Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cartier Platinum 1847

Few can seriously doubt the quality of anything made by Louis Cartier. History and reputation almost guarantee that jewelry or otherwise bearing the Cartier logo is going to be of the highest quality, made by top craftsmen of the finest materials. There is no blurring of that line when it comes to a Louis Cartier fountain pen, especially a limited edition fountain pen commemorating the company’s 150th year.

The 1997 Louis Cartier Art Deco stylo plume in platinum finish with blue lacquer is a pen many might call a formidable handful. It’s big, it’s heavy and it’s expensive, a lot to pay for a fountain pen. I have no doubt it’s worth the high price, but the one on the desk before me now is not my fountain pen. In September of last year I wrote (here) about a friend who collects fountain pens, a collector who rather than using his pens enjoys looking at them, and from time to time holding them and admiring their design. When it comes to writing I have the feeling he is probably satisfied with a plastic giveaway ballpoint from the AAA Insurance Company. No criticism there; many of us do the same with things other than fountain pens.

Luckily for me this friend loans me his fountain pens to try out and pass on my impressions of how they perform. It’s pleasure enough for me to use, fiddle with, play with and research the pens for a couple of weeks. I doubt there are many who would freely hand over a valuable pen and say, “Here…have fun with it and tell me later how it writes.”

The platinum finish and blue lacquer Art Deco pen from Cartier is first of all a beautiful creation. (apologies for the poor photos.) The platinum finish almost makes sterling silver look like a weak sister and the two blue lacquer rings are a perfect measure of contrast. The base of the clip has the cartier ‘C’ in relief, and the bottom of the cap has the name Louis Cartier engraved, as well as the registered number of the pen. This one shows it is number 0499 of 1847 made.

The very large nib is platinum-plated 18 carat gold, also with the Cartier logo. This one is a medium nib, which happens to be my preferred size. The pen uses both cartridges and a converter, both included at purchase. Interesting to me were the instructions to always put two cartridges in—one into the feed and another on top to hold the open cartridge snug against the feed. I passed on the supplied black cartridges and instead filled the converter with Noodler’s Bay State Blue. Like other cartridges I have encountered the Cartier cartridge (most certainly made and supplied by someone other than Cartier) is difficult to fill. In the end I took it out and filled it with a needle-nose dropper.

The pen measures a shade over 5.5 inches (14.2cm) with the cap on, and a little under 6.5 inches (16.5cm) posted. I was unable to determine the exact weight of the pen, but with all the platinum plating it is weighty—heavier than any of the other forty pens around this house. It’s too heavy for a shirt pocket and I expect it might be uncomfortable in small hands. Possible I am mistaken about that, but it is nonetheless a hefty consideration.

On the subject of ink…

There is a lot of excitement in the pen and ink community over Noodler’s Bay State Blue. A couple of comments: This ink will stain everything it touches—hands, clothing, eye drop fillers and converters. Be careful about using it. It will leave your pen’s converter stained blue even after a thorough washing, and the same with any demonstrator (clear) pen. The color? I could name five other blue inks that are identical.


  1. Although my knowledge of pens is nil, I enjoy reading your posts about them and all of the information you relate. I never knew there was so much to learn about pens, inks and nibs. Interesting post today.

  2. Okay, well. Started to post "I want one, I want one" then Googled the Cartier pen and the 3rd hit (after two from this blog) was one for sale: "I have for sale a Cartier Louis Cartier fountain pen made for the brand's 150th Anniversary in 1997. It was a limited edition of 1847 pieces. The pen is mint with all packaging and has the original medium nib fitted. I'm asking $925 plus shipping. Plenty of references available." Hmm . . . no need for references. Where's that plastic giveaway ballpoint from the AAA Insurance Company?


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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America