Thursday, September 20, 2018

Preview OHTO Conception Mechanical Pencil


OHTO Conception mechanical pencil

A few days ago I received in the mail a small but very impressive package.
Thanks to: Stationery Wiki, and the people who made it possible
Matthias from Bleistift blog the mechanical pencil sponsor
Dave from Dave's mechanical pencils judge
Brad from The Pen Addict judge

How I got the mechanical pencil?
I ended up with this beautiful mechanical pencil as a prize in a competition hosted by Stationery Wiki. I participated with a post on the wiki about the Rotring 500. Irony or not I could choose between a Rotring 500 and the OHTO Conception. I chose the OHTO Conception because I am not familiar with the brand and their products
I also got a cup

What is Stationery Wiki?
A place where to find information and facts about stationery related products and these great people are the

Why this wiki and not Wikipedia?
Because Wikipedia has a filter and if it considers that the page is not of great importance for the public it will delete it to save precious space. At the same time, it can be tricky to find information about pencils, fountain pens, and other similar products and companies.
I wrote a few posts in which I tried to start from the beginning and go to the present days (short timelines): Rotring Tikky, Rotring 500 (the runner up post), Koh-I-Noor Versatil. And every time it was a difficult task.
The Rotring Tikky post was planned more than half of year before i started to write it. Partially because it was hard getting all the info, partly because I wanted to find more info and confirm what I have found, and largely because many times I am pretty busy and when I am not I am lazy :)
Joking aside the project is a great cause and I am a supporter of it.

I did not had the time to enjoy the pencil yet as I was on the road most of last and this week. I will make time for writing a review of the OHTO Conception in 0.3 mm shortly.
Until then you can read the review of the OHTO Conception on Bleistift. Some time has passed since I read this post and can't remember the conclusion or the positives and negatives. So it will be interesting to see how I rate it compared to Matthias.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Hamburg, Germany and Montblanc in a duty free shop

hamburg, brick buildings and graffiti

I just came back from Hamburg, Germany, after a very short trip. And I learned 2 new things.
First, I have to look for flights with more time between them or I should get in a better shape. It was a short and intense trip, as for my flight to Hamburg I had to change planes in Munich, and because the first one had a delay of over an hour I had to run for about 15 gates to get to my second flight just to realize that the gate number had changed and had to run back another 28 gates. I was completely out of breath. I can't even believe that a few years back I ran a full marathon.

mont blanc perfume

The second thing I learned is that Montblanc is also a perfume maker ?!? What ?!?
Maybe Paco Rabanne will start making inks... Not trying to be mean but I do not like this kind of style of business even though this seems to be the future for all brands.
Have someone produce whatever you want to sell, and you use the brand name to make people pay as much as possible for a generic product.
I just hope this is not like Armani watches (replace Armani with whatever clothing brand you would like), pricey pieces of quartz that you should pay around 30 $.

I can't say much about Hamburg as I did not get the chance to visit anything. But I saw a lot of construction sites, brick buildings, and graffiti. Oh, let's not forget about the bubble machine on a car.
hamburg, brick buildings and graffiti

hamburg construction site and graffiti

hamburg party


Saturday, September 8, 2018

Back to school small notebook


This is the last weekend before schools start again. So this means 2 things. A lot of stationary stuff everywhere and the last 2 days with "normal" traffic.
Yesterday I was in a shop and just noticed this bright neon small notebooks for just 0.25 Euro. I just had to have one of each color as they look very fun.
I enjoy using small notebooks as they are easy to fit in a pocket, in a bag without making it heavy or bulky. And this small size is just enough to write down some quick notes or have as a few backup information that is easy to reach on the go. Or just use it for something as basic as a shopping list.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Ink Review Koh-I-Noor blue

The fountain pen ink is produced by Koh-I-Noor in the Czech Republic.
It comes in a plastic bottle 50 g, and it has no additional box to store the inkwell. All this I imagine is to reduce cost and offer the best possible price to the consumer.
It comes in just 3 colors, blue, black and red. It is a rather limited selection, but this kind of inks are marketed towards students who need a no fuss, inexpensive ink.
And when it comes to price, it is a fantastic one. It is available in about every shop and costs between 1.1 - 1.4 Euro (average of 1.5 USD).
Another cheap contender would be Hero, but the price for a bottle of 60 ml is about 4.8 - 5 USD
Another comparison could be done with Pelikan 4001 blue 1000 ml (which is cheaper than black). The price on Amazon.de for 1000 ml is 26.59 euro, which translates into 0.03 euro/ml or 1.5 euro for 50 ml.
This makes the Koh-I-Noor ink to be more cost-effective even compared to Hero ink or with purchase of 1 liter of Pelikan 4001 blue. Yes, the Hero comes in a glass bottle and has a box, which the Koh I Noor doesn't offer. But you have to admit the price for it is incredible.

