In the history of The Clicky Post there are pen brands that I've not reviewed very much and Caran d'Ache is certainly one of them. I tried the 849 model a few years back and the standard model just wasn't quite for me as it had some features that just weren't my preference (although there are die-hard 849 fans that adore them).
But, I'm always down for another go to see if things change for me.
Pen Chalet offered to send me one of the more "fancy" models of the 849 barrel design called the Ecridor series, so special thanks to them for providing it for review.
I have to say, at first glance this pen IS certainly fancy. Each of the Ecridor series pens are either gold or palladium coated which certainly scales them up when compared to the simpler models. The other models are probably more fun, but the Ecridor models seem to certainly make a statement. This one is of the palladium variety which gives the pen a shiny mirror finish on all the smooth surfaces. The mirror finish also makes it prone to fingerprints, but it sure looks sharp.
The version I received is called Retro and has an elegant cross-hatch pattern etched along the facets of the barrel. The other variations have what I'd consider more dramatic designs, but this one suits me well. In the lineup it would be the one I would pick every time. All of the designs have a very Art Deco sort of appeal which I also like very much. Classic.
The pen is what I'd consider on the slimmer side as from point to point on the hexagon barrel the width is just around 1 cm. Although, if you compare it to another popular hexagonal barreled pen like the rOtring 600 you'll find they are about the same size. The rOtring 600 is one of my all time favorite pen barrels, so I really can't complain too much about the size can I?...
Where the rOtring has the sharper, more abrupt corners, the Caran d'Ache facets gently curve into each other which definitely gives it a softer feel and appearance.
In weight and heft of the Ecridor seems much more substantial than the original 849 I reviewed in the past (which I no longer have to compare to unfortunately). I recall it being very light, but this version weighs it at almost an ounce which, for a pen its size, is considerable. Actually, it is just enough weight for it to feel sturdy in the hand, but not unnaturally heavy. It is a good weight.
In my original review I wasn't the biggest fan of the click mechanism due to how it felt, and admittedly this one about the same for me. Functionally I have no qualms about it, but in feel it just isn't quite as satisfying.
It has a very smooth action and is extremely quiet (aside from some slight metallic rubbing sounds of the parts moving around) which I'm sure many people would appreciate. Probably the fidgeter in me wants something with a little more snap, but if you are more the silent click type, this and the standard 849 just might be your match made in heaven.
To remove the refill you unscrew the knock mechanism which is made of brass and some plastic (wish this was all metal).
On the knock is also the only branding found on the pen which has been etched around the circumference as well as the hexagon "logo" etched on the very end. These appear laser etched which is ok, but from a design standpoint I probably would have preferred a deeper engraving or stamping on the parts considering the pen's price point.
One thing I really appreciate quite a bit is how far the writing tip extends. This is an extremely subtle thing, but I appreciate that in comparison to many pens it may appear too short. To me it is really the perfect amount. Usually with ballpoint pens you can see a small amount (or large sometimes...yikes) of the flat cylinder side of the writing tip, but on the Ecridor it is hidden with exactness. Since the pen has a sloping angle towards the tip, the fact that the refill is only showing the conical section doesn't let the flat side of the refill distract from the overall design.
That observation probably puts me somewhere in the crazy zone of impractical thinking, but I can't imagine that design was by accident. To the original engineer(s) of this design, I tip my hat to you. If no one else gave a darn about that, just know that I certainly did. Bravo.
The ink included with the pen is the Caran d'Ache Goliath ballpoint refill in medium, and while I originally remember not loving it I don't mind it so much now. I go in phases at times where I want only rollerball or gel pens which are dark and smooth, and ballpoints are just not that way at times. This refill has been considerably smooth and comfortable.
I was aware that Parker style refills do fit in the 849 barrels so I decided to swap in an EasyFlow 9000. While it did technically fit and operate, it was obvious that there are slight tolerances that exposed that the pen wasn't designed for it. Things like the knock not catching every time and the tip extending a little further than normal. I decided to swap the Goliath back in.
From a style standpoint, I think the Ecridor has a lot going for it. The hexagonal barrel gives it a unique look that, while overall somewhat simple, stands out for sure. It is a classy pen and has a shape that isn't shared by many models.
This is definitely a luxury type item with a retail price of $170 (street price about 20% lower), but not uncommon when you move into pens with precious metals involved.
If you like the 849 and are potentially looking for a step up, the Ecridor lineup is likely to not disappoint. Special thanks again to Pen Chalet for sending it along to review.