Caran d'Ache 849 Fountain Pen Review

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(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

If you've been to a pen show, you've no doubt seen the iconic Caran d'Ache ballpoint pens floating around. They have a unique and striking design with a range of subdued to loud colors available. The Caran d'Ache 849 ballpoint pens are a classic, so it's no surprise that there's also a fountain pen version of this beautiful pen.

The Caran d'Ache 849 collection is a minimal fountain pen from Switzerland. The hexagonal body is captivating and simple, and when paired with the beautiful colors, you find yourself taking a second look without realizing it. They're unique, and they're hard to put down because the writing experience is equal to their good looks.

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The fountain pen versions are available in EF, F, and M nib sizes, and the EF model that I have is a fantastic example of the lineup. Even though it's a small nib, it's smooth and produces a very crisp line. I wasn't sure what to expect given the price range, but I was definitely impressed upon first using the pen. The ~$50 range of pens can sometimes be challenging when it comes to big brands, but the Caran d'Ache does an excellent job with this model. The nib is plain and simple, but it does its job well. It would appear that all the design and aesthetics went into the body on this one. The grip section is undeniably cheap, slim plastic, but it feels great in the hand when writing. In this way, it's very similar to the Retro 51 fountain pens, but I prefer the feel of this plastic grip section over the Retro 51 models.

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The pen accepts international short cartridges, but will also accept a converter. I chose to use a blood orange ink in this pen, and I think the red on white combination is stellar. The ink flow is fantastic, even though it's a small nib. I haven't had issues with skipping, spitting, or hard starts with this pen, and it can last about two weeks in storage without having any issues starting again. Despite being small and plain, this steel nib is a great performer.

The body, which is a simple hexagonal shape, is simultaneously angular and soft. Given the light weight, it gives the pen a more airy feel than I imagine a heavier steel version of this pen would have. The cap connects crisply to the pen and stays put securely. You can post the cap, but it makes the pen a bit long and it's also a tiny bit wobbly. I don't post this pen when I'm using it, but I rarely post anyway.

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The clip isn't super strong, but it gets the job done. It's also easy to remove if you prefer the clean look, but I prefer the look of the clip against the body. Apart from the Caran d'Ache name, a small "849" stamp, and an equally small "SWISS MADE" stamp on the cap, there is not branding on the pen. The top finial has a Caran d'Ache logo, but no words. The same logo is found on the nib along with the nib size indicator. Despite the minimal branding, this pen is instantly recognizable.

The length of the 849 is very similar to a Lamy Safari, but the diameter of the pen is similar to the body of a Kaweco Sport (not the cap). It's slim, but still comfortable to use due to the length.

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When it comes to picking and using a pen, it all comes down to how well it writes and how it makes you feel. For me, I'm delighted by the aesthetic of the pen and then equally pleased by the writing experience. It's a great match that can sometimes be difficult to find. If you like the look of this pen, I'm sure you'll also love how it writes.

There are several colors available, along with EF, F, and M nib options. They retail for about $65, but you can usually find them for $10 cheaper.

(Goldspot provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


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Posted on October 25, 2017 and filed under Caran d'Ache, Fountain Pens, Pen Reviews.