It is “my” best pen because it holds something truly special
For me at least…. This off course only a matter of personal opinion… But it was actually a birthday gift from my family a couple of years ago. When my mom asked me what to offer for my birthday I suggested this pen. Why would this actually be “my best pen” Well, to start with, it is one of the most elegant pens in my view. It has definitely a retro feel, a hint of 1930’s. My good friends will confirm I have a weakness for this period. And then at least as important, it is a real pleasure to write with it, as I will explain further. A wonderful experience to write with, truly.
Caran d’Ache is still today one of the main companies in Europe producing great quality pencils. So no, their very first product was not a fountain pen. Their first craft was pencils. In fact, if you are a sketcher of artist than you will most certainly have a couple. They are most famous for color pencils and the schoolbags of all Swiss kids carry these drawing pencils.
Arnold Schweitzer founded the company in 1915 and after a couple of years they already produced fountain pens as well. The story of the name is actually wonderful. Caran d’Ache was the pseudonym of 19th century French political cartoonist Emmanuel Poiré. His pseudonym came from the Russian word karandash (карандаш), meaning pencil or Turkish origin; “karadash” meaning black stone — used for writing on a “karatash” meaning black slate. Here is a picture of Caran d’Ache, made by Nadar.
The company is still based in Geneva, Switzerland and there are 300 people working. It is one of the very few companies in the industry that has received an FSC label (forest stewardship council certification).
Ecridor, and why it is my best pen
The Ecridor (I even love the name!) model pays tribute to the first Caran d’Ache mechanical pencils, made in precious metals, since 1947. These pencils are still in production. This means the design of this model is unchanged since 1940’s. My best pen is a guilloche engraved fountain pen, very typical of that era. But there are quite a few different types of engravings: lignes urbaines (urban lines), fleur de dentelle (flower of lace), cubrik, rotatium, type 55, eclat, chevron and retro. Besides fleur de dentelle, they all have rhythm, symmetry and vertical lines. The twenties with rising skyscrapers definitely come to mind.
In addition, the Ecridors pens are silver plated and finished with rhodium, a rare, noble metal that never tarnishes. This for me is a strong motivation to bring it to ‘my best pen’ category. But they also come in a gilded version. The nib comes in 3 widths and although it is made from stainless steel, and again rhodium plated, it does have a more sturdy feel but not too much. You’ll notice that precious metals such as gold, silver and rhodium are used for finishing touches instead of the more commonly used resin or Plexiglas. It comes either with an ink pump or you can also use cartridges.
The writing with this elegant pen is a wonderful experience. Because of the guilloche engravings, it does not slip and writing is easy, even if the form is octagonal. One might say the ink flow is a bit slower, but I love this feeling. It is never scratchy or unagreeable. I write most of the time with my best pen in my journal and that says enough. It is certainly my best pen in my collection.
That my best pen comes from Switzerland, could be seen as an added bonus
The company is Swiss so that means that nothing is left to chance and this feeling, leaning towards a feeling of writing with a pencil, is not by chance. It was deliberate. The out of the box experience is also very nice. The box itself is quite fancy and gives the whole experience one of unwrapping a gift.
This elegant fountain pen has somewhat of a reputation of ‘being small’ to connoisseurs and so here is a comparison to a Lamy Studio. It is not so much the length that gives its reputation but more the width. The delicate look is also responsible. But you can see my best pen is not that small. Here it is compared to my Lamy Studio.
The nib and end cap are engraved with the logo of Caran d’Ache. The Ecridor pen has a strong metal clip which is elegant and sturdy at the same time.
As I said this Ecridor pen is my best pen and it has been one of my favorites for several years even before I was given mine. It has a lifetime guarantee (who would expect anything else from the Swiss) and I know I will be using mine for a very very long time. You can find more information, reviews and the price of my best pen, here.