Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Lead Cup - Finals

At last, Cup Final day was here. Would Switzerland’s Caran d’Ache finish the day like David in his match with Goliath, or would Japan’s Pentel continue their seemingly inexorable march to victory? Many felt that the match was there for Pentel to lose, that whatever happened, Caran d’Ache would be heroes as they had already far exceeded all expectations, whilst anything other than victory for Pentel would be an ignominious disaster.

The format of the final was significantly different to all previous matches. The contestants would compete for points in the following events:
Blackness – Heavy Pressure – 1pt
Blackness – Light Pressure – 1pt
Smear Resistance – 3pts
Erasability – PVC – 2pts
Erasability – PVC Free – 1pt
Erasability – Rubber – 1pt
“Writing Feel” – 1pt
Packaging – 1pt
Life – 3pts
Strength – Drop – 1pt
Strength – Long Length – 1pt
Strength – Short Length – 4pts
This gave a total of 20 judging points, the highest score winning, and taking home The Lead Cup.

The opening match up of the blackness test was hard fought, but Pentel won by a small but clear margin. Caran d’Ache immediately fought back with an emphatic victory in the smear resistance test. Stung by the Swiss counter-attack, the Japanese pulled out all the stops to win the PVC and rubber erasability tests, and tie the PVC free test. So at the half way point the Japanese had a handy lead over the Swiss.

Photo - competitors, officials and judges inspecting the blackness and erasability results.

After the halftime interval things started slowly, the “Writing” test was a draw with both being judged good smooth writers. Then packaging was a win to Pentel. The judges felt that Caran d’Ache’s minimalist approach just went too far and they should at least put their name on their product. The Pentel packaging was good visually, but sometimes it was a little difficult to dispense leads. The “Life test” was closely fought, but a winning draw to Pentel, who managed to squeeze a few extra words out of the set length of lead.

With a total of 6 points at stake in the strength tests, it was not too late for Caran d’Ache to reel Pentel back in, but it would be a massive task. The drop test ended in a draw with both exhibiting great strength when dropped from heights, but from then on things went Pentels way. Although the Swiss racked up a few points, Pentel were clear winners in both short and long length strength tests, and the crowds went wild. The final score was 7.7 judging points to Caran d’Ache and 12.3 to Pentel.

AND THEN THERE WAS ONE. The pre-cup favourites had come through to win the inaugural Lead Cup. The Japanese were clearly elated and relieved at their win, but the Swiss took solace in the fact they had exceeded all expectations to reach the finals. See you again in 4 years time!

Some photographs of the awards ceremony. The victorious captain of Pentel collecting the Lead Cup and hoisting it in victory as a salute to the fans.


Anonymous said...

WooHoo !!!!!!!!!!!
I got a box of the winner of the Lead Cup!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I totally love Pentel in all respects. Great pencils and Great refills. They've been my favorite for years.

pigpogm said...

Quality work all the way, Dave - great testing and great writing. I've linked up to the full set on PigPog.

I've not found anything to beat my Pentel Kerry with Pentel leads.

Joo Lean said...

LOL funniest thing ever

Hisham said...

I suppose we have moved on since then. Now we have Ain Stein. I personally am not sure that there is a lot of difference between stein and non-stein.
Over here in the far east we have things by the luck of the draw. I few times I have foundn things that are not really generally available. That is because our market here is just a small one. I do use Ain Stein lead. They are good. But recently I have discovered that Pilot makes 4B/0.5mm lead that really caught my attention because they are smoother than equivalent grade stein by some degree. The tube that they came with is the same as eno but the label says its eno-G. I am assuming that they are the same as Pllot NEOX lead that are being sold elsewhere. The soft 4B lead necessitates use of either Pilot shaker pencil or a side-clicker/sideknock. My preference is to used them with Platinum Pocheno 0.5mm sideknock pencil that are available at local Daiso. I do find that with the combo doodling is so much pleasureable because it is as smooth as using a decent fountain pen. Just sharing. Hope this comment of mine will get posted.