Sunday, October 07, 2007

Pilot Clicker Mechanical Pencil Review

Pilot Clicker Mechanical Pencil Review

Well I’m starting this review off with a bit of a ramble. Judging from the requests to review this particular pencil, rarely has a mechanical pencil review been awaited with so much anticipation.

Amongst the mechanical pencils that I own, the Pilot Clicker has one claim to total uniqueness. Here’s why.

I own a few mechanical pencils. Quite a lot actually. Now what happens is that sometimes my pencil goes missing, and shortly thereafter I find that my wife has appropriated it because “it looked interesting”, or nice or something. Now she’s not a pencil nut like me, and it’s my pencil, so I just take it back off her. It’s mine! But hey, I’m not totally heartless, I’ve bought her a couple that she said she really liked (e.g. Lamy Scribble) so that she didn’t have to keep stealing mine. But you know, it doesn’t really work like that. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, and my pencil is always more interesting than hers. So she keeps taking them. Except there was this one day I saw she was writing with a pencil I didn’t recognise. It was a Pilot Clicker. I had never seen one before, and Pilot pencils are quite uncommon around these parts. So apparently it had just been sitting around abandoned at her work for quite some time and she just claimed it. Right, well, the roles were reversed, so this time her pencil just “went missing”.
I own two Pilot Clickers, both 0.5mm lead, one is red and labelled a Pilot HCK-50R-R5, the other is black and labelled H-545-B. Apart from the colour and the label I can’t see any difference between them despite their seemingly different model designations. Probably just old and new, or different codes in different countries.

One of the first things you notice about the Clicker is that big sliding eraser mechanism. You just push in and slide the button up to advance the eraser out. It appears to be a vinyl eraser, but perhaps with a fair amount of fillers as it’s very slightly rough to the touch. In use it is quite an effective eraser, although not quite as good as the trusty Staedtler Mars Plastic. The waste does twist up a bit into strands for easier cleaning. Overall there is about 28mm of usable length of 7mm diameter eraser. The slider generally locks into place and doesn’t slide back into the pencil body when you are using the eraser. Another obvious feature of the Clicker is the long black rubber grip section, basically covering the whole bottom half of the pencil. Its not a particularly “grippy” compound, it’s not contoured (except for a minor flare out at the tip), and it’s a fairly hard compound so there isn’t much give under normal finger pressure. So, overall it’s one of those rubber grips that leave me a little confused. Why did they bother? Is it just a current fad – “rubber grip = better”? One thing about the uncontoured grip though is that it does allow you to grip the pencil down low or higher up.

Towards the top of the rubber grip is the side push button to activate the lead advance mechanism. Pilot have done a good job with this button. It is attractively accentuated by the coloured surround, the button itself is not too obtrusive, and it is well positioned so that it is easily activated by your thumb or finger whilst writing. The mechanism advances 6mm of lead for 10 clicks. You pull the top half of the body off, and then pull a little end-cap off, to access the lead refill magazine. The tip of the pencil is chrome, and the lead sleeve is a short little non-retractable cone. I would have preferred it to be retractable for pocket safety as this is a general writing pencil. The integrally moulded pocket clip is a fairly solid sturdy type.

We all know I’m not really a great fan of rubber grips and side button mechanisms, but overall the Clicker isn’t too bad. The aesthetics of it have definitely grown on me over time, the eraser is quite handy, and you can tell the designers put a bit of effort into the whole thing. So, if you don't share my aversion to rubber grips and side-buttons, then the Pilot Clicker is worthy of your consideration.
  • Best Points – The eraser.
  • Not So Good Points – The rubber grip seems a bit pointless.
  • Price Range – Low.

Dimensions – Length 144mm, diameter 11mm at grip section. Balance point about 65mm up from the tip.

Note: Not sure, but I think the Clicker is on the way out, being discontinued by Pilot, at least in some markets.

12 comments:

Speedmaster said...

Nice work. I love my Namiki/Pilot Vanishing Point pencil.

Roi said...

I must admit I don't favor rubber grips so much. They usually make my fingers stink of rubber. I really prefer the simple pens, without all the buttons rubbers and stuff (e.g. Rotring's Tikky II).

But hey, that's just me.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. I've never seen a Pilot like that before, and I think it is pretty rare... Well, since we're on the topic of Pilot, Dave, can you please review the Dr. Grip? I agree with the anonymous person who wanted the Dr. Grip in the poll comments.

kiwi-d said...

Yes I've put Dr Grip on the list, but it might be early next year before it gets to publication.

Anonymous said...

Yay! Thanks Dave. I enjoy reading your reviews about mechanical pencils. My friends think I'm crazy, but I'm a real pencil lover.

Anonymous said...

As a professional illustrator, I use this pencil everyday and find it perfect.

Jason said...

I had this pencil, but I lost it about 7 years ago when I was at high school. I have been searching all over the place in both Hong Kong and Australia, but still no luck.

I have even wrote to pilot, but they haven't got back to me.... The reason that I am so desperate is because it is the best mechanical pencil with eraser that I have ever used...

I couldn't find any on ebay, anyone know where I can get them?

Any help would be great thanks!!
email: jason.jsmith1234@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

try this ebay number
220622733599

Anonymous said...

Now I have 36 of them in three colours :D
http://lh4.ggpht.com/_Nqdorgx62-4/S3guXwuktmI/AAAAAAAABxM/XcwqT3FdM_E/s720/DSC_3826.JPG

Quite nice.

Anonymous said...

My saviour! There's just nothing that competes with the Clicker on the market these days.

I purchased 5, as clearance stock, of these from Whitcoulls 6 or 8 years ago and they've slowly been broken or lost over the years.

I can't say enough good words about the convenience of the extended eraser. It's such a no-brainer of a good idea. Why is there no competition?

Anyway, time to setup an Ebay account I guess ...


Evan

Anonymous said...

A couple more points of why the eraser is the big winner for this pencil: It's both retractable, keeps it cleaner, and replaceable. I burn through erasers, even these extended length ones.


Evan

Anonymous said...

Biggest gripe is the clutch seems to wear out after a few years. The lead will slip back up into the pencil.


Evan