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Silver 5

When I bought the Chinese New Year pens from BIC I also put a few more items in the basket to get free shipping. One of them was the BIC Silver Set: Seven silver-ish pens and a silver-ish notebook. The official UK price is £16.99 (~$22.70; €20.50). I saw which pens will be included, but didn’t know what to expect in terms of material. Will some of them have a metal body?

In case you wonder: all of the pens are plastic-y, none have a metal body. The 2mm Criterium lead holder would have been amazing with a metal body – a bit like the Caran d’Ache Fixpencil 884. The American made marking pencil is quite interesting. You can use it to mark any(?) surface with nice, opaque silver-grey paint – good to label black plastic or metal.

I really like that the packaging shows where the different pens are from.


Price and exchange rates: March 2022


Fresher 6

For many years there hasn’t been much going on in terms of new Caran d’Ache mechanical pencils. There is a lot of choice when it comes to ballpoint pens but there wasn’t much to look at in terms of affordable (<£50) mechanical pencils (there are unusually many in the ‘above £500’ range, though).

In recent years this changed to some extent with the 849 mechanical pencil being available in a few new colours and editions, e.g. Black Code. There are, however, not many shops here in the UK that actually stock these.

Image © Caran d’Ache

Today a new pencil joined the Caran d’Ache offering, available in a set with a ballpoint pen as a limited edition, the Set Fresher.

Image © Caran d’Ache

I am happy to see more mechanical pencils from Caran d’Ache, even though it is basically just the same pencil in different colours. I wish they’d do something else, e.g. offering a 0.5 mm version, but for now, just seeing more colours are a nice change.

Caran d’Ache seems to be starting the different colour limited editions game for their mechanical pencils and lead holders, or maybe not starting it but taking it up a notch, while Lamy is by now really good at the ‘new colour game’. Every time I think I won’t buy another Safari they come up with more good colours: last year the re-release of the original colours, this year the beautiful strawberry and cream colours, with matching clip etc.

Kaweco is also really good at this, with a mix of happy affordable colours and more posh looking ones that are slightly more expensive.

In terms of new innovation there have also been some news.

The new Kurutoga Dive is not only rotating the lead like previous versions, but is also advancing it. It is a capped and a limited edition. I wonder if the cap is there to protect the mechanism when not in use. Maybe the front is not as sturdy (in the current version) as previous Kurutogas with less complicated mechanisms. If that’s the case there might be a regular version without a cap in the future. This thought might explain why this is a limited edition: maybe they want to see first how this mechanism fares in the real world, or the manufacturing process isn’t automated enough for mass market production and some manual labour is currently involved in assembly which doesn’t make it quite mass market ready yet….


I believe that the use of the images in this blog post falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.


The good taste of baddies

We recently started watching the Reacher TV series and I noticed that the baddie seems to have good taste: On his desk you can see what looks like the black Graf von Faber-Castell Epsom pen holder and also the black Graf von Faber-Castell Epsom pen tray with three bottles of their ink. The pen holder and tray are available in a set that will set you back £895 (~$1220; €1075)

Image © Skydance Television / Paramount Television Studios / Blackjack Films / Amazon Studios

Image © Skydance Television / Paramount Television Studios / Blackjack Films / Amazon Studios


Price and exchange rates: February 2022

I believe that the use of the images in this blog post falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.


Year of the Tiger

With the year of the tiger in full swing (we just finished Lantern festival and had the first full moon of the Chinese New Year) it is time to show some Chinese New Year pens.

I assume BIC made these for the Chinese market as one of them even shows a Chinese flag. They have a generic New Year theme and are not focussed on the animal of the Chinese zodiac, i.e. Tiger for 2022, so can be resold every year without having to be redesigned. The centrepiece is the golden BIC in the middle.

Happy New Year!


A musical Noris 1

Image © Von Wegen Lisbeth

Another Noris in the Wild. This time from the cover of a single by indie-pop band Von Wegen Lisbeth. I got to know the band because of their song on the Crucchi Gang album and noticed that their latest single features what is unmistakably a Staedtler Noris.


I believe that the use of the cover of this single falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.