Thursday, December 17, 2009

Kuru Toga 0.7

Whats wrong with this Kuru Toga picture?
Uni Kuru Toga mechanical pencil

Here's a hint.
Kuru Toga 0.5 and 0.7

Uni Kuru Toga 0.5mm mechanical pencil with 0.7mm lead refills?
Kuru Toga modified 0.7mm

Way up there in Japan, Isu has been at it again. Out with his micro tools, modifying away, trying to make ever fatter Kuru Toga's. Thanks Isu, a unique addition to the collection.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ritepoint Mechanical Pencil

Ritepoint Perpetual Calendar Mechanical Pencil

One thing I like about vintage mechanical pencils is their link to history and how they can take me down paths I would otherwise never have explored. I recently became the owner of this vintage mechanical pencil.
Ritepoint Perpetual Calendar mechanical pencil - Oran
It is a Ritepoint Perpetual Calendar mechanical pencil. I don’t know much about Ritepoint of St. Louis, Missouri, but they were clearly a reasonably large manufacturer who, like Autopoint, made a lot of advertising pencils. A couple of years ago I reverted to wearing an analogue mechanical wristwatch which has only a date display. Formerly I wore digital watches that told me the date and what day of the week it was. Without wanting to sound like some sort of moron or absent minded type of person, when I first got rid of my digital watch I really did struggle with what day of the week it was, let alone being able to tell the time by looking at the hands!!!! I could have done with a perpetual calendar pencil back then.
Calendar pencil top - Narvik
On the first day of each month you pull the top cap up and rotate it around to set the correct day of the week for the first day of the month, and then you have a calendar set for that month. In the picture above, M (Monday) has been rotated to coincide with the 1st of the month.

This pencil is in near new condition. As you might expect it is a twist tip screw mechanism using 1.18mm leads. The front section pulls off to reveal an eraser.
Ritepoint pencil apart - Australia
Whilst it is visually in near new condition, unfortunately a previous owner has tried to refill the lead by jamming them in through the spiral top of the mechanism beneath the eraser, down the sides of the spiral, up through the tip…you name it…wherever you look there’s a lead jammed in there and despite my best efforts I can’t get it to work again.

Now, as for this pencil taking me down an otherwise unknown path…well this is a souvenir pencil, printed with an image of the M/S Batory.
MS Batory - The Channel
I had not previously heard of the Batory, but a quick Google search reveals she was a ship with an interesting past.
MS Batory - Dunkirk
Originally a Polish ocean liner, she saw service as a troop ship with the Allied navies in WWII and her honour role matches that of many a mighty battlewagon - transporting evacuee children from the UK to Australia, British troops to Norway, the BEF from Dunkirk, the UK gold reserves to Canada, landing troops for the invasions of Algeria, Sicily, southern France, and more.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

It’s that time of year again when all sorts of other things seem to need attending to and I have to put this blog on hold. So, I will probably still have some time now and then to publish a few bits and pieces, but normal transmission will not be resumed until mid/late January.

I would like to take this time to say thanks to all of you who read this blog, who comment, who email me, who send me things, who I have swapped things with…it is all much appreciated. I really enjoy my contact with other pencil folk around the world.

For those of you who celebrate Christmas and/or New Year then I send my best wishes for the season, and for those of you who don’t celebrate either of those, I send you my best wishes too.

I’ve enjoyed this blog through 2009, and I hope you'll still be reading in 2010.

Ka kite ano

Monday, December 07, 2009

The 2009 DMP’s

It’s that time of the year again, so welcome to the second annual DMP Awards.

Just to remind you, any mechanical pencil or other item featured on my blog in the 2009 calendar year is eligible for an award, but preference is given to mechanical pencils. Awards will not be given if there are no suitable candidates. The awards are:-

The “Bonus Slice of Pav” and “Last Nights Left Over Warm Flat Stale Ale” - special awards for anything judged worthy of an award, good or bad, respectively.

The “Pencil of Shame” awarded for the worst pencil (or item).

And the supreme award, the “Mordan-Hayakawa Trophy” for the best mechanical pencil (or item) of the year.

All decisions are final and the judge need offer no justification or defence of his decisions.

