Perfect Pencil


Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil II 7

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.

Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil II

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.

Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil II

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).

Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil II and Animail envelope

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.

The perfect pencil line in 1997

The perfect pencil line in 1997

A very simple perfect pencil time line

A very simple perfect pencil time line

 

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.

Faber-Castell 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.


A Franken Noris 6

See what I did there? I used the title of the previous blog post, but changed ‘Franconia’ to the German word for Franconia: Franken.

blackperfectpencil-1

The association is now with Frankenstein’s Monster instead of Franconia. Just a reminder, Franconia is the area in Bavaria the size of Massachusetts where most German stationery manufacturers are from1.

blackperfectpencil-2

…and what a monster I have created. Muah hua hua. An unholy mix of parts from Staedtler and Faber-Castell.

blackperfectpencil-3

You might remember my recent blog post about me losing my Perfect Pencil. Well, now I do have a new one – a very special one. It’s the black version of the ‘Castell 9000 Perfect Pencil’. I first read about it in a blog post from Pencil Talk in 2010. As far as I can tell this version was for sale in Japan, from 2009 onwards.

blackperfectpencil-4

I just hope I won’t lose it again, like I lost my green one after six years. The black version is much more expensive and more difficult to get. Including shipping the pencil cost nearly £30 (¥4644 for the pencil plus¥890 shipping) (~$45; €40), I wouldn’t have spend so much, as mentioned before I stopped buying expensive stationery, but I was in the lucky position to pick a gift I wanted.

blackperfectpencil-5

The black of this Perfect Pencil goes very well with the black of my favourite pencil, the Noris. I think I will try out the pencils that came with the Perfect Pencil before changing to Noris refills.

blackperfectpencil-6

I still have short eraser-tipped Castell 9000 pencils as well as official Castell 9000 Perfect Pencil refills, so next time I go to Germany, probably next year, I might also get a dark green Perfect Pencil again (which is only £5 over there).

 

Please click (or right click new tab) to admire the Perfect Pencil’s beauty in higher resolution.


Price: June 2015, Exchange rates:  July 2015.

I’d like to thank Sola for her advice that helped me get a black Perfect Pencil.

  1. as well as some other famous companies like Adidas or Puma []

I lost my Perfect Pencil 8

It looks as if I lost my Perfect Pencil. My trusted companion since February 2009. With me nearly every single day since I bought it. I guess there is a small chance I will find it again, but that seems unlikely at this stage.

The Castell 9000 version is, in my opinion, by far the best version. I don’t like the look of any of the other Faber-Castell versions and the Graf von Faber-Castell versions are on the one hand a bit too ‘show off’ and they are also very heavy …which makes them feel unbalanced – plus I know from experience that if both of them fall from a meter or so on tarmac the Castell 9000 version will usually survive unharmed while the Graf von version will get a corner chipped off, because its weight made the fall so much worse.

 

Branches

The picture is from an old blog post about the Pencil Cedar – when I still had my Perfect Pencil.

 

The big question: should I buy a new one, the green one again? They got more expensive in the UK. I bought mine from Cult Pens where they now sell for 12% more (when taking VAT out of the equation). On the other hand the refills got nearly 50% cheaper!1 Even though a 12% price rise seems reasonable they are only half of the UK price when bought at Müller, a German drug store chain.

In the past I was tempted to get the black version. The black version looks as if it would look good with a Noris as a refill, but the only place where I have seen the black version for sale is in Japan, so it does get quite expensive – and currently I shouldn’t really spent money on expensive2 stationery.

I’m not sure yet whether I pay the more expensive UK price, wait for a one from Germany or pay the premium to get the black Japanese version.

  1. I used to use the long eraser-tipped 9000 in B to save on refills. Letter colour is different (gold vs silver) and the layout is different, but otherwise they seem identical except length. []
  2. >£10 []