To mark the 50th anniversary of the first manned spaceflight on 12 April 1961, Caran d’Ache, Maison de Haute Écriture, has created a prestigious Yuri Gagarin Limited Edition.
Caran d'Ache has always been inspired by the rich culture and the great events that have marked the history of Russia. The brand name even has its origins in that country: "Karandash" is the Russian word for "pencil". In 2004, the company created a St. Petersburg Limited Edition to commemorate the founding of the city 300 years before. In 2006, the Tretyakov State Gallery in Moscow was honoured with a Limited Edition on its 150th anniversary, and today an exceptional writing instrument pays a new tribute to Russia and Yuri Gagarin, the first man to go into space.
Fifty years ago, on 12 April 1961, the Russian cosmonaut left his mark on the history of mankind by becoming the first person to venture into space. In the Vostok 1 capsule, he made a complete orbit of the Earth in under two hours, signalling the start of the modern space adventure. Appointed a Hero of the Soviet Union and awarded the Order of Lenin, he personified the values of courage determination and daring that distinguish exceptional individuals.
It is this remarkable man, and Russia as a whole, that Caran d'Ache honours with the Yuri Gagarin Limited Edition. The Commemorative Edition refers to that historic year with 1961 fountain pens and 1961 roller pens. The Anniversary Edition focuses on the half-century since the event with 50 fountain pens and 50 roller pens in gold plate. On the cap of the Anniversary edition, the clip is set with a black diamond evoking the infinity of space and the sparkle of the stars.
With their noble materials, they exemplify the expertise of Caran d’Ache. The mat black lacquer symbolising the darkness of the Universe, envelops the body and cap of the pen, making an elegant contrast with the rhodium-coated silver plating or gold plating. The body of each instrument carries Yuri Gagarin's famous quotation, a visionary message from space to the whole world: Облетев Землю в корабле-спутнике, я увидел, как прекрасна наша планета. Люди, будем хранить и приумножать эту красоту, а не разрушать ее! Гагарин
"After I circled the Earth in a spaceship, I saw how beautiful our planet is. People, let’s keep and increase this beauty don’t destroy it!" Yuri Gagarin
This quotation, which has such a special resonance today, is engraved with all the finesse of the original Russian, adding even more power to his words.
Yuri Gagarin's portrait appears like a sculpture on the writing instrument. Using a new process and newly-developed skills, Caran d'Ache craftsmen have succeeded in engraving it directly on the cap. Based on a photograph of the cosmonaut, the result is highly realistic with its great precision adding relief to the portrait.
Each writing instrument carries its individual number engraved on the gold-plated, or silver-plated rhodium-coated ring. These exclusive pens are presented in a sumptuous, personalised black lacquered box bearing the name of Yuri Gagarin in Russian and English.
Dedicated to collectors of Limited Editions, and to all those who love luxury or are fascinated by astronomy, this product of a new technique pays homage to history.
Yuri Gagarin Limited Edition
As a tribute to the first man to venture into space, Caran d’Ache, Maison de Haute Écriture created the Yuri Gagarin Limited Edition. This new creation honours a man who left his mark on history.
Using a new process and newly-developed skills, Caran d'Ache craftsmen have succeeded in engraving a photograph of Yuri Gagarin directly on the cap of the writing instruments. This sophisticated technique measures the pixels of the photograph to determine the different depths of the engraving. More than 256 variations of grey were detected and to reproduce 256 depths required six hours of work. The result is very realistic with its extreme precision adding relief to the portrait.
Deep black lacquer envelops the body and cap of the pen making an elegant contrast with the rhodium-coated silver-plated or gold plating which present Yuri Gagarin's face and his quotation.
"Swiss Made" quality is apparent in every element of the writing instruments which is entirely produced in the company's Geneva workshops. With their finely worked, noble materials, they exemplify the extent and depth of Caran d’Ache expertise.
The Commemorative Edition - 1961: year of the first man in space
Available in 1961 fountain pens and 1961 rollers pens. Silver-plated rhodium-coated, each instrument carries its individual number engraved on the ring, together with the hallmark of the Caran d'Ache Master craftsman.
The roller pen can be used with a Caran d'Ache roller point cartridge or fibre cartridge
Biography of Yuri Gagarin (1934-1968)
On 9 March 1934, Yuri Gagarin was born into a modest family in Gjatsk, a town that would be renamed Gagarin in his honour when he died in 1968.
Already a member of an amateur flying club, he entered Orenburg Flight School in 1955, and gained his wings as a MiG-15 fighter pilot. Gifted in maths, very attentive to his trainers, persistent and blessed with an exceptional memory, in February 1960 he was chosen from 200 pilots to join the Soviet space programme. His height, about 1 m 58, was an advantage in the restricted space of the Vostok capsule.
He received physical training, parachute training and centrifuge experience, he worked on a simulator of the Vostok, and he acquired the fundamentals of rocket science and spacecraft operations.
As a result of his historic flight, he became an international hero and legend. He went round the World again, this time promoting the values represented by the Soviet Space programme.
Yuri Gagarin became Director of Training at the City of the Stars and started conversion training as a fighter pilot. On 27 March 1968, he and his instructor died on board a MiG-15 airplane on a routine flight. He was given a hero’s funeral, his ashes interred in the Kremlin Wall.