Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Rarest

Readers seem to be asking me the hard questions these days. Recently I was prompted to create a list of my Top Five Pencils, and then I received an email which included this short but searching question “I’m guessing you’ve got hundreds of MP’s. What’s the rarest one you’ve got?”

The rarest mechanical pencil that I own. Now there’s a challenge! It’s not something I have previously given a lot of thought to, but as soon as I was asked the question one pencil came to mind and further cogitation didn’t budge it from top of the list, and thus my choice was confirmed.The Dolphin brand DOL C205. Dolphin is a brand name of a Malaysian stationery company Chungkeu, and I’m sure there’s nothing particularly rare about the DOL C205 in Malaysia.
Rarity comes and goes with time and place. I tripped across the DOL C205 by accident a few years back, and since I’m not in Malaysia I had a devil of a time trying to get hold of one. That’s one part of the reason it’s rare to me, because it’s very hard to get hold of. But the real reason I wanted this mechanical pencil, and the thing that makes it truly rare in my book is this:There, in bold print on the pencil body, “Kotobuki”. As one of the world’s leading mechanical pencil manufacturers, anyone who has got a few different models of pencil probably has a Kotobuki, but you just don’t know it because they manufacture and sell under other companies brand names. Apart from this pencil I have never seen or heard of a mechanical pencil with Kotobuki on it. For those who haven’t read it, here’s my previous posting on what little I do know about Kotobuki.

Now we know that Kotobuki do sell some of their own products under the PENAC brand name, and a quick Google search on ‘Penac C205’ brings up plenty of retailers, (mostly in the Balkans / Eastern European area) but as expected the branding on the pencil body is Penac, not Kotobuki. A Google search on ‘Kotobuki C205’ only brings up 24 results, of which only 1 relates to this mechanical pencil, and it’s a reference to the Penac C205 being manufactured by Kotobuki of Japan. So, how “Kotobuki” ends up on the barrel of this Dolphin pencil is beyond me.

Clearly Dolphin see value in the “Made in Japan” as it is in three different places on the product and packaging. Somewhat strangely, the free pencil leads supplied with the pencil are “Hankook Sharp, Made in Korea”.The packaging states “4mm metal fixed pipe”. Clearly we have different ideas of what that means. In my book it’s a retractable conical sleeve. Sure it’s 4mm and metal, but it’s not fixed, and the pipe reference is rather misleading. To me, “4mm metal fixed pipe” means a 4mm fixed (non-retractable) thin draughting sleeve like on the Pentel P205 and other such draughting pencils.

Now you see it. Now you don’t – an unusual idea of “fixed”. The grip zone on the C205 is formed by some simple concentric grooves moulded into the body.The metal push top button has a hole through it to show the eraser underneath.So, there we have it, my rarest pencil. Crikey, does that mean if there’s a fire, this is the one pencil I will try to save?

No, do not email me and ask, “I’m guessing you’ve got hundreds of MP’s. If you had a fire and could only save one?”

8 comments:

Germ said...

I’m guessing you’ve got hundreds of MP’s. If you had a fire and could only save one, which one would it be? hehehe walked into that one david.
interesting fixed pipe system. very intriguing. :)

Seth said...

Great post. I have a weakness for MP's as well. I added your site to my favorites at www.goodpens.blogspot.com.

Andrew said...

What is the website anyway? I've never heard of this brand, ever. But the pencil looks really cool.

Amber said...

I would like to buy a nice mechanical pencil as a gift for someone. I was thinking of spending $20-40 on it. You seem like the right person to ask, are there any you would recommend as the best mechanical pencils out there? I'd appreciate any feedback.

Claes in Lund, Sweden said...

To Amber: I have a few ideas for you. Please contact me at
claesg at algonet dot se
What kind of $ are you talking about? USD? AUD? Or?
Have fun!
Claes in Lund, Sweden

Sener KAYA said...

hi guys,

I ve been lookin for 2B-0.3mm mech pencil lead? the one could have found was Hb, H softness one. Can anyone help me out about that?

I like ur blog Dave, keep it up !

Wilson said...

Hi Sener,

0.3mm 2B is a rare beast outside of Japan.

Pentel Ain and Pilot NEOX-ENO are the only two I know of. JetPens in the US is the only English language site where I have seen Pentel Ain 2B for sale. They carry the NEOX-ENO lead but don't seem to stock the 2B.

Note that Pentel USA does not offer it. The Super Hi-Polymer is supposed to be the same as Ain but obviously there are few people in the US who want 2B.

Staedtler does not make 2B. I am not sure about Uni-ball/Mitsubishi. I can't read Japanese so I can't find the Shu and Hi-uni refills on their site to know if they make 2B.

Good luck.

Wilson said...

Gosh I'm blind. JetPens has the NEOX-ENO in 2B.