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.
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.
It’s always nice to drive through Belgium as it gives me a chance to refill my Atoma reserves. As you might know, I’m a big fan of Atoma notebooks.
With such a choice to tempt me (see photo above) I couldn’t resist getting a BIC multi-pen with a pencil to add to my multi-pen plus pencil collection.
Carrefour had an offer on the Pelikano junior for under €10. It’s a great pen. When I bought mine in 2008 I paid £6.80, but these prices are long gone and today €10 seems like a steal.
The reason I really stopped was to get more Atoma notebooks. Unfortunately they didn’t have the Bio Atoma which I love. Even Atomas with cardboard covers were rare. Most had thick plastic covers which seem unnecessarily plasticy and not as nice as the cardboard variety. The similar Adoc notebooks were however available with cardboard covers.
When I drove on, into Germany, I noticed another nice stationery surprise. Kids get the excellent Noris colour pencils with a kids meal. Chicken fillets, fries, orange juice and Staedtler Noris for €3.99. The Noris is certainly the star in this combo.
Today: another pencil from France. This time it’s an eco pencil, the BIC ecolutions evolution BLACK. It’s a really good looking eco pencil with gold lettering on a dark grey, slightly metallic looking body. I paid £1.49 (~$2.35; €1.80) for a set with four pencils from a local supermarket.
When I first saw the packaging I was sceptical – it looks good, but does it write well? Most eco pencils don’t write very well, with the Wopex and paper-rolled pencil being the only exceptions I find usable.
“Relatives” of this pencil have been reviewed at pencil talk and Lexikaliker. Unsurprisingly the BIC ecolutions evolutionBLACK seems to be very similar to these pencils. The box indicates that it’s made form 55% recycled material and looking closer this seems to be an extruded pencil with an aerated casing. The pencils seem to have more air bubbles in the centre of the body, near the lead.
The sharpener used
I thought an eco pencils deserved a suitable sharpener, so I tried out the Dux Bio, a sharpener being advertised as 100% compostable and made from 80% renewable resources – even though I think it might be biodegradable rather than compostable, i.e. it the sharpener probably doesn’t turn into humus .
A quick word about the Dux Bio, also known as the DX5907. It’s a great sharpener that produces an even point with an angle of ~24°, even on difficult to sharpen pencils. I actually tried to get my hands on one for a while, but wasn’t able to find it anywhere. In the end (about 18 months ago) Dux was kind enough to send me one.
Using this pencil
Sharpening this pencil is fairly easy for a pencil with a body made from recycled material other than paper. The graphite core looks similar to that of a traditional pencil, but when looking at a sharpened point the graphite seems to be more reflective.
The BIC ecolutions evolutionBLACK produced a fairly light line – so light that it is tempting to press harder, especially if the point has been used for a while and the line is wider. Unlike a more traditional pencil pressing harder doesn’t however result in a darker line – or should I say the causal relation between pressing harder and producing a darker line is not as obvious as it is with a normal pencil.
Overall it’s not bad for a recycled pencil. It’s certainly much better than the recycled pencils made by Remarkable, but even though it’s easy to sharpen it doesn’t produce a line as good as the Wopex.