I will be honest – my exposure to mechanical pencils is limited to the UniBall Kuru-Toga because for me that was end game. It was the first mechanical pencil I got and I stuck with it – because it’s damn phenomenal. However, along with the fountain pen version (which came out after the pencil and ballpoint) I thought I’d give this a go. So here’s the review of the TWSBI Precision mechanical pencil. If you would like to read the review of the fountain pen, you can find it here.
The pencil is available in variations: either black or silver and with either 0.5mm or 0.7mm lead and in either a RT or “fix” variant. The latter choices refer to the tip of the pencil: with the RT you can retract it, but the fixed option.. Well, it’s fixed. Hopefully the pictures below explain it better than I have – the model I’m reviewing is the RT.
What I love about this pencil, and what would make me consider it over the Kuru Toga, is the faceted design. I’m a sucker for it.
The pencil is very slim, as you’d expect from most pencils. There’s a knurled grip which feels comfortable to hold. I’m not sure how vital it is for the grip to be like this – maybe it’s just aesthetic to differentiate it from the rest of the barrel? Without getting all philosophical of “where does the grip end and the barrel start? Is it just one grip or one barrel?” It’s a nice design feature and while I don’t think it adds much utility in terms of writing experience or.. Grippiness, I am glad it’s there for the aesthetic.
The clip, as I said in the fountain pen review, is what I self coined a “koala clip”, in that it hugs the barrel. I quite like the look of this and I think it suits the design of the rest of the pen quite nicely.
All trims are silver.
I’m not a mechanical pencil expert, or even enthusiast. I don’t enjoy writing with pencils much – if I have to write with a pencil, but can get away with it, I’d probably use a Japanese fountain pen with an (E)F nib inked with a grey ink. That being said, I think the writing experience largely depends on what type of lead you have in the pencil. In terms of feedback/smoothness etc.
But in terms of writing experience and how it feels in the hand etc, it was very pleasant. My gripe with mechanical pencils is how the lead may wear down on one side. I’m someone who doesn’t want to rotate while writing with something (see why I love the Kuru Toga?) This is something that you can’t really whine about I think, though, because that’s part of a mechanical pencil.
Under the.. “Clicker” (can you tell mechanical pencils aren’t my forte) is a rubber. You can purchase replacements which are quite cheap and it works well. I like it when the rubber is hidden underneath the click mechanism rather than exposed.
The pencil is nicely weighted in the hand and it also (as is also the case with the fountain pen) fits well in the hand. It was nice to write with.
This retails for just shy of £25 from most retailers, depending on where you purchase from as there may be a bit of fluctuation. Certainly not too expensive. It’s a good investment because this is clearly sturdy and weighty – something that will last you for a very very long time indeed because of its build. If the silver does’t suit you, then you always have the black version to choose instead.
Would I buy it?
Perhaps better to ask “would I consider buying it?” Because, yes, maybe. However, I doubt I’d go through with a purchase. Once again, I return to the Kuru Toga. It’s end game for me – and I really don’t see how anything can beat it on functionality, choice and price (as models are cheaper than the Precision). Further to this, while you do have two lead options for both the Precision and the Kuru Toga, the latter gives you 0.3mm and 0.5mm and as someone who prefers finer grades – it’s just no competition.
Another pencil that I would consider would be the Yard-O-Led models, but the difference in price is far greater than what we are dealing with here (by a factor of more than 10). This is probably more of an “occasion purchase” – ykno, something you buy to commemorate a graduation, a promotion, a dream job – that sort of thing.