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Caran d’Ache Fixpencil 3 Metal

Caran d'Ache Fixpencil 3

The Fixpencil is the signature product of a world-famous manufacturer. I’ve wanted to own one of these pencils for some while, and acquired a specimen last fall.

The version I have seems to revel in the Caran d’Ache heritage – the most visible marking is the statement “Fixpencil designed in 1929″. The “Swiss Made” logo is also there, and under the clip, one can read “Caran d’Ache Fixpencil 3 Metal”.

Caran d'Ache Fixpencil 3

This particular pencil is a 3.15mm clutch pencil, with a hexagonal shape and matte black finish. The mentioned text is in white/silver. The metal clip is solidly attached, but movable (and removable).

The pencil’s cap is red, and also the push button for opening the clutch. The cap also houses some inset blades, which serve as a sharpener.

The clutch itself is a chrome colour.

Caran d'Ache Fixpencil 3

The pencil (with full lead) weighs 11.4g, about triple a modern woodcase pencil. Yet – it still feels quite light for a metal clutch pencil.

Almost two years ago, I mentioned some other 3.15mm pencils that I like. The Fixpencil is quite different from all four of those pencils in that it resembles a woodcase pencil in dimensions, and takes a full-length 3.15mm lead. It is sleek, not rotund. The length is 135mm (sans lead).

Caran d'Ache Fixpencil 3

The grip and usability are great.

The cap sharpener is a most interesting feature. It works, and produces a fine pointed lead. But it doesn’t succeed in defying the laws of physics, and the graphite dust has to go somewhere – that would usually be one’s hands.

It is a usable and practical pencil of good quality. I had hoped the physical weight might correspond to the psychic weight of the legend of the Caran d’Ache Fixpencil, but that’s the problem with legends.

Recommended without reservation.

25 comments to Caran d’Ache Fixpencil 3 Metal

  • Oh dear, it looks like I need to make a trip to Lee Valley to buy one of these now …

  • Baker

    Hello, please reply and let us know where you purchased this pencil. I would like to buy one. Thank you! Baker.

  • It’s a nice pencil, isn’t it? The one I have was purchased from a European vendor, but I’m sure a web search will turn up many options.

  • ana

    I just got a Caran d’Ache 0.7mm mechanical pencil and I love the weight of it as well. I also got a Faber-Castell TK9400 leadholder which sounds to be very similar in weight and quality. I will certainly keep an eye out for the Fixpencil too. Thanks for the info!

  • ana, thanks for the comment. I don’t yet have a TK9400, but they seem to be well regarded.

  • I got both the Faber-Castell TK9400 (2 mm) and the Caran D’Ache Fixpencil 22 (2 mm) & 3 (3 mm) through Wet Paint Art, MN. The former features a barrel made out of plastic that is longer, slimmer, and slightly lighter than the Fixpencil 3 for a third of the retail price. The metal Fixpencil 3 was recommended by a caricaturist friend that told me that they were pretty much indestructible under heavy use. While I have only ever had one plastic leadholder (a 2 mm Staedtler Mars 780) break in half once, I suppose that depending on abuse and drawing hand pressure the plastic leadholders could be more susceptible to breakage. I like them both, but lately I tend to pick up my brown Mitsubishi Uni 2 mm F leadholder first for spontaneous doodling.

  • Hi Alberto. Welcome, and thanks for the comment. That must be quite a bit of pressure to break a leadholder!

    One other aspect of note about the Fixpencil is that the barrel is the same finish and diameter through it’s length, and I can imagine that some people prefer this over a leadholder with a grip area (whether rubber or metal) adjoining a separate barrel area. Or – the balance aspects – the Fixpencil approach seems like it would lead to easier balance adjustment in one’s hand. The downside might be those grip areas can be useful at times.

  • Thanks. Actually it’s simple enough to overcome that downside with plastic pencil grips or tennis wrap fitted around the barrels of the Fixpencils to widen their grip and increase comfort during long drawing sessions. They are also easy enough to remove without marring the leadholder finish when a less obtrusive grip is desired.

    Material fatigue might have played a role in my leadholder breakage, for it was over 10 years old and the plastic barrel was probably brittle where the knurled metal grip fitting connected to the plastic barrel. I have seen an online post of a similar breakage issue with the Pentel Graphgear 1000 after a year of use. I suppose nothing lasts forever despite how sturdy they might initially appear, and that it’s natural to expect greater stress at the points where plastic and metal meet within a mechanical pencil structure. Guess that somewhat justifies having such a big collection of pencils, mechanical pencils, and leadholders always close at hand.

  • Steve

    Hi,

    Iv’e looked at http://www.cultpens.com (type “clutch pencils” in the search)and have found the 3mm version of the one you have shown. Is there an american vendor that sells these or are they all european based?

    Also, do you know where I can go to accuratley calculate the conversion rate for sterling silver pound to USD?

    Thanks

    Steve :)

  • Hi Steve,

    “Lee Valley”, mentioned in the first comment, offers these in the U.S.

    For currency conversions, I generally use a bank website, though I know a lot of people like xe.com.

