I have owned some Caran D’Ache ink and was very pleased with it but I have never really seen any of their writing instruments that jumped out at me and had to rest in my shopping cart. Recently my friends at The Pen Company gave me an opportunity to look at the Caran D’ Ache model 849 fountain pen. I’m glad I did.
Founded in 1915, Caran D’Ache is a Swiss manufacturer of office, school and art supplies including some beautiful fountain pen ink colors and writing instruments.
The 849, in ballpoint or fountain pen, is one of their moderately priced models with a hexagon shaped barrel and comes in multiple powder coated colors. The Fluo edition, which I reviewed, comes in striking and bold anodized colors. My fluorescent green will not be mistaken for any other color in any light!
- Material: Aluminum
- Nib: Steel available in M, F, XF
- Length Capped: 5.5”
- Length Uncapped: 4.85″
- Length Posted: 7”
- Weight: 18.5 grams with ink cartridge
- Street Price: $49
The 849 would be considered a hex shape pen though technically it’s almost a 12 sided pen. The 6 large flat spots meet each other by way of 6 smaller flat spots. The finish and the light reflection from all the edges is a unique look I haven’t seen before. In contrast to my Faber Castel Ondoro, another popular hex shaped barrel pen, where the edges are sharper. Caran D’Ache even trademarked their design.
The bright green anodized finish is a real stand out on any desk if you like bright and loud but it doesn’t look plasticy or toyish either.
The section is black plastic with a fairly steep taper for a pen that starts out slender to begin with. The stop collar near the nib is large enough to be a tactical que for your finger to stay uninked by not going any further towards the nib. Uneventful, well executed.
The cap is the coolest part of this pen to me. It’s the same diameter as the body of the pen and has a smaller chrome collar at the bottom that slips INSIDE the body of the pen to make the capped pen all one diameter. It stays on with a definitive and satisfying snap. The cap established itself as my favorite part of the pen when I learned it posts the same way slipping inside the barrel end. Quite cool. Granted when posted it makes for long pen at 7” but usually one posts a pen for better weight balance or better length to fit their hand. I don’t think the unposted 849 needs either of those, but it’s still fancy.
Functionally the clip works well and I’m not sure how I would redesign in but it looks like an afterthought to me. It’s a stamped steel variety that clamps around 5 sides of the hex shaped cap. Again, the clip works fine and given the design you could choose to remove the clip altogether without a trace and I think that gives the pen a real streamlined look. The Caran D’Ache branding is visible on the cap right under the clip.
The 849 accepts international standard short ink cartridge and comes with a blue black cartridge to get you started. A converter is available for about $8.00
The nib is unadorned except for a small hexagon shape engraving with a circle in the middle. I’m not sure what that stands for as the official Caran D’Ache logo is just their name in a fancy font. Like the pen itself the nib is long and slender which really works aesthetically. My medium wrote very smooth and a little on the dry side which I don’t think is a bad thing and if you prefer a little more ink a nibmeister could customize it for you in short order.
This is a slender pen, plenty of length and the hex edges, as described above, are almost not edges at all and thereby comfortable with any grip I tried. The section is long. The nib requires some pressure to get the darkest lines out of it. That may be adjustable with some nib work but I found myself lightening my pressure and not getting as much ink out as I would like, not a deficiency, just a preference. I didn’t experience any hard starts or skips. Overall it was comfortable and I’m sure one could go awhile with this pen. I took it for three pages and just ran out of things to write, the pen was still comfortable.
After my time with the 849 Fluo I will admit I shopped the Caran D’Ache brand a little deeper than I have in the past. The Pen Company has a great selection. The nib was a strong performer out of the box, fit and finish were flawless from my inspection and that cap is just ingenious. If you want a reasonable entry point into a Swiss writing instrument you have many choices in finishes here and I don’t think you will go wrong with an 849.
Thanks again to the Pen Company for sending this one over and broadening my brand horizons.
Remember: Write something nice……
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