The Best Mechanical Pencils 3: The Pentel Graphgear 1000

For daily use, my preference falls upon Pilot’s “The Shaker”, reviewed in the first installment of this series. For writing, I vote for the Pentel Kerry (a mechanical pencil formally dressed in a smart tuxedo, reviewed in the second installment). For drafting, definitely the Pentel Graphgear 1000 is a great choice. Let us examine why.

One of the most important aspects of a mechanical pencil for drafting is its balance. The all-metal body of the Graphgear 1000 makes it heftier than many drafting pencils, but not heavy. Its sister pencil, the Graphgear 500 (my runner-up pencil of choice), although a little lighter due to its plastic body, also balances extremely well, which indicates that the ideal weight distribution was achieved by Pentel in both models. I can use either pencil all day without getting tired.


Moreover, the very good-looking Graphgear 1000 has some niceties that make it stand out from the crowd – by crowd I mean excellent mechanical pencils such as the Rotring 600, the Staedtler 925, the Faber-Castell TK-matic and alpha-matic, and a host of lesser known but equally good drafting pencils from Koh-i-Noor, Cretacolor, Zebra, and many others.

The main very nice detail of the Graphgear 1000 is the clip. Looking like an alligator jaw clip, it holds the pencil very positively in a pocket, and the firm spring keeps it from sliding away. By extending the clip handle beyond the hinge to form a see-saw like configutation, Pentel designed a very convenient way to open the clip and thus to easily slide the pencil out again.

ButWP_20160214_08_12_27_Pro_Fotor what is great about the clip is the fact that when that clip is pushed open, the whole sleeve section retracts into the conical tip. This simple action protects the fine sleeve and shaft from damage if the pencil is accidentally dropped.



As someone that has damaged a few drafting pencils by dropping them, I can fully appreciate the convenience of this mechanism. And, as an added bonus, the point, being retracted, cannot pierce the fabric (or one’s skin beneath it…).

Another very nice detail are the oval inlaid rubber-covered spots around the grip. Although the grip section is made of knurled metal anWP_20160214_08_11_02_Pro_Fotord provides in itself a very firm grip, the inlaid rubber spots add comfort to it. I do not find the appearance of the rubber dots particularly attractive, but there is no discussion that they add a lot of comfort during long drafting sessions. And, granted, they do add a fresh note to the otherwise sober appearance of the pencil.

The industrial appearance of the Graphgear 1000 and its fine shaft make it ideal for drafting. For everyday use writing , scribbling and drafting, The Shaker (Pilot H-1010) is probably a more sensible choice.


All in all, the Graphgear 1000 has become my main drafting instrument. It is available in all the usual lead sizes. It does not come out cheap, but the build quality, the distinctive look and the niceties probably give you a bigger bang for your buck than similarly priced or slightly more expensive pencils.

In Brazil, this pencil can be bought at good art supply stores, such as Casa Cruz  (in Rio de Janeiro), Art Camargo, Papelaria Universitária and many others in various cities. Online, many suppliers are available. You may want to try the site, and talk to Erika or Kazuo Nakano.





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