Thursday, June 11, 2015

Review: Caran d'Ache Léman Caviar Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren

Review Caran d'Ache Léman Caviar Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (13)
ABOUT

Body Material: Lacquered
Trim: Silver-plated
Length (capped): 137.1 mm/5.40
Length (uncapped nib-end): 125.0 mm/4.92"
Length (posted): 159.7 mm/6.29''
Barrel Diameter: 8.0 - 13.5 mm/0.31'' - 0.53''
Section Diameter: 8.7 - 10.1 mm/0.34'' - 0.39''
Nib material: 18KT rhodium-plated gold
Weight (all): 58 g
Weight (cap): 20 g
Weight (body): 38 g
Fill type: Cartridge/Converter
Price: € 620.00 (Excl. VAT: € 512.40)
Where to buy: Appelboom Pennen (click the banner for info on a 10% discount!)
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PACKAGING

The Léman Caviar came in a solid clamshell box with sharp edges and a somewhat pearlescent finish. The top has the Caran d'Ache logo. Inside on a faux leather bed, the pen is held in place by a strap. Under the bed, there is a tiny, adorable box that houses two international short cartridges and an owners guide book/international guarantee. The packaging is nice enough but didn't wow me.
Review Caran d'Ache Léman Caviar Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (2)
Review Caran d'Ache Léman Caviar Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (3)
APPEARANCE
Review Caran d'Ache Léman Caviar Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (4)
This pen caught my eye because I think it's really pretty. Although the shape itself is not particularly unique, the finish is very interesting. The pen is cigar-shaped with a blunt,f lat back end. The finial angles slightly and connects to the clip. It has the Caran d'Ache logo on it. The clip is long, thin, and elegant. The center band is located on the barrel and is nearly flush with the bap and barrel itself. It is marked with Caran d'Ache Swiss Made - the engraving has a soft effect that matches the finish well. The section is relatively thin, with a silver-plating and rhodium coating. It narrows towards the nib and ends bluntly.
Review Caran d'Ache Léman Caviar Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (8)
The finish of the pen resembles uniform fish scales - it undulates, and it is coated with a glossy, amber-tinted bronze lacquer. The scales are smooth in the barrel. It's a gorgeous look - not over the top and perfectly named. The body is a mix of lacquer and guilloche.
Review Caran d'Ache Léman Caviar Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (10)
NIB & PERFORMANCE

The 18KT rhodium-plated gold nib is a medium, and is relatively small compared to the pen, although it does suit the design and shape of the section. It has a single slit and breather hole and is engraved with the CdA logo, the nib size, the gold hallmark, and some decorations towards the nib.
Review Caran d'Ache Léman Caviar Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (9)
The nib was really well-tuned - the tines were properly aligned, it was smooth with a little bit of feedback that I absolutely loved, and it was really enjoyable. It wrote reliably, consistently, and did not hard start or skip. The level of wetness was ideal, which would make for an ideal every day writer. Drying times were on the longer side, but I think it would be worth it because of how pleasant the nib felt. With mild to moderate pressure, some line variation was possible and ink flow kept up well. It's not meant to be a flex nib, of course, but it does offer a soft, yielding writing experience. The nib sang while writing! Beautiful!

Review Caran d'Ache Léman Caviar Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (14)
The overall writing performance was positive and I thoroughly enjoyed the nib - one of the best nib experiences I've had to date.

IN HAND

The clip is great. It looks cool and it's spring-loaded, making it very functional and practical. It is a heavy pen though, and the clip doesn't close tightly, so it's a lot of weight for the clip to bear. As such, it worked best on flat surfaces and in pen pouches.

I found the section somewhat disappointing. It looks good in combination with the rest of the pen but in hand, I found it too thin relative to the size of the barrel, and I also found it slippery. With the weight of the pen behind the section, it felt more slippery during longer writing sessions. This was my main (and pretty much only) issue with the pen: the section shape and feeling.
Review Caran d'Ache Léman Caviar Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (5)
Review Caran d'Ache Léman Caviar Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (6)
Review Caran d'Ache Léman Caviar Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (7)
Unposted, the pen felt solid and substantial. It was fairly heavy but was well-balanced. As I mentioned about the section, it felt too thin and slippery, especially in combination with the weight of the pen. The cap did post by friction and it felt snug and secure. The pen was much heavier posted but it didn't feel top heavy - well-executed! I was surprised to find it so well-balanced posted, but even so, I preferred to use the pen unposted because of the section restrictions.
Review Caran d'Ache Léman Caviar Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (12)
Review Caran d'Ache Léman Caviar Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (11)
PROS & CONS
Review Caran d'Ache Léman Caviar Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (15)
OVERALL

The pen is beautiful. I love how it looks, I love the finish, I thoroughly enjoyed the nib - it was the right blend of smooth, wet, and tooth. The section brought down my excitement, because it just rendered the pen unusable for anything aside from jotting quick notes. At this price, I would like a pen I can use without much issue. The pen is beautiful though. It's modern, it has a great nib, and it feels really, really nice.

I was loaned this item for the purposes of this review. I was not compensated monetarily for my review. Everything you've read here is my own opinion. There are no affiliate links in this review.

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