Mitsubishi Uni pencil holder

Mitsubishi Uni pencil holder

This is the first luxury woodcase pencil accessory we’ve seen from a pencil manufacturer other than Faber-Castell. In this case, it is Mitsubishi, celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of their Uni brand. As well as new pencil grades, which we have mentioned, Mitsubishi has unveiled this luxury pencil holder.

As opposed to other holders/extenders, this model can grasp an entire pencil as well as making use of the last bits of a pencil, and includes a full cap with clip.

Mitsubishi Uni pencil holder

In the box, it might appear to be a fountain pen. Yet the two woodcase pencils therein indicate otherwise.

Mitsubishi Uni pencil holder

The holder has three detachable parts.

Mitsubishi Uni pencil holder

The base is the closest to a traditional pencil holder. It is a wood finish holder dyed to Mitsubishi’s traditional maroon colour. Accents are in gun metal and gold. Unlike other holders, the end of the base is hollow, so that the cap of a new full-length pencil may protrude.

A pencil is gripped by a cylindrical chrome clasp that screws on to the base.

The piece that makes this really special is the cap – gun metal with gold clip and gold and black accents. It protects the pencil point when closed, and can be ‘posted’ on the holder to achieve a very nice balance while writing.

Mitsubishi Uni pencil holder

The case is a very dark wood, simply marked ‘uni’, with a very efficient hidden magnetic clasp.

Mitsubishi Uni pencil holder

Mitsubishi has done a great deal to raise the quality of the manufactured pencil, and this is a great accessory to match.

33 Replies to “Mitsubishi Uni pencil holder”

  1. Wow, pretty impressive item and review. If the Google translate function worked accurately, according to only 50 of these were made and retailed for 8,400 yen each (roughly $90.90 USD)? Given the premium nature of this item, it is somewhat surprising that they didn’t feature Hi-Uni pencils instead of the Uni. Somehow I doubt that any of the specialty stationery importers will handle this luxury item in the US.

  2. Talk about synchronicity! I just sent an email to JetPens last night asking them if they had any plans to stock this wonderful object now that they also carry the complete range of Hi-Unis (and the Hi-Uni Complete Art Set as well). I wonder Alberto if the ’50’ refers to Mitsubishi’s Fiftieth Anniversary? Somehow I think this pencil holder would be even more expensive if it were truly limited to fifty pieces. But you are right, you need an advanced degree in oracular consulting to understand Google’s translation.

    Stephen I think the Uni pencils that are included in the set and their replacements are abbreviated in length like the pencils that come with the Perfect Pencil extender/Jack Of All Trades from Faber-Castell (which is ingenious and which you have lovingly reviewed–well love might be too strong a word in all its iterations!). A newly sharpened Hi-Uni is approximately 175mm long. One would not be able to cap the holder using a pencil of standard length. I believe there is just enough room within the empty chamber of the capped holder, 142.3mm total external length if I interpret the auguries correctly, to receive the shortened Uni pencil (136mm) in its entirety and still permit one to close up the unit like a fountain pen. Hope I’m not belaboring the obvious here. Also, is the holder made of wood? I am unclear on this. And the box! What simple elegance! With magnetic closure to boot! The whole production is craftsmanship to the umpteenth degree. I have to go now, they’re taking me away :>))).

  3. That pencil extender is absolutely marvellous – a real gem.

    Sebastian: Take a look at the Staedtler 900 25 (only available in Japan but Bundoki stocks it and ships internationally). This extender is much more technical that the one from Mitsubishi but I can absolutely recommend it.

  4. I picked up one of these at Bundoki before Thanksgiving. Phenomenal service. The order arrived on the East Coast of the US after 2 days. Anyway, over the past half year I became a bit obsessed with finding the ideal pencil holder. I have the three Faber Castells (platinum, aluminum, plastic), the Staedtler 900 25, and a Bullet pencil holder rescued from my grandmother’s house after she passed. IMO, the Uni is the best. Why? 1) The Staedtler is balanced but you can only use a very short rump of the pencil (~3″).
    2) I will apologize in advance if this sounds like a rant: All the F-C perfect pencils are poorly balanced. Even though I like the look of it, the high end version is nearly useless. When posted, the weight of the cap is too far back (and I have big hands). If the cap isn’t posted, then it loses one of its main functions—being a pencil extender. The aluminum version is a bit better, but the plastic one is the best because it is the lightest. The F-C 9000 that it ships with is also a superior pencil. Finally, the pencil sharpeners are hit-or-miss. The sharpener on the plastic version works the best of the three. I’ve had it for about a decade and it still works well.
    3) A version of the bullet holder is being reintroduced by Penn State Industries. Mine is all metal and works well with the exception that it only accepts half a pencil.

