Pentel Black Polymer 999? (999 alpha) pencil

Pentel Black Polymer 999? (999 alpha) pencil

In our previous review of top Japanese pencils, it was lamented that the Pentel Black Polymer 999? was unavailable. We did review, and have previously looked at, the second tier 999. “Second tier”? The 999 is without doubt one of the finest pencils ever made, so we’ve been extremely curious about what Pentel considers to be even better!

There are now a few vendors that sell Japanese pencils internationally. Despite numerous enquiries over a period of years, no vendor we’ve contacted has been able to obtain this pencil. The only online evidence that this pencil ever existed seems to be a few small photos and statements here and there. With thanks to the resourcefulness of isu of the uncomfortable chair, it is now possible to finally examine this pencil.

Pentel Black Polymer 999? (999 alpha) pencil

In grade ‘H’, two pencils were obtained. Here we invoke the ‘to have and to hold’ philosophy – keep one ‘as is’, and use, enjoy, test, write, with the other.

Pentel does not have their own woodcase pencil production facilities – these magnificent creations are apparently all subcontracted. Well, Pentel must be a first rate contract manager, because their products have turned out very well.

The 999? is a glossy black pencil with silver lettering and accents. The varnish quality is excellent.

Following previously introduced nomenclature –

The obverse reads:

Pentel Black Polymer 999? H

And the reverse:

supreme quality for drawing lines of high density CB200 JAPAN H

The pencil cap itself seems highly curious – possibly some sort of plastic or resin.

“Supreme quality” is a major boast, but if any company could deliver, it would presumably be Pentel, known for many lead and mechanical pencil achievements.

It being a pencil that likely exists in limited numbers, one was carefully sharpened in the “regular” slot of a Tombow SM-200WN sharpener.

It sharpened to a very fine point – which after several days of occasional use – has not yet broken.

‘H’ leads are outside our usual frame of reference – we know they are useful for many drafting and drawing purposes, but are typically harder than we would prefer for general writing/sketching.

To establish a context, two Staedtler Mars Lumograph 100 pencils in H were also tested – one new (silver lettering, bar code), and one perhaps five to ten years old, with white lettering and no bar code.

Pentel Black Polymer 999? (999 alpha) pencil

The two Staedtler pencils did not seem the same – the older one appeared to leave a fainter line.

Compared to either Staedtler pencil, the Pentel seemed to leave a richer, darker line, and to be extremely sturdy – combining a fine sharpening capability with great non-eroding durability . If ‘H’ pencils generally came like this, they would be loved by many.

Pentel Black Polymer 999? (999 alpha) pencil

Drafting-only pencils are somewhat out of our element, but nothing observed indicates that the 999? isn’t indeed of ‘supreme quality’.

9 Replies to “Pentel Black Polymer 999? (999 alpha) pencil”

  1. where would one go about getting some of the pentel wood pencils? would like a couple in HB if possible, but H works.


  2. Hey Germ, I didn’t know you had an interest in woodcase pencils.Is it because they’re from Pentel? :-) The 999? is unobtanium, but the regular 999 can be purchased by the box (one dozen) from or One-Stop-Japan-Shop on Ebay.

    If a couple are all you want, send me an address, and we’ll hook you up!

  3. Well, I guess they just won’t resume production then. :D

    It’s only if we throw out a petition-form (I think there are some free internet petition sites around) to all pencil lovers around the world we’ll ever know whether people would like to see this pencil on the market again or not. One thing is if enough pencil people will notice our petition (and participate), another is if other pencil users are as interested in this particular pencil as I am (and would like to sign the petition). There are many variables here. ;-)


  4. Dear sirs,
    Would you please let us have more information about the polymer pencils.
    Best Regards

  5. Hi Morady,

    Unfortunately, the above is pretty much the information that I have about this pencil. I would also like to know more.

    Thanks for commenting.

  6. Hi Sir,

    I am planning to start a polymer pencil manufacturing unit in India. If you can help me in anyways please do reply back. Thank you.


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