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Caran D'ache Ecridor Retro


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#1 fx101

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 04:09

So this is my first review... Be kind.

Recently I purchased two fountain pens, a Graf von Faber Castell Guilloche and a Lamy 2000. Fun. Each one went in its bag and they have been great writers.
However... I recently acquired a Caran D'Ache briefcase and needed a new pen to keep in it! What better pen than a Caran d'Ache I had been eying for a long while? The Ecridor Retro.

Well let me say, this is a great pen. But the attention to detail really starts even as early as the box...


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For size comparison, the box is shown next to a swiss army knife. The box is probably vinyl-lined wood, but it really gets you excited as soon as you take it out of the fedex box. But enough "tease," time to crack it open and look at the pen inside!


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Then pen is displayed on satin, and here is where you begin to appreciate the craftsmanship. Generally, I'm not a huge fan of palladium/platinum-family coatings since they just look like a white steel. They must have used quite a bit of rhodium on this (I'm guessing over a thick silver plating) because it really does have the eye-popping white sheen of platinum. But let's take a better look at the finish of the pen itself...


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As you can see, it features an engine-turned crosshatch finish. But not really... If you look closely, you can see that it's really a series of pointy "waves" that look like cross-hatching. When angled on light, it reflects triangles. All edges are rounded and shiny including areas where the cap meets the pen. There's not a single thing wrong with the body. It's definitely quite light, but without feeling "cheap". Cd'A did a great job with making the pen up to the standards you would expect from their other, considerably more expensive instruments (and I've written with their Ivanhoe before). The clip says "fabrication suisse" on one side, and Caran d'Ache on the other. This is the "old-style" Ecridor, so the cap has the Cd'A logo in red.

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Now, of course I wanted to get writing with the pen! I inked it up with Caran d'Ache Amazon Green, cleaned it out, etc. The middle section actually scratches/smudges quite easily since it's metal, but I guess that just adds "character" to the pen. Anyhow, I pulled out some Clairefontaine, and laid the pen on top for another look. You can see on this above photo that the triangles I spoke about do shine through.

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Now, the size of this pen is quite difficult to describe. It's a lot smaller than people think. The girth is only slightly larger than a #2 pencil, and the un-posted length is maybe slightly over 6 inches. For size comparison, I laid my keychain next to it and took pictures both posted and unposted.

Here's where the pictures stop and where the fun begins. How does it write? Splendidly, with a few twists. For me, the ink-flow is far too dry. I'm sure it's an easy task to get it changed, but then it would feel... wrong. Now, the inflow is perfectly adequate for writing, but I feel that it was done on purpose so the pen really does write like a pencil. It's really strange coming from super-glossy-smooth fountain pens. This one feels great, but in a very different way. There IS friction. There IS tooth. But just the right amount. It feels like writing with a quality sketching pencil. This pen loves a little bit of pressure. You're not going to write with this and get away with a lazy resting hand. This is a pen that loves vigorous INTENSE writing. You can fly along a page, writing notes, scribbling down proofs, or whatever you like to do. I find that I write differently with it than with other pens. Some pens I gently glide along with. With this pen, I can write with passion and not be afraid of the nib crashing down upon writing my next word. Mind you, that all comes with the tradeoff that there's really not much flex. If you push down, you'll just get it to squeak. I personally loved the feel. Die-hard montegrappa/pelikan fans who love mild nibs won't like this one at first. You'll be blown away when you find out it's a steel nib. The quality of this steel nib far exceeds many 14kt/18kt nibs out there.

Balance is an interesting thing with this pen. The body is, I presume, silver-coated rhodinized brass. Yet... it's far lighter than the cap. When posted, it really changes the balance of the pen. I find it's really comfortable, but I've never been too picky with balance as long as a pen is heavy enough. With the cap, it really is heavy enough to write with comfortably.

Conclusion:
Nib: 9.5/10 (a bit TOO dry for my taste and little flex)
Construction: 10/10 (perfection)
Design: 9.5/10 (middle grip section doesn't look as nice)
Price: 9/10 (this pen retails for $220 new, I got it for less. Looks its price.)
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#2 Yuki Onitsura

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 06:50

Lovely photos and a great review of one of my favourite pens =).

Yuki
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#3 777

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 16:28

Most interesting pen from Caran D'ache. Looks a little to dainty for me personally but it's a nice pen regardless. You said it's close to a #2 pencil in size? I would love to see a picture of both of them together. :)

Great job on you r first review!

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777

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#4 handwriter

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 16:43

Great review, thanks

777
In the following you can see a pic of the FP, ballpen and pencil together
http://www.fountainp...-ecridor-retro/
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#5 lewis

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Posted 25 September 2010 - 11:19

Great review of a great pen.

:thumbup:

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#6 chrevbel

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 13:10

Edited. Question moved to different forum.

Edited by chrevbel, 19 October 2010 - 13:38.


#7 brownargus

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 12:13

I purchased one of these and have been somewhat disappointed with it. It is a beautiful pen to look at but I find that it is unbalanced and top heavy. I chose the Fine nib (which isn't particularly fine!) and it writes very smoothly, particularly for a new pen - I often find the nibs need "running in" a bit! The converter filler doesn't hold a lot of ink and it tends to dry out fairly quickly. The cartridges are probably a better bet but they tend to be very expensive. I tend to use it with Parker Quink ink. The Caran D'Ache ink bottles are a farce - they are expensive and are more than 50% glass; the ink depth soon becomes too low for the filler to draw up the ink.

