Review: Caran d’Ache Geneve

Caran d'Ache Geneve uncapped on a mirror

I picked up the Caran d’Ache Geneve (hopefully I catch all of spell-checks attempts to turn it into Geneva, but it is Geneve, which is the French spelling of Geneva) over 10 years ago, in May 2004. It was the year I got the Caran d’Ache Ivanhoe, a considerably more expensive fountain pen. The Geneve was a great writer when I first got it and one of my better nibs at the time. The nib was smooth and not all that wide for a european medium, although not a thin as the Japanese medium nibs. The pen was’t perfect, but more on that later.
I ignored the Geneve for a few years before pulling it out again to give it a spin. Unfortunately it had all sorts of flow and skipping problems so, not knowing any better, I put it aside.
I decided to work through the unreviewed pens in my accumulation and it’s time for the Caran d’Ache Geneve so I pulled it from it’s case. There’s some corrosion or flaking on the cap threads and I figured some fell into the feed. The nib and section ended up being just friction fit so they were easy to pull. I dropped them into the ultrasonic cleaner and gave them a thorough cleaning while flushing the section and brushed the corrosion off the threads.
So now it’s time to review the pen.

Why I Got It

I like the design and the brown marble finish. The gold furniture doesn’t bother me so much because it matches the brown finish. At the time I got the pen I wasn’t paying any attention to the details such as the trim material. I purchased the pen from the now defunct Joon Stationery on a trip to NYC.

What I Got

Caran d'Ache Geneve uncapped on a pen stand

I don’t have any memory of the packaging. It did come with a converter and cost about $150 at the time. The pen takes international cartridges, including long cartridges, or bottled ink. The Geneve has a 18K gold medium nib that is gold in color. While the nib isn’t a complete nail there’s no flex and no real spring worth mentioning. The nib has the Caran d’Ache logo along with some other decorations.
The slanted cap jewel has the Caran d’Ache logo on it. The band around the barrel is engraved “Caran d’Ache SWISS GOLD PLATED ‘G’” and the Caran d’Ache logo is also engraved. Practically a novel for a pen band. It’s all a bit much for my tastes, but I tend to ignore it because I really like the brown marble finish.
The end of the barrel has a gold jewel that form a slight lip around the barrel. This lip is used to post the cap securely .

The Numbers

  • Length Capped: 5.4170″ (137.59 mm)
  • Length Uncapped: 4.8830″ (124.02 mm)
  • Length Posted: 6.2″ (158 mm)
  • Section Length: 0.6010″ (15.26 mm)
  • Section Diameter (near nib): 0.3555″ (9.02 mm)
  • Section Diameter (below threads): 0.4200″ (10.66 mm)
  • Section Diameter (mid-section): 0.3370″ (8.55 mm)
  • Cap Diameter: 0.5270″ (13.39 mm)
  • Barrel Diameter: 0.5280″ (13.06 mm) (Barrel tapers to 7.60 mm)
  • Weight: 1.1 oz. (30 g)
  • Weight (body only): 0.7 oz. (20 g)

Writing with the Pen

Caran d'Ache Geneve nib close-up

The cap takes one full rotation to remove, but no more. The cap has always been very tight when screwed onto the barrel, it takes significant effort to unscrew it. It’s not going to work its way loose on its own. The pen posts securely thanks to a lip at the end of the barrel which the inner cap can grip. Because of this the metal threads aren’t used to grip the barrel and won’t scratch it.
I tend to hold this pen pen higher than most so my fingers are on the threads. They aren’t sharp and don’t bother me, although I’m generally very forgiving of these things. The threads are noticeable to the touch so if threads bother you it may be a problem. The gripping section is long enough if held closer to the nib.
I have fond memories of using this pen when I first got it. The nib was smooth and put down a nice consistent line. The nib isn’t a nail, but there’s no spring to speak of either. I never had any problems with the pen and for a time it was one of my favorites.
Then it was slowly replaced by newer pens with finer nibs and neglected for a few years.
As I mentioned, performance was terrible when it came out of storage and my first attempt flushing it out didn’t help. There was some flaking, possible corrosion, around the cap threads. Maybe the tight cap caused this, maybe it was actual corrosion. Some must have worked it’s way into the feed since a thorough cleaning resolved the problem.
In any event, this returned the pen to its former self. I did have some skipping problems with one ink, but the rest have been fine. Overall, the Caran d’Ache Geneve is a pleasant, although uninspiring, writing experience with a smooth nib.

Inks Used

I did have some skipping problems with a Pelikan Edelstein Tanzanite ink cartridge but none with the Kaweco Red ink cartridge. Back when I was using the pen a lot I pretty much stuck to Waterman ink and didn’t experience any problems.

Cleaning the Pen

It’s a cartridge/converter so it’s easy to clean. If a bulb syringe is used to flush the pen it’s really quick. The nib and feed are friction fit so it’s easy to remove and replace. The feed does guide the nib to sit correctly but nib/feed can slide into the pen in any orientation so it’s easy to do.

Wrapping Up

My memories of the Caran d’Ache Geneve are better than the current reality thanks to nostalgia. It’s an excellent writer and it’s obvious why it was a favorite back in my early fountain pen days. But when put against the 100+ fountain pens in my current accumulation it doesn’t stand out. The corrosion or metal flecks is a problem but once it was cleaned up the pen recovered. The maintenance is easy to it’s not a real detriment for me.
But the bottom line is that although the Caran d’Ache Geneve is a very nice pen that served me well, for me it’s not a keeper, at least not after 10+ years.

Additional Reading

I couldn’t find any other Caran d’Ache Geneve reviews which surprised me a bit since it’s a nice pen. If you have a review let me know in the comments.