There were a few great blog posts about Faber-Castell’s Perfect Pencil on Sean’s (retired) Pencils and Music blog and the (also retired) Pencil Talk blog had a whole series of blog posts about the different versions.
I have used Faber-Castell’s Perfect Pencil for quite a few years now and have mentioned it a few times on this blog, but I thought the blog posts I have don’t pay adequate tribute to this great pencil, so here is a closer look (I don’t dare to call it a review) at the cheapest version available.
The Perfect Pencil II
Officially called the Perfect Pencil II, but sometimes called the Perfect Pencil junior (for example at Cult Pens while The Journal Shop calls it Perfect Pencil II) this pencil was released in 2007. There are different colours available (blue, red, black, blackberry – the article number starts with 18 29, followed by another number for the colour) and this pencil can be bought for £3 (~$3.95; €3.55) or less. I bought mine in Shanghai and I think I paid the equivalent of £2 or less.
Like the more expensive perfect pencils it can be used as
- a cap to protect the pencil point, making the pencil pocket safe
- as an extender to write more comfortable with short pencils
and it features a built-in sharpener.
It is best to be used with eraser tipped pencils and official refills are shorter than normal so that the perfect pencil fits in shirt pockets etc.
It’s not bad looking, but for my taste the Castell version is much better looking ..and less bulky, but also a few times more expensive, so more of a problem when you lose it (I lost mine after a few years of use).
The Perfect Pencil’s history
The first perfect pencil, the brainchild of Anton-Wolfgang Graf von Faber-Castell, was part of the Graf von Faber-Castell line and came out in 1993. Back then the eraser was in the extender.
1997 Faber-Castell released more affordable perfect pencils (the Castell and Design versions are still available) and a year later the posh Graf von Faber-Castell perfect pencil changed to the more familiar version with the eraser under a small cap.
Here’s a video where I look at the Perfect Pencil II.
I suggest you click on it to open it in YouTube, you then get a higher resolution and you can play it with a higher speed on most devices (I like 1.5x). This video also looks at how products in China are marked (origin and date) and shows Shangching‘s Tomoe River notebook I use for diagrams in this blog.
Other manufacturers have released similar products.
Have a look at the Pencil Revolution’s review of Staedtler’s The Pencil and the KUM Tip-Top Pop Pencil.
More Perfect Pencils
If you want to move up to a more expensive version I recommend the Castell version, which can be bought for under £10 (~$13.15; €11.80). I have previously looked at the black edition of the Castell Perfect Pencil.
There is also the more direct successor available, the Perfect Pencil III, bulkier, but with a built-in waste box. The cheapest seller I found in the UK so far is the Journal Shop where it sells for £3.95.
If you like to read more about the perfect pencil: Here are more Perfect Pencils at other blogs
John the Monkey compared the Perfect Pencil II and the Castell version.
Lung Sketching Scrolls had a look at the Fun version seen in the image of the brochure above.
Pens! Paper! Pencils had a look at the Castell version.
Economy Pens had a look at the Castell version.
The Well-Appointed Desk had a look at the Perfect Pencil II.
Exchange rates: July 2016 (post-Brexit vote exchange rate)
As usual: please open the images in a a new tab to see the high-res version.
I would like to thank Faber-Castell’s Edith Luther for the additional information she has provided.
7 thoughts on “Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil II”
Does it really sharpen reliably? I had problems with my Castell version – all of a sudden the sharpener stopped working. I haven’t found out why but I won’t rule out the possibility that the blade was lifted a little and sharpener waste came into the gap which changed the geometry for the worse. I think it would be better if the blade was not fixed at one point only but enclosed completely during injection moulding.
Thank you for your comment.
So far it has been sharpening reliably, but I haven’t used it that often yet.
My Perfect Pencil Castell, the one I lost, had been reliable for many years, but the blade did get dull over time – in the end it was more like an emergency sharpener.
This version is not expensive and I don’t know much about injection moulding, but I wonder whether it’s the way it is because this is just the cheapest way of making this pencil – I guess the blade in this version is only theoretically replaceable, I don’t think you can buy spare blades.
The Castell version has the blade held in place in several places, so despite being the older design it is more clever (but of course also more expensive).
I didn’t even know things such as pencil caps existed until this week. I love that this comes with a built-in sharpener… I always seem to lose sharpeners!
Thank you for your comment.
I think they are great. I remember showing my perfect pencil to a colleague, many years ago, and he didn’t see the point when there are mechanical pencils, but I love carrying a wood cased pencil (or Wopex) in this cool contraption that is the perfect pencil.
Thanks for the mention, Matthias!
I’d agree on keeping the sharpener for emergency purposes only – although I tested mine following Gunther’s comment, and both seem to be in good shape for now.
When the included pencil runs out in my Perfect Pencil Junior, I think I’ll replace it with a Mirado Black Warrior – the shape is right, and the gold imprint & ferrule will add a little colour 🙂
I love your intro music!! 😉
Thank you for your comments.
John, the Mirado Black Warrior should look pretty good in there, especially if you want a similar look to the pencil it came with. Thanks for getting me to use this extender. I think if it was a bit slimmer it would be my daily companion, just because losing it wouldn’t be a big financial loss.
Sola, I am very happy to hear that 8^) It’s not as 80s as I would like it to be. I downloaded the app I used for it the evening before. I can’t play piano or synthesizer, but the app is fun to play with.