Showing posts with label koh-i-noor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label koh-i-noor. Show all posts

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Trip to Prague, Koh-I-Noor shop hunt

koh i noor pencils prague, storefront

I had been to Prague and of course, I had to go hunting for Koh-I-Noor shops. 

As beautiful as Prague is, the weather was not the best, not even close. Around 1 - 3 degrees Celsius with constant rain. I wondered on the streets but because of the weather, and the limited time available, I only got to visit 2 of the shops. One of the shops I have been to the previous time I have been in Prague (link).
What I really like is Koh-I-Noor knows how to promote themselves and associate the stationary brand to Czech and to Prague. Going to a Koh-I-Noor shop in Prague is just like visiting a landmark, a church, a bridge. They are landmarks of Prague.

koh i noor hedgehog pencils
  The first Koh-I-Noor shop was in the old center. I don't think it is a Koh-I-Noor franchise shop as the shop was a mix of pencils and souvenirs. Also, it was kind of a tourist trap as everything inside seamed overprice to me. On Google maps you will find this shop under the name Koh-I-Noor Pencils.
 

The second shop was the one I have visited previously. A very large shop dedicated exclusively to the Koh-I-Noor products (Koh-I-Noor Hardmuth as). It is located in the vicinity of Prague Castle. This shop had a smaller selection of clutch and mechanical pencils and it was more oriented to the artists out there. But I still managed to find some very interesting products at good prices.
koh i noor hedgehogs
I really like the decor Koh-I-Noor uses in the shops. It has a feeling of traditional, classy and very friendly. Also, they address a very wide range of customers. From kids to artists or just to the average person.
koh i noor hedgehog

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Preview Koh-I-Noor hunt

These are the souvenirs that I brought back from my visit to Prague. This and a bag of chocolates that I forgot at the airport. The good part about the times we live in is, when someone spots an unattended bag in an airport, the security gets alerted imideatly.
So after forgetting my chocolate bag on a bench, I went through security, then back to see if I can find it where I left it. Of course, it wasn't where I left it so I went through security again. After I heard my name on the airport loudspeaker. The bag is waiting for me at the gate.
If it would have been beer instead of chocolate I don't think I would have been so lucky.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Review Koh-I-Noor Notebook 2 mm mechanical pencil

The Versatil from Koh-I-Noor that I talked about in the post Koh-I-Noor Versatil lead holder from 70s, made me a bit nostalgic about the 2 mm lead holders. And after seeing the Koh-I-Noor Notebook 2 mm pencil, codename 5608, I couldn't help myself and just got one.
The pencil has a very nice design, combining the classic, futuristic looks. I do not know why but the design takes my imagination to the 60s, old small cars with chrome and typewriters. Weird combination..
For me, this was the selling point.
The first thing about the pencil that comes to mind when you have it in hand is "this is soo small". The length of it is a perfect size, I would call it compact. It is long enough to have a good grip on it and it is small enough to fit anywhere. But because the pencil is very thin it contributes to the look. The purpose of this was EDC, no doubt.
Size comparison Koh I Noor Notebook 2 mm and Koh I Noor 5.6 mm

There is a compromise when it comes to ergonomics in the detriment of size. The pencil is fine for short period of writing and for jotting things down, and the knurled grip feels very nice in the hand.  But even for small hands like mine, when I write more, it becomes a bit uncomfortable because it is so thin with around 8 mm in diameter.

So because of its small size and its cool looks, you will be inclined to have it with you all the time.

There are a few things about the Koh I Noor that I do not like, or I would prefer to be better made. The barrel is not attached to the mechanism. I mean that the lead and the clutch rotates freely in the barrel of the pencil. So if you want to sharpen the lead in it you have two options. The first option is to hold it by the lead and rotate it in the sharpener, and the second is to hold it from the advance button which moves along with the clutch mechanism and the lead.
The second complaint is about the clicking mechanism doesn't seem to be sturdy, and mine is rubbing inside between the mechanism and the barrel. I would say this will not last you a lifetime like the old Versatil will.
Koh I Noor has kept the classic 4 tooth sharpener that is hidden in the advance button. It is a nice touch but 2 mm pencils like Rotring 300 have a better sharpening system built in. And talking about the sharpener, it comes loose easily. I found the pencil several times without this little part attached, only my luck made me find it in the bag or on the desk. But take it into consideration that you might loose it.