So, without further to-do, the envelopes please….
This year the initial long-list for the “Pencil of Shame” had three pencils on it. However the panel immediately decided against short-listing the Stabilo ‘s move easyergo and Beifa MC1002 - bad names and rotten erasers do not make a truly bad pencil. That left only one nomination, and after some deliberation the judge decided to award the “Pencil of Shame” to the eMicro Jedo M105.

Whilst a few candidates were initially discussed, ultimately the judge decided that this year there was (thankfully) no need to award any “Last Nights Left Over Warm Flat Stale Ale” prizes.

On the flipside the judge was happy to consider several nominees for a “Bonus Slice of Pav”, and decided to dish out two slices – one to the Vespiary notebook and the other to Ancient Kauri pencils. Then in an impulsive move a third slice was awarded, to Uni Nano Dia leads - the judge appreciated your efforts.

For the supreme award, the “Morden-Hayakawa Trophy”, the judge felt that overall the calibre of this years candidates was perhaps down a little on last year, but from the initial field of 18 candidates, 9 nominees that made it through to the short list.
  • Cross Tech 3 multi pen
  • Faber-Castell Propelling pencil
  • Lamy Accent
  • Pentel Smash Q1005
  • Pentel ‘The Bat’
  • Rotring Tikky
  • Stabilo ‘s move easyergo
  • Uni Shift 1010
  • Zebra Tect 2way
The judge noted the irony of the Stabilo ‘s move easyergo being an initial candidate for both the Pencil of Shame and the supreme award.

Drumroll please....the winner of the Morden-Hayakawa Trophy for 2009, the Supreme DMP award is…the Faber-Castell Propelling Pencil. You don’t have to be big, techo or fancy to be cool.

Saturday, December 05, 2009


Here's a new pencil related blog you might want to cast your eye over - "Bleistift". Despite the name, it is in English.

Hopefully you have noticed over the last month or so I've done quite a bit of work on Labels etc over in the sidebar. I'd be interested to know if you think the current order of the various sidebar elements is OK, or if some other order would be more user friendly. Also if you think there should be other Labels, etc.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


Olá a um leitor de Portugal.

("Hello to a reader from Portugal". - At least according to Google Translate)

5 November 2009 you viewed this blog from Vila Nova De Gaia, Porto, Portugal.

If you think this was you, I would very much appreciate it if you would contact me using the email address in my blogger profile - see the sidebar.

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.

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

Friday, November 27, 2009

Leads From Austria and Slovakia

Little packages from far away, faithfully delivered by Her Majesties postal service, are one life’s simple pleasures. This blog has put me in touch in with new friends in far away places and it’s always great to receive a little surprise package from one of them. The other day my first ever parcel from Hungary arrived. Nick from Hungary had done a little pencil shopping on one of his jaunts to Vienna, Austria with a stop-off in Bratislava, Slovakia.

Some new mechanical pencil lead refills to add to the collection.

Aristo, an Austrian manufacturer and distributor of drafting supplies. Apparently the company roots are German, and in 1976 the company was acquired by Rotring, but then the Austrian subsidiary developed relative independence and more recently local management staged a buyout leading to full separation from Rotring.

Lyra, from Germany, now part of the Italian FILA group.

Lastly from the Czech Republic, Koh-I-Noor.

Ahhhh…the Czech Republic, the birthplace of pilsner. At the same time as Nicks package arrived, the travel section of my weekly magazine was extolling the virtues of ‘Beer Wellness Land’ in the Czech Republic. A brewery and spa, where you soak in warm foamy hoppy goodness! Now that would be a good days outing – KIN factory tour in the morning, then an hour or so in the car and a relaxing spa in the afternoon!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bye Bye Skippy

Many of you will have read elsewhere of the recent closure of Staedtler Australia’s manufacturing operation. They didn’t make any mechanical pencils, but I always liked to see “Australia” on the woodcase pencils in the local shops. It made a welcome change from the usual other countries like China, Indonesia, etc. So, with that in mind I thought I should say “Farewell, Skippy. I’ll miss you” especially to the Staedtler Tradition, formerly proudly Made in Australia.

