This was my first thought when I saw this mechanical pencil, or fixpencil, to use the correct terminology. Typically, people seek out mechanical pencils for a tool that produces a precise line, much thinner than a traditional wooden pencil. However, this instrument is roughly the same thickness as a wooden pencil, seemingly rendering this mechanical pencil obsolete. But are there benefits to using this? Maybe, but maybe not. The only thing I'm sure about is that this pencil is fun.
This pencil comes in a very impressive box. I got the Nespresso limited edition variant of the fixpencil, advertised as sustainable since its body is made of recycled Nespresso capsules. It's a very environmentally-friendly box (that's kinda the whole point of this collaboration), which gives no excess. The entire packaging is made out of presumably paper-based sustainable materials.
The Nespresso-recycled fixpencil feels pretty comfortable to use. The body is textured with a coated orange finish that I've managed to chip away near the grip section. The overall shape of the pencil and the clip is consistent with the Caran d'Ache 849, which is essentially the same thing.
This Caran d'Ache clip is one of the best clips I've used. It's very springy, making it very easy to use. It's also one of the most unique clips that I've seen. Although not the most elaborate, the fixpencil's clip is still the most defining feature of the instrument.
The branding on this pencil was executed perfectly. It's very subdued and the clip overshadows the Caran d'Ache and Nespresso branding. It doesn't bring attention to itself and a glace at this pencil makes it seem like an ordinary writing instrument. However, there are fun minute details included that make the pencil shine.
The back of the pencil features text reading "A RECYCLING STORY IS IN YOUR HANDS", a pretty subtle reminder of the sustainability of the pencil. Besides this text and the text beneath the clip, there's no other branding on the pencil.
Writing with this pencil is pleasant. It writes similarly to a traditional wooden pencil but feels more substantial and premium. However, advancing the lead is pretty weird. Pressing down the black "clicker" completely lets go of the lead and, if you're not careful, may result in the lead falling out of the pencil. When the clicker is released, the pencil mechanism grips the lead firmly and I have no qualms about the lead falling out during use.
Since first using the lead holder, I've come to appreciate the unique advantages it has over a more traditional wooden pencil. Firstly, sharpening the pencil is extremely easy. The black cap has a built-in sharpener, which makes sharpening a blunt tip convenient. However, be sure to do all your sharpening with a trashcan nearby, as the sharpener can get messy.
Lead holders are also extremely useful because of their customizability. There are a variety of different colors and brands of 2mm leads to try. I use Staedtler Mars Carbon refills, but the market is vast and enables you to have one pencil that creates an entirely different writing experience for each refill used.
Although I was skeptical of the Caran d'Ache fixpencil at first, I've grown an appreciation towards it and will be sure to use it more and more often. It provides a different writing experience and more customization options than a traditional wooden pencil, and many people may find that enticing. Although these fixpencils are made for artists, they're enjoyable for daily tasks and I encourage you to consider picking one up.
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