Spero Lucem Avenue du Mail roller

Is the horological pen a watch accessory?

Watches aren’t the only jewellery item for men. Writing instruments are also well-established in the field of men’s toys – and every now and then, someone combines the two.

By Olivier Müller

The watch that writes has yet to be invented, but the pen made by watchmakers is now here to stay: at the latest BaselWorld, iconoclastic designer Yvan Arpa took up residence in this niche with the Spero Lucem brand.

Caran d'Ache 1010 Chronosport and 1010 Diamonds The Caran d'Ache 1010 ChronoSport and the Caran d'Ache 1010 Diamonds

The Avenue du Mail (whose name is a nod to Geneva and one of the city’s main thoroughfares) is a pen that combines set jewels and carbon fibre. The button to bring out the ball point activates a whole series of gears! Featuring watchmaking know-how worthy of the most subtle complications – rarely seen hither to in the manufacture of other luxury items – the pen is very much in the same register as that of the great automatiers.

The brand’s logo draws inspiration from the coat of arms of Geneva, which features a key and the imperial eagle – and the piece pays a fitting tribute to this heritage.

Spero Lucem Avenue du Mail roller Spero Lucem Avenue du Mail

Once economic considerations have been cast aside, the wildest flights of fancy are allowed – something that Caran d’Ache has clearly understood with their 1010 model. The allusion to watchmaking is clear: 10.10 is the ideal position for the hour and minute hands of a watch for a photograph. The 1010 is available in a number of editions: Classic (510 pens), ChronoSport (10 pens)  and 1010 Diamonds (one only). Caran d’Ache has created a writing instrument painstakingly manufactured in finely sculpted gold. The body is translucent, leaving the ink visible, flowing down as if in an hourglass.

TF Est. 1968 Clockwork and Wheelwork TF Est. 1968 Clockwork and Wheelwork models

In the beginning was TF Est. 1968

TF Est. 1968 was one of the first to have explored this avenue, initially with its Tourbillon Model  followed by its T-Mechanic. Now riding the wave of popularity it helped to create in the first place, Geneva’s global lifestyle brand now offers the ClockWork  and WheelWork models: two ballpoint pens that put the watchmaking ethos firmly in pride of place. ClockWork embodies the art of engraving, with reliefs all the way along the pen. WheelWork offers a similar style using screen printing featuring the same motif, thus offering a well-made pen that is rather more affordable.

TF Est. 1968 Tourbillon model rose gold TF Est. 1968 Tourbillon model rose gold

Blends of noble materials, frequently used in two-tone finishes, allow for a whole range of different possibilities: rhodium-plated metal and palladium, gunmetal or pink gold-plating, or two-tone gunmetal and pink gold. And to pay full tribute to Switzerland – the brand’s home country – the fine workmanship of these pens features a Schmidt mechanism to propel out the point – it can accommodate all types of refill and even pencil leads should you so wish. No fewer than 58 components are assembled to produce the strong screw-on clip, especially gentle on shirt pockets. This is Freddy Tschumi’s brand, and his initials are right in the logo. Having first made its reputation in the field of watch-inspired cufflinks, it was only natural that this pen should form part of a set. And indeed there are matching cufflinks, key rings, and the T-Fun watch collection – the automatic version of which is an extension of the same micromechanical values.

TF Est. 1968 T-Mechanic TF Est. 1968 T-Mechanic

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