Stationery Classics No 2 – Caran d’Ache 849

stationery classics no 2 - caran d'ache 849

“contemporary, fun and casual”


We love a classic design, one that lasts the test of time and we realised a few years back that this was one stationery classic that had slipped through the net. We remedied that little oversight and have been talking about the Caran d’Ache 849 pen since. It has a simple, modern style to it, with no frills or fuss. A hexagonal shaped barrel that serves two easily overlooked but very important purposes. Firstly, it acts as a grip section but without the need to add a separate element to the pen, keeping the styling sleek and streamlined. Secondly, it means that the pen won’t roll, so no rolling off the table and losing it.


We also love how Caran d’Ache has kept the 849 pen fresh and exciting with constant revisions, including limited editions for Paul Smith and more upmarket versions in a unique gift tin that has the look of Han Solo being frozen in carbonite.


The Caran d’Ache 849 was first made in 1969 and has been made in various designs ever since. It is a flagship pen for them, the emblematic pen in their office range. And it is easy to see why – it is an easy pen to keep around, everything about it is unfussy and so using it is just easy. Even the click mechanism to extend the refill is more of a soft action than your typical hard click. A trivial point but an indication of its attention to detail.

Did you know?

The name Caran d’Ache is actually a play on words. The company is Swiss and was formed in 1915 and renamed in 1924 after a 19th Century French satirical political cartoonist called Emmanuel Poiré, but who worked under the pseudonym Caran d’Ache. This name was taken from the Russian word karandash which means pencil (see, it all starts to make sense now!) and apparently the Russian word itself is taken from a Turkish word kara taş which means ‘black stone’.

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