Getting into the small pen

Recently, I am interested in small ballpoint pen, small in a sense that it can be carried around with an A6 notebook.  

The Caran d’Ache 849 falls into this category nicely. I have been considering this pen for quite sometime but never made a purchase because I feel it is too small for me. Changed my mind because of two reasons, probably more.  

Eslite is celebrating their 30th Anniversary and a list of collaborative products are issued. One of them is a collaboration with Sou-Sou and Caran d’Ache, a 849 with the iconic number prints on the barrel. It is beautiful and raised my interest on the 849 again.

Photo Credit : Eslite Facebook Page

But I didn’t make the purchase because I am afraid the print would wear off easily. But there is a second push right after, Caran d’Ache 849 is celebrating their 65th anniversary and another special edition is released. Upon consideration, I decided to get the most basic one - the original as my first 849.

My Caran d'Ache Original

The “Original” only has a clear varnish protecting the rough and raw looking barrel. The color matching pen case is simple and wrap everything in a super thin package. The magnets at the corner hold everything up. The two lines summarize both the design of the pen and the refill coming along - the Goliath refill. I have read bi-polar review on this refill, some likes it a lot and some curses it hard. The differences seems to be the result of a manufacturing issue which now should be resolved.

Writing Experiences

The pen is light, similar to the weight of my Parker Jotter (15.6g vs 15.1g) but the barrel is slimmer. Because of the hexagonal shape, the flat side of the barrel can rest on my finger and I only need to hold, instead of grabbing the pen. It is kind of compensating the "less than comfortable" holding gesture. Like I said earlier, there's a clear varnish covering the barrel and thus the pen is smooth on the touch, rough on the look. The pen clip is tight and the matte color matches the color of the pen quite well.

As a retractable click pen, the "clicking experience" is also an aspect of interest. The 849 is not the click-a-click type of pen, more a silent and quiet type of pen. You won't hear any click sound when you protrude or retract the tip. Some enjoys clicking the pen as stress relieve but your co-worker will love you when all things are done in silence.

Unlike most pen where the barrel is screwed together, the barrel of 849 is manufactured in one piece. The flip side of this design is nothing would get unscrewed even with constant shaking. But the down side is how cumbersome it is in replacing the refill. I have to unscrew the clicking tap which is hard but screwing it back is even more difficult because the threading is hard to be find within the barrel. Luckily, with the Goliath refill, I don't need to change the refill frequently.

The refill is a joy to write - smooth and no blots. Rich in color but not overly saturated. The line is fine enough to my taste. Different level of shades can be drawn - heavy stroke vs light stroke are possible. I haven't tried drawing with this pen but I don't see it why I cannot. As spoken earlier, the refill don't need to be changed frequently because it can hold enough ink to write 600 A4 pages. That's almost the number of pages in 15 Kokuyo Campus notebooks before I need to change the refill, isn't it amazing?