Caran d’Ache Fixpencil 3 Metal

27 comments

Caran d'Ache Fixpencil 3

The Fixpencil is the signature product of a world-famous manufacturer. I’ve wanted to own one of these pencils for some while, and acquired a specimen last fall.

The version I have seems to revel in the Caran d’Ache heritage – the most visible marking is the statement “Fixpencil designed in 1929”. The “Swiss Made” logo is also there, and under the clip, one can read “Caran d’Ache Fixpencil 3 Metal”.

Caran d'Ache Fixpencil 3

This particular pencil is a 3.15mm clutch pencil, with a hexagonal shape and matte black finish. The mentioned text is in white/silver. The metal clip is solidly attached, but movable (and removable).

The pencil’s cap is red, and also the push button for opening the clutch. The cap also houses some inset blades, which serve as a sharpener.

The clutch itself is a chrome colour.

Caran d'Ache Fixpencil 3

The pencil (with full lead) weighs 11.4g, about triple a modern woodcase pencil. Yet – it still feels quite light for a metal clutch pencil.

Almost two years ago, I mentioned some other 3.15mm pencils that I like. The Fixpencil is quite different from all four of those pencils in that it resembles a woodcase pencil in dimensions, and takes a full-length 3.15mm lead. It is sleek, not rotund. The length is 135mm (sans lead).

Caran d'Ache Fixpencil 3

The grip and usability are great.

The cap sharpener is a most interesting feature. It works, and produces a fine pointed lead. But it doesn’t succeed in defying the laws of physics, and the graphite dust has to go somewhere – that would usually be one’s hands.

It is a usable and practical pencil of good quality. I had hoped the physical weight might correspond to the psychic weight of the legend of the Caran d’Ache Fixpencil, but that’s the problem with legends.

Recommended without reservation.

Caran d’Ache Technograph 777 pencil

11 comments

Caran d'Ache Technograph 777 pencil

“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.

Caran d'Ache Technograph 777 pencil

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.

Caran d'Ache Technograph 777 pencil

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?

Caran d'Ache Technograph 777 pencil

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)

and

Kent’s PencilLog (In Korean)

Though I can’t read either, I still feel I’ve benefited.