Simbalion’s Supreme Quality Pencil 88
Simbalion are, as far as I can tell, not very common in the West. In a previous blog post I looked at the Graphic Pencils from Simbalion, one of Taiwan’s oldest stationery manufacturers. When I visited Keyroad, a Chinese stationery chain where I bought my previous Simbalion pencils, I saw Simbalion pencils I hadn’t noticed before: Simbalions supreme quality pencil 88. They have a very old fashioned look. Packaging-wise I thought they were the best looking pencil in the shop, because of this old fashioned look. I like the layout, the fonts and the colours used.
The bad news
When I say supreme quality I use Simbalion’s description from the packaging, so these are their words, not mine. In my opinion these aren’t exactly supreme quality pencils. …and when I say “not exactly supreme quality” I’m being kind. They aren’t horrible, but compared to good quality pencils they are a bit scratchy and the finish isn’t to a good standard either. Their lead also breaks easily when you have a long, nice point, like the one produced by my favourite pencil sharpener, the Deli 0635. Looks as if not all pencil can handle the Deli’s 17.5° point.
The good news
…but I think I should put this all in perspective. When I picked a pack with a dozen of these pencils up I thought they’d cost 8.5元 I’m using the 元 sign instead of the ￥ sign, which is normally being used in Chinese shops, so that there is no confusion between the Chinese Yuan and the Japanese Yen. (~$1.40; €1.05; 90p), because that’s what the sign under the pencil said, but that sign was for another pencil. A pack containing a dozen of these pencils was actually only 4.5元 (~75¢; 55c; 45p) and thanks to my loyalty card and some other offers in store at that day I only paid 3.83元 I haven’t seen Fen (分), 1/100th of a Yuan in years, so I guess they’ll round up or down if necessary.. Value for money is therefore excellent, despite them not being on par with what a would call a good pencil
…and I like them mainly because of their look anyway. Their bright, strong orange, not fluorescent, but really strong is nice, even though the package is even nicer…
Other things to mention
Other interesting points to mention are that the performance of the eraser is better than expected and similar to the quality of the kind of erasers you find on the end of good pencils. Despite this being an Asian pencil …from a Taiwanese company, but made in JiangSu province, China, just next to Shanghai. the HB classification is also more like a European HB, not like an Asian HB. If anything the pencil seems to be harder, not softer than HB, but that feeling might be caused by the slight scratchiness. I’m also not sure whether lead hardness will be consistent across a bigger sample. The length, including the eraser is slightly more than 19 cm. The diameter of the pencil is on the bigger side (7.1 – 7.2 mm edge to edge, 7.7 – 7.8 mm vertex to vertex). According to the packaging the pencil has a weight of 6.5 g ± 1. When I checked the weight the pencils were lighter, but my scale is rather old You might have seen it in some older blog posts., so I’m not sure I can trust it.
I’ll try to keep my blog posts short, because I tend to go one forever This blog post ended up being longer than expected – again. so instead of talking more about Keyroad now, I’ll show you some photos I took in Keyroad in another blog post soon.
In case you wonder why the pencil’s name is 88: 8 is seen as being an auspicious number – in Mandarin it sounds similar to the word for wealth or fortune. I think that similarity is even bigger in Cantonese, but I’m not absolutely sure.
A nice-ish pencil for a great price. I wish I’d bought more…
Price: May 2013
Exchange rates: June 2013
|↑1||I’m using the 元 sign instead of the ￥ sign, which is normally being used in Chinese shops, so that there is no confusion between the Chinese Yuan and the Japanese Yen.|
|↑2||I haven’t seen Fen (分), 1/100th of a Yuan in years, so I guess they’ll round up or down if necessary.|
|↑3||…from a Taiwanese company, but made in JiangSu province, China, just next to Shanghai.|
|↑4||You might have seen it in some older blog posts.|
|↑5||This blog post ended up being longer than expected – again.|
8 thoughts on “Simbalion Supreme Quality Pencil 88”
I really like the color, too, and the fonts especially. I’m glad I’m not the only one who sometimes enjoys a “cheap” pencil very much. It’s very cheap pencils that got me “into” pencils in the first place. 🙂
Was it a specific cheap pencil that got you into pencils?
I normally like the Noris. I guess it used to be a cheap pencil, and it is still not expensive – but at the prices supermarkets sell packs of no name pencils for you have to wonder how there is any profit in it after tax, transportation cost, etc…
Paper Mate “American Naturals.” I should have stashed more away, since they stopped making them. They weren’t even cedar, but they were (are) beautiful! I even have the actual pencil I was using when I got the idea for Pencil Revolution.
Now THIS is OLD: http://www.pencilrevolution.com/2005/08/review-of-papermate-american-naturals/
My pal and I were marvelling at the Noris pencils you sent me. He was very surprised to learn that they are “school pencils” in the UK since the USA equivalent would be very ugly and certainly not write as well. I LOVE the Noris, too. 🙂
Simbalion brings up all the childhood memories! I had a lot of school supplies in that brand. With that being said, I have never used pencils by them. I remembered that pencil grades were not all that consistent; there were many occasions when I could not completely erase marks made by supposedly HB pencils and received some stern stares from the teacher because of it. Partly because of this reason, my mother switched me to Japanese pencils that are darker and softer.
For anyone who likes a fine “cheap” ($4.95/dozen) pencil, check out the Faber Castell Bonanza 1320 from Korea. I ran across them on eBay and was drawn by the lively orange color. Imagine my surprise when I tested them and found out they wrote better than almost any of my hundreds of pencils–save, perhaps, for the Palominos. I went back and ordered two dozen more immediately. For once, a pencil wowed me, and that includes the Blackwings.
John, the look of the American Naturals reminds me of the Faber-Castell 1117 (link). I wonder whether these two pencils also behave in a similar way.
I’m happy to hear that you love the Noris 8^)
Shangching, I also noticed their inconsistent grades, I think I mentioned it in my blog post about their graphic pencils. I wonder why the pencils you mentioned were difficult to erase. Normally I find harder pencils easy to eraser, but there is also a bigger indentation in the paper where you wrote, so despite erasing you can still read the text – but if you couldn’t erase the marks, maybe they added something else to the clay/graphite mix when making the lead, something the erasers couldn’t remove‽
Randy Schwartz, I really like the Bonanza (link). I got my first ones from Kent (link) many years ago. Luckily, by the time I used my stock (nearly) up, they were being sold on eBay 8^)
Matthias, they do compare well, I think. Their finishes are surprisingly good, and I like the texture very much. The F-C is probably smoother and definitely holds a point better.
Still, there was something about that blue foil lettering and terrible pink eraser. 🙂
What a shame they don’t make them any more…