The Spirit is clearly intended for storage in confined spaces – inside a compendium, cheque book, purse pocket, etc. Its construction is reasonably simple, the whole pencil consisting of two major assemblies, which I think of as the “mechanism” and the “body”. The “body” starts out as flat sheet metal punched to the correct shape. The edges are then folded up and around to make the traditional round body and the end folded over to form a pocket clip. The "mechanism" (including tip section, etc) is then secured inside the body and the pencil is essentially complete. You can see the join where the two wings of the body are folded around to butt up against each other.In the past questions have been raised about some expensive pencils having push top mechanisms whereby over time the push top will scratch and wear against the body thus becoming unsightly. I am pleased to report that Lamy have placed a plastic sleeve inside the top folded section up by the pocket clip so that the push top button should not scratch and wear over time as it is clicked up and down. You can hopefully make out the black plastic sleeve in the photo below.The whole central column is the “mechanism”, and moves up and down when you activate the push top ratchet lead advance mechanism. You can’t hold that section when you push the top button or it won’t “push”. Ten clicks of the mechanism will get you about 8mm of 0.5mm lead.
Beneath the push top button is one of the smallest erasers around. On the other hand they give you quite a long length which you can adjust up as required. There is also a needle for clearing lead jams. (No, I will not be putting the Spirit onto my list of mechanical pencils with extendable erasers.) The tip section is a fixed short conical sleeve. General writing purposes only and only semi pocket safe. Up at the other end of the pencil the pocket clip is quite strong and flexible. Its does a good job although the ball on the end of it didn’t always facilitate an easy slide on to papers or pocket.The rows of tiny holes punched in the main central grip section of the body provide an interesting aesthetic element. To one degree or another they must also help improve the grip. However, this pencil is narrow, thin even. At only 6mm (1/4 in) diameter the main grip section is not going to win any awards for comfort. You’ll never see one of those “Recommended by the Arthritis Foundation” stickers on the Lamy Spirit. For a person like me who has a medium sized hand and good dexterity the Spirit is perfectly fine for short duration occasional use. Taking some notes at a meeting, scribbling a list in a notebook on the run – no problems; but regular daily use for lengthy durations at a time, well, I suggest you look for another pencil. That is not what the Spirit was really made for. To give you an idea just how thin the Spirit is, here below it is pictured with a Forest Choice woodcase pencil, a Lamy Scribble and a Lamy 2000.The Spirit is an all-metal mechanical pencil, and despite being so narrow it weighs in at 15 grams and outweighs many a much bulkier plastic pencil. The balance point is obviously down towards the tip and that combines to make the Spirit feel surprisingly substantial in the hand. Deep in thought? Need something to help keep those mental cogs turning, well I thoroughly recommend this pencil when it comes to twiddling around with in your fingers.
Thought for the Day: Imagine the shock if Lamy produced an “ordinary” mechanical pencil. Now that would be radical.
- Best Points – Unusual looks without looking cheap or fragile.
- Not So Good Points – For its intended role as a compendium type pencil there aren’t really any bad points that i want to mention.
- Price Range – Mid / High.
Dimensions – Length 143mm, diameter 6mm at grip zone. Balance point about 65mm up from the tip.
Note: I have tagged this posting with the mini pencil label because although its length precludes it from being a true mini pencil, the Spirit is intended for many of the same applications as a mini pencil.