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Caran d’Ache 100th Anniversary Fixpencil

2015 was the 100th anniversary of famed pencil maker Caran d’Ache. We’re a little late noting this, but belatedly wish them congratulations! For the anniversary, a few commemorative items were offered, including a special version of their famed Fixpencil.

The Fixpencil, which we looked at in 2008, is arguably one of the most iconic writing instruments around, having been recognized in a Swiss stamp.

Some of the other items (e.g. fancy fountain pens) weren’t really my cup of tea, and the pencil commemoration (for the Technograph) just seemed to be four standard pencils in a cardboard box. Fortunately, this special Fixpencil seemed appealing, and came without an outrageous price.

Caran d'Ache 100th Anniversary Fixpencil

The pencil is a standard 2mm Fixpencil, but with a special design – silver colouring, a 10cm ruler, and colour leads:

Caran d'Ache 100th Anniversary Fixpencil

Caran d'Ache 100th Anniversary Fixpencil

Of special interest is a multilingual brochure that outlines the stories of Caran d’Ache products. The text is light on facts, but the illustrations are great!

Caran d'Ache 100th Anniversary Fixpencil

Did you buy any of the Caran d’Ache 100th anniversary products?

Tree Pencils

Tree Pencils – or more specifically – 8 Tree Friendly Pencils from Kikkerland.

The packaging says they are made of recycled paper. The designers are Rojo and Andrea Román. They created the pencils for a 2011 Mexican design competition. The pencils are made in China.

Kikkerland Tree Friendly pencils

Housed in a faux matchbook complete with sandpaper sharpener, they are super innovative for a novelty pencil!

Kikkerland Tree Friendly pencils

Lamy Safari 2.0mm Mechanical Pencil

Lamy has many fans in the stationery world, and justifiably so. Their products are associated with reliability, good value, and a commitment to good design.

Here is a Lamy Safari you’re not going to find in any stationery store: a 2.0mm mechanical pencil. The one pictured is a custom modification by isu, the author of both the uncomfortable chair, and the uncomfortable chair 2. Why two blogs? I am not sure. Maybe there are even more.

In a great confluence of events, Stationery Magazine issue 10 just arrived from Japan. We took a brief look at the first issue almost a decade ago. Although I do not read or speak Japanese, the annual magazine has such great photography that it is still worth picking up if you’re someone who reads blogs like this one.

Guess who is featured in issue 10? The master modifier himself!

LAMY Safari 2.0mm Mechanical Pencil

Thank you isu for the great pencil!

LAMY Safari 2.0mm Mechanical Pencil

I wonder if Lamy could be persuaded to add 2.0mm to their lineup?

LAMY Safari 2.0mm Mechanical Pencil

LAMY Safari 2.0mm Mechanical Pencil

Les Crayons de la maison Caran d’Ache, Wooden Pencil Box Edition No. 1

Accompanying the audacious Les Crayons de la maison Caran d’Ache series is a pencil box, offering four pencils that are adorned with palladium plated caps.

Les Crayons de la maison Caran d’Ache, Wooden Pencil Box Edition No. 1

To my eye, the American Walnut box is very nicely finished:

Les Crayons de la maison Caran d’Ache, Wooden Pencil Box Edition No. 1

Les Crayons de la maison Caran d’Ache, Wooden Pencil Box Edition No. 1

The two parts of the box (closed by magnets) open to reveal a sloped pencil box:

Les Crayons de la maison Caran d’Ache, Wooden Pencil Box Edition No. 1
If you are able to buy the pencils directly from Caran d’Ache, you can even get the pencils imprinted with up to six characters!

The palladium pencil caps are nice, and can be reused! Unfortunately the fit on one is not what I’d hope for:

Les Crayons de la maison Caran d’Ache, Wooden Pencil Box Edition No. 1

The caps can be reused on replacement pencils:

Les Crayons de la maison Caran d’Ache, Wooden Pencil Box Edition No. 1

Perhaps the nicest aspect of the box is the way it lines up (again held together with interior magnets). Caran d’Ache say the boxes are made by a professional furniture maker in Schwyz, Switzerland:

Les Crayons de la maison Caran d’Ache, Wooden Pencil Box Edition No. 1

An overall assessment is challenging. The use of a precious metal (no doubt in minuscule quantity) to cap the pencils clearly brings to mind the superb silver capped Graf von Faber-Castell No. III pencil. The box is beautiful and practical. Yet in the end, we now know that the pencils are reconstituted wood, which I find innovative, but less than completely appealing.

A custom Pentel Kerry pencil and a surprise from Clairefontaine

2.0mm Pentel Kerry

Sometimes familiar stationery items aren’t what they seem. Here is a Pentel Kerry mechanical pencil – but unlike any most of us have ever seen. It is paired with a Clairefontaine pocket notebook.

2.0mm Pentel Kerry

This pencil – a classic – is a custom modification by isu of the uncomfortable chair, turning the pencil into a 2.0mm version! It continues to fully function as a mechanical pencil. Look at the quality of the finish – it appears as if it came from the factory.

Thank you isu for such a wonderful gift!

2.0mm Pentel Kerry

As to the the second surprise – let me mention some context. Many of us were very surprised to learn that Tombow has moved (at least some) production of their iconic Mono 100, one of the world’s best pencils, to Vietnam. There is a great account at Lexikaliker. The news so far isn’t good – unfortunately, the Vietnamese version appears diminished in finish quality, even if retaining the same lead core.

So what a surprise to find a notebook the same week from Clairefontaine, which like sibling brands Rhodia and Exacompta, strongly associates itself with “Made in France”, that is made in Morocco. Yes, “design” and “paper” from France. Fortunately, I find the notebook to be excellent, with creamy 90 g/m2 paper (presumably the same as the “Rhodia R” series) and a pocket format. I’ll note a particular pencil advantage – this thick paper takes well to traditional rubber erasers, such as the round Graf von Faber-Castell.

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