Bic Criterium 2613 2.0mm leadholder

Bic Criterium 2613 2.0mm leadholder

Bic needs no introduction. Makers of much more than ballpoint pens, their many woodcase pencils seem to rarely be exported outside of France. Similary leadholders. I would love to be able to try some modern pencils from the country that gave the world the technique of blending graphite with clay – but I have rarely seen them for sale.

The Criterium’s website says that this leadholder has been in production since 1939, and comes in plastic and aluminum varieties. I would love to get the aluminum version, but feel lucky enough to have found any model.

The Uncomfortable Chair (in Japanese) and both provide some excellent photos of the aluminum version.

The 2613 has a hexagonal black plastic body, metal clutch and tip, metal clip, and a metal cap. The plastic feels quite solid, and the pencil (with full lead) weighs in at a comfortable 9.5g.

Bic Criterium 2613 2.0mm leadholder

The clutch is opened and closed by pressing the cap. The cap is innovative, containing an eraser and sharpener. The sharpener is literally a hole in the cap, which at first glance appears to be just a design element. It is one of those elegant ideas that seems obvious once you know about it – yet someone had to think of this idea and design the implementation.

Bic Criterium 2613 2.0mm leadholder

The grip area has grooves in the edges of the hexagonal body. I find it to be quite comfortable.

Bic Criterium 2613 2.0mm leadholder

Overall, I like it. The understated look and the cap sharpener are the winning features.

9 Replies to “Bic Criterium 2613 2.0mm leadholder”

  1. I used to have a Faber aluminum leadholder (2mm), purchased in the early ’90s. It was a dark battleship gray, hexagonal design with a smooth unridged grip area, otherwise very similar to the Bic pictured. I found it far more comfortable than the plastic bodied designs with large grips that I see everywhere. Any idea if this type is still imported to the US?

  2. The Criterium 2613 is the best mechanical pencil I ever owned. It is perfect for drawing since you can hold the pencil very close to the lead, without holding on unpleasent fronts and tubes sticking out as with most 0,5 pencils. The Caran D´Ache has a similar front, but it does not feels as good to hold. And the Criterium lasts, I´m sitting with my late fathers Criterium 2613 he bought in the midsixties, it simply reads “france Criterium 2613” on the barrel. The eraser is gone but the sharpener still works, and the pencil looks like it is a few years old, still shiny and deep black, beside from the chrome on the clip is worn.

    Best wishes from Denmark

  3. I found one CRITERIUM 2.0 mm cray pencil from my desk boxes and I am happy for that ! Finest cray pencil in the world ! In Finland novadays only 0.5 0.7 and 0.9 Pentel pens are available. I like to write with woodbased pencils and the CRITERIUM 2.0 mm pencil is as good as them.

  4. I bought 2 of these in San Tropez in 1982. I still have them! The only markings on them are: ‘ criterium 2403 FRANCE ‘. They were just a couple of bucks at a corner store. I wanted some pencils for drawing while on vacation in France I guess…I was happy to discover that BIC still actually manufactures them but unhappy when I discovered you can’t get them in the U.S.(?). :(
    I didn’t bring them to art school because they were too short. We mostly all drew with compressed charcoal then anyway (I still do!). When I DID draw with the old ”lead pointer” I didn’t WANT the (shorter) criteriums. I used the red ”KOH-I-NOOR” TECHNIGRAPH pencil with those color-coded push buttons (I’ve got a drawer full of those!). They were longer holders and could be more easily used while drawing with your arm extended at an easel.
    These French aluminum pencils are CLASSY though! They ARE a marvel of design and function. I’ve seen a ”long” version of these holders. I would LOVE to have some of those!

  5. I’v had one of these leadholders before and they’re brilliant! does anybody know where i could purchase this holder from now?

  6. @Jamie:

    Try the Ebay site in France. I was able to order one with paypal (the Bic plastic one….they also carry the Bic aluminum one too).

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