Monday, January 07, 2019

Return Quantech

Summer and blog holiday is over. Back to reality.

I hope you all have had a good start to 2019, and that it will be a good year for us all.

So, just a few bits and pieces to kick off 2019 with.

If you are looking for something new(ish) to read you might want to check out Pen Museum blog. It's a good read.

My best holiday photo. Took it with my phone camera so it turned out pretty good. An oi was just sitting there on the track, ignoring us humans... hopefully no one ate him.

I used to buy a holiday pencil every holiday, but haven't done so for quite a while. I think I should start again, so here's the last holiday mechanical pencil I purchased. The BIC Quantech. I got it a few years ago, whilst visiting the Continent of Kangaroos.
BIC Quantech #2 0.7mm mechanical pencil
BIC might be mostly known for economical and lower value office supplies, so in their range the Quantech is a premium offer. Its not bad. Silver metallic look good quality plastic body with chrome metal pocket clip and metal grip.

I really quite like the metal grip. It is a criss-cross pattern, like a light knurling. It always seems to catch the light.
bic quantech pencil grip
It doesn't work quite as well as it looks
3mm retractable lead sleeve, 0.7mm lead, push top ratchet mechanism, small eraser with clear cover. Made in China. That's all standard stuff,  but BIC really have done a good job on the visual styling of this mechanical pencil.
bic quantech mechanical pencil eraser
I'm not sure of the Qunatech's current status. It might be discontinued.


Stefano said...

Welcome back, Dave.
I wish you a wonderful 2019!
And of course: happy pencilful year to all! :)

This is the first time I see a Bic mechanical pencil with metal grip. It gives me the impression of an economic pencil (potentially), with a fairly elegant appearance. Not bad at all!

Kiwi-d said...

Yes, economical elegance sums it up

MegaLead777 said...

Hey Dave! First of all, let me just say it's great seeing you put up reviews again, you were sorely missed!

I thought I was the only person that liked the Quantech! There are scant few reviews of it online, and I don't think it was in production for more than a few years. I first saw the Quantech in my college bookstore, in 2006 or 2007, along with the Rondo (which was just "borrowed" from Ballograph, which Bic owns). I really wanted both the Quantech and the Rondo, but I had just gone on a mechanical pencil buying "blitz" when they arrived, and I couldn't justify the $8-ish price tag for each one (oh how times have changed for what I'm willing to pay now). I assumed I'd just get them later when I had a bit more, I graduate, kind of forgot about them, and a few years later when I remembered them, I looked around and they were nowhere to be found! I'm pretty sure the Quantech was out of production by 2009 or 2010.

*Luckily*, in 2017—when I started to REALLY get into mechanical pencils again—I was fortunate to come across a stationery store from the UK that had a few dozen of these for sale on eBay. I think I wound up buying 3 or 4 packs of 3 over the next few months :) (0.5mm) I really took to this pencil for some reason, and it felt pretty much exactly how I thought it would (sometimes I'm way off about the "feel," but it was just what I expected, and that was good). Some people complained that the gnurling was not as "deep" as their Rotrings, but despite not *looking* like it will grip very well, I find it actually does a good job at it. I liked the styling and the retractable tip very much as well (I got my first GraphGear 1000 around the same time, and I wound up using this one much more, probably because the front-weightedness of it made it easier to write with for longer).

That UK store ran out of their stock about 6 months ago. I still keep checking to see if more will come up! (the Quantech, after all, does have a plastic clutch, so they are going to wear out at *some* point...I'd like to have more just in case!)

The one "drawback" with this pencil, I find, is that you have to be pretty careful with it over time. Some of the reviews I've seen for this pencil are more or less "meh," and I think it's mostly because of the eraser & the cap:

- the cap will easily crack if you drop it (I think I see a little bit of that in the photo, or is it just the light?)
- even without cracking, it might get a little more loose over time
- if you lose the cap, it will probably be fine for a while, but the plastic "wall" that holds the eraser is very thin, and it too can crack and break apart, and once that happens, the eraser won't hold anymore

So far that last thing has only happened on one of my Quantechs. I will probably come up with a fix for that at some point, but needless to say, I'm very careful with the others now, and I make sure not to lose those caps!

In case you didn't know this, the Bic Atlantis/Velocity Pro uses the same size eraser, so it's still pretty easy at least to get replacements for those!

Were it not for the eraser holder & the cap issue, this pencil would have been a 9/10 for me (and w/a brass clutch, maybe a 10/10 ;) ), but even with the imperfections, I still love it, and it's probably my favorite original Bic design. When people think of Bic, they usually don't think of something as nice as the Quantech! And while I do like some of the newer ones they have out (Velocity Max is actually pretty comfortable to write with), it would be nice of they could really go for a sturdier, "metallic" design like this one again.

Kiwi-d said...

Hi MegaLead777. Good to hear from you, and thanks for the detailed comments. There is no crack in my cap, that's just a lighting effect. On the one hand it is somewhat "meh", but not for BIC, and I thought was a good addition to their range, and as I said, they got the visual styling right.