The company also produces a document ink. "Ink suitable for fountain pens, light and moisture-resistant, cannot be removed from paper without damaging the paper. For use in archives, for writing documents and at registry offices." They offer it in 50 g plastic bottle and 30 ml in a glass bottle. It is available in blue and black.
Unfortunately, I could not come across this one. It is rarer than a unicorn's horn, at least in my area.

So the ink comes in an unimpressive plastic bottle, the label is in Czech and English and this is about it. The top colored band from the label represents the color inside.
It is a light blue, not too saturated. But I like the look of it. In appearance, it is in between the Faber Castell Royal Blue and the Pelikan 4001 Royal Blue. The Pelikan 4001 has a little more of an indigo color in it.


As I stated before, the ink is marketed for students, so this is a no fuss ink. It does not have a shine or shading. But it flows well, hasn't been able to clog a pen so far, it dries reasonably fast, and does not bleed.
There is an area where it doesn't do very well, and that is water. Running water over a piece of paper almost erased the entire Koh-I-Noor ink. It was hardly visible after. The Pelikan is not a lot better but I would grade it a little higher.

To conclude, I give it a thumbs up. It is a great value ink. 

Friday, August 17, 2018

"Get Out" presents Bic Matic

Doing detective work.. What better companion to find if not the Bic Matic.
The movie Get Out presents for a short period of time the famous Bic Matic
movie get out pencil writing bic matic

movie get out pencil writing bic matic

movie get out pencil writing bic matic
It's not the best movie, and I don't know if it deserves the mark it has on IMDB, but it has an interesting scenario.
In the movie, Rod is looking for his 26 year old friend, Chris. And to put down all his ideas, he uses a clear body Bic Matic with a yellow clip.

Also spotted in movies.
Thor using Bic four colours
Bic Matic Grip in cinema

Bic does not seem to be camera shy.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Rotring 500 review

The Rotring 500 is the little brother of the 600 series. It shares the same looks but has a plastic barrel instead of metal. The grip is made from metal and has knurlings the same as the lead hardness indicator. It comes in sizes 0.5 and 0.7 only in black while the Rotring 600 can be found in silver as well.

This was not always the case. 
The first appearance of the rotring 500 is around 1989 - 1990, about the same time the rotring 600 appeared on the market. 
When it came out the pencil was available in 0.3 mm, 0.5 mm, 0.7 mm, 0.9 mm and the grip and lead harness indicator sections were silver while the rest of the pencil was black 
The codes for the pencil were:
502 503 (0.3 mm)
502 505 (0.5 mm)
502 507 (0.7 mm)
502 509 (0.9 mm)

Notice that Rotring was using lead size notations 0.3 mm and 0.9 mm. Nowadays the 0.3 mm became 0.35 mm and the 0.9 mm became 1.0 mm.

This looks like a very serious drafting pencil, and it is. It has a Rotring classic design, it is built very well with precision and comfort in mind, but the times have changed. If you could buy this serious tool in all drafting sizes, now it is available only in 0.5 mm and 0.7 mm. These are the most common sizes used nowadays for general writing. So even the most die-hard drafting pencils are becoming regular mechanical pencils with a  peculiar design.

Getting back to the pencil. 1904725 and 1904727 are the new product codes for Rotring 500 0.5 mm and for 0.7 mm.
The 500 is the cheaper version of the 600. It is not the cheapest (that spot is reserved for the 300 complete plastic build). The 500 is made in Japan and the build seems solid. The grip, lead hardness indicator, and the cap are made out of brass, the clip is made out of stainless steel and the barrel is plastic (ABS) but feels nice to the touch.
I like the tool design, it screams, I was made with a precise purpose in mind. The barrel is hexagonal so it does not roll off the table, it has written with red "rOtring 500 / 0,7 mm". The clip is a very solid one and has the name rOtring, stamped on it. The lead hardness indicator is a nice touch, it does not move too freely so I do not think there is the risk of moving it by accident. What I like a lot is the repositioning of the red ring right at the end of the pencil. Also, it is not a strip of paint, it is a plastic with a red color. Very nice, because the paints used on the rotring's tend to get erased with not too much use. The endcap is made out of brass and hides a small eraser and the feed system. One thing it misses is the color coding for the size, but as I mentioned before even the drafting pencils seem to move towards general writing instruments, so the lack of size colored marking is not a concern for most people.
This is about 3 times more expensive than a Rotring Tikky but when you hold it in your hand you can justify paying 3 times more. You could go even higher by purchasing the 600, but I feel that this is a great deal. You get a great mechanical pencil that is good looking, is well built and will cost less than half what a 600 will cost.