Dating from 2001, here’s the front page of a 4 page A4 brochure detailing the pencils, coloured pencils and stick ballpoints they made in Australia back then.
Staedtler Australia brochure

Sunday, November 22, 2009

2000 and Scribble

I don’t usually write direct comparisons of mechanical pencils in the “Mechanical Pencil A v Mechanical Pencil B” style, but quite a few people ask those sort of questions, so I have decided to do this comparison of two mechanical pencils that are always close at hand when I have something to write.

Lamy 2000 compared to Lamy Sribble. Note that I am comparing 2000 to the Scribble 0.7mm mechanical pencil which has several differences to the Scribble 3.15mm clutch pencil.

The 2000 is a long tapering classic minimalist style mechanical pencil. Scribble is somewhat more unusually shaped. This photo hopefully demonstrates the difference in length and width between the two.

Weighing in at 19g, 2000 is 138mm long by 12mm diameter whilst Scribble weighs in at 25g and is 120mm long by 14mm diameter. Not surprisingly this difference in weight and dimension produces a substantially different feel in the hand.

2000 looks and feels long, slender, lightweight and precise versus the short, solid, robust, chunky heavyweight Scribble.

2000 has a brushed surface finish which gives a very pleasing tactile experience in the hand. This finish provides good grip and over the long term some patina from use may build up. Scribble has a lightly sandblasted type finish which also gives reasonable grip but doesn’t feel as interesting to the fingers.

2000 has a fixed conical sleeve. It is still a reasonably fine diameter at the point and I would describe it as only semi-pocket safe. On the other hand Scribble has a short retractable metal pipe sleeve. When retracted Scribble is considerably more pocket safe than 2000.

Both are normal push top button ratchet advance mechanisms, but they produce an unusually long length of lead. Ten clicks on 2000 will get you a whopping great 11mm of 0.5mm lead. On the other hand ten clicks on Scribble will get you 9mm of 0.7mm lead - that’s actually still quite a bit, despite being a shorter advance than 2000. Some recent comments on this blog have noted lead breakage problems with 2000. I definitely agree that 2000 takes some getting used to, and until you do so, you may have lead breakage problems. I personally believe most of the problems are associated with the unusual length of lead advanced by the mechanism. When you first start writing, two clicks of 0.5mm lead is way too much and you will probably snap it. You also need to get used to allowing the lead to wear right down before advancing another length. Lead breakages will also be reduced if you adopt a fairly upright stance when writing, and use superior quality leads. If you are happy writing with either 0.5mm or 0.7mm lead, and want a 2000, then I’d definitely recommend you choose the 0.7mm for improved resistance to breakages.

The black coating on the push top button of my Scribble has worn and scratched over the years through wear against the main body.
Both have small erasers under the top cap, and neither are worth further mention. Both also have clean out rods under the eraser which is nice little extra.

Both have strong functional metal pocket clips.

Both these mechanical pencils are great things, but Lamy clearly intend these two mechanical pencils to occupy different niches - 2000 is a 'fine writing instrument' and all that implies. Scribble is no lesser a testament to Lamys design ethic, but it is a note-taker, a jotter, a sketcher.

Further reading from this blog:-
Lamy 2000 Mechanical Pencil Review
The Life of 2000
Lamy Scribble Mechanical Pencil Review
A Day In The Life Of Scribble

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cross ATX Mechanical Pencil Review

Cross ATX Mechanical Pencil Review

The Cross ATX mechanical pencil appeals to my personal tastes. The body is a gently tapering shape and the pocket clip flows onto the body, continuing the smooth elegant lines. Classical simplicity. Mighty attractive.
Cross ATX mechanical pencil
My ATX mechanical pencil is the cyanic blue with chrome trims colour option. The cyanic blue is a very dark shiny blue lacquer type finish which shows many fine striations when the light hits it in a certain direction. Apparently this is actually reflections from the brushed metal finish of the main body beneath the lacquer. The ATX is a reasonably substantially sized writing instrument, but at 25 grams and with a fairly central balance point, it is somewhat lighter in the hand than its size and dark colouring might otherwise suggest.

Down in the general area where most would grip the pencil the diameter is about 8 – 10mm. The lacquer finish is smooth and shiny, but as far as such finishes go, and combined with the reasonable body diameter, it provides an acceptable level of grip.

