Tombow 2558 Pencil

Post 2/3. I’ll get the last one for the day done after dinner. See you in a couple of hours.

dscf8183The lead on this pencil is the standard that one can expect from a Tombow pencil. The lines it puts down are nice and dark allowing for high visibility under light. I used it primarily in well-lit lecture halls and had no trouble rereading and studying my notes when staying in my dimmer lit room. It required a touch more pressure than the Mono 100 and performed just a shade under. It didn’t break under quite a decent amount of pressure (math makes me very frustrated sometimes :P). I had no problem sharpening it to a nice point, but it often lost it quickly once I started writing. While it didn’t affect the performance too much, I personally like writing with a sharp point. I feel it helps me control my hand better and it helps whenever I do drills for my calligraphy practice. All in all, a decent upper tier pencil in comparison to the various lines from Uni Mitsubishi.

dscf8189I have never seen a pencil resemble a standard Dixon Ticonderoga so much and be so different at the same time. The Tombow 2558 isn’t a very flashy pencil. Much like the Ticonderoga, the bright color draws the eyes, but the similarities end there. Tombow opts for a more subdued branding done in a dark purple color that contrasts beautifully with the burnt orange body.

dscf8190This is a no-nonsense pen that is geared towards functionality more than anything else. If one removes the branding, then this is just a standard pencil you see in schools across the nation. That is how simple the design is. It is this design that does it for me. Unlike the Caran d’Ache I reviewed in the last post, this pencil is geared specifically towards writing. It doesn’t give off a luxurious feel or use high-quality materials. Just simple wood and graphite with some embossing on the side. I would recommend this pencil to anyone who wants a functional and simple pencil. It’s a little bit more on the expensive side with a price of $1.20/pencil but if a sturdy pencil that performs well is what you want, I highly recommend this one.

Caran d’Ache Swiss Wood Beech Pencil

Review 1/3 today to make up for the staggered schedule. Next one coming in a couple of hours.

dscf8176This was a pencil that I had been dying to try out, but not up for buying. At $5.45/pencil this is definitely one of the most, if not the most expensive pencils I’ve ever reviewed. Caran d’ache is a Swiss manufacturer of school, office and luxury stationery supplies. Founded in 1915 in Geneva by Arnold Schweitzer, he named his company Caran d’Ache after the nickname of French satiric political cartoonist Emmanuel Poire, who took his name from карандаш (karandash) the Russian word for pencil. In 1929, they trademarked the design for one of the first mechanical pencils. (Wikipedia)

After being around for nearly a century, Caran d’Ache is still going strong with their iconic designs and luxurious materials. This pencil in particular is made from FSC-Certified Grovelier beech wood from the Jura mountains for northwestern Switzerland. (JetPens) Just from that description alone, I was excited to try this pencil out. I have to say, so far after almost 2 months of use, I have not been disappointed.

dscf8173The first thing that I often look at when I want to buy a pencil is looks. I admit it is a bit superficial, but a good-looking pencil more often than not indicated decent writing quality, at least in my experience. Some of the simplest pencils with elegant design and color choices have constantly performed better than garish ones. The best example I can give would be the Tombow Mono 100 and the Palomino Blackwing 602. Simple color palette, subtle branding and an attention to details made them some of my favorite pencils to use.

dscf8170With the Swiss Wood pencil, the clear coat of matte varnish helps keep the natural grain of the wood intact and looking amazing. I have started to love seeing the grain of wood ever since I started collecting oblique holders. I sometimes need a bib when I’m browsing through some of my favorite pen-maker’s catalogues. This pencil showcases the natural beauty of the wood and accentuates it with the red paint and Swiss cross on the back.

dscf8177Writing with it has been an absolute pleasure. It holds a point very well and I’ve yet to have problems with the lead breaking even with a decent amount of pressure. While the smoothness is not up to par with say, the Blackwing 602, it’s definitely up there in terms of how easy it is to write with on different papers. I’ve tested it out on everything from Doane and Field Notes to Rhodia and Maruman. It handled every change like a champ and I never had any trouble switching between them.

However, one thing to note is that there is no eraser. While to me this isn’t much of a problem, it can be a bit of an issue for someone who is more function oriented when it comes to pencils. Having a decent quality eraser can be a huge deal, especially with expensive pencils. The Blackwing 602 is the penultimate (get it?) luxury pencil as it affords the consumer both quality and functionality for the price. The Caran d’ache on the other hand offers natural beauty, high quality materials, but less functionality for its price point. This might be a turn off to some buyers, so I thought I should mention this.

If you’re looking for a premium pencil at a premium price, then look no further than the Caran d’Ache Swiss Wood Beech pencil. It maintains the natural aesthetic of the wood grain while adding tasteful additions like the red and white Swiss cross on the back. It’s versatile and high quality lead can be used on numerous papers without a fuss and it can hold a point well. I highly recommend anyone interested in high quality pencils to try it out.