    When compared to these, the benefits of the Mitsubishi are:
    1) It is balanced and _remains balanced_ during use much like a leadholder. I use the holder for sketching and for sharing ideas at work.
    2) It can hold almost an entire pencil.
    3) As you can see above, it looks great. This was really the problem with the plastic F-C.
    Potential Downsides
    1) No sharpener, but I carry a pocket knife…
    2) No eraser, but I rarely erase… I do carry a Tombow Mono One just in case
    3) Might be a bit heavy, but not really a problem with my hands.

  5. Alberto, to give credit where credit is due, I believe it was our fearless Pencil Admin who figured out that the ’50’ might refer to Mitsubishi’s Fiftieth Anniversary. In any case, the idea is not original to me.

  6. Thank you for the many comments!

    Just a few notes –

    Mitsubishi’s press release is here for those seeking official information about the product. There are all sorts of other interesting items at the site, including photos of a “Jumbo Uni”, which I presume has since been withdrawn.

    The Uni was probably used with the holder rather than the Hi-Uni, since it is the Uni’s 1958 launch that is the event being celebrated.

    As to possible alternatives, here is a celluloid pencil holder, though it doesn’t appear that it would offer an ergonomic grip.

    Caran d’Ache and Ito-ya both offer what appear to be modestly priced practical modern holders, though I haven’t seen either myself.

    The pencils accompanying the holder are indeed shorter than standard, and allow one to immediately post the cap. They are sold in refill packs of three.

  7. Thanks for the tip on using Yahoo Babel fish (just added it to my Bookmarks Toolbar). When I tried it with the official press release it seemed to indicate that the limited quantity of this Uni holder is actually 5000 units. Must be the common amount for limited edition stationery items in Japan since the the Pentel Graph 1000 limited color series production runs were reportedly capped at 5,000 units as well. As for practical modestly priced modern pencil extender holders, Kinokuniya stationery stores typically have one or two models that feature metal barrels with a threaded nut to tighten the pencil in place.

  8. Sebastian: Danke für die nette Rückmeldung zu meinem Blog/Thank you for the kind feedback on my blog!

    I have just noticed that I have hoarded, no, conscientiously collected ;-) quite a few pencils extenders over time; I am considering to show some photos of them in my blog. Of course the Mitsubishi is #1 (#2 is the Staedtler), but some of the others are worth a closer look too (one of the older ones, an A. W. Faber, is made from bamboo).

  9. I would like to report that mine arrived today from Bundoki. They were extremely friendly, and shipped it very quickly. It is a beautiful item.

  10. I own three of the Ito-Ya pencil holders, and cannot recommend them. They are far too lightweight; they can’t hold most pencils securely enough to sharpen them, and the aluminum tightening mechanism (for want of a better description; it’s what one turns, at the top of the holder, to secure the pencil) is so thin that it distorts easily. They are lovely, but functionally they’re almost useless.

  11. I don’t know much about pencil holders (am a recent pseudo-convert to pencils), but this looks neat. It looks like it operates on a collet/chuck arrangement to hold the pencil in place, yes? Does it mar the finish of the pencil if you tighten the chuck too much?

  12. Wendell, I’m sure Stephen is aware of these, but BUNDOKI.COM also offers a celluloid extender, and a celluloid pencil case. To see the extender click the heading EKUSUTENDA… next to the wooden pencil icon in the far left column of Bundoki’s homepage. It is the fifth item from the top. You will find the pencil case by clicking the heading Penholder/pencil case/pen tray next to the calculator icon. It is item number one.

    Bundoki’s red celluloid pencil case is very similar in pattern and hue to the celluloid of the red holder Stephen linked to in his reply. I like the looks of the Goujon holder more, but I prefer the gold clip on Bundoki’s. What puts me off the purchase of any of these products, and they are beautiful, is Bundoki’s caution concerning flammability, smell, and rather extreme plasticity–I am quite sure I read that celluloid deforms at 70 degrees Farenheit. I would certainly take the warning about direct sunlight to heart. During the Depression Era, several companies made astoundingly pretty celluloid radios in butterscotch and many other colors, but the heat from the tubes literally scorched and melted them. The high prices they command nowadays is certainly due to their beauty but it is no wonder pristine examples are rare given the fragility of the material. This is not a brief against buying celluloid, someday I will probably buy several of these items, it is an acknowledgment that care must be exercised in using and storing these objects.

  13. I agree with Che Pablo regarding the F-C perfect pencil holder. I have both
    the aluminium and sterling model. The market has borne to much when paying for these holders. The pencil value- quality/price – less then the Tombow or Hi Uni. I have ordered the Hi Uni Pencil holder through Boduki and should receive it in the next few days.

  14. Recently I bought one of the last Uni pencil holder and I must say: it’s wonderful! I’am left-handed so I cannot write with a fountain pen and this holder concatenate the best of both worlds: design and ergonomy of the fountain pen and versatility of pencils. Perfect grip, masterly balanced and of course it looks gorgeous.

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