Graf von Faber-Castell Magnum Perfect Pencil

Graf von Faber-Castell Magnum Perfect Pencil

The Graf von Faber-Castell Magnum Perfect Pencil. Top: Sharpened with a Caran d’Ache Sharpening Machine. Middle: Sharpened with an El Casco M-430. Bottom: Factory sharpening. The pencils rest on a Doane Paper moon camera journal.

The Graf von Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil line has a new edition. While I’m a big fan of Faber-Castell’s various premium pencils and extenders, the prices, like many consumer goods, have increased considerably over the years. Since only this specific refill would fully utilize the extender’s capabilities, I decided to first try some refills to see how this pencil works.

The challenge of jumbo pencils is that the volume of wood required quadruples as the radius doubles – so manufacturer shortcuts to save money seem inevitable. Fortunately, this pencil is an exception – a creamy dark 4B 4mm core is encased in straight grained cedar, with the signature fluted finish. I have already ordered the extender!

Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil – 9

The sterling silver Graf von Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil.

Two knowledgeable pencil talk readers in particular have regularly sung praises for this writing implement, and those comments assisted me in deciding to purchase one in February.

Faber-Castell Sterling Silver Perfect Pencil

The pencil and extender come in a cloth pouch inside a wood box.

Faber-Castell Sterling Silver Perfect Pencil

Apart from the material, the “double crown” of the cap is possibly the feature most different from other versions.

Faber-Castell Sterling Silver Perfect Pencil

The excellent spring clip has some hallmarks:

Faber-Castell Sterling Silver Perfect Pencil

Disassembled:

Faber-Castell Sterling Silver Perfect Pencil

And a closer view. Note that the eraser cap is also sterling.

Faber-Castell Sterling Silver Perfect Pencil

It seems to call for a nice journal.

Faber-Castell Sterling Silver Perfect Pencil

And a family portrait. One of them definitely seems to not belong!

Faber-Castell Sterling Silver Perfect Pencil

Regular readers will have heard some of this before – I love the way Faber-Castell has paid tribute to the woodcase pencil in this series. Creating a fantastic pencil and a companion for it that allowed entry into the top writing implement shops in the world’s major cities is a wonderful act that has helped preserve the pencil.

2011 will be Faber-Castell’s 250th anniversary. Perhaps they will unveil a new perfect pencil or even something completely new?

Further reading: Perfect Pencils at pencil talk

Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil – 8

Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil

A regular gripe regarding Faber-Castell’s perfect pencils, even the basic plastic version, has been regarding the price. I don’t disagree, yet also note that there don’t appear to be many alternatives. KUM has tried to offer an extender, and there are some artisan made extender caps in Japan, but Faber-Castell’s products are the only items in this category that which appear to have wide distribution.

Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil

I wonder if there was a marketing meeting full of animated debate which led to this – it seems to be Faber-Castell’s knockoff of their own product. It is “Made in China” rather than “Made in Germany”, and the styling reflects other new products rather than tradition.

The finish is acceptable. The sharpener in the cap seems to work well – addressing a regular complaint. The price is also a fraction of predecessor products.

Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil

While the item has a disposable feeling, it might also sell in volume and generate some revenue.

Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil

What do you think?

Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil – 7

Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil

One more perfect pencil.

It looks like the original green plastic version has been updated.

The newer version has some minor cosmetic differences and a major functional difference – the pencil is now held in the extender by friction or tension, rather than a screw on mechanism.

It is also offered in Japan in a black version, shown in the photos here. The black version comes with a round pencil, black with black dyed wood.

Something else I hadn’t noticed is that the Castell 9000 pencils supplied with the green version (and in the refills) are marked in silver, while the general Castell 9000 pencil has gold markings.

Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil

Some side ribbing seems to be the main surface difference.

Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil

It is hard to say this authoritatively, but I sense prices have been reduced in most markets compared with the original.

See also: Faber-Castell Perfect Pencils at pencil talk

Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil – 6

Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil

Almost two years ago, I thought I had written my last word on Faber-Castell’s fantastic Perfect Pencil series. Well, quite unexpectedly, I recently saw an unusual variant.

I think I recall it or something similar from about a decade ago, and I definitely recall a recent post at Lung Sketching Scrolls about this edition.

Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil

The product is a whimsical children’s version of the perfect pencil, with a brightly coloured round pencil and pencil extender adorned with a stylized rooster comb.

Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil

The pencil is held by tension, and the cap removes to reveal a black plastic sharpener.

Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil

I like the sense of fun.

Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil – 5

Our fifth and final article on Faber-Castell perfect pencils.

This is the original silver-plate version that you’ve probably seen languishing in storefronts for some years now.

Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil

The set is all wood, with a heavy metal (brass?) silver-plated lid.

The inlay that surrounds the writing instruments is also solid wood, unlike the frosted green glass case.

Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil

The set includes four spare pencils, four spare erasers, and a sharpener.

Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil

The extender is the slimmest we’ve yet seen, as the cap doesn’t contain a sharpener.

Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil

The mechanism is like that of a traditional pencil extender, with a sliding ring. There is also a nice Faber-Castell clip.

Since there is no built-in sharpener, a sharpener is provided – maybe the nicest (and possibly the heaviest) compact manual sharpener ever made. Finished in fluting like that of the pencil, it matches a larger two hole desktop model, as well as the Graf von Faber-Castell erasers and the pencils themselves.

Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil

This case has since been updated to include the platinum-plate perfect pencil (no classic sharpener, though). I would recommend it over the frosted glass case based on construction and material quality.

Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil

It’s the only one of the series that I generally leave at home, probably because the ones with sharpeners are just a bit more practical.

Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil

This product started the line, and I think, was very important to the pencil industry, much in the way high end sports cars can stimulate overall car sales, though they themselves may sell in very small quantities.
Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil

Other Versions

There are at least three more perfect pencil versions. I can’t write about them from personal experience, and don’t know how their mechanisms might differ from the featured pencils.

– A sterling silver version. Still for sale as far as I know.

– A stainless steel with diamonds version. This was a limited edition. It shows up on eBay from time to time. I actually got an email a couple of years ago from a dealer who wondered if I wanted to buy one. My answer: maybe, but not at anything close to the full retail price. (No deal.)

– The famous white gold with diamonds version, a limited edition of 99. This was of course great marketing, getting immense amounts of publicity for being “the world’s most expensive pencil”. An article in The Economist detailed some of the marketing background. (This series was based on a management consultant’s recommendation that they create a premiere line.) These also show up on eBay from time to time, much reduced from their original price.

Overall, I am extremely impressed with what Faber-Castell has done in the perfect pencil series.

Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil