Caran d’Ache

Caran d'Ache, the family-owned pencil and writing instrument factory in the canton of Geneva, continues to produce locally an exceptionally rich palette of colours.

The company, one of the last of its kind in Europe, is an emblem of Swiss know-how, recognisable by its red metal boxes decorated with a white cross. Founded in 1915 under the name “Fabrique genevoise de crayons”, the factory was bought and renamed in 1924 after the French caricaturist Caran d'Ache. Many artists were won over by its instruments, from Picasso to Miró.

In the Thônex headquarters, pigments, mineral fillers and binders are mixed to transform them into pencil leads. After drying, the pencils are assembled in wood, California cedar, before being varnished and packed by hand. A total of 35 steps are necessary.

Story by Marie Godfrain for M, le magazine du Monde