Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Tombow Cool Mechanical Pencil Review

Tombow Cool Mechanical Pencil Review

Over the past few years I have become increasingly aware of just how much the offerings of the global writing instrument brands vary from one country to another. I guess ages ago I had a rather naïve and simplistic view of the global brands, something along the lines of the brand having a basket of products with a sort of pick and mix selection of those products being offered in various countries or geographical regions by the relevant national distributors. These days my view is more along the lines of the global brand having a basket of products, as well as the various national distributors each having their own individual baskets, such that the products offered in any one country are a selection from the global basket plus the contents of the local basket.

Although it is far away on the other side of the world, Turkey is an inextricable and visceral part of one of the most important events in the history of my country, and that of our ‘Trans-Tasman Cousins’. So, unusual connections to Turkey have a little extra interest for me. There are writing instrument manufacturers in Turkey, one of which is ADEL, a joint venture between Anadolu Group of Turkey and Germany’s Faber-Castell, but I haven’t as yet got my hands on any of their products. Today though I have something else of interest - it appears that there are some Turkey-only Tombow mechanical pencils. You can see them here at the website of Serve, who are an office supplies company in Turkey, and in particular a (or the) Turkish distributor for Tombow of Japan.

So, from Turkey, I present the Tombow Cool. According to the Serve website (with the assistance of Google translate, and as far as I can understand it) the Tombow Cool mechanical pencil is available in seven colour options and in 0.5, 0.7 and 0.9mm lead. Mine is the metallic grey colour and 0.9mm lead.Tombow Cool mechanical pencil 0.9mmFirst off then, does the Tombow Cool look cool? Well I quite like its looks, and the Cool logo printed on the body does look rather cool. The combination of black, metallic grey and chrome blends nicely.

The Cool is a triangular bodied mechanical pencil. The rubber grip is triangular and feels a little wider than average. It is quite long in length, taking up over a third of the length of the pencil so you can pretty much hold the Cool wherever you like – down low close to the tip or way up for that relaxed stance.Tombow Cool mechanical pencil front The rubber is smooth without any surface pattern and a reasonably grippy compound with a small amount of give under finger pressure. The Cool is reasonably lightweight and neutrally balanced so it doesn’t have a lot of presence in the hand.

The tip section is a chrome metal cone, and the retractable lead sleeve is also a short cone so this pencil is pocket safe but clearly intended as a general writing pencil. The mechanism is a standard push top ratchet. For my 0.9mm version, ten clicks will get you 7mm of lead. The mechanism feels and sounds nice, smooth and positive. Tombow Cool grip zoneUp at the top end of the pencil, the push top button is an extendable eraser housing. I quite like the grooved chrome ring around the housing.Tombow Cool eraser top The eraser core itself is a fairly hard white plastic or TPR and is about 4mm diameter. You can twist out about 26mm (1”) of usable length. The eraser is obviously replaceable.Tombow Cool twist out eraser The entire cartridge pulls out to allow access to the lead refill magazine.Tombow Cool refill chamberThe pocket clip is very smart looking. It is rather strongly sprung, almost too strong. It certainly won’t be accidently slipping off whatever you clipped it to.

Markings on the body are minimal – “Cool” up by the pocket clip, and “09, Tombow, Japan” down near the rubber grip.Cool logoTombow 09Overall then this is a nice smart looking mechanical pencil and quite reasonably priced. It’s unusual origins are a little added bonus to mechanical pencil collectors. Cool is not an inappropriate name.
  • Best Points – The looks.
  • Not So Good Points – Nothing really leaps out at me.
  • Price Range – Economy/Low.
  • Does this pencil make it into the Top 5? - No.

Dimensions – Length 145mm, triangle sides about 11mm. Balance point about 70mm up from the tip.

PS – if there are any collectors or regular readers out there from Turkey, it would be great to hear from you – send me an email on the address up in the blog header.


Penmaniacs said...

that is a "cool" pencil. nice review

Anonymous said...

Yes. Very cool.

Benjamin said...

Very nice pencil - considering the price something you just want to keep at hand as a spare.

If I can make suggestion: You should really review the Cross ATX pencil one day. I've been using one for the last 7 or 8 years (brought me through my entire physics studies) and it still works like on the first day - superb build quality as far as I can tell. Considering the price (~40€ here in Germany) this might be an interesting item for many readers of your blog.

Henrik said...

Nice review as usual Dave, thanks. Now this one could be almost a twin to the new Staedtler 760? It looks so much the same - a Kotobuki again?

Kiwi-d said...

Hello Benjamin
I only have a couple of Cross pencils, but the ATX is one of them. By strange coincidence, a NOS Cross Century Classic BP/MP set that I bought at auction arrived in the letterbox today, so I'll take that as a sign and put the ATX on the list for sometime in the not too distant future.

Benjamin said...

Nice coincidence indeed! It would be really great if you would compare the Cross ATX to the Lamy 2000 reviewed some time ago... at least from their shape, the overall dimensions and price both are very similar, so the interesting part definitely is in the details.

Anonymous said...

where to buy? looked at all the usual places but no luck.

Anonymous said...

Following Henrik's comment - Dave MUST like the Staedtler 760. It's blue! It's BLUE! :) Sorry, sily mood... said...

Hi Dave,
I'm writing you from Turkey, I usually look at your blog but since I don't fancy this pencil, Tombow Cool, I haven't read this article since today.
I also have a blog on pens-pencils in Turkey,


Kiwi-d said...

Hello Reha
You have some nice pencils and pens on your blog. What do you not like about the Cool? said...

I think the problem is the thickness and the shape of the pencil. It is not thick, neither thin pencil, I couldn't get used to its shape.

Sobranie said...

I came across tho this pencil in this Blog and shamed myself that I had never known this before. The fact its supplied only in Turkey, this pencil attracted my interest a lot and I started chasing for it. I realized that its too hard to find it Turkey, being sold nowhere (even the largest retailers), only I could finally find it in a small pen shop (there was only 2 left, only blue colour, 0.5).

I can say that its really a Cool pencil. But I'm not so into triangular grips; since the clip touches the hand when you have to rotate the pencil more with triangular grips in order to keep writing with the sharpest edge of the lead.

Anyway, it's a good asset to my squad and feels nice to write with a hometown unique pencil.

Kiwi-d said...

Glad to hear you made the effort and are enjoyng your special Turkish Tombow.

Sobranie said...

Thanks to your blog kiwi. I'm curious where/how did you get this pencil ?

Kiwi-d said...

Hi Sobranie
It was sent to me by a friend.