Porsche Design P’3120 mechanical pencils

14 comments

Porsche Design P'3120 mechanical pencils

The Porsche Design P’3120 series of writing instruments are machined from single blocks of aluminum. There are pencils and ballpoints in the series – no fountain pens or rollerballs. They are made by Faber-Castell, though press announcements indicate Pelikan is slated to take over manufacture of the Porsche writing implements. I’m curious if Pelikan can or will continue the current designs, or if there will be a new slate of products.

Porsche Design P'3120 mechanical pencils

The first P’3120 was the aluminum version. Though expensive for a mechanical pencil, the sleek lines and unified look appealed to me, and I picked up the first of this set.

Two later versions in “anthracite” and “titanium” finishes changed the milled ring pattern to a tighter line.

Porsche Design P'3120 mechanical pencils

The latest version is in black, part of the “Edition 1” series. It differs from predecessors in having Porsche markings on the body rather than the clip.

Porsche Design P'3120 mechanical pencils

I hope the photos speak to the appearance, and I’ll mention some other aspects:

The grip is formed by three scallops in the pencil. It does require keeping the pencil in place in one’s hand, rather than rotating.

The clip looks beautiful – yet the weight and length of the pencils don’t work well with shirt pockets, and the clip is too tight to work well with jacket pockets. It is what I would call a desk pencil.

Porsche Design P'3120 mechanical pencils

The refilling of the 0.7mm lead is done via a Faber-Castell cartridge. As with most pencils I buy, I immediately replaced the manufacturer’s lead with the fantastic Pentel Ain lead.

Porsche Design P'3120 mechanical pencils

The lead advance is achieved via twisting the cap (which is also the top half of the pencil). The P’3120 cartridge mechanism is one of the good ones – it works well, and there is very little lead breakage, though this is a heavy pencil and I suspect I write with what some might call a ‘heavy hand”.

There is a small “emergency only” eraser under the “cap”.

The pencil weight is 30g – not Yard-O-Led territory, but heavier than most mechanical pencils. Again, making this a desk pencil rather than a contender for the pocket.

Despite these great characteristics, in the end it is the overall aesthetics that won me over. The sleek, modern machined look is appealing. The pencil sits well in the hand, and functions well. I like each of the four versions, and use them all in rotation. I have not previously been drawn into the “get one of each” approach to buying writing instruments, but somehow was won over in this case.

As well, the machined aluminum resists scratching and day to day wear, quite unlike other writing implements I own. I think I would be content with a used version of one, which isn’t my typical approach.

Porsche Design P'3120 mechanical pencils

Overall, I like the P’3120, and wholeheartedly recommend it with the noted reservations.

Porsche Design P’3120 mechanical pencil

be the first to comment

Porsche Design pencil

The Porsche Design P’3120 is no everyday mechanical pencil. Machined out of aluminum, the P’3120 is a design standout.

Made via a Porsche Design/Faber-Castell collaboration, the pencil has all the design oomph one would expect from those design titans.

Porsche Design pencil

At 30g, it is one of the heaviest mechanical pencils on the market. The all black metal is highly distinctive. It is part of the “Edition 1” series, commemorating the 35th anniversary of the first black Porsche Design chronograph. (The pencil is also generally available in aluminum, anthracite, and titanium finishes.)

Porsche Design pencil

The pencil is cylindrical, with circumferential grooves. There is a grip area, with three scooped out areas for a traditional finger grip. The lead sleeve is conical. The pencil uses 0.7mm lead.

The major usage factor I would note is the weight. The pencil is heavy, and even if you tend to prefer a more perpendicular grasp, letting the pencil rest in your hand at a lower angle can become a habit of necessity.

Porsche Design pencil

The clip rests on another highly designed scoop. But the pencil is so long that it can’t be easily clipped to all shirt pockets.

The lead refill caused me some initial caution, but there was nothing to worry about. The pencil’s top half (called the “cap” in the documentation) can be pulled off or unscrewed. Pulling it off reveals the eraser – also in black. Unscrewing the cap reveals a cartridge. That cartridge itself has a cap, revealing the lead bay.

That “cap” is also the (twist) lead advance mechanism.

Porsche Design pencil

There is one slight documentation discrepancy – the manual says the cartridge has a capacity of three leads, while the cartridge itself says the limit is five.

Porsche Design pencil

The pencil comes with a manual, guarantee card, and small booklet mentioning other Porsche Design items. (The pocket knife, watch, and car, seemed to look fairly nice.)

The pencil itself is sold in a box with a magnetic clasp, inside a sleeve, inside another sleeve.

The P’3120 is a very nice pencil, and I love the look and feel. More so after some time. I can’t imagine this pencil not being appreciated by anyone who loves fine graphite writing implements.