MB&F and Caran d’Ache Astrograph



While MB&F is know as a high end watch maker, their new Astrograph is a stunning use of their talents.  It is a pen that not only writes beautifully, it makes a bold statement on your desk.

The Maison Caran d’Ache and the horological laboratory, MB&F, have combined their expertise for a unique creative odyssey: the Astrograph writing instrument.

Projecting his dreams of conquering space onto a writing instrument was the original idea of the founder of MB&F, Maximilian Büsser. The creative and technical forces within Caran d’Ache enthusiastically embraced this new adventure, which proved to be both thrilling and complex. The result is the Astrograph writing instrument, product of the overflowing creativity of its designers. An artistic union that took root among the common values held dear by both Maisons: limitless creativity, respect for traditions, impeccable quality and Swiss Made.

The Astrograph adventure began four years earlier, when Maximilian Büsser revealed his idea to Caran d’Ache’s creative teams: to let his childhood dreams of travelling in space unfold in a writing instrument. His meeting with Caran d’Ache paved the way for this idea, as poetic as it was as technically challenging, to become a reality. Explorers at heart, Caran d’Ache’s teams drew upon their imagination and technical ingenuity to construct an actual rocket in reality an exceptional writing instrument that is extremely comfortable in the hand. Astrograph reminds us that we all hide a childhood dream in our heart.

Technical challenges
Developing Astrograph was truly challenging. Four years of gestation and discussions were necessary to perfect the technical concept. The result of this collaboration is the futuristically designed body of an instrument that comprises a multitude of innovative features among a total of 99 components: a “detent” system of vertical stabilisation, launch-pad box, magnetic figurine… It took a whole year to develop the final model. It takes more than 500 manual operations to produce each writing instrument, genuine proof of an adventure.

The innovative design of the Astrograph, together with the many challenges that were overcome throughout the development of each of its component parts, have led to the creation of the most complex writing instrument ever made in the Caran d’Ache workshops.

Aboard the Astrograph
The slim, curved body of the Astrograph, is immediately reminiscent of the outline of a space rocket. Its fluid design is accentuated by a chequered pattern, enhanced with anthracite lacquer a particularly delicate process carried out by craftsmen and a speciality of Caran d’Ache. The proportions have been designed to ensure that the whole body is perfectly balanced so that it rests perfectly in the hand.

The structure is articulated by an ingenious mechanism inspired by penknives: a miniature lever the entry door to the rocket, concealed in the ring of the pen activates the simultaneous and symmetrical lowering of three stabiliser legs. These, just like the miniature ladder than runs alongside the “thruster engines” have parts that are sandblasted, satin-finished and rhodium-plated. Once the stabiliser legs have been deployed, it is possible to stand Astrograph up, vertically, ready for take-off.

The Astrograph rocket also comes with a miniature figurine of an astronaut. Rhodium-plated and magnetised, it will attach to any part of the body of the instrument, ready to “climb on board”. Just for fun, a presentation box in the form of a launch pad has been specially devised for Astrograph.

The instrument unscrews to reveal a fountain pen inside the fuselage. The fountain pen is “launched” from its “base” to join the hand that will write the rest of the story, setting down on paper dreams of space, speed and conquest. At this point, Astrograph ‘s tactile dimension takes on its full significance here: touch it, feel the smooth run of the screw thread when you undo the cap and the way the rhodium-plated 18kt gold nib glides across the paper…

Astrograph is available in three finishes: high-gloss rhodium, sandblasted matt rhodium or anthracite ruthenium. These limited editions are aimed at those who love unusual objets d’art and at those who have managed to keep hold of an essential part of their childhood dreams.

Technical Specifications:
The Astrograph limited edition is available in three finishes:
– High gloss rhodium finish, available as a fountain pen
– Sandblasted matt rhodium finish, available as a fountain pen or roller pen
– Ruthenium anthracite finish, available as a fountain pen

In homage to the 99 new components specially developed for the Astrograph limited edition, 99 fountain pens and roller pens are numbered: “1 in 99 pieces”.

Fountain pen
This writing instrument is fitted with an ink pump, but may also be used with cartridges.
The pen nib is made from rhodium-plated 18-carat gold, available in size M.
Other nib sizes are available upon request.

Roller pen
This writing instrument is fitted with a Caran d’Ache roller pen cartridge.

Pen body
The rocket-shaped pen body is rhodium-plated and either highly polished or sandblasted matt, or plated in ruthenium anthracite. The chequered pattern is made from anthracite lacquer.

Connected to the base of the “engine”, the ring is decorated with the logos of Caran d’Ache, of MB&F and of Swiss Made.

The base of the “engine” is plated with ruthenium. The stabiliser legs, the joints and miniature ladder are polished, sandblasted, satin-finished and rhodium-plated. The sides and edges are highly polished.

Generic numbering: “1 in 99 pieces” is engraved on one of the spacecraft’s stabiliser legs.

Magnetic miniature figurine, silver and rhodium-plated, that can be attached at will to the body of the writing instrument.

“Launch pad” box
Design inspired by a spacecraft launch pad. Circular shape, the box is fitted with three articulated legs which allows the writing instrument to be kept inside or displayed outside, held in the middle in a vertical position.

The ASTROGRAPH is available in three finishes: high-gloss rhodium, sandblasted matt rhodium or anthracite ruthenium. Price is $19,000.

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