By Rick Propas
We all have what I refer to as 'holy grail" pens, those pens which we seek for almost religious purposes, pens that we, for any reason, must have. For me, the Pelikan 75th Anniversary was such a pen.
Like every great pen, this one has a story. When these pens first came out in 2004, I was offered one but the price, 7500€, appalled me. Not that the pen wasn't worth it, but that much money! I put the pen to the back of my mind.
Then, a year later, in the summer of 2005, I travelled through Germany and had the good fortune to end up at the Pelikan archives in Hannover. There, among so many other treasures, the archivist, Jürgen Dittmer, showed me the Anniversary Pen.
I was gone, blown away. Nothing in its images prepared me for the beauty of that pen. Then and there I knew that I had to have one. But how? No longer was it a matter of cost, but, rather the pens, all seventy-five of them, had been spoken for.
Once I returned home, I began making inquiries. As I suspected, none were available, but I let it be known that I was seriously interested. In June I received an e-mail from Marco at Novelli. Was I still interested? I took a deep breath. As my friend Mark Levy once noted in another context, sometimes there are second chances, but rarely are there third. Yes, I told Marco, I was interested.
Marco had to wait for the pen to arrive. Quickly we sorted out logistics-payment (gulp!) and shipping-and then the pen became mine.
I was on pins and needles until it arrived Thursday morning and I opened it. I expect that nothing will ever compare to my emotions the day that my daughter was born or the day I was married, but this comes third, a distant third, but third nonetheless. Unlike the first two events, I recorded this in my journal. I opened it, I ogled it, I fondled it. I took another deep breath, I inked it. All day, according to the diary, I was jumpy, excited. I wrote a lot.
Unlike so many recent Pelikan limited editions, which to my taste are overstated, this pen is not. In design, it follows the modern Pelikan form, introduced, first, in 1950, a design familiar to all of us who use and collect Pelikans.
It is large, built on the Pelikan M1000 chassis, and incorporates all the Pelikan idioms--the solid colored cap and turning knob, the squared-off ends, the beaked clip, even the classic pinstriped barrel, this time rendered in white and yellow gold. The trim is done in pink gold and in this it follows the use of gold tones in the original Toledo from 1931.
The traditional ink window is there, a longitudinal cutout that shows not just the ink level but displays the signature piston mechanism, fashioned in gold and marked with the Patent No. DE457462. The cap and turning knob are laser engraved with a series of small 75s and the broad cap band is engraved Pelikan Germany 1929-2004.
The single tone nib carries the round Pelikan logo and some elaborate scroll work. In all, it is a superb homage to all that is Pelikan.
Now the question is, can you actually write with the thing, sadly an issue with so many modern limited editions? The answer is yes.
To start with, the pen is heavy. Anything this large and with this much gold is going to be heavy. But because so much of the weight is in the barrel, the pen's balance is good. I tend to post just about everything that I write with, this pen included. But because the piston mechanism kicks the balance toward the back of the barrel, it is more comfortable to use, at least for extended periods, unposted. But, as I write this, the pen is comfortable in use, and I have carried and used it through much of the summer.
The pen is, in essence, an M1000-the official designation is M1075. It is available with only a medium nib, though one could fit to it any M1000 nib. Like all 1000s, it writes wetly with superlative smoothness and a hint of flex, enough to offer some line varation. Because it lays down so much ink, it is not a long distance writer, and this article, about 800 words in length, has just about exhausted the ink supply.
Is the pen perfect? In a word, no. It
actually has some issues that I am sure Pelikan will deal with as soon
as I can stand to give it up for them to deal with. The final test of
any pen is whether one is, in the end, happy with it. Would I purchase
the pen, had I to do it again? You bet!
copyright 2006 Rick Propas
Images copyright 2006 William Riepl