These negative points destroy a little bit the aura of the pencil and the brand name. I don't want to say it is made cheap but I would prefer that Koh I Noor would put a little more effort into making a better pencil.



If you want to czech more things about Koh I Noor you could start with these posts:
Koh-I-Noor Versatil lead holder from 70s
Koh-I-Noor in Prague

Friday, March 22, 2019

Pencil highlighter



I saw on the internet that Kaweco has a 5.6 mm highlighter lead, and I think it is just awesome. I like the idea of using a pencil highlighter, you do not get smudges, no bleed, and the pencil will not fade with time. But it is pretty hard to get the 5.6 mm leads, as they don't seem to be very popular. From the searches made almost the only place you can buy them is jetpens.com
They come either mixed, a yellow, a red and a green or a pack of 3 with the same color inside. At the moment of writing this post, the pack of 3 is $ 6.5 and a free shipping in USA for orders above $ 25
They look cool and vibrant but why not use a regular color lead instead of the "highlighter" ones?

I made a short test with the Koh I Noor 2 mm lead 6 color pack. All the colored leads are very good as a highlighter, as they are vibrant enough to be seen but not too intense that they obscure the writing beneath. The downside is the small diameter, and the fact the leads are not extra soft. Because of this, you will need a shading move of the pencil to highlight the row. So maybe a little extra work. I wonder how the 5.6 colored Koh I Noor leads work for this kind of stuff.
Bellow is the Kaweco highlighter (picture from jetpens.com) and to the right is the Koh I Noor regular color lead.

picture from jetpens.com

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Magic pencil Koh I Noor


This has been my view this last few days, during my ride home from work. To better understand some explanations are due. I live in a city that is surrounded by hills, and close to it, approx 30km there are small mountains. I would say it is a pretty nice place. But during winter it gets very depressing. Mostly because the day is short and it gets dark early. And second, when it is not dark outside everything is gray. The sky is covered by gray mushy clouds, the light is very flat, and the snow in the city gets gray fast. Not to mention the buildings that look like this all year round. It is unusual to see a beautiful clear sky, especially when you are trapped in an office all day long. But spring is coming and the day is growing in length.
Now when I go home from work I get to enjoy this type of scenery (somewhere in the black bottom part of the image is where I live).
And each time my brain connects it with the Koh - I - Noor Jumbo Special Coloured Magic Pencil. If I could paint or draw, this would definitely be my weapon of choice for such stunning scenery.
    jumbo special coloured MAGIC pencil 3405 fire
jumbo special coloured MAGIC pencil 3405 TROPICAL

Friday, February 8, 2019

KOH-I-NOOR 5340 5,6 mm lead holder

koh_i_noor leadholder 5340So here it is, the Koh-I-Noor lead holder 5340 5,6 mm in gold. My initial impression was this thing is a lot bigger than I was expecting. I thought that it would be shorter. It kind of feels like holding a weapon. Big, bulky, all metal.
The design is simple and elegant, the mechanism inside is made out of brass, the outside is made out of aluminum and the barrel is painted goldish, while the rest of the parts are polished bare metal. The barrel is an octagon, and on a side, it is written in black KOH-I-NOOR HARDTMUTH. I guess this is not a subtle pencil so why would the writing on it bee any different.
Inside the mechanism's button, there is a sharpener for the lead. Also because of the thickness of the lead, you can use a regular pencil sharpener.
When you remove the cap, you have access to the lead inside, meaning you can fill or empty the pencil from the back, if the lead is not clamped in the clutch jaws.
The pencil was delivered with a lead, 2HB I think. It is plenty dark and smooth, so the writing experience is nice.
One of the bumps in the road is the consistency of the lead thickness. Some of the leads I bought along with the pencil are a bit too thick and they do not go in or out without persuasion. I have to pull on them or shake the pencil to force them out. And I can see little crumbles of graphite from the friction with the clutch.
After playing with the pencil for a few days I found it's role in my life. I think the designer of the pencil had artists in mind, but I do not draw. Or because of it's intimidating size it could be used for manly things. I read on a blog some time ago you can design a shed with it, and I think the one who did the review was pretty close to its purpose.
My use for it is "Visual Note Taking and Markings".

