The Bic ballpoint pen gets dressed up by Pinel & Pinel

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The blue and nickel plated version of Cristal by Pinel & Pinel

I love coincidences and little daily happenings. I was trying out a new hairdresser highly recommended by my former one and as you do with hairdressers, we chatted for two hours non stop. And while Soad was telling me about her twin daughters, who sound like they are true characters, she described their apprenticeship in leather goods manufacturing companies. One has started with Dior leather while the other one works with Pinel & Pinel, a small but luxurious leather company on place de la Madeleine.

The Pinel & Pinel shop on place de la Madeleine

Chance just happened that I had passed by the Pinel & Pinel shop that afternoon and spotted in the window a large sign advertising Bic ballpoint pens. Last year, Fred Pinel offered to Bic, the world leader in ball point pens, to do a special leather “costume” in bull leather (taurillon) for the Cristal pen, to celebrate its 70 th anniversary. Together they developed six colors with nickel plated or gold plated caps. The result is very pretty. It is typically the item you can offer to the very rich, the most popular (and cheap) writing instrument reinvented as an object of luxury in young bull leather.

And guess what, the young trainee Hana is in charge of making them…

A ballpoint drawing by artist Hom Nguyen

So I ventured into the shop and acquired the one I thought was the prettiest, pale blue and nickel, and started looking around. I fell upon a small white leather case with three portraits designed on it in ball point by artist Hom Nguyen. The three faces interact with each other in the most amusing way with a kinetic effect. It reminded me of the excellent exhibition at “104” that BIC organized in May 2018. All the artists exhibited had used one of their pens to draw.

A white leather case serves as canvas for Hom Nguyen who draws with a Bic ballpoint pen

The rest of the shop has all sorts of small and larger trunks, shopping bags and cigar boxes. But the true snobbish item is this (no more cheap) Bic Cristal ballpoint pen. And I hear that there is another “disguised” pen on the way…

Pinel & Pinel, 5 bd Malesherbes, 65€. It comes with a blue and a black ink cartridge.

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