The Graf von Faber-Castell Magnum Perfect Pencil. Top: Sharpened with a Caran d’Ache Sharpening Machine. Middle: Sharpened with an El Casco M-430. Bottom: Factory sharpening. The pencils rest on a Doane Paper moon camera journal.
The Graf von Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil line has a new edition. While I’m a big fan of Faber-Castell’s various premium pencils and extenders, the prices, like many consumer goods, have increased considerably over the years. Since only this specific refill would fully utilize the extender’s capabilities, I decided to first try some refills to see how this pencil works.
The challenge of jumbo pencils is that the volume of wood required quadruples as the radius doubles – so manufacturer shortcuts to save money seem inevitable. Fortunately, this pencil is an exception – a creamy dark 4B 4mm core is encased in straight grained cedar, with the signature fluted finish. I have already ordered the extender!
In the period that this blog was inactive, Faber-Castell introduced two fantastic additions to their Perfect Pencil line – first, a No. V refill in grey guilloche, and later, a beautiful midnight blue edition.
They were quick additions to my daily arsenal – in fact they seem like the same quality as the fluted pencils, but in a more casual yet elegant design. The leads may be just a bit darker – a reaction to customer feedback?
They are fantastic, amazing pencils. Is there a competitor at this level?
Graf von Faber-Castell Guilloche pencils
Faber-Castell – 21st century pencil manufacturer
The sterling silver Graf von Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil.
Two knowledgeable pencil talk readers in particular have regularly sung praises for this writing implement, and those comments assisted me in deciding to purchase one in February.
The pencil and extender come in a cloth pouch inside a wood box.
Apart from the material, the “double crown” of the cap is possibly the feature most different from other versions.
The excellent spring clip has some hallmarks:
And a closer view. Note that the eraser cap is also sterling.
It seems to call for a nice journal.
And a family portrait. One of them definitely seems to not belong!
Regular readers will have heard some of this before – I love the way Faber-Castell has paid tribute to the woodcase pencil in this series. Creating a fantastic pencil and a companion for it that allowed entry into the top writing implement shops in the world’s major cities is a wonderful act that has helped preserve the pencil.
2011 will be Faber-Castell’s 250th anniversary. Perhaps they will unveil a new perfect pencil or even something completely new?
Further reading: Perfect Pencils at pencil talk
A regular gripe regarding Faber-Castell’s perfect pencils, even the basic plastic version, has been regarding the price. I don’t disagree, yet also note that there don’t appear to be many alternatives. KUM has tried to offer an extender, and there are some artisan made extender caps in Japan, but Faber-Castell’s products are the only items in this category that which appear to have wide distribution.
I wonder if there was a marketing meeting full of animated debate which led to this – it seems to be Faber-Castell’s knockoff of their own product. It is “Made in China” rather than “Made in Germany”, and the styling reflects other new products rather than tradition.
The finish is acceptable. The sharpener in the cap seems to work well – addressing a regular complaint. The price is also a fraction of predecessor products.
While the item has a disposable feeling, it might also sell in volume and generate some revenue.
What do you think?
One more perfect pencil.
It looks like the original green plastic version has been updated.
The newer version has some minor cosmetic differences and a major functional difference – the pencil is now held in the extender by friction or tension, rather than a screw on mechanism.
It is also offered in Japan in a black version, shown in the photos here. The black version comes with a round pencil, black with black dyed wood.
Something else I hadn’t noticed is that the Castell 9000 pencils supplied with the green version (and in the refills) are marked in silver, while the general Castell 9000 pencil has gold markings.
Some side ribbing seems to be the main surface difference.
It is hard to say this authoritatively, but I sense prices have been reduced in most markets compared with the original.
See also: Faber-Castell Perfect Pencils at pencil talk
Almost two years ago, I thought I had written my last word on Faber-Castell’s fantastic Perfect Pencil series. Well, quite unexpectedly, I recently saw an unusual variant.
I think I recall it or something similar from about a decade ago, and I definitely recall a recent post at Lung Sketching Scrolls about this edition.
The product is a whimsical children’s version of the perfect pencil, with a brightly coloured round pencil and pencil extender adorned with a stylized rooster comb.
The pencil is held by tension, and the cap removes to reveal a black plastic sharpener.
I like the sense of fun.