The lead advance mechanism is twist top ratchet. The top half of the body is rotated to activate the lead advance one increment and then it springs back. If you have good dexterity then you can operate it one handed, but many would need to use both hands. There is quite a bit of rotation before the lead advance mechanism is engaged which means there is an amount of play between the two halves of the pencil and at times there is some intermittent wobble noise when writing with the pencil. Ten activations of the mechanism will advance about 6mm of the 0.5mm lead.
Cross ATX pencil tip
The lead sleeve is a short 2mm long pipe and it is a fully retractable sliding sleeve so the pencil as fully pocket safe as you would expect from a luxury writing pencil. If you twist the top half of the body the opposite direction than that which advances the lead, then the twist mechanism locks and the lead and sleeve can be pushed back into the body. This twist and lock feature of Cross mechanical pencils was pointed out to me by a commenter on this blog earlier this year. Just like push top ratchet mechanisms you can of course also push the lead and sleeve back into the body when the mechanism is at held twisted at its maximum lead advance position.
Cross ATX mechanical pencil lead refill

The top half of the body pulls off to reveal a small eraser, which in turn pulls out to allow access to the lead refill chamber. The mechanism housing is clearly marked “PAT. 5,662,424”.
Cross ATX mechanical pencil patent
Now, if you look that up on Google Patents, you will see that it is for a “ ‘Mechanical Pencil’ Assignee A. T. Cross Company, Lincoln, R.I. Inventors Kageyama Shuhei; Ebinuma Tadayoshi, both of Saitama-ken, Japan; Thomas Clem, Lincoln, R.I.” Now, those first two names and their address didn’t exactly fit with A. T. Cross and it piqued my interest. This patent lists two other patents in its citations section, so I thought I’d follow through to them. The first of these is “ ‘Rotary knock type mechanical pencil’ Inventors: Hidehei Kageyama, Robert V. Lozeau Assignees: Kotobuki & Co., Ltd., A. T. Cross Company” Ahhh, Kotobuki, now there’s an interesting relationship revealed. Anyway, I won’t rush off on that tangent any further…for the moment.
Cross ATX clip
“CROSS” is marked clearly on the pocket clip. The pocket clip is strong and will certainly keep your pencil attached to whatever you clip it to. It’s very hard to see, but “CROSS” is also marked on the top half of the body, near the centre ring.

My ATX pencil was purchased a few years old and it states on the protective packaging sleeve “Assembled in USA with US and foreign components”. I don’t know what country of origin statement is on the mechanical pencils currently shipping from the A.T. Cross company distribution centre.
• Best Points – The looks.
• Not So Good Points – That occasional rattle noise can be annoying.
• Price Range – Mid.
• Does this pencil make it into the Top 5? - No.

Dimensions – Length 141mm, diameter 12mm at widest point. Balance point about 75mm up from the tip.

But wait, there’s more! (Though no free steak knives)

Back on 9 September, ‘Benjamin’ left a comment on this blog suggesting I review the Cross ATX mechanical pencil, and also compare it to the Lamy 2000. Now, I don’t normally do that sort of comparison thing, but without establishing a precedent…here are a couple of photos of the Cross ATX and Lamy 2000 so you can get more of a direct comparison between the two.
Cross ATX and Lamy 2000 mechanical pencils
18 grams for 2000, 25g for ATX.
Cross ATX and Lamy 2000 clips
Clips - sprung and not sprung.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Excalibur Explained

Pentel Excalibur and SG65

Back on 8 September 2009, ‘Guacanator’ left this comment on my Guestbook.

"My question is in regards to the Excalibur. You've mentioned it, and have compared a few other pencils to it. However, I feel it has not been adequately explained. I've done searched for it, but all I found was people bragging about their collections.

Do you think you could put in a bit of info about it?"

I thought he (or she) had a fair point, but there was someone far better equipped to handle this than me, so I fired off an email to Germ of Pencils11 blog. Germ took up the challenge and has published his article, so head on over there.

Excalibur pen pencil set, 1984 LA Olympics
Pentel Excalibur set 1984 LA Olympics
One of these has had 25+ years of use and one hasn’t - Excalibur and SG65 gold + black stripe.