John
Favourite pens in my collection (in alpha order): Caran d'Ache Ecridor Chevron F and Leman Black/Silver F; Parker 51 Aerometric M and F; Parker 61 Insignia M, Parker Duofold Senior F; Platinum #3776 Century M; Sailor 1911 Black/Gold 21 Kt M; Sheaffer Crest Palladium M/F; Sheaffer Prelude Silver/Palladium Snakeskin Pattern F; Waterman Carene Deluxe Silver F

#8 brownargus

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 10:46

I purchased one of these and have been somewhat disappointed with it.


Having used the pen for a prolonged period, I wish to revise slightly what I said in my previous post. The balance in the hand tends to improve with use so that after a time it no longer is an issue. The pen is extremely smooth - smoother than any other pen I have and the quality of the workmanship is excellent. I therefore withdraw my statement about being disappointed. I have taken to using Diamine cartridges in the pen. These are somewhat cheaper than Caran d'Ache's own brand (and there is a much wider choice of colours if you so wish - but why don't they fit a Cross?). I also have the matching ballpoint pen and pencil both of which are beautifully made. The only issue I have is that one of the ballpoint refills dried out after about 3 months after very litle use.

John
Favourite pens in my collection (in alpha order): Caran d'Ache Ecridor Chevron F and Leman Black/Silver F; Parker 51 Aerometric M and F; Parker 61 Insignia M, Parker Duofold Senior F; Platinum #3776 Century M; Sailor 1911 Black/Gold 21 Kt M; Sheaffer Crest Palladium M/F; Sheaffer Prelude Silver/Palladium Snakeskin Pattern F; Waterman Carene Deluxe Silver F

#9 Sidestreaker

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 11:05

I had the same feeling with my Caran d'Ache Leman when first us, but after a few refills, a few washes and trying out a few other MB pens, I find that CdA has got it right with an optimal writing and till this day remain to be my favourite writing instrument.

Brilliant pen and great review btw.
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#10 carlosjaviercontreras

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 17:40

It is a snap-on cap, isn't it?
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#11 brownargus

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 10:52

The only issue I have is that one of the ballpoint refills dried out after about 3 months after very litle use.


I have been looking around for possible replacements for the Caran d'Ache Goliath refill, e.g., roller ball or gel, since I don't like conventional ballpoints at all. Caran d'Ache don't make either to fit the Ecridor. So I tried other makes and, much to my surprise, I discovered that I can replace the Caran d'Ache refill with a Parker Gel refill which fits and works perfectly.

John

Edited by brownargus, 07 March 2011 - 15:20.

Favourite pens in my collection (in alpha order): Caran d'Ache Ecridor Chevron F and Leman Black/Silver F; Parker 51 Aerometric M and F; Parker 61 Insignia M, Parker Duofold Senior F; Platinum #3776 Century M; Sailor 1911 Black/Gold 21 Kt M; Sheaffer Crest Palladium M/F; Sheaffer Prelude Silver/Palladium Snakeskin Pattern F; Waterman Carene Deluxe Silver F

#12 nicholasyeo

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 13:23

I think that the problem I face with this pen is this - a steel nib,
also, the problem of scratching when pen is posted. I don't know
why Caran d'Ache hasn't come up with a solution to the problem.

#13 brownargus

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 15:19

I think that the problem I face with this pen is this - a steel nib,
also, the problem of scratching when pen is posted. I don't know
why Caran d'Ache hasn't come up with a solution to the problem.


The steel nib seems OK to me. It isn't as sexy as some nibs such as the beautiful inlaid gold Sheaffers, but it is very serviceable. Caran d'Ache obviously intended the Ecridor to be posted as there is a recess at the end of the pen section to take the posting.

John
Favourite pens in my collection (in alpha order): Caran d'Ache Ecridor Chevron F and Leman Black/Silver F; Parker 51 Aerometric M and F; Parker 61 Insignia M, Parker Duofold Senior F; Platinum #3776 Century M; Sailor 1911 Black/Gold 21 Kt M; Sheaffer Crest Palladium M/F; Sheaffer Prelude Silver/Palladium Snakeskin Pattern F; Waterman Carene Deluxe Silver F

#14 nicholasyeo

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 17:34

I think that the problem I face with this pen is this - a steel nib,
also, the problem of scratching when pen is posted. I don't know
why Caran d'Ache hasn't come up with a solution to the problem.


The steel nib seems OK to me. It isn't as sexy as some nibs such as the beautiful inlaid gold Sheaffers, but it is very serviceable. Caran d'Ache obviously intended the Ecridor to be posted as there is a recess at the end of the pen section to take the posting.

John


I have to agree. I tried the Caran d'Ache nib and I found it incredibly good.
Yes, there is a recess, but the recess gets scratched! That's what I saw in
my Ecridor ballpoints on the push mechanism as well, which was so sad.

#15 jar

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 02:00

I think that the problem I face with this pen is this - a steel nib,
also, the problem of scratching when pen is posted. I don't know
why Caran d'Ache hasn't come up with a solution to the problem.


Several of the Caran d'Ache Ecridor models are available with a gold nib. The "55" was the first offered with a gold nib but now there are several others.

AbE: other Ecridor models available with gold nibs are the Cubrik and the Rotation.

Edited by jar, 01 October 2012 - 15:03.

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#16 landrover

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 09:22

I bought a used CdA Ecridor off ebay recently, and it is one of the nicest writing fountain pens I own.
I have a number of Ecridor Ballpoints which I use with Parker Gel Refills in different
colours. All are superb quality.

I also have the larger Ivanhoe models, and although similar superb quality, I prefer
the Ecridor.

#17 ChuckR9

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 16:10

It took a bit of tweaking to get mine to flow properly, but now it is a great FP
Chuck






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