The Blackwing 602 might be one of the world’s most famous pencils. In its original iteration, Eberhard Faber created a pencil using fantastic wood and a near magic lead. To this day, there are those who swear by this vintage pencil and hold it second to none. However, for those that aren’t willing to shell out the incredulous sums for a pencil (not even mentioning the dwindling numbers of them), there is the new version made by Palomino. It has a similar color, look and ferrule, but how does it stack up to the vintage marvel?
The original Blackwing 602 (reviewed here) feels premium in the hand. The lacquer does not feel or look glossy but, instead, looks matte and feels delicate. On the other hand, the Palomino has a high sheen. It is silky smooth to the touch and it reflects light like fresh snow. I personally prefer the Eberhard Faber paint although the gold foil letter is often too fragile because of age. The Palomino feels like a tank that can hold up to being thrown into a backpack or a pocket.
The recognizable ferrule is almost identical on both. On the original, there were a few versions with a black band (these are often more expensive). Erasers are interchangeable and I have no complaints with either.
Now for the important part: the graphite. Here’s the brutal truth: I’d be fine with either pencil. Both leads feel smooth gliding across paper. There are minor differences though. The original Blackwing seems to have a tad more feedback than the new one. It’s difficult to describe the feeling as it does not feel scratchy or rough, though you know it’s there. On the other hand, the Palomino is just straight up glass smooth.