Welcome to my Pentel Graphgear 1000 review. Is it the best in class? Let’s see…
After looking high and low for a new mechanical pencil that met my (very specific) criteria I stumbled across the Pentel Graphgear 1000. I can’t remember where exactly but it may have happened during a google search where I found an image of one and thought to myself… hmmm is that a pencil? It looks like a bit of machinery.
Pentel Graphgear 1000 Review: First impressions
I did ask myself ‘why on earth is the clip so big? and why does this thing cost just under £10?’ But the thing that struck me the most about this pencil is very clearly, the design. I think it looks fantastic. It’s so different from any other pencil in its class. If you lined up a load of mech pencils, including the Pentel Graphgear 1000 it is immediately identifiable and stands out from the competition saying ‘look at me, I’m beautiful, buy me, buy me’.
I eventually succumbed to the odd subliminal messages from the pencil and took the plunge. And I’ll tell you what… What a tool! (not me the pencil) I was so glad I picked one up and I managed to find one for a good price in a local arts & craft store. It had a nice weight to it, felt comfortable to hold and has a very satisfying, strong click when you click for more lead.
I use this to write in my Leuchtturm1917 notebook (which I’ve reviewed here) to take notes and do some sketches of design work inspiration etc and have found that the pre-loaded leads write very smoothly giving me a pleasurable writing experience. It makes me want to write more it feels that nice.
Pentel Graphgear 1000: specs…
- This is an automatic mechanical/drafting pencil with a brushed steel barrel. It has a very premium feel and is very much a quality product.
- It has a diamond cut knurled metal grip section with rubber ‘pips’ for added comfort and control.
- Metal cap concealing the eraser, which when removed, gives you access to the lead refills.
- Document clip (more on this below)
- Retractable tip. (this is one of my criteria when choosing a mech pencil)
- Lead grade indicator.
- Comes with 6 Super Hi-Polymer HB refill leads. (could differ depending where you buy it) Buy pentel graphgear 1000 refills.
- It has 4 different lead sizes with colours to match…
- Z2-1N refill eraser
- Weight 23g
Now lets discuss these in a bit more detail from the top down…
The metal cap has a little tiny marker indicating the size of the lead, which is good for people who have a few of these pencils and what to be able to grab the size they need quickly. When clicked it advances the sliding sleeve and lead at the same time, very handy for speed. Very solid movement too. Pulling the cap out will reveal the eraser which you can also remove in order to replace your lead refills.
The Document clip is one of my favourite parts of the pencil. It’s supposed to be able to hold around 15 sheets of paper and of course feels very capable of doing so with a strong spring loaded hinge and powerful grip. The grip when pressed at the top also withdraws the lead sleeve. I love this! Again this is a very solid, satisfying click. Ok so just so we’re clear on how this works… to advance the sleeve and lead, you push down on the cap, obviously clicking more if you need more lead. To withdraw the retractable tip you need to press the top of the clip which almost sucks the nib back in, meaning your pencil won’t bend/snap or stab you in the leg (if you put in your pocket like me).
The brushed steel barrel is gorgeous and comes printed with some details about the pencil! Who doesn’t love that! The print is starting to very slightly come away now on the ‘5’ but it gets some heavy use and travels most places with me.
At the bottom of the barrel you will see a little lead grade indicator which is a very handy feature so you know what lead grade you are using, but you can change it! You do this by keeping a tight hold of the grip and turning the barrel. This is great if you often change lead grades and want to keep the same pencil. It can display HB, B, 2B, 2H, H. You can also have it blank.
The knurled grip is the other standout design feature which I love to look at. With the added ‘pips’ I feel meets its objective of providing a very easy, precise and comfortable writing experience. Not only does the rubber feel soft and snug but the knurled diamond cut metal part really gives you that extra control and confidence that this won’t slip through your fingers.
Next up, the retractable tip. Very important as I like to carry pencils when I’m out and about. Now what I’m going to talk about is a real deal breaker when I’m looking to add a new mech pencil with retractable nib to my arsenal which is this… Nib MOVEMENT or ‘wobble’ once it’s exposed. If there is the slightest bit of movement I simply won’t buy it. It might seem a bit trivial to some mechanical pencil fans but one of the key reasons I love to use mech pencils is because of the precision they provide. I don’t like the feel of a loose nib when writing or sketching and will lose confidence in its ability to perform to a good enough standard. (I surely can’t be the only one who thinks like this?) Anyway getting back to the Pentel Graphgear 1000! This pencil has NO MOVEMENT at all! It is solid to write and sketch with which means that this bad boy is and will remain a permanent feature in my collection. And should be in yours too.
The overall weight and balance of the pencil is good to me, the distance between the nib and grip suits me fine but for others who like to hold their writing tools closer to the nib, the distance may be too much and the pencil may become top heavy after writing for a while.
Some might say that this pencil is better suited to drafting or for engineers etc only but to be honest, its performance is so good you can use it for pretty much anything you like, like I said earlier I use it for writing and sketching and it works great.
Pros and Cons
- Tremendously good looking. (subjective I know)
- Quality build.
- Built to last.
- Solid retractable nib, with no movement or ‘wobble’.
- Price. Some might say it’s too expensive but I believe a lot of the time you get what you pay for and at a little over £9 sterling I think it’s worth every penny for something that looks good, performs brilliant and will last a long time. Unless you lose it…
- When the lead advances, you don’t get much with one click so you may have to click slightly more than you’re used to when writing but I don’t find this an issue that would stop me from buying one.
- Plastic inner mechanism. The outside is made from metal but the inside mechanism is plastic which kind of puts a damper on the overall design but it is still a solid functioning bit of kit.
- I’ve read reports from other owners of this saying that the lead indicator breaks easily, I have had mine for a while now and have not experienced this myself.
So, should you buy this pencil? Yes you should. Right now. Seriously it’s excellent. It might not be the mech pencil for some in terms of cost or weight but the quality is worth paying for.
If you are thinking about getting the Pentel Graphgear 1000 or have never heard of it and want to try it then I hope my review has helped you decide. If not feel free to ask me any questions below or on Twitter. I’m happy to offer advice.
If you already have one, do you like it? Hate it? Let me know, I’d love to get your feedback.
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