Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Worther Spiral Mechanical Pencil Review

Worther Spiral Mechanical Pencil Review

Setting aside a guest review of the Slight back in 2011, this is my first review of a mechanical pencil from small German manufacturer Worther. Actually the proper spelling is Wörther but their website is www.woerther.de and English language websites generally forget the umlaut and just go with Worther.

worther spiral mechanical pencil
Worther Spiral mechanical pencil supplied by retailer Pen Heaven

First impressions do count, but they are not always right. I must admit that when I first took the Worther Spiral mechanical pencil out of its light cardboard presentation box my first impression was “Hmmmm….” Clearly Worther were trying to make an impression with the spiral body, but it just wasn’t working for me.
worther spiral pencil

When I got to my office the next morning I took the Spiral out of my bag and “Wow, is that the same pencil? It looks great”. What a difference lighting makes.

worther spiral mechanical pencil

So, that spiral body. Well it is a hexagonal cross-section that is spiral twisted down the length of the pencil. That means there are basically no straight flat surfaces anywhere and the gloss and light reflections create a rather unusual visual effect. The alternating light shiny and darker patches as the spiral winds around really keep your eyes engaged and it is quite interesting how the look of the pencil constantly changes with the light conditions, the angle you hold it at, etc.

The hexagonal body is lightweight aluminium so this mechanical pencil is fairly lightweight. When looking at the Worther Spiral the big question for me has always been, “How will it feel in the hand?” The answer is “Surprisingly good.” The grip zone is of course part of the spiral body but it is still a hexagonal body so your fingers tend to grip it across the flats in the usual hexagonal fashion and the spiral is not twisting so fast that it interferes with your fingers. That of course is my subjective opinion based on how I tend to hold my pencils. I think it would be fair to say that this mechanical pencil might not suit those who grip very tightly, and those who have large hands. To those people I would say “Try before you buy”.

I did notice that when holding the pencil during pauses between writing that my fingers gravitated towards the top of the pencil. I guess that is the result of no specific grip zone and the spiral body sort of winding your hand along its length.

The pocket clip also follows the spiral down the body although it struggles to keep an exact match. The pocket clip does work, but its functionality is not one the strong points of this writing instruments design. The spiral body and very slim line pocket clip does mean that this pencil is prone to rolling on your desk.
Not just one of the flock
As a mechanical pencil for general writing the lead sleeve is a short cone, and it uses a standard push top ratchet mechanism. Ten clicks will advance about 9mm of 0.5mm lead.
Standard conical tip for general writing and office work.
There is the usual small emergency use eraser under the push top button. The small size and spherical shape of the button mean that it is actually quite hard to get a grip on and pull out. The trap for the uninitiated is that you do not refill the lead magazine through the top, instead you have to unscrew the tip section and pull off the end cap of the internal mechanism to insert your sticks of lead. It's all a little bit disjointed really. As pictured below you can see Worther use Schmidt system components.
worther pencil refill
Schmidt system
Overall then, the Worther Spiral mechanical pencil was a surprise to me, and I am glad to have it.

•    Best Points – The visual and tactile experience.
•    Not So Good Points – Desk rolling.
•    Price Range – Mid
•    Does this pencil make it into the Top 5? – No

Dimensions – Length   126mm, diameter…a little hard to say because of the spiral but let’s say effectively 9mm. Balance point about 70mm up from the tip.

Disclaimer: For the purposes of this review, the retailer Pen Heaven provided this Worther Spiral mechanical pencil to me free of charge.
Much to my surprise the pencil arrived gift wrapped. Clearly their gift-wrapping staff are a highly trained bunch, probably origami masters, and if you were thinking of sending a gift to someone I can vouch for the quality of their gift wrapping service.
The Spiral is also available in other colours and ink formats.


Stefano said...

I have to admit that I find the twisted pocket clip fascinating!

Anonymous said...

Its unusual, but kinda interesting.

Blackbeard said...

The twisted design certainly does the job of getting your attention.
About the Schimidt system, how does it differ from traditional mechanical pencil? Their website isn't of much help in understanding it.

Kiwi-d said...

Schmidt and various other writing instrument manufacturers make some "system" series where they have an interchangeable mechanisms for ballpoint, rollerball, mechanical pencil, etc. Basically the pen company makes their bodies to the same internal dimensions (that can then take the system mechanism) and then they just put in a MP, BP, RB, mechanism to make whatever format is required. Well that's the basic theory.

2nd_astronaut said...

Oh, you had a wild party going on (5th picture)?

Your post remembered me, that I want to get one spiral for years. But I have never seen a used one at ebay or another occasion to get one. I guess I have to order from Wörther, If I ever want to have one ...

PS Writing Woerther is completely ok in German, but just leaving away the umlaut is ... not so ok ;-) (because it's pronounced differently then: Woerther goes like in "burn", and Worther like in "or").

Kiwi-d said...

Anna saw the Woether, burst into song, we did the twist, things spiraled out of control... better stop now, this is bad :D

Unknown said...

It would be kind of interesting to see how they make it. I assume they start with a 'straight' hexagonal piece, get the aluminum hot, and then twist it? Or maybe they machine it like that from the beginning? Either way, very nice.

Robert Rowe

Kiwi-d said...

Robert, after reading your comment I thought I would have a go at asking Woerther, so I contacted them via their website. They reply is

"The housing of the WÖRTHER SPIRAL is originally in hexagonal shape and is pulled into a spiral with a special machine developed and built by my father.
The material of the pen is anodised aluminium."

Now we know :)
Also thanks to Woerther for replying.