koh_i_noor leadholder 5340
There is a good variety of leads to use for this pencil. You can use regular lead. I do not know if you can get HB, but the softer lead is just fine. Also, you can use chalk, coal, metallic colors, sepia. 

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. 

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.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Ink over time

Recently I started writing with a fountain pen again. The appetite for fountain pens has been ignited by the cheap Preppy. The sensation was quite nice switching from ballpoint to fountain pen. But the fact that ink is soluble into water made me contemplate on the resistance of ink over time. You can find on the Internet and on the forums good UV tests of different inks. But I wanted a test of my own to see how my inks work in my situation, so your  mileage may vary. I live in a place with moderate sunlight. I tried to replicate what would happen to your ink writings left on a table on which you get a fair share of sunlight.
The test is not very scientific as i used different fountain pens and the exposure to light was different as i did not used all the inks in the test from the begining but still the results are interesting.

Inks used: platinum blue black, Faber Castell royal blue, Faber Castell permanent black, Pelikan 4001 royal blue, Pelikan 4001 black, Pelikan 4001 personal mix 1:1 royal blue and black, Koh I Noor Blue

The test was conducted for a period of 4 months from March until June.

UV ink test, pelikan, faber castell, platinum, koh i noir

Results:
Koh I Noor blue with the least time exposed to sunlight is almost invisible
Faber Castell royal blue is very hard to read even though it received a similar amount of sun with Pelikan 4001 royal blue
The blacks from Pelikan and Faber Castell look similar after sun exposure.
The winner of the test I would say is the Platinum blue black
The ink was not the only one affected by the sun the paper that was exposed obtain a yellowish tint

Also see: Platinum Preppy

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Koh-I-Noor and the Olympic Games PyeongChang 2018

It is very hard to find a connection between the sports world and the stationary world. But somehow there is such a connection, in the Czech Republic. Continuing the posts about Koh-I-Noor... 
It is very interesting to see how much the Chech company is tied to the country. In Prague, there are several Koh-I-Noor stores in very central locations. They are in the old part of the city, where it is full of tourists. I would expect to see a bar, a tourist trap or some fashion shops instead of a stationary shop, but they promote themselves very well and want to show the ties of the company to Prague and the Czech Republic. It like bohemia glass, when you say it, Czech Republic comes to mind. To show how "Czech" they are, they closed the production facility in China, so all the Koh-I-Noor products are made in EU.
So since 2016, Koh-I-Noor is a partner of the Czech Olympic team. I think this is the only stationary brand that promotes itself by partnering with the Olympics or with any kind of sport.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Koh-I-Noor in Prague


This is one of the many Koh-I-Noor stores in Prague, close to Charles bridge. It was closed, but luckily I managed the next day to catch it open. 
As the sign says Art Materials inside, so for the no art persons like me the selection was a bit limited. I could not find fountain pen ink unfortunately but I added to my collection a Koh-I-Noor 5219 blue clutch pencil.
A fun fact about this particular Koh-I-Noor store, it is right near the Romanian embassy and the Gingerbread museum
koh i noor store in Prague

The pencil looks nice and feels nice in the hand and the knurled grip feels a lot better than the Versatil or the thin barrel of the Koh I Noor Notebook pencil
The price for it was 75 CZK which is about 2.95 euro or 3.65 $

Not all the products were cheaper than what I can find in Romanian stores but this was about half the price.


