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The Caran d Ache Ivanhoe

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David Shafer

FIRST IMPRESSION: This is not the first pen I have owned, but it is the first pen I fell in love with. When I first saw the Ivanhoe advertisement in a watch magazine, sitting there against a black background, all shiny, chain mail boldly shouting out “I’m the pen a Knight in shining armor would use. I was hooked, that is why I saved up to but this pen. The Ivanhoe embodies that advertisement, and holds true to the promise of that advertisement.


I purchased the Ivanhoe from World Lux International (worldlux.com) at lunch on Monday the 14th of May, paid the standard shipping and it arrived here Georgia on Wednesday 16 May 07.


The pen comes in a bright red cardboard box that opens to reveal a very nice wooden box with hinges. Engraved on the top of the box are the name, logo and “Of Switzerland”. The same is engraved on the inside of the lid. The pen rests on a dark grey pillow with the same patterns as the chain mail. Included in the packaging are 2 small ink cartridges, the converter, the lifetime guarantee card and the instruction booklet in several languages. It was a very rewarding experience unpacking this pen


Score: 5 out of 5. I am a little biased.




Picture borrowed from Worldlux.com



APPEARANCE AND FINISH: I have looked hard but I can not find a flaw. The workmanship is outstanding, everything you would expect from the Swiss. Nothing is loose, even when removing the cap there is no wobble. When looking for the converter I could not tell what part of the section was going to come off. One of my concerns prior to purchase was the condition of the chain mail. Was it loose? Did it move? I have since discovered my fears were unwarranted. I can’t tell you how they accomplished it, but there are no seams, weld or glue marks anywhere. This pen is seamless. The Rhodium coating makes the Ivanhoe shine.


Score: 5 out of 5.


DESIGN, SIZE & WEIGHT: According to the Caran d Ache web site, this pen is crafted with a stainless steel coat of mail. It has a silver plated and rhodium-coated body, cap and trims. The CdA logo is located on the top rim of the cap with the name Caran d Ache, spelled out. Another concern of mine prior to purchase was the diameter of the pen. Was it too skinny? This concern was also dispelled. It is the slimmest pen in my current inventory (Cross Apogee, Namiki Falcon, Lamy Studio and Lamy Accent Brilliant) but it has a larger diameter than I expected which pleasantly surprised me. I purchased the Ivanhoe as I do most pens, sight unseen. The closest pen in size is the Falcon which is slightly larger in diameter especially near the section. The Ivanhoe has a comfortable heft, which makes up for its somewhat slim design. It does not feel like you are holding a toothpick at all. I assume the Ivanhoe falls into the medium size catagory.

The Ivanhoe has a very straight line appearance when capped. When uncapped it maintains that appearance until you get to the section. The section tapers all the way to the point of the nib. The nib has a flare to it which is reminiscent of the Roman short sword. Visually you get the feeling the pen is pointing to the nib, which I find very appealing. Some might find fault with the transition from the barrel to the section because there is a 3mm step up from the section to the barrel. Personal preference and how you hold the pen would determine if this was a problem. There is enough room to hold the Ivanhoe above or below the transition, for some reason I seem to always hold it at the transition, where my finger hooks the step.


The cap screws on and off and takes approximately 5 turns to accomplish this task, The cap posts nicely to the end of the barrel where there is a special stepped section to receive the cap. The Ivanhoe is comfortable and well balanced posted and a little lighter when unposted. However the pen remains balanced, unposted, as most of the weight is in the body. Surprisingly the chain mail is quite comfortable to grip. There are no edges or sharp points to speak of and is easy to grip with sweaty hands. I have wiped the Ivanhoe several times with cleaning cloths without a single snag.




