I had high expectations when I reviewed my first Caran d’Ache 849 Ballpoint. This is a classic pen by a well respected company, and it wrote like I was using a piece of glass on sandpaper. I was hugely disappointed to say the least.
The chorus in the comments section of that post was unanimous: I had a dud refill. I accepted that, and put on my list to grab another refill when I got the chance. The barrel was far too nice to let it go that easily. And then I do what I do sometimes: I forgot to order the refill.
My memory was jarred when I saw the new Totally Swiss Collection on Goldspot and I asked if they would loan me one to test out. I just had to see the stunning Paper Cutout model in person and, or course, test out the refill.
When the box arrived and I saw the packaging for this pen I was immediately impressed. I’m not a packaging guy normally, but the Han Solo in Carbonite tin case is well done. It is held closed by magnets, giving it a streamlined look that opens easily and snaps shut. The black velvet lining keeps it protected in transit, with a few words on the Goliath refill found inside the case.
The hexagonal barrel of the 849 is a Caran d’Ache calling card. When you see that shape along with the angular clip, you know immediately it is a Caran d’Ache. It is comfortable to hold, and the aluminum barrel material keeps it lightweight for any length writing session.
And the refill? This one is excellent thankfully. This is the experience I was missing out on the first time. The acclaimed Goliath ink cartridge is said to deliver 600 A4 pages worth of writing, and it should, because replacement refills cost almost $10.
That is the one hangup with Caran d’Ache. They make luxury pens and pencils, and they are priced accordingly. $40 isn’t necessarily outrageous for a pen, but coming from a great writing pen like the Uni-ball Jetstream at $3, it is a jump. You can pick up an 849 in other colors and styles in the mid-$20’s, which may better fit your budget.
I’ve been finding uses for ballpoints more and more recently and enjoy the experience they offer when I need them. The Caran d’Ache 849 is right up there with any of the premium ballpoint pens I have used.
(Goldspot loaned this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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