For several decades the PG1505, sometimes known as the “Accu Graph”, has been one of Pentels top offerings in their draughting pencil range. I believe it was formerly distributed throughout North America and Europe, but sadly its range has now retracted to Japan and nearby places. Even there it is apparently no longer plentiful. Hmmm, population decline, range retraction…classic signs of a species heading for extinction. I assume poor sales, as design (and art) continues its evolution as a software rather than paper based activity, is forcing the PG1505 onto the ever expanding list of endangered species.
So as well as being a review, the outlook for the PG1505 is perhaps not all that rosy, so this all has a hint of eulogy and obituary about it. At first glance the PG1505 is a rather long, slender shaped pencil. The serious ‘technical aura’ is enhanced by the simple colour scheme of black and silver. The styling of this pencil has always reminded me of a long thin tapering calligraphy brush, and I’ve always thought that was appropriate for one of Pentels finest - I like to imagine that the Japanese calligraphy tradition played some role in inspiring the styling of this pencil.As a serious draughting pencil of considerable lineage, the PG1505 has many classic features. Starting at the tip, this is a 0.5mm lead diameter pencil and you will not be surprised to find we have a 4mm fixed sleeve. In the past, a couple of readers have raised the issue of “lead wobble” inside the sleeve. Well, I can assure you there is none with this pencil. The lead is rock solid inside that sleeve. Obviously though a long fixed lead sleeve makes this pencil pocket unsafe. Actually if you take the overall look of this pencil into account it’s sort of a mini-javelin so maybe I should rate it as super-pocket unsafe?
Moving on up from the sleeve the next feature of significance is the knurled grip. This of course provides excellent non-slip grip, but sometimes I did pick up a hint of roughness. Of course you must remember that I’m just an office-wallah, not a thick-skinned toughened engineer or mega-structure architect who would laugh at such lily-livered sensitivities. The grip is not a particularly large diameter so might not suit all. The grip and other componentry give this pencil a slightly tip-heavy balance point, but not so much that the tapering upper body feels like its flapping around in the wind. So, well balanced and weighing in at 21 grams, the PG1505 feels reasonably substantial in the hand.
At the top of the grip there is a lead hardness indicator window. You unscrew the grip just a fraction to allow rotation of the window. The indicator grades available are B through to 3H, including F. You have to screw the grip back up rather tight or it can work loose over time.
Above the hardness indicator the body changes from metal to black plastic. It’s a good hard shiny resin that obviously won’t break, dull or scratch in a hurry. Printed in silver on the black body just above the hardness indicator is “0.5 Pentel” and “PG1505 JAPAN”. As always I am a fan of good model identification on a pencil.
The pocket clip is a fairly plain simple piece of steel, not spring loaded, and is quite efficient and strong. Its visual austerity fits well with styling of the pencil.
Finally at the very top of the body we have the small metal end cap. This pencil is of course push top button ratchet mechanism. 10 clicks of the button will get 5mm of lead out the tip. And when I say clicks, I mean clicks. This is a very positive, loud “clicking” mechanism. Beneath the eraser cap there is…well there isn’t the small little emergency use eraser that one usually expects. Instead there is a needle for clearing lead jams, and the end of the lead magazine is right there so fill’er up. Clearly, users of this pencil are expected to be the type who are fully prepared with a proper eraser. Overall then this is an excellent pencil and I’m sorry to see it gone from Pentels general international range.
- Best Points – The looks, and the courage to not put an eraser under that top cap.
- Not So Good Points – I haven’t actually mentioned it above, but there was sometimes a bit of a rattle when using this pencil. The grip is perhaps a fraction too abrasive.
- Price Range – Mid, if and when you can find it.
Dimensions – Length 149mm, diameter 9mm at grip section. Balance point about 65mm up from the tip.
Photo - The PG1505 free in the wild