I can’t exactly say Caran d’Ache is my favorite brand, but I am attracted to many of their products. If I have a choice, for instance in colored pencil sets, I tend to opt for this over any other brand. Part of the reason is that two of the people that got me interested in pencils were Caran d’Ache fans (one of whom I “follow”). If not for this connection, I doubt that I would have fallen for the Technograph 777 early on, for instance.
The Fixpencil is a vanity object I’ve been coveting for a long time. I don’t as a rule use mechanical pencils, I have enough pencils and fountain pens to attend to and I only have one hand and only so much time to write with. But I never cease to be fascinated by holders that use thick lead, because I wasn’t aware that such a thing existed till I was in my 20’s – was it because I wasn’t an art or architecture student? Or was it simply because it wasn’t very popular at that time or wasn’t imported? Needless to say, I didn’t know dedicated lead sharpeners existed either, and I remember being vaguely frustrated with the blunt tip of my first 2.0mm holder.
Caran d’Ache has lost its local distributor in Korea and so their products are hard to come by. Another thing is that CdA refills of any kind are pretty costly, so it takes some commitment to buy CdA products. So I was trying to forget this pencil, and then I watched the documentary Helvetica, and of course the designer Massimo Vignelli had to appear with that exact same Fixpencil in hand, complete with red cap! Everything in his office was color-coordinated to match the Fixpencil (or was it the other way around?). It was futile to resist.
The lead comes in three degrees – HB, 3B and 6B. As with the Technograph, the lead is velvety smooth in the higher B-grades but without the sooty blackness one associates with such soft lead. This particular Fixpencil uses 3.0mm lead, and I find it easy to sharpen it using a regular wedge sharpener – the lead is strong enough.