Did you want to be an astronaut when you were a child? Don’t be shy, it seems like a pretty popular choice for most 5 – 10 year olds. Given that you’re reading this now though I think it’s a safe bet that at some point you, like me, had to trade that dream for a more realistic job. If that’s the case, then I have good news for you. Our dreams of being rocket men aren’t quite dead yet. At least not if the creative types over at Caran d’Ache and MB&F can help it. Presenting the Astrograph, your own personal rocket ship (sort of). Ps. Click here and turn on your speakers… It will make this article even cooler.
You would think at some point that MB&F’s Max Busser would run out of ideas. In fact, I’ve actually asked him on several occasions whether that’s something he’s worried about. So far the answer has always been a firm no. Looking at his track record it’s pretty hard to argue with that. This year alone has already seen the release of the HM8 Can-Am, Balthazar the robot clock, the LM1 Silberstein, the Black Badger edition of the HMX and the HM6 Sapphire Vision, to name them all (yes, these are only 2016’s novelties). Now we can add the new Astrograph writing instrument to that list, the result of a collaboration with another great Swiss manufacture, Caran d’Ache – but here, time is not the central point.
At first glance the Astrograph looks like a pen that has been designed to look like a rocket ship. Sure, it’s cool but what’s the big deal, right? Wrong. What you’re looking at is the result of four years of planning, testing and then planning some more. Even then, it took a whole year to develop the final model before production could begin. Sure it’s not as complex as a watch but an extraordinary amount of work has still gone into this miniature creation.
My favorite feature without doubt has to be the stabiliser legs on the bottom of the body. When deployed, these allow the Astrograph to stand upright like a rocket ready for launch. A miniature lever concealed in the ring of the pen activates a mechanism that simultaneously lowers the three stabiliser legs. The idea was apparently inspired by the way pen knives work. If you look closely you will also notice a miniature ladder than runs alongside the “thruster engines”. A minor detail sure but one that makes the overall design that much more appealing.
As anyone will tell you though, when it comes to pens equally as important as the look is the feel. Again the Astrograph delivers. The rocket-shaped pen body is rhodium-plated and either highly polished or sandblasted matt, or plated in ruthenium anthracite depending on the model you choose. The chequered pattern meanwhile is made from anthracite lacquer. Likewise the stabiliser legs, the joints and miniature ladder are polished, sandblasted, satin-finished and rhodium-plated. Finally the base of the “engine” is plated with ruthenium.
You’ve probably also noticed by now that the Astrograph comes with a little friend (that’s him, Rocket Man…). The miniature astronaut is magnetic and has been designed to be attached at will to the body of the writing instrument. Made from silver and rhodium plated he (or she) is the perfect companion for your imminent space adventures. Almost as cool as the pen itself is the “launch pad” box it comes with. Inspired by a spacecraft launch pad, the circular shaped box is fitted with three articulated legs which allows the writing instrument to be kept inside or displayed outside, ready for launch as it were.
As you might expect the Astrograph will be produced as a limited edition, 99 fountain pens and roller pens, all numbered “1 in 99 pieces”. The fountain pen 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, although other nib sizes are available upon request. The roller pen meanwhile is fitted with a Caran d’Ache roller pen cartridge.
So there you have it. You may never be able to go into space yourself but you can own a pen that will help keep the dream (and the child in you) alive just that little bit longer. Price: 21,000 Swiss Francs (including VAT). Available directly through MB&F. For more information visit www.mbandf.com.