    Good luck!

  • Steve

    I got one from Lee Valley!! :D

    Thanks so much for the advice I cant wait to get it XD

    With Gratitude

    Steve :D

  • Steve

    One question I have is Can you please locate a place where I can order the Uchida 848-5000. It’s a lead holder from japan. Iv’e been looking for a place to order one in USD but cant find one please help :D.

    Thanks

    Steve :)

  • Mike

    Where can i get these ?

  • Steve, good news. I hope you enjoy your Fixpencil.

    I am not aware of a US source for an Uchida leadholder.

    It’s not a name I am familiar with, but I just looked them up, and learned that they have been making drafting supplies since 1910! Now I also want to try some of their products. Thanks for the tip.

  • Steve

    A pretty great place to get really rare clutch pencils if you can read japanese or if you have a program that translates japanese is

    http://www.bundoki.com

    The vendor does ship to the USA and I like the way he structures his price inquiries. Send him a E-mail with the product no. and he’ll send you the converted japanese currency to US currency in USD shipping included.

    He also claims to be able to get alot of rare and discontinued items.

    Can you check this site out for me pencilman and let me know what you think.

    It’s all in japanese tho iv’e been using

    http://www.google.com/language_tools?hl=en

    This is a good language translator. Just copy a section of the website in any language that they translate, paste the txt into the box and click translate.

    I hope you find this interesting pencilman

    Sincerly

    Steve

  • Agreed, Bundoki.com is an excellent source for pencils and leadholders. I just wish they would accept standard payment methods.

    Bundoki’s foreign orders manager is very pleasant to deal with. She has assisted me more than once in the past.

  • Ann

    I found a NAVA Design clutch pencil for 3mm leads in the discount bin at a local Dick Blick’s. I did not find it on line at Dick Blick’s website, so it may have been a special order for California Arts and Crafts College across the street. The pencil body is brushed metal (or plastic masquerading as same), only about 4-1/4″ long over all. It has a solid construction with a blunt bullet bottom. It feels comfortable in the hand. It would not work for mechanical drawing with that bullet end.

    The only place in the USA that I have found 3mm leads is WetPaint.com (out of Minnesota?). I haven’t order any yet since there’s plenty of lead still in the pencil.

  • Ann, that clutch pencil sounds really cool.

    3mm lead is hard to find – there are some quite fancy leadholders that take 3.15mm lead, so if there is a fountain pen store near you, they may have refills.

  • Dave

    I went to Pearl Paint in Chicago the other day and saw these Fixpencils available. They are very expensive though. $14/pencil. They look fantastic in person, and I really wanted to buy one. But I personally found it hard to justify the price.

    So if you live close to a Pearl Paint (they have branches in a few cities) – you may want to go check there. good luck.

  • Great! I use similar mechanical pencil for my drawing, Fixpencil 77 and the lightness and the grip are, for me, the best!
    Bye!

  • kokoman

    No need to try other graphite holders, just buy the Caran D’ache 2mm or 3mm (I prefer 2mm 160mm length as it can accept any 2mm stick) from ipenstore.com or any other store. Ipenstore also sells many other cool things. I’ve tried them all probably and the best in my opinion is Fixpencil 77 2mm holder. Light, super strong (I tried breaking it and could not) and resembles a woodcased pencil length. Hexagonal shape with matte finish so it is never slippery is just superb design. Fixpencil all the way. The make also fixpencil in 0.7 mm in different colors with the black one being the only one with matte finish which I prefer as it is not slippery.

  • Sameer

    Awesome…..

    Where can I get it and what is it’s cost, please ?

  • Valentin Hofstetter

    Ich suche einen Fixpencil mit aufgedrucktem, ewigen Kalender.
    Er besteht aus zwei Teilen, die man jeden Monat entsprechend drehen musste. Die Fabrik hat dieses Modell leider vor über 20 Jahren aus dem Sortiment genommen. Wer kann mir helfen?
    Besten Dank.
    V. Hofstetter

  • Diego

    As an architect who loves to draw i can say this is my favourite pencil by far. I´ve been using it since uni times (a girlfriend´s gift) and never tried another one. I normally use 3B leads from Caran d’Ache as a standard. It slices so smoothly on any paper and the weight/size is so well balanced that it seems like an “invisible” tool in a good way, leaving all to your own. Great usability, i use it indiscriminately for anything from artistic drawing and sketching to writing, making numbers or even putting some casual notes on a post-it. It just delivers better than anything i´ve ever used to put my ideas on paper!
    I love the hexagonal matte surface and the grid area is ok for me. The sharpener is tiny and plastic made but it´s blades work wonders, and doesn´t seem to break in time.
    Basically i could live with only this one as an all-around drawing/writing tool.
    Love it!

  • Subhasish

    Just bought one today from the crossword book store in kolkata (INDIA)
    lovely adorable peice Idont know why but i love this pencil ,
    best part is the construction in aluminium is not at all like the lamy which is
    heavy and feels un comfortable in the hands .
    It selling out like hot cakes in here ….. just have to find the leads now
    :)

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