Sunday, February 18, 2007

Tombow Oceanic Mechanical Pencil Review

Well here’s my first review of a pencil from Tombow. I must admit to being a little ignorant of Tombow these days. I get the impression they have basically withdrawn from the mechanical pencil market, at least outside of Japan. I had wanted an Oceanic for a long time, but never got around to buying one, and then it was discontinued a few years ago, so I had sort of given up on it. But last year I saw some new stock for sale on eBay……..

Certainly you would never accuse the Oceanic of being another “me too” generic design. The rounded stylised fish shaped body is obviously very reminiscent of its name, and it is one of the fattest pencils in my collection. This is definitely a pencil for those who like a wide grip, as its about 12 to 15mm diameter where I usually hold it. It has a very unusual surface finish – not fish scales, but a rough surface, although a very fine one. I haven’t really seen anything much like it. It sort of feels like a flocked finish, but using something a bit tougher and rougher than ‘velvet’.

The front tip section is matt black plastic, then it becomes the roughened main body, then the “tail” section is black rubber except for the very end which is again the roughened body material. The push top ratchet lead advance mechanism is operated by simply pushing down the top of the tail. The rubber tail section compresses allowing the mechanism to work. There is a small eraser under the top, or rather the tail. It looks like it is a rubber compound eraser. The lead chamber came loaded with 6 leads, so no cheap penny pinching there.
The roughened surface finish really does give great grip, but the fat diameter may not be to everyone’s liking. I am not sure how well I would handle it for very extended periods of writing.

The lead sleeve is short and shaped so this pencil is for writing only. No big surprise there. I would prefer that a longer length of lead was advanced with each activation of the mechanism. I had to keep clicking a lot more than normal. I think this is also a desk instrument only. The lead sleeve is not retractable and there is no pocket clip so its not really designed for carrying around. Since it’s big and round with no pocket clip it will roll around on your desktop. This pencil is designed to look good, at the expense of a little utility.

The only markings on the pencil are “Tombow”, the Oceanic symbol, and “Japan” in light lettering on the centre of the body. My Oceanic is a 0.5mm lead model (SH-ZLF11), and came in a nice but simple presentation tin, inside a lightweight black embossed cardboard package.
  • Best Points – The roughened surface finish and the overall “Oceanic” look.
  • Not So Good Points – The rolling around.
  • Price Range – Low.

Dimensions – Length 132mm, diameter 20mm at widest part. Balance point about 65mm up from the tip.

Footnote: As a rule of thumb I’m only reviewing pencils that are currently available, but since the Oceanic isn’t that obsolete and you can still find some new stock without too much effort, then ‘Why not?. Rules are made to be broken.”


ana said...

Great big pencil... itty bitty eraser! Very pretty but that eraser seems ridiculously small!

kiwi-d said...

Thats exactly what I thought the first time I pulled the end cap off and saw the eraser.

Anonymous said...

You can purchase these there:

If your country is not in the list on the address form, contact them; they might ship to your country. ND.

2nd_astronaut said...

Does anybody happen to know, if it is possible to reconstruct a Tombow Zoom Espana BP to an MP? I bought an Espana BP on ebay, and would (of course :-) ) prefer to change it to an MP, maybe with the help of a Zoom Oceanic mechanism (an Oceanic is easy to get, another Espana not).