This was meant to be another installment in the “Joy of Inexpensive Pencils” series, but… is there such a thing as a “cheap” Caran d’Ache pencil? Perhaps they are more affordable in their native Switzerland, but we continue to pay a premium for them. In any case, I find the current crop of lower-priced CdA writing pencils quite appealing.
The 351-2 yellow eraser-topped pencil in particular was a pleasant surprise: it looks like a cheap school pencil but still has that unmistakable, almost glassy CdA “glide”. The cheerful lemon yellow paint and gold lettering compare favorably even to the Technograph 777. This yellow pencil costs slightly more than the other cheapies, at around 1 ~ 1.20 € each.
The Grafik and Natura pencils are next down the line; I would assume from the price that they share a common lead, but because the Natura is unpainted, it is infinitesimally slimmer, and that affects the writing experience somewhat (I felt that the Natura wrote lighter). The Edelweiss (0.60€) was a bit disappointing. Although it is better than most “school”-grade pencils, the HB felt a bit too dark and coarse for a Caran d’Ache. Still, the colors are great – the company produces an unbeatable red, and I personally have a soft spot for the vivid navy of the Edelweiss F.