I like how on the 2017 Rotring Catalog Cover the Rotring 500 0.5 mm pops up.

rotring 500 catalogue

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Black ink: Faber Castell vs Pelikan 4001

Lately, I have been using fountain pens more often. And I found that the most used color of ink is black. Both of the writing samples are with Faber Castell Loom fountain pen.
The Faber Castell has a more fluid ink, and the color is more saturated compared to the Pelikan.
On the plus side for the Pelikan, it is a bit cheaper and it is more popular, at least with the shops. You can find Pelikan 4001 in any stationary shop, small or big.
They are both close, but Pelikan wins at foto finish

I chose Pelikan mainly because it handled a little bit better in the sun test, you can see in the post ink over time. And it is easier to find

black ink faber castell vs pelikan 4001 fountain pen

black ink faber castell vs pelikan 4001 fountain pen

Saturday, July 7, 2018

OEM Kaweco

In a previous post, I talked about similarities between fountain pens and mechanical watches. It is clear that others have thought about this because Nomos is selling Kaweco Aluminium Sport on their site, branded with Nomos Glashutte. 
The price for the Nomos branded fountain pen version is about the same with the price of the Kaweco one. $ 72 (I made the comparison using the jetpens site, but take into consideration that the shipping is free from the Nomos site for most parts of the world while jetpens delivers with no cost in US)


"DESCRIPTION
Kaweco, a stationery company founded back in 1883 that once turned Heidelberg into the center of the German fountain pen industry, also produces pens for NOMOS Glashütte—since this is something NOMOS can’t do.
The design of these pens is rooted in the 1930’s, while the choice of materials employed is right up-to-date—they are produced from untreated, hand-polished aluminum. In other words: Life may leave its mark on the pen in the form of small scratches, dents, a fine patina, and other beautiful traces of time. That said, it comes with a protective cover—for traveling, for example—in the form of a black Jepard leather pouch. 

DETAILS
NOMOS’ aluminum fountain pen has a particularly soft steel nib (with an iridium tip, nib size M). 10.5 cm in length, or 13.5 cm when in use (with the lid attached to the end). Comes with a soft case made of black Jepard leather. Customers in the United States, please note: due to US Customs restrictions, orders delivered to the United States are shipped without an ink cartridge. Not to worry though, you can purchase these from your local office supply store online retailer under the name, "international standard cartridge"

I wonder, would you go for the Nomos version if you already own a Nomos watch or stick to the Kaweco original? Isn't this like wearing an Audi watch?

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Advertising with a pencil

Many companies use promo materials to raise the public's awareness about their company, brand, products etc. Many times with a cheap plastic ballpoint that has the name printed on the side. Why not be a bit different and use a pencil instead.
Koh-I-Noor has a catalog to present their advertising products. In the images, you can see a lot of known brands using Koh-I-Noor pencils for marketing purposes

The pencils come in a variety of forms, and sizes and are using the colors of the brands they represent.

I really like the idea of using something less plasticky for marketing, plus they do not look all the same.

A double treat for me, apart from the cool idea of having marketing material in form of a humble pencil, is that I work for one of the companies that is present in the Koh-I-Noor catalog.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Continental Typewriter at a flea market

No pencils or fountain pens for today, just a little part of the history of writing, or IT :)
Even though last weeks had unstable weather and today according to the forecast it was not different I chose to get up early in the morning and go to the local flea market, that takes place every Saturday. It is the first time I go, and I heard that the best is to go early in the morning. Just to demonstrate how relative things are, I chose to go at 9 o'clock as it is a Saturday, but the flea market opens up at 4 am.
Anyway, I started roaming around, looking here and there. In all this time I didn't even notice the shining sun and the fact that my head and arms are getting burned. Going through junk is mesmerizing and creates a weirdly satisfying feeling.
Between the kitsch, junk, CE (China Export) and other things I can not put a tag on, I saw a part of history, writing or IT. I do not know where to put it.

I think the category for it is IT, as the seller put this Continental Typewriter next to laptops.
I can remember that one of my grandmother's neighbor had a typewriter, and I wrote so Mambo Jambo about 25 years ago or so. At the moment I didn't know how to write, as I haven't started school, but I was fascinated by the fact you could see the letters move to make an imprint on the paper.
I did a quick search on the internet and the last Continental Typewriter was produced in 1954.

Maybe this is not your, "cup of tea"... No problem, there were still a lot of things to see and buy                       I took home a #22 spanner, a punch, and a tailor's ruler. Maybe next time I will find some old fountain pens or something related to writing that is worth checking out.