Caran d’Ache Ecridor “Retro” fountain pen review

Caran d’Ache is a well-known fountain pen maker primarily famous for the “849” ballpoint pen, one of the most iconic stationery objects ever made. For quite some time, the recognizably hexagonal-shaped writing instrument is also available as an entry-level fountain pen.

One step up the ladder in the mid-tier level, we find the hexagonal pen we’re looking at right here: the so-called “Ecridor” (French for “Writer”) series.

This is a very well-built and sturdy palladium-plated metal body pen that comes in two colors: silver and gold., the silver one being the most common. The beauty of this “writer” lies in the subtle minimalist patterning of the hexagonal body – and a wide variety of those patterns are available.

While we are reviewing the “Retro”-patterned pen, there are some people out there who seem to have discovered the Ecridor as a collectable, from the “Chevron” pattern to the “Cubrik” to the “Heritage”, to name just a few.  One pattern is just as intriguing as the other.

Caran D'Ache pen

The pen comes in a simple yet elegant and minimalist red cardboard box that looks somewhat retro and modern at the same time. The box has the “Caran d’Ache Genève”-logo centered on it in silver.

There is a black clamp box inside that holds the pen as well as other content: a two-pack of standard international cartridges with the Caran d’Ache “Idyllic Blue” ink, a standard international converter, as well as a booklet that contains the warrant information, some brand info, and a use and care guide.

All in all, a nice kit that gets you started writing right off the bat.

Caran D'Ache writing examples

The Ecridor indeed is an eye-catcher. Apart from the Yard-O-Led, very few all-silver pens are out there, and even fewer come with the aforementioned intriguing pattern design language. Overall, this makes it a minimalist writer that hits the current design Zeitgeist spot-on.

Caran D'Ache Ecridor

The pop-off snap cap is as hexagonal as the pen body, making it a seamless overall shape. The cap rotates quite a bit when sitting on the pen body. Depending on your personal level of OCD, this might either freak you out or make for a wonderful little fidget opportunity.

From a technical standpoint, the manufacturing is perfection: there is no drying out of the nib whatsoever, the cap snaps in place with a highly satisfying click, and the cap sits very securely — no need to worry for this to come off at all.

Caran d'Ache cap

The cap does sport the hexagonal Caran d’Ache logo that we will shortly meet again on the nib imprint…

Caran d'ache cap closeup

…and it also does display the Swiss quality trademark “Swiss made” that the global connoisseur is all too familiar with — you’ll find that on other Swiss high-quality products such as the Victorinox Swiss army pocket knives as well.

The pen could be safely posted to the back of the pen, but since it is made from metal, hence rather heavy, this makes it a little unwieldy. So it is best used unposted.

Caran d'ache nib closeup

One thing to highlight – and to be aware of – is the grip section of the Ecridor. It is made from metal and is very thin.

It is made from glossy metal means that it is a fingerprint magnet (which might disturb you or not), and it also might get slippery (e.g. in case you have wet hands, in warmer weather, etc.). None of this posed a problem during the review of this pen, but it is still good to be aware of this.

Regarding the diameter of the grip section, a regular school pencil is the reference size you might want to think of for the Ecridor. Again, depending on the size of your hands and the preference for your writing instruments, this may or may not be an issue.

Most people prefer slightly thicker grip sections than this one, and too narrow of a grip can cause your fingers to cramp up over time — so this pen might be one you’d want to try in a good ole brick and mortar store before pulling the trigger if you don’t know that thinner pens are your preference.

Since the step up from the section to the barrel is not sharded, the pen could also be gripped here.  During this review, the thinner diameter did not pose any problems. But again, it’s good to be aware of.

caran d'ache zoom nib

The writing end of the Ecridor is small (no 5 size nib) but very exquisite.

It is a rhodium-plated steel nib, available in sizes F (fine), M (medium), and B (broad). It would be lovely to have optional gold nibs for such a beautiful writer, but the gold nibs seem to be reserved for the even higher-end “Léman” model.

Either way, the steel nib is a wonderful and rigid writer. A little pressure allows for some bounce, springiness, and line variation while maintaining a crisp and concise line of Swiss precision tooling.

caran d'ache zoom

The adornment of the nib is as minimalist as it is classy. We find the nib size designation, the Caran d’Ache logo, and some classy scrollwork.

Overall, the Caran d’Ache Ecridor ‘Retro’ is (price-wise) a mid-tier Swiss high-quality fountain pen built like a tank that will last you for many years and offer an exciting writing experience and a unique and minimalist design. It will stand out from both the black cigar-shaped classics and the colorful swirly resin pens out there in wonderful ways.

While likely not everyone’s cup of tea, the Ecridor is a distinguished icon that is more than worth trying. And if it works for you, you’ll likely never want to be without yours.

Having spent the past one and a half decades studying, researching and teaching in both the public and the private sector, one thing that is naturally involved in all these engagements is taking notes and writing. Hence, it might not come as a surprise that I developed quite some experience with these things, having used a broad range of related techniques and products. Having been trained as a retail management assistant and specialist for stationery about 15 years ago on top of that, there was literally no way around me blogging about and reviewing stationery, which I do on my blog.

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