While the former company was named after the founder and still run by the family, Caran D'Ache was actually the pseudonym of a French-Russian cartoonist and satirist named Emmanuel Poiré and based on the Russian word for pencil (karandash).
Caran D'Ache is slightly younger as a company than Graf von Faber Castell and was founded in 1924 but it is known for having invented one of the early clutch type mechanical pencil designs as well as a long history making fine wood pencils, pastels, chalks and paints.
Let's begin with packaging. The Caran D'Ache came in a nice genuine grew on trees wood box like the Graf von Faber Castell Classic, but it is BIGGER.
No little box here, it's a BIG box and it has two kinds of wood and it looks varnished and it has HINGES.
The Varius Metwood sits on a nice padded cushion and is held in place with a nice ribbon and what is particularly important for old folk like me is that Caran D'Ache of Switzerland also appears on the inner side of the lid in case I should forget what pen I am looking at.
Seriously, it is an impressive presentation but I like the three slot tray of the Graf von Faber Castell even better despite it being smaller, having only one wood and having to take the lid off to use it. If I lay the lid down nearby with the top up, it too reminds me I am using Graf von Faber Castell pens.
The CdA Varius Metwood has a hexagonal Rosewood Body, a section that is plated metal, an 18K nib and is cartridge/converter filled.
So without further ado here are the ...
In size, the Varius Metwood falls between the GvFC Classic and Guilloché.
It's long enough to use unposted but also posts securely which is the way I use it. The section is slightly slimmer at it's minimum but the length and curve of the section fits my hand perfectly. This is really one slim pen that encourages the user to have a light hand, it is near perfect even though I usually prefer thicker sections.
Like the GvFC Classic it is a screw cap that takes about one and a half turns to cap or uncap. The nib is fully plated, simple, medium in width that writes towards the broad end of medium with wet inks like Private Reserve Electric DC Blue and close to a true Western Medium with a slightly drier ink like Noodler's Nightshade.