Caran d’Ache creates the 1010 Timekeeper pen for watch lovers

Caran d’Ache, 1010 Timekeeper

The writing instrument follows the heels of its predecessor, the1010 Chrono, most remembered for incorporating watch parts in its construction

Watches with an automotive theme, headphones with camera logos, luggage linked to haute-couture houses: cross-pollination creates some unusual pairings, but enthusiasts love ’em. If that wasn’t the case, why would nearly every supercar collaborate with a high-end watch brand? That said, the most hyperactive manufacturers when it comes to limited editions and liaisons just might be the pen companies.

Montblanc, Montegrappa, Dupont – whether it’s a film license, a historical event, a sporting sponsorship or other theme – all embrace them because of one particular customer type: the inveterate collector. That, however, is to depend on the undependable, as not all collectors are omnivores, and even the most rabid of, say, Star Wars completists might balk at a pen or watch with a four-figure price tag.

Caran d’Ache has no such worries with the second of its exclusive 1010 watch-themed pens, so named because that’s the usual position of the hands when watches are posed for photographs.

The new 1010 Timekeeper follows a decade on from its circa-£10,000 predecessor, the 1010 Chrono, remembered for incorporating watch parts in its construction.

As most ‘watch guys’ also love pens, the union was irresistible. This time, however, the company chose to make the pen homage to watchmaking by incorporating into its design stylised imaginings of the elements that define the personality of a complicated timepiece.

As Maison Caran d’Ache is not only Swiss but also Genevoise, the love for all things horological is almost in its bloodstream. The designers of the new 1010 Timekeeper created a visual delight for watch connoisseurs, who will revel in deciphering each nuance. Where the first 1010 addressed watch movements, the new pen is a paean to watch dials, which Caran d’Ache describes as “repositories of the identity of exceptional timepieces”. Certain cultures call a dial a “watch face” with good reason.

Despite being as cleanly cylindrical as the form dictates, these 100 per cent Swiss-made pens are brimming with minuscule timekeeping details: blued-steel hands seem to turn on their axis, along the body of the pen, one tipped in red as a subtle reminder of the emblematic colour of Caran d’Ache.

The Roman numerals III, VI, IX, XII show how the passage of the hours are identified, while a window inspired by the aperture for a moon-phase display reveals the ink of the piston pump. The shape of the pocket clip is that of Dauphine hands.

Available in a limited edition of 500 each for both fountain pen (£8,950, S$16,030) and rollerball (£7,950, S$14,212), every pen is supplied with two silver- and rhodium-plated caps, to use as the mood or occasion determines.

One complements the silver- and rhodium-plated body, with its semi-transparent sheath of lightweight and resistant polished synthetic glass, with vertical grooves recalling the serrations on a typical watch crown, while the other was inspired by the links of a watch bracelet.

Caran d’Ache, too, employed many of the techniques used in fine watchmaking to create the 1010’s finishes and surfaces, including guillochage, engraving, manual polishing, lacquering and PVD treatment.

The 18k gold, rhodium-plated fountain pen nib is delicately engraved with the 1010 hands, and is offered in medium, fine and broad. Another horological detail can be found in the piston pump, which is set with a ruby, as often found in a winding crown and which recalls the rubies that serve as bearings in watches.

The two caps bear the series number.

Caran d’Ache