11 March 2013

Pelikan in Japan (I)

The star of the season, fountain pen wise, is undoubtedly the newly released Pelikan M800 with tortoise shell finish.

As we know, there is a precedent to this pen—the elusive M800 tortoise-shell released in 1987 in a very limited number of pens. The official story, by Pelikan in the voice of the official archivist Jürgen Dittmer, speaks of this pen as commissioned by some Spanish retailers. Some rumours even mentioned some shop by the name of “galeria”, that could very well be the now defunct department store Galerías Preciados. However, nobody in Spain seems to know anything about this story, and nobody in Spanish speaking fora acknowledged owning one of these pens.

The 1987 Pelikan M800 in brown tortoise shell.

Other voices speak of this 1987 pen as made especially for the Japanese market. I have no solid argument to favor this idea over the previous one, but given the popularity of Pelikan in Japan, I tend to think of this idea as more plausible. Actually, several of this pens can be seen at stylophile meetings in Tokyo. And there is also a previous example of Pelikan pens made thinking of the Japanese market.

A Pelikan 400NN made by Merz & Krell in the 1970s.

The Pelikan model 400, now named as 400NN, was phased out in 1965, and Pelikan then sold the machinery to produce it. But the demand for that model in Japan made Pelikan to commission its production to the company Merz & Krell. This makes the 400NN M&K relatively common in Japan.

But all those arguments provided no evidence, and the mystery of the 1987 Pelikan M800 in brown tortoise shell remains.

Platinum 3776 (2002 model) – Diamine Graphite

Bruno Taut
Machida, March 7th, 2013
etiquetas: Japón, España, Pelikan, Merz and Krell


write to me often said...

It is quite a beauty.

Michel de Montreal said...

Thank you for the background. Very interesting, I wasn't aware that Pelikan was that popular in Japan.

I guess that would explane the Raden models and the Maki-e models

Bruno Taut said...

Thanks, Zeynep; thanks, Michel, for passing by and commenting.

--Which one is a beauty, Zeynep?

--I think the strategy of maki-e pens also goes in teh other direction:

Western brands --like Pelikan, but also like Parker, Caran d'Ache and others-- create maki-e pens for those in the West seduced by arcane and obscure decorating techniques from the Orient. At the end, the pen is not in the decoration, and addind one costume or another is not such a big deal.

Thanks again,


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