I've been sitting on the Caran d'Ache 849 ballpoint for quite awhile now. When I originally saw this pen I was extremely excited as the design and style instantly stood out to me, and while on a visit to see my friend Jay at Scottsdale Pen (my local pen guy) I decided to pick up a black version.
Now, I have to admit, I'm not entirely impressed. Man! I just gave the rest of the review away... shame on me.
Actually, it's not all completely bad. I really enjoy the metal barrel that transitions from a hexagon to a point (yeah, love hexagons) and the way the clip is attached to the pen. Design wise, the pen does it for me.
Performance wise, I'm a bit disappointed. Granted, these are my opinions, but for the price of $20-30 I just expected a bit more I guess. The refill in particular is your typical ballpoint refill that doesn't perform anything special. The lines are very inconsistent and there is quite a bit of page showing through the letters.
***UPDATE: So apparently this pen does take a Parker style refill (which I never tried) and I will be swapping in the Schmidt EasyFlow. Thanks everyone for the feedback!
The second piece that I'm not entirely impressed with is the knock section. It is more of a "squish" style rather than a "click". I'm not opposed to a silent mechanism as I really enjoy the knock that Karas Kustoms uses on their Retrakt, but the difference is that it feels substantial and is all metal.
When the knock is unscrewed (which is also the way to replace the refill), you'll find exposed that much of it is actually plastic with some very thin presses steel to shape the button section. To rescrew it back in is even tricky as it doesn't catch every time which is kind of a pain.
The pen feels good in the hand and I really want to love it, but the pleasure of using it just isn't there. I think with some slight investment into better components that were a bit more weighty, durable, and felt of higher quality that it could be great. It is an ok pen, but not a great pen...of course, in my opinion.
Caran d'Ache does make some higher end models of the design, but I wonder if the experience would be different? Based on this one, I won't be investing into any further 849s.