacks up like Theodor Geisel’s Yertle the Turtle, king of the pond in Sala-ma-sond.
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.
Pelikan will soon release the third pen in their series of modern 101N’s. The first 101N was released in 1937 and this series pays homage to that lineage in a somewhat more modern and updated design though still retaining the original’s dimensions. This pen is the M101N Tortoiseshell Red and it is slated for release in September of 2014. This model follow’s the very well received Tortoiseshell Brown (2011) and the Lizard (2012). Previous releases have had an MSRP of $550. Pre-orders are currently being offered throughout the web ranging from $480 to $520. This is a limited run so when they are gone, they are gone. Given the absolute stunning appearance of this pen, I wouldn’t expect them to last long. Don’t regret missing out and grab one while you can. Here is what Pelikan has to say on their product page;
“Following the successful models M101N tortoiseshell brown and M101N lizard, Pelikan launches the third variation in the historical series: The M101N tortoiseshell red. This model comes with an attractive gift box & one bottle of 4001 royal blue ink. Both feature a special historic motif, which makes the set a beautiful gift for every lover of the Pelikan brand.
The barrel is made of the typical Pelikan cellulose acetate in a very unique pattern. Connoisseurs know that the production of this decorative core of the fountain pen is extremely work-intensive. The dark-red parts are made of high-quality resin that polishes itself time and again during use. You can choose the 14 carat gold nib in four sizes: EF, F, M, and B.
This gift set will only be available in a limited quantity, starting September 2014, so make sure you secure your piece before it’s sold out …”