I like stationery and have tried to keep up with the industry in general, but I haven’t really shopped for a mechanical pencil in years. I was finished with it, somehow, when I left school. So it is quite refreshing for me to browse the mechanical pencil shelves with my son, and to see how his tastes differ from mine.
And oh my, how things have changed. Even with mechanical pencils.
This is what my son grabbed on our latest visit to the local stationer. Colored lead was all the rage when I was a student, too, but somehow it didn’t occur to me to dedicate a particular pencil to lead of a particular color. Of course colored lead gathered some graphite dust when we pushed it down our regular mechanical pencils, but that was to be expected. But now I find that Pilot actually suggests that we keep separate color-coordinated pencils for each of our colored leads. Wow.
The lead itself has improved somewhat since I used it, but not much. It is smoother and a bit darker. But the colors are still not as vivid as I would have liked them to be. Still, the idea itself is nice. And nowadays they come with much better erasers and adorable knobs.
* Update 10/05/2014: La Plume comments that the ENO colored lead tends to break inside many of the other mechanical pencils that use the same 0.7mm standard. Therefore Pilot’s decision to manufacture a dedicated pencil with a clutch mechanism that is gentler on the lead may have been necessary (we however need to verify which came first, the lead or the pencil).