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Pelikan Souverän 620 "Cities" series

Pelikan M620 "Berlin" (2002)

Originally, the Pelikan Souverän 600 pen was simply a dressed-up version of the classic model 400 reintroduced by Pelikan in the mid-1980s. Later, however, the 600 got a bit larger to fill the gap between the little 400 and the very big 800. It was (and still is) offered in solid black and colorful striped models comparable to those found in the rest of the Souverän range.

It's tough to be a middle child, however. Some buyers may like the handy size and lower prices of the 400 series (if they can't find the more diminutive but less-widely-distributed 300 series), while others might want to make a size statement with the 800 or 1000. Sitting as it does squarely in the middle of the bunch (in both length and girth), the M600 must sometimes suffer from shopper attention deficit.

Pelikan moved to remedy this situation beginning in 2002 with the 620 series of "special edition" pens (Pelikan uses this term for products that are limited in production but not numbered), each one honoring a famous city of the world. The M620 pens are made from very colorful and distinctive "Edelharz" ("noble resin," possibly cellulose acetate), and some of the pens in the series (like the two seen here) are translucent; trim color is sometimes varied from the normal yellow gold in order to harmonize with the rest of the pen. Otherwise, these pens are of the same size and are mechanically identical to the M600, which is a good thing: you get Pelikan's peerless piston-filling mechanism, and a smooth-writing two-tone gold point available in fine, medium, or broad.

The "Berlin" pen above was one of the first two in the series, honoring what Pelikan calls "the greenest city in Europe." , while the "Shanghai" below is among the latest pair, finished in striking red-orange and gold (traditional Chinese colors of good luck, as any frequent Chinese restaurant diner can attest). The Shanghai is also the first city outside the U.S. and Europe to appear in the series.

Pelikan 620 "Shanghai," 2005

The other cities that have been honored thus far in the series include Stockholm, Madrid, Chicago, San Francsco, New York City, and Athens (as I write, Pelikan has also just released an M620 variant honoring Rome's Piazza Navona). I assume that more cities are on the way, but I also expect it will take awhile before they get to my own home town of Upper Marlboro — given the current state of global politics, I'd probably better not even count on a Washington, D.C. pen anytime soon.

The Verdict

Since these are really Souverän-series pens at heart, the comments I've made elsewhere (about the M800 and M400) also apply here. As a group, these are among the best-made and best-writing pens you can get at their prices. Those prices, by the way, are a bit higher for the M620s than for the standard M600 models, but are still not high compared to similarly rare and fine pens from other makers (or those within Pelikan's proper Limited Edition range, for that matter).

Each "city" in this series is being produced for a limited time, and they tend to sell out pretty fast — so, if you find your favorite town in the list above, you'd better see your dealer right away.

A gentle warning: these pens look rather delicate to me (particularly in the translucent versions), so I would be rather careful not to stick them in a pants pocket or a crowded purse. I would also be careful to stay with blue or black inks in the translucent models, since other colors might potentially leave stains inside the barrels.

Maker Pelikan
Origin Germany
Production Current
Type Piston fill
Point 18k gold, two-tone finish with scrolled design
Construction Plastic cap and barrel.