Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Signet 100: New pencil on the block.

Who is not attracted by an orange pencil box? This one that arrived in the post courtesy of Pedlars has been lovingly designed by Well Made Studio and is a sensory experience in itself: fine buckram emboss texture, solid colours, bold white-foiled type, elegant contrast of the grey pencil drawer with the orange case, grey ribbed ribbon loop to serve as a drawer pull-out and two white-foil pencil shapes on the sides of the box to complete the perfect picture.

The box also purported to contain the Perfect Pencil, one developed after years of Pedlars scouring the world for the best stationery available, as the (orange) card inside informs. The pencils are made in the Czech Republic and the wooden casing is American basswood. The shaft of the hexagonal pencil is a lacquered orange with silver foil lettering and band. The design seems to me a nod to Palomino while the epithet cannot but make one think of Faber Castell's claim to perfection. Signet is an elegant name for a pencil, and appropriate too since with Signet Pedlars aspires to make its mark to the pencil world. Do they manage to?

The Signet 100 is an HB pencil but feels to me a bit harder than that. It is perhaps for this reason that it holds its point very well and does not smudge. It produces more of a grey than a black mark. If you are a fan of Blackwing's or TomBow's darkness this is not for you but what the Signet lacks in darkness it makes up for point retention. For one who is used to have a sharpener as the Palomino Blackwing's constant companion, the Signet 100 seemingly writes on for ever without going anywhere near a razor.

The writing is crisp and the point does not yield to the paper as does the Palomino's. You definitely get feedback from the pencil as you write and you cannot call it smooth but it is not as waxy as the Wopex. I reckon that one could easily switch from writing to drawing lines and designing without switching to an H pencil. It sharpens easily and erases completely. It could replace the Staedtler Noris as the staple school pencil if it wasn't for the price (£2.50 a pop) and the happy student would get the cool orange box to double up as pen and pencil case. It feels like a dependable pencil to have around and the designer box is an extra bonus.

Messrs Pedlars: Welcome to the world of pencil makers.



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