After the quick interruption to my Insights X posts (I just had to post about October’s Pencil Pot of the Month, so that the post is on time): let’s continue with all the cool stuff from Insights X and move on to Faber-Castell.
Unfortunately there wasn’t enough time for me to look around at their stand as much as I would have wanted to, so this is not a in-depth as I would have liked it to be.
Faber-Castell did hand out goody bags to everyone from the blogger group and I am quite happy that this included the green (Castell 9000) version of the Perfect Pencil. You might remember that I lost mine after years of use. This summer I bought a new green one in Müller, a German drug store chain. They sell them for around €8. Even though I got one again since summer it’s nice to have a spare one (the one from the goody bag) – just in case I lose it again. In my opinion the Castell 9000 version of the Perfect Pencil is by far the best product Faber-Castell is selling (but I also love their dust free eraser).
Magnum Perfect Pencil
There were also some Perfect Pencil related news: there’s a new Magnum version of the Graf von Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil, but Sean has already mentioned this a few weeks ago, so it might not be news to you.
One of the new line of products Faber-Castell presented was the Pixel-it line. My guess is that if adults want to be kept busy with colouring books then children want that to. Faber-Castell thinks that with normal ‘connect the dots’ pictures you often know in advance what the final result will be.
This reminds me of a scene from Red Dwarf with our favourite Scouser. This video should hopefully start at the right scene (7 minutes 44 seconds in).
With these new Pixel pictures you don’t draw lines but colour squares / pixels that make up the picture. The colour you are supposed to use is printed as a number in the square, which solves the problem of making it too easy to recognise the shape of the final picture too soon. I think it is possible to recognise some shapes, before starting to colour the picture – especially if there are areas of colours represented by a single digit number next to areas represented by a double digit number, but the surprise doesn’t get spoiled as much as with connect the dots pictures.
Here’s a magnification of the picture above so that you can see how the numbered pixels look like:
The centrepiece of Faber-Castell’s stand was the Karl Box. They were so proud of it, they also presented it at the entrance of the trade fair1. It contains a selection of Faber-Castell pens and has been created together with Karl Lagerfeld. It’s limited to 2,500 and the price is 2,500, too – €2,500 that is.
I was quite excited to see Insights X branded Grip 2001 pencils. Unfortunately they were not part of the goody bag.
In the press pack I saw that Faber-Castell has also released
- new pens in their Ambition range with a good looking guilloche pattern,
- white, grey and black pencils in the style of their Grip 2001 pencils, but the dots looking like crystals, similar to the Staedtler pencils with crystal dots,
- different, new sets of coloured pens and pencils
- and new colours for the Grip 2010 and 2022 pens
Except the Magnum Perfect Pencil, mentioned above, Graf von Faber-Castell has also released
- desk accessories made from leather
- a very good looking pen roll made from leather
- ‘Limited Edition Heritage’ fountain pens
uni-ball / uni / Mitsubishi Pencil
This might not be well known outside the German speaking countries, but in Germany (maybe even more markets, I don’t know) Faber-Castell is distributing uni-ball products. I am not sure when this started, but when I was still living in Germany uni-ball products didn’t have the Faber-Castell logo printed on them. Now they do, so I am not sure whether the cooperation is just more obvious now or whether there was no cooperation in the past.
For the Insights X that meant that Faber-Castell and uni / Mitsubishi Pencil were next to each other. Faber-Castell also included uni-ball products in their press releases. This included the ‘Trend’ version of the uni-ball Air, a pen I was disappointed with, mainly because of the false claims in their UK advertising. Well, those claims about producing fine and broad lines are the same in Faber-Castell’s press release, but at least they don’t seem to be the big selling point for Faber-Castell. Faber-Castell also presented the uni-ball Power Tank Trend – the advertising seems to indicate that this pen is similar to a Fisher Space Pen.
When I asked at the uni / Mitsubishi Pencils stand about pencils I was told that they don’t do pencils in this market and therefore don’t have any here. Maybe not selling pencils in this market is part of the agreement they have with Faber-Castell? Who knows.
Outside Insights X – Karstadt
The most exclusive Faber-Castell products were not at Insights X though, instead I found them in Karstadt, a department store in Nuremberg’s city centre – just opposite Staedtler’s shop.
I wonder whether Faber-Castell thought something along the lines of ‘If Staedtler has a shop in the city centre we also want to make sure we have a big presence in Nuremberg, the closest city to our headquarter’. Well, what I saw in Karstadt were the most expensive Graf von Faber-Castell products I have seen in my life.
Here are some of the highlights.
Two Pen of the Year 2015 Sanssouci Potsdam. One of them will set you back €3,500.
And here’s the pencil that is worth more than my car: a Perfect Pencil for €10,000.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to take more photos with my phone because a shop employee told me off, saying that I need a signed letter from management if I want to take photos of the expensive pens. Well, luckily my wife was able to take the photo of the €10,000 pencil with her mobile, but the employee watched us with hawk eyes2, so we didn’t dare to take a close up photo of the pencil 8^(
I was surprised to see that Karstadt didn’t sell any Pelikan or Staedtler products. I found that rather odd as other department stores like Kaufhof sell these brands.
As usual please open the links on the images in a new tab to see them in high resolution (otherwise you can’t see the €10,000 pencil well).
Please have a look a Lexikaliker’s aggregator Insights X post if you want an overview and read more Insights X posts.