As a kid I always hated the horrible yellow number 2. It was hard to carry in my back-pack without the point breaking, couldn’t be carried in any pockets without fear of lack of future off-spring, and sharp for only a small instance of time (delta-t before writing). So, I was the insane geek with numerous mechanical pencils to my name. The mechanical pencil mostly solved the carry problem (point didn’t break- or rather was always breaking to the same size) as well as the sharpness issue (always was a 0.5mm man myself). And only in the last few instances of the Staedler I had did I have a truly retractable point mechanical pencil worthy of safe-pocket use.
Enter the brilliant mind of the Faber-Castell engineers. They realized all three of these problems and solved them (and then some) with their Perfect Pencil line. I don’t know the history of the perfect pencil, but I know when I saw the nice shiney one I was enthralled (until I saw the price-tag, and about had a heart-attack). Someone pointed me towards the cheaper plastic FC 9000 perfect pencil. Thank goodness they did! I need to buy a handful so I’m never without, because I’m now hooked.
The perfect pencil consists of a slightly shorter FC-9000 B hardness pencil with a plastic add-on piece. The plastic piece acts as all the following: 1) pencil extender (for when the pencil gets dinky- I’ve gone almost all the way to the eraser end), 2) Shirt-pocket clip, 3) point protector, 4) Sharpener (inside!!)
So, not only did they solve the point breaking, point jabbing sensitive man-parts, and lack of pencil clip, they added to that the ability to have a sharp tip anytime you want, as well as using more of the pencil itself.
I’ll have to post some pictures of how mine’s held up over this year’s use! It’s looking great still with almost every-day carry (and knocking around in the bag). Best yet, it’s light, good looking, and cheap! (For the Ramen and peanut-butter eating grad-students!) Big cheers, Faber-Castell! Please don’t stop producing this one anytime soon!
Here’s a link to Faber-Castell’s webstore where you can buy your own. (They’re somewhat hard to find online, and even insanely harder to find locally.) – Buy from Faber-Castell [Price is $10 at time of writing, and $6 for 3 more 9000 pencils with erasers (shorter for less awkward initial use with the perfect-pencil cap.]
There are two other products likely also excellent. One is a perfect pencil that was Porsche Designed (approximately $45 at time of writing) and the other is the absolutely gorgeous Graf von Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil which will set you back $250 for the platinum coated and $395 for the solid-silver (and no, I didn’t confuse a decimal place). [Let's hope those links worked as it's very difficult to find some of those on the FC website- especially the FC 9000 Perfect Pencil.]