history review

The Caran d’Ache Leman | Development Throughout The Years

We think of Switzerland when we think of great skills. This reputation is from one side due to the swiss being well know for their precision in everything they do. From Administration up to Watch Manufacturing. Today i want to bring the Caran d’Ache Leman to your attention and the developments it has had over the years. I really think this collection deserves attention, today more than ever…

I’m going to start by being frank with you. The Caran d’Ache Leman collection, despite being nice, never actually caught my personal attention of Pen Lover. That changed around two years ago, when i started using it more, feeling it more and also the collection started having some great new releases. Today it is one of my favorite evergreens in the Market. But now let’s discover why it is an evergreen and it deserves attention.

Over the years the Leman had a Name swap and ca. four design liftings. The Leman was born in the early 90’s and named by Caran d’Ache as the Genève Collection. I tried to research the exact year but i barely found a clear Date.

(Actually, as a little excerpt, this is exactly what we are trying to do here. To create somehow a clear structure of the models and the history. We already did it with the Graf von Faber Castell Perfect Pencil, and i definitely think that the value and perception of the product is enhanced once we understand how it has developed over years. Should you have more in depth info about the things we write, we’re always happy to learn more and also update our Articles.)

Now, what i found interesting about the Caran d’Ache Geneve is that it already featured a Lacquer Body in an Era where Pens were made of Celluloid or Resin. Creating a lacquered pens requires a specific know-how and also precision in the making as it requires several layers and if one layer isn’t perfect the piece will simply have to be disposed.

While the shape is clearly the one of a predecessor of the Leman we know today, we can see that the Clip had almost the shape of a Sword.

The most disturbing element of this pen is without doubt the plastic grip section. Over the years at Style of Zug i had several customers walking in with the cracked grip element. Obviously the brand had to start somewhere and we cannot expect they would have the perfect pen right from the first design. Especially in a period where the no-go’s weren’t clear yet.

The feature that i find aesthetically seen most appealing is the beautifully crafted, stamped and decorated nib. I love the Design on it and also love how deep the stamping goes giving a kind of tridimensional effect. On the top of the Cap you could find the CDA Logo Tone in Tone and a thinner ring beneath the Plastic Grip with written Caran dAche Swiss Gold Plated “G”

The model was renamed as “Leman” in 1998 and had a significant redesign with a cleaner Clip shape. The main feature that characterizes this Design is the CDA Logo on the Cap top with a red lacquered background part of Caran d’Aches Brand Identity of those times. Overall a very interesting version with a nice, more clean, but in my opinion, less aesthetic Nib design.

It is also recognizable that the grip, while still being in plastic, it has a more resistent look than the one of the Geneve Model. Also the Ring under the Clips is thicker and has a more significant Caran d’Ache Engraving around it.

From there we jump to the Mid 2000, where the Leman adopts a matt-shining contrast cap top logo instead of the red background and slight more defined metallic shapes around the clip.

The clip itself doesn’t really change its shape and so does the overall design of the Pen. The grip remains in plastic for this first re-design of the 2000’s.

Around the end of the 2000’s, finally, the grip receives a well-deserved Metallic surrounding instead of the plastic feeling we know until then. Now the Leman start to look more and more like it should be. A good looking and solid Swiss Made Pen made with high end Materials from head to toe.

Now, if the late 2000’s were important for the Brand, then 2018 was really game changing for the Model and the Brand overall. For the 20 years of the Leman Collection, Caran d’Ache approaches the Market with a new Brand Identity, a new Website and a face lift of the Caran d’Ache Leman.
That also marks the moment i really fell in love with the new Caran d’Ache Leman.

Everything of this Model finally looks engineered from the beginning to the End.
It starts with the Hexagon on the Cap Top instead of the CDA Engraving, down to the beautiful and clean brand engraving on the ring beneath the grip. But what is finally really really stunning is the metal grip and the cap closing thread which is so precise and smooth when closing down that it feels like the smooth sound of closing the door of a Bentley.

Quality is often a sum of facts but also of perceptions. And the perceptions i get from the latest Leman Generation is what i’m willing for when i want to purchase a luxury writing instrument.
I also have to point out the intricate lacquer decorations of the Leman Grand Bleu, deNuit and the Rouge Carmin. The shades, the depth, the feel. It’s made in a way that it will give you emotion in everyday life. The exact purpose of an item like this.

As a last note, what is very interesting, is that the Trapezoid Oval shape of the Collection has never had significant improvements or changes. It is more like the details around it that gave new birth to each single face lift.

Details Matter.


  1. David Faffelberger

    The relaunch of the brand was in 2015, when they also introduced the hexagon as their new logo. In that year, also the Léman Grand Bleu, already in today’s design, was manufactured and immediately awarded the design title of writing instrument of the year. The other colour variations received the new design overhaul in the years to come until in 2018 Caran d’Ache launched the Léman de nuit in commemoration of the Léman line‘s 20th anniversary.

    In sincerely hope they won’t change the current design, which successfully straddles the fine line of modern design and the classic brand heritage.

  2. Hi – Do you know what is the model number for the dark blue Leman you used for the 1998 model? I have the exact same fountain pen and I am trying to trace it.

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