I did indeed grow up in Mercia, and even still live here (hence the description of my location).
Living within Mercia is of course not exactly ‘rare’, in that it was the largest kingdom in the heptarchy, and at one period its territory covered most of England and e.g. stretched as far as including London. I happen to live within a 20-minute drive of Parker’s former UK correspondence address - a former WW2 ‘dispersal airfield’ that used to be a ‘business park’, but which is now a housing estate. The Parker website no longer lists a UK correspondence address, because all queries are handled centrally in France.
(Btw, if anyone doesn’t believe me about that they can compare the ‘UK’ contact phone number on the Waterman website with the ‘UK’ contact phone number on the Parker website, and try telephoning it. They will hear a French dialling-tone instead of a British one, and the person who answers their call will have a French accent.)
But the point here is that the world has changed since I was a lad, back in the days before Mr. Berners-Lee initiated the www and also made sure that no copyright fees would be charged for its use by people outside of CERN and the academic community.
Back then companies could offer different products on different continents and almost nobody knew or even cared, because the price of getting on a ship or jetliner to travel to another continent just to go to a shop that would sell e.g. a pen would render the price of that pen ‘somewhat unrealistic’ for most consumers.
People would occasionally come back from business trips or holidays with some ‘weird’-looking product sold by a UK brand in a non-UK country, but back in those days, such things were only exotic curios.
Nowadays though, we are all constantly being told by Marketing that our purchase is ‘just a click away’ (because they know that making impulse buying easy means that more money gets spent), and we are all accustomed to purchasing items over the world-wide-web; even when those products come from vendors in other countries.
In this constantly-‘on’, always-‘connected’, brave new world we modern-day consumers have even proven ourselves to be willing to pay international shipping costs, and to wait for delivery.
So, to clarify, the question that I have mooted in this thread is not “I can’t buy this when I want to! Why won’t the bad company let me? Waah!” - I have already pointed out that IF the rumour about a ‘new’ version of the “51” is true then ‘grey-market’ vendors will appear who will be happy to buy them in China, add their own mark-up, and then ship them to me from China.
My question is - why would Parker (or any other company) force me to buy one of their products through third-party ‘grey-market’ exporters when they could instead be pocketing my money themselves? What is the modern-day ‘business case’ for doing that?
For further clarification, I have also emailed Parker to ask them whether they will in fact be producing it, and whether or not they will be selling it in the UK.