I’ll be honest here. When I first saw a picture of this mechanical pencil, I thought the clip was simply ghastly and the body looked similar to the plastic barrel used on the GraphGear 500 of which I’m not a fan of. At the same time, I was already very happy with the Pentel’s Graph1000 For Pro (PG100X) so I decided I’ll not bother to bother with the GraphGear 1000.
Then in September of this year, I visited the main branch of Nagasawa Bungu Center (located at Sannomiya Center-machi), a stationery store chain in Kobe, Japan. While browsing through their prolific display of mechanical pencils, I came across a special edition GraphGear 1000 that had a gorgeous metallic red body and section, named 紅蓮 (crimson lotus), and made available only within Western Japan. There was also a similar finish in a metallic blue body, named 紺碧 (azure). When I finally handled it in my hand, I discovered I really liked its weight and that the body was made of aluminium rather than plastic as I had previously assumed. It was also reasonably priced at ¥1000 (excluding tax) which is the list price of the regular edition so I knew I had to pick one up!
Shortly after my return from Japan, I decided to carry it to work. My collection of mechanical pencils is fairly large at this point so I typically pick a different one every Saturday and I would use it throughout the week at work. The only exception to this rule would be discovering that the current choice isn’t working out well for me and a substitute was needed.
To my surprise, I ended up using the GraphGear 1000 for approximately two weeks simply because I just did not want to put it away.
What worked for me
First, let’s talk about its form.
I really liked that is a long mechanical pencil: 15cm in length (or 5.9") both in its unextended and extended form. I can’t exactly explain why I prefer long pencils but this is a good length and definitely comfortable to hold in my grip.
Similarly, the tip is extruded a little further from the edge of the grip section than most regular pencils and that additional distance makes a difference to me. Once again, it is all a matter of balance. I should note that it shares the same distance (22mm) as the GraphGear 500, so it is not a particularly unique feature to this mechanical pencil.
Meanwhile, I’m not too keen on the oval rubber bits spotted over the metal section. The Graph1000 model also has them but in rectangular shapes and feels flatter and thus, less intrusive. The ones on the GraphGear 1000 feels closer to the ones found on the Pentel Smash which is the sore point of that model for me. However, overall speaking, I can live with them even if I wished they were a little less prominent when held in my grip.
And finally, the killer feature: its clip and the retractable tip mechanism. Yes, that horrendous clip that I now adore to bits … because it’s the ultimate fidget tool.
I’ll let you in on my secret: There is a simple reason (okay, many reasons) why I still enjoy using mechanical pencils today. I love the knocking mechanism - you can extend as much lead or as little as desired. I love that I can load the lead from the tip rather than from the top. I love repeatedly snapping the clip and all the mechanical pencils that survived from my high school years bear testament to this because they sport remnants from broken-off clips (cheap plastic parts!). I also love being able to take apart the pencil and putting it back in one piece.
In short, mechanical pencils keep my hands and fingers busy and the constant clicking or clip snapping were soothing background sounds during many study session. I’ll admit that it did drive the people around me crazy.
So back to the clip. It serves two purposes: firstly, as expected, it clips to other objects. However, if the retractable tip is extended, pressing the clip will also pull the tip back with a very audible but satisfying snap. This also means that the pencil can be stored safely in a soft pencase which is a major big plus in my books because I carry fountain pens and always worry about them getting scratched.
The GraphGear 1000 was a mechanical pencil I had judged to be uninteresting when I first laid my eyes on it. I was proven wrong repeatedly once I started using it and it has now climbed to the top of the list for my everyday use mechanical pencils. Despite its appearance, it seems like a really well designed and thought-out tool. For its price point, I think it is an excellent addition to my collection and daily selection of writing tools.
Sadly, now I want more of it and am on a lookout for limited and/or special editions of the same model!
Model number: PG1015BEW