Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Filofax Organiser Mechanical Pencil Review

Filofax Organiser Mechanical Pencil Review

Until recently I didn’t even know there was a Filofax range of mechanical pencils and other writing instruments. For their organisers, Filofax’s website claims a heritage heading back towards World War 1 and an initial popularity with the military and the clergy - “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition”? In the field of mechanical pencils Yard-O-Led have arguably the oldest and most prestigious lineage. “Ummm, what’s your point?” I hear you ask. Well, these days Filofax and Yard-O-Led are both part of the Letts Filofax Group. Filofax brand and Yard-O-Led brand mechanical pencils are both detailed on the Filofax website. So, with that heritage and association you would expect a Filofax brand mechanical pencil to be better than average.
The mechanical pencil featured in this review is the Filofax Organiser pencil, which is listed on the Filofax website as the Mini Classic Pencil – Ribbed (Filofax), item code 561152. The website notes that it fits all Filofax organisers.
Filofax Organiser mechanical pencil
Well first off, a big tick for Filofax. Right there, with the pencil, there are five spare erasers. Now they are only small emergency use erasers, but it’s great to see someone supplying spare erasers with the initial purchase. It always strikes me as extremely cheap and penny-pinching that the prestige brands don’t chuck in a few spare erasers and a tube of lead refills when you buy one of their expensive pieces of jewellery that doubles as a mechanical pencil.
Filofax pencil and Field Notes

Filofax Organiser Classic mechanical pencil
The Filofax Organiser pencil is of course a mini pencil so it is clearly only intended for short duration use. If you have smallish hands you could probably use it as an everyday pencil, but those with extra large hands will struggle. The ribbed design on the bright shiny silvery body certainly looks smart and it won’t look out of place in any situation where you had your Filofax organiser out for the world to see. I should be clear that I don’t have a Filofax organiser, but I do see them around and so have a passing familiarity with them.

The shiny metallic body doesn’t provide fantastic grip, but for short duration note taking that’s probably not an issue. At 22grams the Organiser pencil is quite weighty for a small mechanical pencil, and combined with its short stature this does give it a reasonably substantial feel in your hand. It is certainly one of the noisiest mechanical pencils around. It always seems to have a rattle or ring when you pick it up, use it, twirl it in your fingers, etc. Some may like that, some may not.
Filofax Organiser pencil pocket clipThe pocket clip is good and strong; you need not worry about your pencil slipping off whatever you clip it to.

The top cap is a bit of a weak point in the design of this mechanical pencil. Firstly it’s clearly not the same metal as the body so it sort of looks dull or tarnished compared to the bright body. Secondly when you push fit it back onto the pencil it can go on at quite a wide range of angles and thus frequently isn’t on straight.
Filofax Organiser pencil tipThe lead advance mechanism is a standard push top ratchet. It is quite a noisy clicky mechanism. Ten clicks will only get you about 5mm of the 0.7mm lead, which is a rather short amount. The lead sleeve is a short fixed pipe, but for a pencil designed to be carried in a folder, pocket safety isn’t really an issue. There is a lot of spring cushioning on the sleeve so combined with 0.7mm lead its pretty hard to have a breakage. The eraser is beneath the top cap, and you remove it to access the lead refill chamber. I had some trouble refilling the leads as the chamber and entrance hole are quite small and tight such that new leads may interfere with the stick of lead already in the mechanism. I would personally suggest no more than 2 spare leads at any one time.
Filofax pencil eraser

Well, that’s about all I have to say, so to close this is a good mini pencil as part of your organiser system.
  • Best Points – It looks small but classy.
  • Not So Good Points – The top cap as discussed above.
  • Price Range – Mid.
  • Does this pencil make it into the Top 5? - No.
Dimensions – Length 112mm, diameter 9mm.

NOTE
This Filofax Organiser pencil was supplied by Euroffice, an office supplies specialist in the UK, in exchange for a review of the pencil and an acknowledgement.

Filofax and Yard-O-Led
Filofax mechanical pencil and yard-O-Led pencil
Filofax centre ring
Filofax organiser pencil centre ring

4 comments:

Sapphire said...

Wasn't the filofax supposed to have been invented by a clergyman - or have I just started an urban legend?
I like the line about expensive pieces of jewellery - I have one or two of those. Some of them came with a whole five pieces of lead inside but never with a spare eraser.
I have a filofax lookalike in "pocket" size and my Jotter pencil fits it just right but if this one isn't too pricey then I just might consider one.

Time Waster said...

Ah you're taking up sponcers now =) cool beans

kiwi-d said...

Hi Time Waster,
Sponsors - well Yes and No. I regard this blog as a hobby and like to think it is essentially commercial free. I don't carry any Adsense or other adverts, etc. I have declined offers of hosting commercial reviews, swapping links with retailers, etc. I have previously made the mistake of allowing commerce to enter one of my other pastimes, so I'm kind of wary about letting commerce getting directly involved in this blog.
However on several occassions I have said if someone wants to send me a pencil for free then I'll review it - Hint, Hint Mr CEO of Montblanc :-)
Well, anyway, someone did, namely Euroffice. They sent me 4 pencils for free in exchange for 4 reviews, each with a link to their website. They don't have any input into the reviews - the first chance they get to read them is when I publish them. So I still feel clean, virtuous and pure, and they get whatever benefit there is in a link.

Stephen said...

Euroffice don't seem to ship outside the UK. But Filofax are happy to do so.

This pencil looks quite nice as a portable writing implement, and a bit of a bargain compared with some other pocket pencils that come to mind (Caran d'Ache, etc.).