Timegraph By Caran d’Ache Puts A Whole New Spin On The Pen/Watch Combo
by Nancy Olson
Geneva-based Caran d’Ache’s Timegraph is a writing instrument imparting a whole new spin on the pen/watch combo concept. Most compellingly, a mechanical watch movement – visible through a roomy sapphire crystal on the side of the pen’s barrel – drives the timekeeeping.
The Timegraph pen is made to order, allowing the buyer to customize it in a variety of wonderful ways.
“At Caran d’Ache we’ve always dreamed of creating a fountain pen integrated with a mechanical watch movement in standard dimensions that could be used daily if the owner wished,” said Caran d’Ache president Carole Hübscher.
“Combo” pens incorporating quartz timepieces are not new. Cartier made some elegant ones in the early twentieth century, for example, including fountain pen/pencil/watch and pencil/lighter/watch combos.
High-end writing instrument/watch combos such as these have persisted over the years (as did lower-end versions), and in 2018 Italian luxury pen brand Montegrappa debuted the Bartolomeo Ferracina limited edition pen with a 16 mm quartz watch set in the cap’s crown.
While technically not a combo pen, the Richard Mille RMS05 should be noted. It includes a 12-jewel mechanical movement, but not to drive a timepiece. Rather, it is employed to extend and retract the fountain pen nib at the push of a button.
Caran d’Ache Timegraph
This is not the first time Caran d’Ache has celebrated its Swiss heritage of watchmaking alongside its own century-long history of crafting writing and drawing instruments. Among others, the brand introduced the 1010 Timekeeper earlier this year.
“This pen [1010 Timekeeper] plunged you into the world of luxury watchmaking by transposing the complex watch dial onto a cylindrical shape,” Hübscher explained. “The Timegraph goes one step further by integrating the mechanical watch movement into the fountain pen.”
Le Temps Manufacture SA, situated in Fleurier, Switzerland, produced Timegraph’s miniature manually wound watch movement. Comprising 18 jewels and rhodium-plated, decorated components, it boasts about 40 hours of power reserve.
An unobtrusive crown on the side of the pen barrel winds the watch, while an innovative scheme fills the miniature ink pump for the fountain pen via an external mechanism.
Remarkably, all 145 components of the instrument – including the watch movement and the fountain pen’s filling system – reside within a diameter of 15 mm and a length of 151 mm when the pen is closed.
“The Timegraph will appeal to those who are looking for unique and rare pieces that will accompany them throughout their entire life,” shared Hübscher regarding the pen’s split personality.
“We think it will please both pen and watch aficionados as it is the perfect combination of both worlds.”
The pen’s outward appearance received as much attention as its inventive interior. And I think its sleek and modern look is enhanced, rather than interrupted, by the second sapphire crystal window on the cap, which provides functional symmetry.
Where the crystal on the barrel reveals the watch movement, the one on the cap supplies a view of the pen’s 18-karat gold nib when the pen is closed, again drawing attention to the pen’s dual identity.
Aside from that, everything else is simply an invitation to dream.
Shown here with black PVD coating and palladium-plated metallic parts, a variety of other options are available from the hands of the Caran d’Ache artisans who will assist in making the pen one’s own. Enameling, glazing, or miniature engraving are available, among other métiers d’art.
“The art of polishing, engraving, and lacquering are expert skills we utilize in our Geneva workshops,” said Hübscher, citing a few of the many artisanal techniques for which Caran d’Ache is known.
It will take between two and six months to complete a customized pen, she advised, depending upon the owner’s requests. And it will arrive in a wooden case finished with black lacquer meant to resemble a watch case. But this one has an ink bottle tucked inside.
For more information, please visit www.carandache.com.
Quick Facts Caran d’Ache Timegraph
Editions: combination fountain pen/mechanical timepiece
Cap and barrel: shown here with black PVD coating and palladium-plated metallic parts; other options available
Nib: 18-karat gold