Faber Castell E-motion


Three Faber Castell E-motion pencils at rest.
A problem I have with many mechanical pencils is the scrawny lead. At five or seven tenths of a millimetre in diameter, many of these leads are prone to breaking. And when they break, they can go flying. This type of lead doesn’t allow much in the way of line variation either. As well, some of us like a more substantial feel than is typical of most mechanical pencils.

In 1999, Faber Castell addressed all of these issues with the E-Motion series, which was initially released as a wood and chrome finish pencil with a twist mechanism, as well as a ballpoint pen. The line has since been expanded with other finishes and a fountain pen.

This pencil is substantially different from others in having a 1.4 mm diameter. That’s right – a substantially larger lead than the norm. The mechanics are also innovative – the lead is advanced by a twisting cap, rather than the typical button push of mechanical pencils. This mechanism is great for both advancing and retreating the lead from the pencil in a finely controlled manner. And not untypical of Faber Castell’s great design, this method matches that of their ballpoint pen, which also extends the pen point by twisting the cap.

The cap is removable, and reveals a white plastic eraser (replaceable) when lifted. The foot of the pencil also has an innovation – two slots for extra leads.

The leads themselves are excellent – the claim of no breakage has been true in my experience. They come in a pleasing choice of B hardness, and draw solid smooth lines. With a 1.4 mm diameter, they also allow different types of line widths to be drawn by holding the pencil at different angles. They’re not wide enough to warrant a sharpener, but much more capable than their .5 and .7 mm mechanical pencil cousins.

The first offering had three wood finishes with matte chrome. This was followed by plastic solid colour finishes, maple and plastic, plastic animal print patterns, and many more. I have wood and rubberized variants, and they appear to be identical save the exterior.

The photo above includes an “Ars Antigua Writing Bloc”, a rather nice notepad.

8 Replies to “Faber Castell E-motion”

  1. Excellent instruments. I like them so well that I have two each of the pencil and ballpoint. I also purchased an E-Motion fountain pen. To date, this has been something of a disappointment. First, it is considerably larger than the other pieces in the collection, and the cap, being solid metal, is quite heavy. Another weakness that concernes me is that the threads on the pen body are metal, while those in the cap are plastic. I see stripped threads becoming a problem. The real problem I am experiencing, however, is the way the pen “writes.” The first nib simply would not write! I have had pens that skip, but this was absurd. The penseller sent me a new pen and section, and, while it is an improvement, I have $5.00 pens that write better… I have contacted Faber-Castell and they have asked me to send the pen to their corporate office. We shall see. If they can make the pen write as advertised, I will be well pleased.


  2. David:

    Thank you for your excellent comments. I have also wanted to get the fountain pen, but now I’m hesitating. One would expect a pen like this to not just write – but to write well!

  3. I haven’t read your thoughts on 0.9mm lead. You’ve made clear your feelings on 0.5 and 0.7. The 1.4mm seems too wide for me. What do you think of 0.9, which is readily accessible in a variety of grades for lots of pencils?

  4. Shane, thanks for your comment. Alas, I don’t have any experience with this width of lead. Tornado is the only brand I’m aware of with 0.9mm pencils that I might want to buy, but I don’t yet own any.

  5. Just came across this whbile doing a Google search. We are the manufacturers of the writing bloc shown in the illustration. Glad the writer liked it.
    We have over 300 different ones available at http://www.drexlercollection.com. They consist of two blocs of 50 sheets each, 4 1/8 x 8.25 inches (105 x 210 mm) and are made with a very smooth heavy 80# paper — a great writing surface. The writing blocs cover a wide range of subjects: music, architecture,
    floral and gardening, fashion, cats, dogs, various animals, shells, etc.

  6. Paul,

    Thank you for your comment. I can personally attest to the quality of your writing paper. It looks great, it is thick and creamy smooth, the design is intriguing, and the paper loves fountain pens with both fine and broad nibs.

    Even the underside of your pad has a nice patterned design and smooth finish – one of those unexpected touches that sets apart quality products.

    The bloc in the photo was a gift, and it’s become one of those items that I’ve tried to ration, as it’s unusually nice and I didn’t know where to get replacements.

    About your website – it appears to be entirely “Flash”, and is challenging to navigate. I also can’t figure out if you ship to Canada or have a distributor here.

    Thanks for posting your note, I’m sure others are interested in your fine products!

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