“Caran d’Ache” is a rendering of the Russian word for “pencil”. It is also a Swiss art supply and luxury writing company named after a 19th century satirist who took Caran d’Ache as his editorial name.
The Technograph 777 is one of three graphite pencils currently made by Caran d’Ache, and their only woodcase pencil aimed at writing or drafting. (They make several very nice mechanical pencils.)
I’ve ordered these pencils from both Japan and the U.S. They seem harder to find than Caran d’Ache’s $500 fountain pens! Warning: a photo below shows unexpurgated graphite dust on a box of these pencils.
The pencils are yellow. Fortunately, not office supply store yellow – they are a rich, highly finished and distinctive bright yellow.
The caps are finished in black, and the pencils are pre-sharpened.
Using terminology we introduced last month in our review of the Castell 9000, the pencil is marked in gold lettering:
Side 1 (Obverse): TECHNOGRAPH [logo] CARAN d’ACHE SWISS MADE 777 HB
Side 2: blank
Side 3: blank
Side 4 (Reverse): HB
Side 5: blank
Side 6: blank
I like this sparse look much more than that of pencils with two or three sides filled with text. So where’s the ubiquitous barcode? Caran d’Ache has preserved the looks of the pencil by putting the barcode on a removable perforated plastic wrapper. It would be great if others would imitate them.
The pencils felt light to me. I put them on the scale. They ranged from 3.5g to 4.4g, with the mean being 3.8g. That’s identical to the reference Staedtler Mars Lumograph 100 mean weight, so I was wrong. My new theory is that the absence of markings on the pencil makes them easier to hold, with much less effort needed to get a comfortable grip, and that this may make them feel lighter.
As pencils – I note they come in a wide range, but I’ll just mention the HB here – I tried to compare them with the Staedtler Mars Lumograph 100 and Faber-Castell Castell 9000 on a variety of papers. Every time I thought that I might have found a difference, I found some variation in the testing conditions. Though I’d like to post “Pencil X makes lines like this” photos or scans, there seem to be a great number of variables that influence the line created, and the results can be faulty. Have you heard that in a stereo store, the loudest system will sound the “best” to most people, or that when the New Yorker blindfolded professional wine critics, simple distinctions like white vs. red couldn’t be discerned?
What I can say is – the HB versions of these three highly regarded pencils make relatively similar lines, and that’s a high standard – this is all good news!
So if you get a chance, do try them out!
I’d like to thank two other pencil blogs that have reviewed this pencil:
Blyantsiden (In Norwegian)
Kent’s PencilLog (In Korean)
Though I can’t read either, I still feel I’ve benefited.
11 Replies to “Caran d’Ache Technograph 777 pencil”
I guess we both subscribe to your pencil marking weight theory. I recall that the first time I picked up a 777 I thought, “Wow, thats a really light pencil”. But scales do not lie, at least in comparison mode.
Thanks for the review! You can find these on http://www.pencilthings.com, if you’re looking for a source in the US.
Lorette, thanks for your comment. Your Corgi is delightful!
I’ve been experimenting with several makes of pencil over the past year and for beautiful drawing these Technograph 777s are now my firm favourites.
I have tried the beautiful Tombow Mono 100, also Staedtler, Mitsubishi Hi Uni, Lyra, Derwent, Koh-i-noor and Venus. It’s difficult to explain what it is that appeals to me about the Technographs, but I think the colour and finish is very important psychologically. It should not distract the eye with it’s dazzling beauty (Tombow) and it should not be invisible either. Perhaps if I had darker skin my choice of favourite pencil would be different.
The quality of the leads is also obviously of fundamental importance when trying to do beautiful drawings and I like smoothness (as opposed to scratchiness) which the 777s have in abundance.
Steve, thanks for the thoughtful comment.
It’s too bad that these pencils are (relatively) hard to find.
Hi, I have a question about the Caran d’Ache Technograph 777 pencils. I would like to buy a 12 pack for writing: should I purchase the HB or the B grade?
At the moment I have the following pencils:
– Staedtler Mars Lumograph
– Castell 9000
– Grip 2001
I’m really satisfied with the HB grade of Staedtler Mars Lumograph pencils: it is black enough and very smooth and clean on the page.
Instead the pencils from Faber-Castell have, in my experience, a HB grade light gray, a bit hard and rough on the sheet (in fact very close to the F grade of Staedtler Mars Lumograph pencils). As a consequence, I use Faber-Castell’s pencils only in the B grade.
Is the Caran d’Ache Technograph 777 HB more similar to Staedtler Mars Lumograph HB (dark enough and smooth) or to the Faber-Castell HB (light gray, hard and rough)?
I would go with the B grade of Caran D’Ache technograph 777, it is the better of the Europen pencils, very smooth and had has a certain waxiness that you typically get from high end Japanese pencils. The lead is also darker than FC 9000.
In 1999. I ordered few `777´ pencils of various hardness grade. Actually, from H to 7H ( I prefer harder grades ). I mentioned year 1999, because at that time hardness 5H, 6H and 7H were in offer. Perhaps even harder grades, but I don’t remember.
Before short view of as I saw them, I have to mention that Caran d’ Ache mark production lot on every pencil by manner of dry ( colourless ) impressing. Similar praxis at my knowledge was at Faber-Castell, Lyra and Swan, but not at Hardtmuth and Staedtler. From recently bought `9000´, it seems that F.C. ceased with such praxis.
So, comparing pencils of the same grade but various production lots, it is notable difference in effect they produces. Some of them just flow over paper, while other goes over paper with much more effort.
Going back to `777´, I remember that about half of them ( 3H, 4H, 6H and 7H ) writes in manner which vary from mean, over poor, as at plain pencil, to those which is best described as schratching of paper, something which in no manner portain on renown pencil brand which C. d’ A. really is.
Other ones ( H, 2H and 5H ) wrote magnificant. Really magnificant, so I ordered one box of every mentioned, with asking to my relative to buy pencils from the same lot I tested, which he succeeded.
Just few words about some details. Yes, they looks like quite decent, but not as one can expect from Swiss manufacturer. Text on pencils is performed by combination of golden color and light impressing. The latter didn’t succeed always on expecting level. I.E. finish and every detail of the `Mars Lumograph´ is unmatched ( again, at my knowledge ). However, writing with `777´ from `right´ lot, is unmatched pleasure of writing with graphite pencil.
Att very end, I have to mention that Caran d’ Ache makes small family of
`Stenodactyl´ pencils. The same yellow colored pencils, but with round barell, and just three hardness ( TENDRE – soft, MOYEN – middle, and DUR – hard ) with core and barell a bit thicker then `777´. They writes magnificant, at price in Switzerland at 2,5 SFr apiece.
Gnjuscic, thank you for this comprehensive contribution.
The quality variations between manufacturing lots and even adjacent grades sounds unusual for a high end manufacturer. I appreciate your investigation.
Now the question is where to find the steno version.
I have ordered a package of Technographs and got them today, and I am somewhat disappointed.
This pencil has been somewhat cheapened down: Gone are the plastic sleeves with barcodes,
these are printed on the pencil now, in black.
Also the paint looks a lot worse than on your photos. No luscious gloss, but basically
the standard office-orange paint job of about any yellow/orange pencil.
Now I don’t want to say that these are bad pencils, but I am not sure that I will order
them again to the tune of EUR 2 each.
These are good pencils, but so is a Mars Lumograph, Cretacolor Cleos or just about any
other “better” branded pencil for about half the price.