Friday, January 15, 2010

BIC Rondo Mechanical Pencil

BIC Rondo Mechanical Pencil (or Ballograf Rondo Mechanical Pencil)

Now here’s a rather unusual sight on the packaging of a mechanical pencil.
mechanical pencil made in Sweden
Well, my apologies to those of you from Nordic climes, because that may not be an unusual sight for you, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say I’m pretty sure it is for the rest of us. So then, the packaging in front view.
BIC Rondo mechanical pencil
Made in Sweden eh? Well obviously Ballograf springs to mind. Founded in 1945, Ballograf was bought by BIC in 1959, but then in 2004 was purchased from BIC by the GM of Ballograf and a partner. The Ballograf website states they make over 4 million pens and pencils per annum with a staff of thirty. Great stuff. It’s good to see small regional manufacturers still thriving in the face of the international juggernauts, and being competitive enough to supply a company like BIC.

You will see this pencil on the web as the BIC Rondo, but also as the BIC Ballograf Rondo mechanical pencil and Ballograf Rondo mechanical pencil. Actually on the Ballograf website there is a Rondo and a Rondo Plus. The difference between these two appears to be that the Rondo has bright nickel plating whilst the Rondo plus has frosty chromium plating, so I think that means my BIC Rondo is actually a Rondo Plus.

Plain rubberised body – rather reminiscent of the TUL mechanical pencil. From side on the pocket clip is quite stylish. The black eraser also looks good.
BIC Ballograf Rondo mechanical pencil

The lead sleeve is a fixed metal pipe. It is unusually thick for a pipe sleeve, but I guess that makes it slightly less stabby and considerably more resistant to damage if the pencil is accidentally dropped onto a hard floor. Mine is 0.5mm lead but 0.7mm is also available.
BIC Rondo mechanical pencil tip

The lead advance mechanism is a standard push top ratchet. The eraser is removable, and lead refills are fed in through the top as usual.
BIC Rondo mechanical pencil top

The BIC Boy logo.
BIC logo

This BIC Rondo mechanical pencil was supplied to me by Euroffice, an office supplies specialist in the UK, in exchange for putting it on this blog and an acknowledgement.


2nd_astronaut said...

The Rondo looks good inmo.

I have a Ballograf Epoca Chrome, with which my feelings are ambivalent: It looks really good, but feels cheap (it's too lightweight, part of the "Chrome" is plastic :-/ )

Ricardo said...

A few years ago i bought the 0.7mm version of this pencil, mine has a grey barrel and frosty chromium plating. Though my pencil is a "Sheaffer" it is also made in Sweden by "Ballograf". I'm from Portugal, BIC is omnipresent around here, their products are available everywhere, i've already seen (and bought)some made in China and made in France products packed in these very same plastic blisters, i will check out the "Rondo" products origin, it wouldn't be a surprise to learn they are being made in China as well.

Henrik said...

Up here, BIC are mostly disposable ballpoints – I have never seen any of the other items: mechanical pencils, wooden pencils or fountain pens in the shops – so this one is news to me too.
Looks nice, especially with the Stieg Larsson in the background. :-)Very Nordic
Regards Henrik

Anonymous said...

Just looking at the photos, the finish where the eraser cap meets the barrel looks rather awkward - could be just the macro photo doing that.

Kiwi-d said...

Hi Anonymous. Sorry, I'm not sure exactly which photo you are referring to, and do you mean where eraser fits into holder, holder fits into barrel. Or that barrel top ring meets the pocket clip in the bottom photo?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, the last photo where the barrel top ring meets the pocket clip in the bottom photo.

Kiwi-d said...

Hi Anonymous - well it's fair to say it's not the best "joint" but it's not bad - certainly the macro photo gives it more emphasis than it should have.

Anonymous said...

What I like about them is that they are well designed and finished nicely enough to use without any complaints, while at the same time not being too expensive to replace either. An elegant middle line from an usage oriented point of view.

I personally prefer the Epoca. I sometimes like to draw with ballpoints, and it has a nice grip and balance to it. Light weight but just slightly, not really noticeably, top heavy which accomodates the way the barrel wants to be gripped formwise. The mp variant has a different feel to it. I haven't had the opportunity to try the plastic version yet which may be lighter, but I have an old chromed one and it is heavier than the plastic bp and with the comparably elongated tip it is more accomodated for a lower angle and sweeping fountainpen like motion, which I like too. Mine is all metal (except the plastic gripping section of course).
I am just thankful that they exist, otherwise I wouldn't have a ballpoint pen I would feel compelled to use.

Adam said...

How could I get one of these in the US?

memm said...

I was quite excited when I found a Rondo in WH Smith for GBP 4.49. It looks really good, but even though I unpacked mine carefully the rubberised body has quite a few marks which don't look very nice if there is a strong light.

Germ said...

i have a ballograf, I think. it's pretty much what is pictured. Wouldn't mind one with the Bic name on it. I think the ballograf is quite cool.

miss.awesome.lady said...

Hmm, interesting, Bic are a superpower in the US and they don't sell this pencil here. It's not on Bic's international site either.

Anonymous said...

Waaaaah The black eraser! I haven't seen those for almost ten years! Loved them!