Well in the world of Caran d’Ache, the Fixpencil (or Metal Collection) is one of their more basic and less expensive mechanical pencils, available in a range of colours.
The Fixpencil is an all metal construction pencil. The hexagonal aluminium body is powder coat painted, and in black it almost looks and feels like one of those slightly rubberised paints, but its not. The pocket clip is a separate piece, it can actually slide up and down the body, but it’s quite tight and won’t slide accidentally. It’s a very strong clip, but not too strong - there is no way this pencil is going to come unstuck from whatever it was clipped to. For an all metal Caran d’Ache pencil, it is very lightweight. That would be the aluminium body, but to be honest I’m more used to CdA all metal heavyweight pencils. There is no special grip section or grip enhancements, but the matt paint finish actually provides pretty good grip. It’s good to be able to grip the pencil wherever you want – down low or up high. The hexagonal body and lightweight make the writing experience a little reminiscent of using an ordinary wooden pencil. Personally though I would probably prefer the body to be just a fraction wider.
The lead advance mechanism is a push top ratchet, with a very positive loud click when activated. Only a small length of lead is advanced with each click. There is a short little retractable lead sleeve so the pencil is pocket safe, but the sleeve is too short to be considered suitable for draughting. The short lead advance is actually a bit of a pain, you have to click it more than usual when writing. The mechanism does have one other slightly annoying trait - it rattles inside the main body. Basically if you flick the pencil around the top button rattles against the rim of the body. This can sometimes be a bit annoying when you pick the pencil up or jiggle it in your fingers.
There is a small eraser under the top button, it’s about 4.5mm in diameter with 10mm of useable length. There is also a needle for clearing lead jams. Because the lead advance mechanism requires more than normal force to activate it, you can remove the top button, use the eraser and replace the button without accidentally advancing the lead. You refill the lead magazine by removing the eraser.
- Best Points – The very “solid” lead advance mechanism.
- Not So Good Points – The rattle.
- Price Range – Mid.
Dimensions – Length 131mm, width 7mm across the flats of the hexagon. Balance point about 65mm up from the tip.
Even though I only acquired my Fixpencil a couple of years ago, I’m not really sure of its exact current status. Mine is marked “Fixpencil 0.5, Metal Swiss Made, Caran D’Ache” but in the current Caran d’Ache catalogue the ‘Fixpencil Collection’ is 2mm or 3mm lead only, and doesn’t have a chrome tip section like mine. There is also the very similar ‘Metal Collection’ in 0.7mm which also doesn’t have the chrome tip section. So basically I think I’ve got an earlier version of the current Metal Collection pencil. But then I haven’t done exhaustive research into it all, so who really knows?