The Joy of Inexpensive Pencils (2)

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These black, Swarovski-style “studded” Staedtler pencils arrived courtesy of Matthias @Bleistift some time ago. For some reason I like them very much. I say “inexpensive” because they seem to belong to the same category as the Faber-Castell Grip 2001 and the Caran d’Ache Grafik, but I haven’t been able to verify that because I can’t find them on any major online shop with price information. Needless to say, I’ve never seen them here either. Does this guy even have a name, apart from “Art. Nr. 133-9”? I’d very much like to know!

[Note 15/03/13: they seem to be available online under the name “Staedtler Noris Executive Limited Edition Pencils”]

This is the kind of quiet, uncomplicated pencil that performs dependably and doesn’t attract attention to itself in the hand, the kind you reach for when you don’t particularly feel like pampering yourself with a pricey flagship-grade pencil, but don’t want to be annoyed by any scratching or crumbling either. It writes lighter than a Noris, very clean. And the design is pretty classy, too (or maybe it’s just to my taste – I’m not too fond of the Grip 2001).

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The one above is factory-sharpened, and the one below is sharpened with the Deli 0635, which produces a beautiful, longish cone ever so slightly concave that is reminiscent of the (more extreme) Janus 4048. BTW do you notice the difference in the base coat? One shows some yellow beneath, while the other shows red. Why should that be, I wonder?

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Many thanks, Matthias, for the pencils and sharpeners! They are much appreciated :)

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19 thoughts on “The Joy of Inexpensive Pencils (2)

    1. You know, I suspected that too at first ;) Some people have reported instances of unsold old-stock pencils repainted and sold under different names in Korea. But these don’t seem like remainders, they write very differently from the Noris and the Tradition! It’s a mystery. Check your stock and see if you can find any blue ones ;)

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      1. I’ve seen repainting done with DVD-Rs. Being printed over the original label, maybe because the didn’t pass QC, and then being sold under another name.
        I just checked 133-9s (I haven’t actually used mine yet.) I have six left. Five are yellow, one is red. The red one is made using a different wood, maybe Cedar. the yellow ones might be Jelutong. Everything about the two versions is the same, even the ‘blind stamp’ (is that what it’s called?).
        I saw the similar looking FC pencils this weekend. I thought they might be manufactured in a more complicated way, just because FC also makes the Grip pencil, but the FCs I saw seem to have been manufactured in a similar way to the 133-9s.

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      2. Oh, is there a non-Grip-2001 FC pencil that’s similar to this one? I must keep an eye out for that too. BTW I shouldn’t have described this pencil as being “studded”, because the round silver dots are not raised (as in the Grip 2001) but sunken. It’s actually some kind of special film, right?

        I didn’t notice the difference in wood, I must try sharpening the red one too. From what you say it looks like they could be made in two different facilities. I still wonder about the coat though.

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      3. I just discovered that they come up under the name “Noris Executive Limited Edition” – so is this guy a Noris after all? ;)

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      4. ‘Executive’ sounds like ‘Manager’ to me – but the crystal look doesn’t feel very managerial to me ;^)
        The Executive version is advertised as using California cedar wood, but the version in Europe isn’t always made from cedar wood. Really unusual…

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  1. Thank you for showing these pencils! They have been shown on the Paperworld 2011. Back then this pencil (133-S) was available in six colours but not in black. At first I though they have taken some and painted them black but there was no yellow one, and the red tone doesn’t match the red and orange one I have. However, Matthias’s comment suggests that the range has been expanded. Regarding the wood: The ones which look like Cedar are most likely made from White Fir. – The Faber-Castell pencil similar to this one is the “Sparkle”, presented on the Paperworld 2013.

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    1. Thank you for the details, Gunther! As usual the answers are all there in your blog, if one only pays attention ;) I was startled to know that it had been the FC Sparkle that Matthias had been talking about, because I actually have one (in gold, no less). I didn’t make the connection because the Sparkle is triangular whereas the Staedtler 133-9 is hexagonal. For the same reason I don’t think the 133-9 could be a repainted version of the 133-S ;). I am really glad that they came up with this variation!

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      1. You’re welcome! No, not all answers are in my blog – it is far from comprehensible and has many gaps as well as inconsistencies. – Oh! I haven’t noticed the difference in the shapes :-(

        I will try to find out more!

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      2. Yes, I’ll look forward to more news! BTW I forgot to mention that the 133-9 writes a bit more like a Faber-Castell than the Noris or Norica. Did they “lighten up” the formula a bit, I wonder?

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      3. As light as a Faber-Castell? The more I learn about the 133-9 the more I think that this pencil is not made by Staedtler (but this is just speculation).

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      4. Oooh, that may be another possibility. It’s actually not that similar to an FC but it seems drier and lighter than the usual Staedtler HB. I’d love to know what you think!

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  2. Interesting point about inexpensive pencils – the enthusiasm for the Noris (partly because it’s harder to get where the US pencil bloggers are, I think) surprised me recently.

    (It’s a 60p pencil here, and a staple of schoolrooms).

    I’ve bought myself a 2B to see what the fuss is about :)

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    1. The Noris thing is indeed interesting. Here we don’t have the Noris but have the Norica instead, and the Canadian Noricas are (mostly) blue while the American specimens I see are often black. And of course I think black Noricas are cool simply because it’s not available here ;)

      But the Noris is indeed a good basic pencil. It’s often singled out as the reason many people “got into” pencils in Korea as well. I can’t say the same of the Tradition though, it was disappointing…

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    2. It is always interesting to see the Noris being sorted into the range of inexpensive pencils. Of course it is priced very reasonably but with its material and build quality it can compete with many pencils which are much more expensive.

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      1. That’s true, and its look is also quite distinctive for a mere “school” or “office” pencil – really cheap pencils tend to be monochromatic. But it is heartening to have such a good pencil so easily within reach!

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