Since I started this blog, the Faber-Castell E-Motion has come up a number of times in comments and emails. I have been aware of the E-motion for a long time, but never actually had one, so I decided it was time to change that. At exactly this time, one miraculously appeared in the display cabinet at a local bookstore, so now I own one.
The E-motion comes in a variety of materials and finishes – wood, metal, plastic, animal stripes, etc. Mine is one of the original more traditional variants, the stained maplewood barrel with black plastic end pieces. This is a nice looking pencil; the colours, materials and contoured shape blend well together. The wood finish is smooth, but not highly polished or lacquered so it’s actually a little rough for my personal preference.
It’s a minor point, but the wood barrel on mine isn’t quite round at the front so the black plastic front piece doesn’t quite match the diameter all the way around and in places there is a little lip where they join together.
The pocket clip is very nice indeed, a spring loaded wave design. There is a good size eraser under the end piece, and it erases quite well. Overall this pencil is a little bit lighter than its short sturdy appearance would suggest.
The E-Motion is a screw mechanism mechanical pencil, which is a little unusual these days. You wind the top plastic end piece around to advance or retract the lead. It’s a really smooth mechanism. That’s “Mmmmmm, twisty, smooo-ooth” as Homer would say.
My pencil came in a nice little presentation tin, but there was no documentation at all. I had no idea how to change the lead. The Faber-Castell international website wasn’t much help, but the US site is full of information. Thank goodness for all those US lawyers making sure product information is properly available! Like most screw mechanisms, replacing the lead is a little bit complicated compared to standard ratchet mechanisms where you just simply put more leads into the tube. Spare leads are housed inside the front end-piece and you unscrew it to get them and replace the lead.
The leads themselves are a rather unusual 1.4mm thickness. Very nice smooth dark writing, but this size does mean you are stuck with Faber-Castell for refills, there’s no shopping around. The 1.4mm is bit of a problem for me. It’s just too thick for my everyday office work. I generally use 0.5 or 0.7, and stretch to 1.18 when its Yard-O-Led time, but 1.4 just seems to cross some “thickness threshold”. A lot of my work is on computer print outs and other documents in 6 or 8 point font so 1.4mm is massive compared to them. It’s almost a bit too thick for my general everyday writing to, but to be fair I have spent most of my life thinking 0.7 was a fat line.
So, at the end of the day, I like the E-Motion, but until it’s available in a 0.7 or 0.9mm lead I will keep reaching for my Lamy Scribble.
- Best Points – The screw mechanism and the wave pocket clip.
- Not So Good Points – The 1.4mm lead thickness.
- Price Range – Mid.
Dimensions – Length 125mm, diameter 14mm at widest point. Balance point about 70mm up from the tip.