The whole point of a mechanical pencil is to have perfect sharpness forever. Yet without precise engineering and build quality, the standard slender leads are doomed to constant breakages. This round-up of high-end mechanical pencils has an emphasis on long-lasting materials, beautiful craftsmanship, and refined design, allowing you to click to sketch for many years to come. 

 

Wingback Designer’s Mechanical Pencil

Wingback Mechanical Pencil
Image courtesy of Wingback

The Wingback Designer’s mechanical pencil pairs a Japanese mechanism with a British-engineered brass case, creating a pleasingly weighted writing device. The integral reservoir has been designed to hold up to ten times as much lead as a conventional mechanical pencil, and attention to detail is second to none. In addition to brass, the Wingback is available in regular steel and black steel, with matching solid metal pencil holders that also serve as a paperweight. 

Wingback in brass, £95, wingback.co.uk

Uni-ball Kuru Toga 

Uni-ball Kuru Toga mechanical pencils
Image courtesy of Uni-ball

The Kuru Toga’s claim to fame is its integral gearing system that gives the lead a subtle twist each time you press down on the paper. This keeps the tip of the writing surface smooth and strong. The plastic pencil is available in a number of different colours, with a transparent case revealing the mechanism within. 

Uni-ball Kuru Toga, from £9, uniball.co.uk

Contour Mechanical Pencil by 22Studio

Contour Mechanical Pencil by 22Studio
Contour Mechanical Pencil by 22Studio
Images courtesy of 22Studio

Mechanical pencils don’t only come in metal and plastic; 22Studio’s Contour mechanical pencil bucks the trend towards metal barrels by using a shaped piece of high-density concrete. Designed to weather and age over time, as well as become better shaped to your writing style, the concrete Contour contains a 0.5mm pencil mechanism. 

Contour mechanical pencil, $72, 22designstudio.net

The Pencil by Modern Fuel

The Pencil by Modern Fuel
Image courtesy of Modern Fuel

Available in bronze, copper, steel, and titanium, The Pencil is produced by Modern Fuel, based in Austin, Texas, a company set up by British designer and engineer Andrew Sanderson. Using his aviation background as inspiration, The Pencil is thoroughly engineered from the best quality metals (with no plastic at all) and made in the USA. 

The Pencil, $150, modernfuel.com

Traveler’s Company Pencil

Traveler’s Company Pencil
Traveler’s Company Pencil
Images courtesy of Traveler’s Company

Japanese stationery expert Traveler’s Company specialises in making accessories and writing implements out of solid brass. Designed to be easily pocketed, the brass-barrelled device serves as an attachment for a short pencil, which can removed and stored inside for protection when not in use. A clip and eraser complete the set. 

Brass pencil, €27.90, available from kohezi.com; travelers-company.com

Hexagonal Wooden Mechanical Pencil by Muji 

Hexagonal Wooden Mechanical Pencil by Muji
Image courtesy of Muji

Mimicking the form and shape of a classic lead pencil, this mechanical pencil epitomises the Muji ethos of simple, pure, functional products. Designed to slot easily into notebooks, with a clip and eraser tip, the 0.5mm Hexagonal Wooden Pencil is timeless low-cost design.  

Hexagonal Wooden Pencil, £3.50, muji.eu

HMM Project Pencil 

HMM Project Pencil 
HMM Project Pencil 
Images courtesy of HMM Project

HMM Project’s Pencil has a chunky 12-sided metal barrel, shaped from aluminium and perfectly balanced in the hand. Using 0.7mm leads for a slightly thicker line, the pencil comes in black or gold. 

HMM Pencil, €35, hmmproject.com 

Staedtler Clutch Pencil

Staedtler Clutch Pencil
Image courtesy of Staedtler

The archetypal architects’s drawing tool, Staedtler’s clutch pencil was the ubiquitous drafting device in the days before computerisation. Still available, this classic pencil takes 2mm leads that can be sharpened to a fine point using the tool built into the cap, or by using the timeless Mars 502 Lead pointer tub.

Staedtler Mars technico 780 C, staedtler.com

Onigiri Mechanical Pencil by Before Breakfast

Onigiri Mechanical Pencil by Before Breakfast
Onigiri Mechanical Pencil by Before Breakfast
Images courtesy of Before Breakfast

British stationery brand Before Breakfast offers its Onigiri mechanical pencil in both 0.5mm and 0.7mm versions, with finishes for the aluminium body including pine green and space blue. The fluted barrel design will stop it rolling away and it pairs beautifully with the company’s notebooks and desk accessories. 

Onigiri Mechanical Pencil, £50, beforebreakfast.london

Kaweco Sketch Up Clutch Pencil

Kaweco SKETCH UP Clutch Pencil
Kaweco SKETCH UP Clutch Pencil
Images courtesy of Kaweco

Created for sketching and fluid line work, Kaweco’s brass-barrelled Sketch Up clutch pencils have been designed to hold soft 5B leads in 5.6mm thickness. The German company sells leads in a variety of colours for different applications, and the octagonal barrel can be finished in rich brass, black or satin chrome. 

Kaweco Sketch Up clutch pencil, €30.50, kaweco-pen.com

YStudio Sketching Pencil

YStudio Sketching Pencil
YStudio Sketching Pencil
Images courtesy of YStudio

Another beautifully machined piece of brass offering the promise of patination with age, YStudio’s Sketching Pencil offers a 2mm lead for a thicker, richer line. You can also get the hexagonal barrel engraved. The company’s conventional mechanical pencils can be paired it with an elegant matching brass pencil box for storage of slender 0.3, 0.5 and 0.7mm leads. 

YStudio Sketching Pencil, $119, ystudiostyle.com

Tactile Turn Mechanical Pencil

Tactile Turn Mechanical Pencil
Image courtesy of Tactile Turn

Available in titanium, copper, bronze, and zirconium, Tactile Turn’s new Pencil is a solid object with industrial detailing and a lifetime guarantee. The Texas-made pencils have the company’s signature bolt mechanism for advancing and retracting the lead. The bolt can be had in a custom ‘Titanium Damascus’ finish, along with the clip, and there’s also the opportunity to engrave your name on the clip.  

Pencil, $99, tactileturn.com

Rotring 800+ Mechanical Pencil

Rotring 800+ Mechanical Pencil
Rotring 800+ Mechanical Pencil
Images courtesy of Rotring

The 800+ sits at the top of Rotring’s expansive range of fine mechanical pencils. The ‘+’ signals the addition of a useful stylus tip, perfect for scribbling of tablets and phones, while the pencil mechanism itself is a masterpiece of finely machined parts and tried and tested durability. The high-tech way to use lead.

Rotring 800+, rotring.com

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