Pentel Excalibur + SG65 mechanical pencils

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Candy Score

At the risk of being called a skite, look what I just scored…it’s like eye-candy from yesteryear.

Conway Stewart No 15FP and Nippy No 3 mechanical pencil
During the current tough economic times I have been amazed at how the prices of local auctions for vintage fountain pens and pencils have held up, and even increased. A luxury asset increasing in value during recession? Still, everything comes to he who waits. I’ve refused to buy into the current price scenario and lost auction after auction for over a year, and then just last week, somehow the other bidders were absent, and for the price of a home delivery pizza I got this. Beautiful.

I have previously blogged about these two writing instruments – the Conway Stewart No 15 fountain pen and Nippy No 3 propelling pencil, in green marble with black veins. In the past I’ve paid nearly three times as much for these sets. Even better, unlike most sets, this latest one is in fantastic condition. It’s probably forty or fifty years old and it might not be NOS, but it’s so close you really do need a magnifying glass to find any blemishes. The tip of the fountain pen nib shows no sign of any wear under examination with a 10X magnifier.

Bright and shiny gold fittings - there’s no brass here.
Nippy No 3 propelling pencil
Lustrous marble. True depth of colour. Talk about the cat’s pyjamas, the bee’s knees.

Recently I posted about the Pentel P205M Limited Edition marble pencil. No contest.
Nippy No 3 and Pentel P205M
I include this closing note because spell check didn’t like that word up at the beginning. I had no idea it was Australasian only.

From the Oxford Dictionary website

/skit/ informal
• verb 1 Austral./NZ boast. 2 Scottish & dialect move or glance off quickly and forcefully.
• noun Austral./NZ 1 a boaster. 2 boasting or boastfulness.
— ORIGIN perhaps from Old Norse

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Carnival of Pen, Pencil, and Paper

The Fourth Carnival of Pen, Pencil, and Paper is now up at Black Belt Productivity. Lots of posts and reviews on pens, notebooks, and more, but sadly only one pencil review, namely my review of the Rotring Tikky mechanical pencil. Find out more about the carnival, including how to submit a post, at Notebook Stories.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

1915 NZ Diary No.56

A couple of weeks ago I bid a couple of bucks and got this old diary.

It is leather bound, about 125 x 80mm (5 x 3 inches), one page per day and has a pencil holder sleeve down the length of its spine. It is a New Zealand pocket diary No. 56, from 1915. Considering it is fast approaching being one hundred years old it is in excellent condition.

Not much is written in it, mostly just hours worked by a man who appears to be some sort of rural labourer, travelling around a nearby province clearing forested land for pasture, and doing other farm labours. Although he has a “home” he frequently lives “in camp” for weeks at a time, hunting for his dinner, noting his daily-bags of rabbits, hares, birds and pigs, including on one occasion “shot a pig with no ears!” Another occasion notes a trip to town to purchase suit, hat and teeth.

I bought the diary for its advertisements. They are just plain black and white, very simple and basic. Here’s three I like.

'The Cheapest Shilling Dictionary In The World.' It costs one shilling. So, umm, some ‘shilling dictionaries’ don’t cost a shilling? They cost more?

A very basic ad for one of the world’s leading prestige pen brands.

“...neither too large nor too small, too thick nor too thin, but just right.” The perfect mechanical pencil?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Rotring Tikky Mechanical Pencil Review

Rotring Tikky Mechanical Pencil Review

The German company Rotring is one with a proud heritage, a name that has long been synonymous with superior technical drafting equipment, including mechanical pencils. In more recent times though they have become one of the Sanford brands and undergone some changes that have at times left many onlookers confused and surprised. A large number of their products have been discontinued but one of the survivors is the subject of this review, the Rotring Tikky mechanical pencil. In the Rotring 2008 catalogue, aside from the Rotring 300 clutch pencil, the Tikky is the only mechanical pencil featured and in fact it is shown logoed as the “Papermate Tikky by Rotring”. As at the time of writing this review the Tikky and the 300 are the only mechanical pencils on the Rotring website. Unlike the catalogue, on the website the Tikky is shown branded solely as Rotring. If you search the web you will also find what certainly appears to be the Tikky available as the “Papermate Precision” mechanical pencil. Like I say, a mix when it comes to Rotring.
Rotring Tikky mechanical pencils
The Rotring Tikky mechanical pencil is currently available in four different lead diameters, labelled as 0.35mm, 0.5mm, 0.7mm and 1.0mm. Don’t be confused by these lead diameters, Rotring are using some less common designations and the 0.35mm is the lead that most others call 0.3mm, and the 1.0mm is what is usually called 0.9mm. So to re-state that, the Tikky is available in 0.3mm, 0.5mm, 0.7mm and 0.9mm, despite what’s printed on the pencil itself, and what the true diameters of the leads are.
mechanical pencil line thicknesses