Pen length: 131.34mm or 5.17”

Uncapped: 125.5mm or 4.94”

Posted: 165mm or 6.5”

Cap length: 46.91mm or 1.87”

Cap width: 10.25mm or .40”


Barrel length: 89.55mm or 3.52”

Barrel width: 10.95mm or .43”

Section length: 19.63mm or .77”

Section width: 7.9mm or .31”

Nib length: 16.88mm or .66”

Nib width: 7mm or .27” (measured at the flare)


Weight: 1.25oz


Score: 4 out of 5. Transition from section to barrel ma be an issue for some.



Picture borrowed from worldlux.com



NIB DESIGN AND PERFORMANCE: Since I’m still afraid to try anything different this pen was purchased with a Medium nib. It is made out of 18k (750) white gold and is engraved accordingly. The nib is also coated in Rhodium.


The line looks similar to both my Lamy’s and slightly larger than my Falcon and Apogee. It lays down a nice wet line at the slightest touch to the paper. I thought m Falcon nib was smooth, but it doesn’t compare to the Caran d Ache. I have heard here in this forum that CdA nibs were nice. Lately I have read some posts where people were disappointed with the nibs on expensive pens, so I was again pleasantly surprised when this nib lived up to my hopes and dreams.


The Ivanhoe nib has a lot more flex than my Apogee and about half the flex of my Falcon. I wish I could describe it better or there was a standard way of measuring it. I have a somewhat heavy hand and the Ivanhoe nib provides a great feel and is very responsive. The nib works well in the more vertical writing style as well as a more laid back approach.


The nib is engraved with the CdA logo, the 750 hallmark, and has several overlapping loops below the breather hole. Other sizes such as EF, F, B, OM, and OB are also available.


Score: 5 out of 5. This is a gorgeous looking and exquisite writing 18k nib.


FILLING SYSTEM: I discovered something while separating the section from the body of the pen. CdA uses an “O” ring on the section where it fits into the barrel. I have never seen this before, is this something other companies do?


The Ivanhoe uses a cartridge or converter. The cartridge system is awkward and disappointing considering how well the rest of the pen is made. You have to use 2 really small cartridges end to end. The first cartridge is used to feed the pen and the other one to hold the first cartridge in place. This makes no sense at all. Why not make a single longer cartridge to fit the space in the barrel? I haven’t tried any other cartridges to see if they work as this is not a priority for me since I prefer to use the converter. I just think they dropped the ball on this.


The converter screws into the section for a secure fit. The converter is slimmer than both the Falcon & Apogee but it is longer than the others. The converter works well, and fills up to the top, which I can’t seem to do with the others. I’m not yet sure if the Ivanhoe gets more distance than the others because I haven’t had it long enough to tell.


Score: 2 out of 5. The cartridge system is a huge disappointment.


COST/VALUE: Several years ago I might have looked at the price of this pen and laughed. Since then I have learned the value of a well made product and have come to appreciate them. I still have boundaries, but the prices do not seem as absurd as they used to. My choices are now based on quality, pride in workmanship and the joy of using a well made product. World Lux has very reasonable prices on all their products. I paid 485 for the Ivanhoe (650msrp), shipping was fast and the Ivanhoe lives up to the Swiss tradition. Cost and value are most times, in the eye of the beholder and I believe this pen to be an exceptional value.


Score: 5 out of 5.


CONCLUSION: The Ivanhoe is a Grail pen for me (pun intended). It is rare in this day and age that an advertising campaign would affect me so hard. The Caran d Ache adds did just that. I have wanted this pen since I first saw it. The advertisement is clean and text free. It is a simple, elegant, iconic picture that speaks volumes. There is a great deal of promise in the add and the Ivanhoe lives up to that promise. I have listened and heeded its call and have enjoyed every magical moment. Those of us who fall under this medieval spell, I believe, will be richly rewarded.


Be without fear in the face of your enemies... Be brave and upright that God may love thee... Speak the truth always, even if it leads to your death... Safeguard the helpless and do no wrong - that is your oath.


-The Knight's Oath (Kingdom of Heaven)

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  • David Shafer


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Stunning pen! Great review! Congrats!

