The Montblanc Leonardo Sketch Pen (Which is a pencil.)

Leonardo Sketch Pen
Is this the sexiest, most exciting pencil ever?

Years ago, an article in Pen World detailed the background of the wide lead clutch pencil resurgance. The invention and design of a new lead clutch mechanism was followed by success in selling it to the leading innovators in the writing implements trade.

The ultimate expession of that idea is the Leonardo Sketch Pen – which is a pencil. For me, it was a gift upon a special occasion. Not just a gift – an ubergift. You like whisky? Here’s a bottle of Ardbeg Provenance. You like cars? Here’s an Aston-Martin. And here’s what we have for pencils – the Montblanc Leonardo Sketch Pen.
Leonardo Sketch Pen box
As befits such an object, it is beautifully packaged in a presentation box. The top half contains the manual, a small sketch book, and a refill lead. The lower half has the pencil and a protective leather case.
Leonardo Sketch Pen box opened
The pencil itself is beautiful – black and gold, with a heft and design that makes other clutch pencils look very pedestrian. It handles very nicely, and it really conveys a sense of luxury.
Leonardo Sketch Pen accessories
What’s it for? It’s not for writing an essay, but it is great for sketches, drawings, flowcharts, and small bits of jotting. The lead width and pencil heft make it easy to quickly draw any length line. The cap, itself a small work of art, contains a sharpener for pointing the lead. In practice, the lead’s width means that there will be various edges varying from thin to wide, for producing different types of lines. But the initial point stays sharp for quite a while with an HB lead. Montblanc also provides 4B leads for darker, richer lines, and of course one can use third-party leads.

I’ve never seen another pencil with such a “wow” factor. A year old, it’s still a thrill to use.

[A note to readers: This blog may soon be going offline for a while.]

Leave my Rhodia Pad alone!

Paul Smith for Rhodia

One of the delights of the Rhodia pad as a product is it’s consistency – the iconic orange colour, the unchanging format and presentation, the year after year weekend newspaper reports “discovering” the writing pad manufactured for longer than most of us have been alive. So it’s alarming to see something different. What are these splashes of non-orange colour on my Rhodia pad?

It looks like Paul Smith has embellished a Rhodia Pad! Leave my Rhodia pad alone!

The Paul Smith version looks nice – no doubt – but brand managers should know that some of us just don’t want these classics tampered with.

Graf von Faber-Castell pencils.

Graf von Faber-Castell pencil closeup.
Wow. I have wanted to write about these pencils for some while. They are the ultimate woodcase pencil. They have an incredible look, feel, and composition. They even smell nice, with an incredibly rich cedar fragrance.

They are sold in various formats, variants and packages, but here I’ll address only the full length standalone pencils. They are round with ribbed grooves, and have a silver-plate cap. Their circumference is larger than the typical office pencil. They look like finely crafted works of art, which incidentally happen to be pencils.
The Graf von Faber-Castell pencil on a picnic bench.
I’ve got a set of five, and also a set of two that came with a white eraser with ribbing that matches the pencils. The eraser also has a silver-plate cover. Until I can get some eraser replacements, I’m leaving the eraser in the plastic, as I don’t find that white erasers tend to stay white too long.
Various Graf von Faber-Castell pencils.
The series extends to silver-plate sharpeners. I have a large one that’s really a joy to use as a desk sharpener.
Graf von Faber-Castell Large Sharpener
The pencils are definitely top class, with a smooth writing dark lead. In one’s hand, they are very easy and pleasant to grip. They’re also beautiful and luxurious like no other woodcase pencil. Using this pencil is definitely enjoyable, and I recommend trying them to anyone who likes pencils.