Rotring Tikky 3-pack mechanical pencils
As well as selling by the individual pencil, Rotring offer a Tikky three-pack of 0.35/0.5/0.7mm which is what I have for this review. As you might expect, the pricing on the three-pack is advantageous compared to the singles. Now that I’ve become aware of this three-pack I think it’s a pretty good marketing idea and I’m surprised other brands don’t offer something similar.

The Tikky is a fairly attractive looking pencil. The base colour is black, but it’s got a hint of brown in it in some lights. The whole package of chrome appointments, glossy black/brown upper body, white logo printing, red Rotring ring and interesting grip section all combine to make a visually pleasing whole. For those of you who like lighter colours, some versions of the Tikky are also available in a wide selection of other colours.

The grip section is the most eye-catching aspect of the Tikky. It is a hard grey rubber, moulded around rectangular sections of the body. Overall the traditional Rotring Tikky wave profile is kept but a rather visually intriguing pattern is created. The grey rubber is very hard and not particularly grippy, so whilst the grip looks good, it is only average in actual use. Weighing in at about 12 grams, the Tikky is a medium weight pencil but it is balanced towards the tip. The weight, balance and grip zone combine to make it feel quite good in the hand.
Rotring Tikky grip zone
The pocket clip on the Tikky is a rather impressive affair. It is very firm clip that won’t be coming accidently loose from whatever you attach it to. I really like the clips long flowing profile. The clip is attached to the body by two wings that are folded around and onto the body – it’s a class act that shows some genuine quality of manufacture.
Rotring Tikky mechanical pencil pocket clip
The lead diameter of the Tikky is indicated by a coloured section up near the top of the pencil. Yellow = 0.35mm, brown = 0.5mm, etc. The lead size is also printed on the barrel. Well, the lead dot colour indicator is a nice idea, but I’m not particularly convinced of its practicality. The Tikky is advertised as a “technical writing” pencil so far more useful to me would be a lead hardness indicator, which the Tikky does not have.
Rotring Tikky lead size indicator

Rotring Tikkys
The Tikky is a standard push top button ratchet advance mechanism pencil. Ten clicks of the 0.5mm model will get you about 8mm of lead. The lead sleeve is a 4mm thin metal pipe so definitely suitable for draughting work, although I imagine that’s ‘drafting’ in the Sanford lexicon. The Tikky’s sleeve is a fixed non-retractable sleeve, so it’s not pocket safe.
Rotring Tikky mechanical pencil tip
As you might expect, there is a small emergency use eraser under the push top button, and you pull that out to access the lead refill magazine.
Rotring Tikky end cap
Rotring is stamped into the pocket clip.
Rotring name
Markings printed on the body.
Rotring Tikky markings
Despite the recent changes and other carry on with the Rotring brand, the Tikky is a class act and I’m tempted to think this latest incarnation is an actual improvement on it predecessors. Product evolution as it should be.
  • Best Points – It looks good, especially the grip and pocket clip.
  • Not So Good Points – Nothing really bad, but I would swap the lead size indicator for a hardness indicator any day of the week.
  • Price Range – Low.
  • Does this pencil make it into the Top 5? - No.
Dimensions – Length 141mm, diameter 9mm. Balance point about 60mm up from the tip.

Further Reading : Old & new Tikky's - Tikky 1 2 3

The Fine Print
The set of three Rotring Tikky mechanical pencils featured above were given to me by Euroffice, an office supplies specialist in the UK, in exchange for a review of the pencils and this acknowledgement.