Platinum OLEeNU Mechanical Pencil MechanismRather than reviewing a mechanical pencil, in this post I’m reviewing a mechanism.
In August 2009 Platinum Pen of Japan announced the release of their OLEeNU range of mechanical pencils. So, what does OLEeNU mean? Well I don’t really know, but the English language version of the Platinum website says “‘OLEeNU’ mean that the lead is not broken easily when you drop off the pencil or take writing.” I’ve also been told that it means “unbreakable”. Anyway, let’s forget about the finer nuances of the translation, the effective meaning of OLEeNU is abundantly clear. It is a mechanism that, amongst other things, claims to significantly reduce lead breakage caused by shock to the pencil, for example if the pencil is dropped to the floor. It essentially does this by having a tube which supports the lead in between the chuck and the sleeve, thus reducing the chance of a lead break between the two. Check it out.
See how the lead is unsupported between chuck and sleeve in this ordinary non-OLEeNU mechanical pencil.
So, personally I don’t have a lot of trouble with this sort of lead breakage, but recently I received a parcel of pencils from overseas and…you guessed it…every single pencil had a broken lead in its tip. The parcel and the pencils were all outwardly undamaged, but clearly somewhere along the way they had taken a right beating. So, OLEeNU popped into my mind. Would OLEeNU mechanisms have made any difference? Time to head on down to the mechanical pencil test laboratory.
Movies involving animals frequently carry a disclaimer along the lines of “No animals were harmed in the making of this movie”. Well, I’d like to say “No mechanical pencils were harmed in the writing of this blog post” but that be would a damn lie. The pencils involved in this article were treated harshly and may never recover from their grievous injuries. Those of a delicate disposition or squeamish nature should read no further.
Right let’s get down to business. It’s pretty simple, I’m going to get three mechanical pencils and do bad things to them to see if the lead breaks in their tip and sort out the tough guys from the wussies. The three guinea pigs are
|Top to Bottom: Pentel Fiesta, Platinum OLEeNU MOL-200, and Paper Mate Flex Grip Elite.|
Now then, let the games begin.
I held all 3 mechanical pencils horizontally and dropped them simultaneously onto the concrete floor of the test lab. They hit the deck and bounced freely. A total of five drops were carried out with the drop height randomly varying between “waist high” and “shoulder high”. The results were convincing. The Fiesta lead broke in 4 of the 5 drops, the Flex Grip Elite broke in a different 4 out of 5, and the OLEeNU didn’t break in any of them. I won’t bore you with the details of a few more pencil crash and bangs around the lab because the results are just more of the same. The champion is clear.
I’m the type who takes all these claims of “super new and improved” with a big dose of cynicism, and regard most such claims as little more than marketing department dross. This time though I believe the advertising is true, the product performs as claimed, the lead in an OLEeNU mechanical pencil really “is not broken easily when you drop off the pencil or take writing.” It may not be unbreakable, but it’s getting close.