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Sounds like an exciting pen to write with. Enjoy!

There is a day

when the road neither

comes nor goes, and the way

is not a way but a place.

-Wendell Berry

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Ghost Plane

Congrats on your new darling. In answer to your question, both my newest Waterman Carenes and my Ancora Perla have O rings.


I appreciate your descriptions on the diameter as that is something that I look at when choosing a pen as I'm not a fan of slender pens.


I also appreciate your thoughtful description of the sectional as that's something that caused me to return a Marlen when my fingers kept landing on an uncomfortable spot.


I hope you and Ivanhoe have many happy years together!

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This pen has a very unique look i like.Caran d'Ache have produced some fine metallic bodies.


Thanks for the review.



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Those Ivanhoe ads are glorious!


I have the Ecridor Retro, and after several months of owning it I still cannot get over how perfectly this pen is made; it is fine craftsmanship at its best. I can only imagine how overwhelmingly impressive these same qualities are in the Ivanhoe. I am quite taken with Caran d'Ache, and hope to get an Ivanhoe some day as well.


Congratulations on your purchase!


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  • 1 year later...

This is a very good review of a beautiful writing instrument. That mesh look is amazing.


It's interesting to note that Worldlux had this pen for 485 dollars ($650 retail) about two years ago. Now, in 2009 - recession and all - it sells for $555 [+70] ($740 retail) [+90].

That´s Paul Erdős on my avatar.

A man who symbolizes discipline.


English is not my first language, so please correct my mistakes, if you wish.

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Beautiful pen, and great review. I have admired that pen for a while now. I do wonder is the texture smooth to the touch? How does it feel in your hand

The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter--it's the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.

- Mark Twain in a Letter to George Bainton, 10/15/1888

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  • 3 months later...

I'm a bit worried about the rhodium plating. How durable is it?


I have heard that some Caran d'ache pens have the caps very tight to the section and this could lead to scratches. Did you notice anything like that?


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Thank you for a great review of a stunning pen. I too have admired pictures of this pen for some time now. I'd to see one is person.

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I've hold an Ivanhoe a few days ago when looking for pens in a store, but it didn't fit my hand. My fingers would grab it at the transition body/nib section and I didn't find it very comfortable, not that balanced for my grip - it is a bit on the heavy side - and the coat is not that smooth to touch. But it is a beauty, or I woudn't have asked to hold it... I remember an Ecridor to be more comfortable when I was younger and liked thin pens.

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FILLING SYSTEM: I discovered something while separating the section from the body of the pen. CdA uses an “O” ring on the section where it fits into the barrel. I have never seen this before, is this something other companies do?


Not that common, but not unheard of either: the Waterman Edson and Carene come with an O-ring at that location as well.

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  • 5 months later...

I tried out an Ivanhoe the other day in VPS and was honestly surprised at how uncomfortable it wasn't for me. I usually like large pens, but this one sat in my hand very nicely.


Vancouver Pen Club


Currently inked:


Montegrappa NeroUno Linea - J. Herbin Poussière de Lune //. Aurora Optima Demonstrator - Aurora Black // Varuna Rajan - Kaweco Green // TWSBI Vac 700R - Visconti Purple

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Great review for a great pen, thanks.

And how can this be, because he is the Kwisatz Haderach.


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A great review for a great pen. That is a grail pen for me as I bought the mechanical pencil from World Lux almost 7

years ago. It has held up great with some very hard use and abuse.

The key to life is how well you deal with Plan B.

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Today I tried one (without inking) in a local shop. It feels totally solid. It's just complete. (Well, unreasonably expensive.)

Cogitamus non ideam sed per ideam.

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A very nice review for a gorgeous pen. I would not buy one because I don't like holding metal pens, and especially those with metal sections. Still, it is just so beautiful to look at--I've admired it for some time.

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  • 2 months later...

Definitely one of a kind. The nib, I know, is so smooth it's unbelievable.

The build is as solid as can be.

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