The best mechanical pencils 2: the Pentel Kerry

Last week the Pilot H-1010 “The Shaker”, the best push pencil for everyday use, was presented. Today, it is time for the best formal push pencil – a stunning pencil for the corporate environment, an eye catcher at board meetings, an affordable object of discrete envy: the Pentel Kerry.

The Kerry is also a classic. It was originally introduced by Pentel – a name that is indelibly connected to mechanical pencils in the users’ minds, and one of the best known brands from Japan – in 1971. It comes in two lead sizes (0.5 mm and 0.7 mm) and in six metallic colors: black, pink, light blue, bright red, dark blue, and grey. My version is the classic black with 0.5 mm leads (as always, Pentel Ain Stein 2B graphite leads).

This is an elegant pencil that caps like a pen, and when you uncap it you post the cap very positively. The cap has a very comfortable pushbutton that remains retracted when the the pencil is capped, looking more like a finial that a button.

The pentel Kerry, capped.

When posted, the button extends out and lets the user operate the pencil in a natural way. With the cap posted, the pencil is extremely well balanced and has just the right length.

The Pentel Kerry with the cap posted.

The pencil is a looker. It certainly looks more expensive than its ca. US$ 12.00 to US$ 20.00 price tag. The design is timelessly elegant – reminiscent of the airplane-style design characteristic of decades past. The streamlined tip, specially, is unique, unlike that of any other pencil I know. In Brazil, this pencil can be bought at some of the best physical art supply stores (such as, near where I live, Papelaria Enfoque’s paper&art store in downtown Niterói and Casa Cruz in Rio de Janeiro) and online. You may want to try (talk to Erika or Kazuo Nakano there, they offer very good service for Japanese imports).

One of the nicest things about this pencil is that the cap effectively makes it look very businesslike and very professional. Moreover, the cap effectively protects the tip if the pencil is dropped. The pencil is built like a tank, but looks like a luxury car. The broad knurled metal ring around the waist definitely sets the pencil apart form the other writing instruments one is likely to find in a business meeting.

Writing with the Pentel Kerry.

I normally use this pencil to write in business meetings. I keep it in a leather étui with two slots, one holding the fountain pen currently in use and the other holding the Kerry. It certainly attracts some appreciative looks when I pull out both writing tools from the étui and lay them on the table.

Sometimes I take other matching sets of fountain pen and mechanical pencil to meetings, Cross Century Classic II or Sheaffer Imperial gold plated. But the Pentel Kerry is not only better from a purely functional point of view, it is also invariably the most original and best looking pencil in the room.

My Kerry’s color is the non-intrusive and discrete black, but I imagine the other colors may appeal to other people out there.

All in all, there’s nothing to dislike in this timeless and very classic, very original, very streamlined and beautiful pencil. It writes extremely well, it looks great, it is solid and has a time tested design. Not unlike the Harley-Davidson motorcycles I so much enjoy riding.





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