A more in-depth review of the Koh-I-Noor 2 mm clutch pencil will follow.
Until then here is a little of the Prague's beauty.




Even though there are impressive architecture and imposing churches in Prague, the Czech people according to Wikipedia are not that religious.
34.5% non religious
44.7% undeclared
the biggest number of followers has the Catholic Church with a little over 10%
So there should be no surprise if you see a church converted into a hotel or a bar/restaurant.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Koh-I-Noor lead holder & leads preview

koh-i-noor harmuth pencil lead holder 5.6 mm artist
After publishing the post about the vintage Koh-I-Noor Versatile lead holder I got into a Koh-I-Noor frenzy. Even before I got it published I started seeing cool items from the brand in local stores and I just had to have them all.
All this, is just a preview of what is about to be featured on this blog, a few items that I picked up.
Also this has to be a huge coencidance as shortly I will make a trip to Prague, the home town of the brand, so I am a bit exited.

Stay around to see all this goodies in action and more, maybe even a post about the Prague trip and the Koh-I-Noor store.
But for now I am preparing the posts for:
Koh-I-Noor 5340 5.6 mm lead holder in gold and the Gioconda 5.6 mm artists leads
Koh-I-Noor 2 mm color leads
Koh-I-Noor notebook 2 mm lead holder
Koh-I-Noor inks
Koh-I-Noor notebook 2 mm clutch pencil

Friday, February 2, 2018

Koh-I-Noor Versatil lead holder from 70s

koh i noor lead holder clutch 2mm lead
A short history on the subject:
-In 1946 the introduction of metal mechanic pencils Versatil
-In 1957 the formation of the export subsidiary company Bohemia Works

The pencil I have is a Bohemia Works Toison D'Or Versatil 5900 made by Koh I Noor. There is nowhere the Koh I Noor name on the pencil. That is because the branding for exported products was Bohemia Works.
It is a 2 mm clutch lead holder, produced in the early 1970's. The pencil has an all metal body, painted black and a lighter color detail at the top. It has a hexagonal shape, the clutch system is brass and has a self sharpening system in the cap (unscrew the cap and it has a 4 arm fork that sharpens the lead)
There where other models that featured a clip.
This pencil has seen a lot of action all these years. The writing on the side is gone, you can see where the writing was if you shine a light on the body. When it was new it would have an embossed gold writing. The black paint is coming off in some parts and the barrel metal is showing. The detailing at the top part is mostly gone showing the black paint beneath.

koh i noor lead holder clutch 2mm lead 70's branding
Koh I Noor Versatil 5900 70's design
The cool part is that even today you can buy the same Versatil pencil, in the same color you could get it 40 some years ago.

koh i noor lead holder brass mechanism versatil
mechanism of Koh-I-Noor Versatil 5900 from 70's
Inside the pen. It is a basic design. You have the body of the pencil which is metal. The mechanism that holds the lead (clutch) made out of brass. The mechanism is gravity aided meaning it holds the lead in putting tension on 3 arms. When you press the advance button the tension is released and the lead can advance. It is not an incremented advance system as in more known mechanical pencils, it just slides out. How much is up to you.
The last part is the cap of the advance system which has a trident with which you can sharpen the lead (now it is a bident :) as one of the arms is broken). Even after all these years and use the pencil works as is should. One of the design flaws of the lead holder, in my opinion, is the smooth paint finish which tends to slip from your hand after a longer writing session.

If you are in the market for a pencil with a lot of history this could be the one. You can buy vintage from eBay or new. Whatever pencil you will choose it will be a "Versatil" one.
Looking at what Koh I Noor has to offer I found a very beautiful pencil with an old-modern design, knurled grip, the Koh-I-Noor notebook 5600. I will make a review of it shortly.

koh i noor notebook lead holder pencil
Koh I Noor notebook lead holder
koh i noor versatil 5900 lead holder
Modern Koh I Noor Versatil