Palomino Blackwing Pearl Review

Introduction

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I have a thing for nice white pencils. Not just any ol’ white pencils. They have to be good writers, but with a good look. The Palomino Blackwing Pearl, while not the iconic 602, stands out when you see it. The gold ferrule and shiny white body shimmer in the light and it looks like no other. But what about the writing experience and the ergonomics? Read on to find out more.

Specs

Place of Manufacture: USA
Price: $25 for a box of 12

Design

The Blackwing Pearl comes in a silky smooth finish. There is a shimmer in the finish which can only be seen when the pencil is held at an angle.

 

The lettering is black, providing a deep contrast with the pearl white barrel. “PALOMINO” is written in a thinner and wider font than “BLACKWING” and “PEARL”, which appear to also be bolded.

The ferrule is gold colored and houses a black eraser. As with all pencil in the Blackwing line, the erasers are easily replaceable. I have had a few people ask if I swapped out the eraser on this pencil, due to the existence of a white eraser, but the pencil came with the black one. While I have no objections with the black eraser, I might try out a white one at some point purely for style.

Fit and Finish

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I general have pretty good experiences with Palomino products. I purchased this particular Blackwing Pearl at the Maido in Santana Row. I was unaware at the time, but the paint is partially chipped near the ferrule. However, on my other Pearls, this problem is not seen.

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The lettering is not as sharp as I might expect from Palomino. I believe that this might be because the lettering is printed, instead of foiled, on the pencil. The corners are a bit rounded and there are pseudo-sherifs due to smearing.

On the Pearl that has the chipped paint, the ferrule is not oriented correctly. This makes it a bit annoying to rest the pencil on a desk as none of the hexagonal sides are aligned with a flat edge of the ferrule. This problem is not seen on any other pencil. Though it is a possibility that the problem is only with that particular pencil, it brings up some questions about quality control.

Functionality

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The pencil is a joy to write with. Its hardness is supposed to be midway between the Blackwing MMX and the Blackwing 602. I find this to be mostly true. The line is quite dark, although not as dark as the MMX, while the lead wear is almost the same as the 602.

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Writing with the pearl feels much like the 602. It glides like rubbing a marble on a sheet of paper. The body is slick, but it is easy enough to get a good grip.

I believe that the wood is the same cedar used in the MMX and the 602. Sharpening is a breeze with my hand sharpener, electric sharpener and knife all gliding through the wood.

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Erasers can easily and completely erase any but the heaviest marks made by the pencil. As always, the Blackwing eraser on the back does an all right job, though not the best.

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Conclusion

I’m a fan of the pencil, when it doesn’t have the manufacturing problems. A perfect example has a nice feel in the hand and performs well. However, a defective pencil can ruin the magical experience. At ~$2 per pencil, I’ll inspect each pencil in a box before I buy them and add them to my collection.

Eberhard Faber Blackwing 602 (Vintage) Review

Introduction

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I’ve been a fan of wooden pencils for a while, so when an opportunity fell into my lap to try out a legendary pencil at a fraction of the price for a brand new unsharpened one, I jumped at it. Here, we’ll be discussing the original Eberhard Faber Blackwing 602. A comparison between this pencil and its remake, the Palomino Blackwing 602, can be found here.

Specs

Date manufactured: 1950s-1970s (my guess is that this particular example was made in the 1960s)
Price: $50-60 (New), $20-30 (Used, depends on length)

Fit and Finish

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Pencil has a beautiful charcoal colored lacquer with gold lettering spelling out the iconic “Half the Pressure, Twice the Speed”. Due to age, it appears as though the paint has started to crack down the middle. I would assume that it is cracking where the two halves of the barrel were connected together.

The eraser is held in place with the distinct ferrule. It is easy to replace the eraser if you so wish. Palomino sells many different colored replacement erasers or you can cut one out of your favorite eraser.

Functionality

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The lead is super smooth. There’s a tad of feedback, although none that could be called scratchy. The lead wears done quickly when sharp, so line variation can vary mid-sentence unless you rotate the pencil. However, writing on a dull point seems to alleviate the problem.

The stock eraser test was done out of pure curiosity. Being a vintage pencil, the eraser has surely somewhat dried out so it’s effectiveness has probably been diminished.

Closeups of each section of the writing test are available below.

Conclusion

The pencil has a writing experience second to none. I regularly use Mitsubishi Hi-Uni’s and 9800’s, but they don’t feel as nice as the Blackwing. It’s hard to describe the combination of smoothness and feedback, but it makes it a joy to write with. Plus, the line it puts down is just a joy to look at. While the price of a new pencil may be a bit steep (and it can be a bit hard to start sharpening a brand new one), a used Blackwing 602 is much more affordable and is a great gateway to experience this legendary pencil.

Blackwing 602: Eberhard Faber vs Palomino

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.