Double-knocks by brand

Decided to explore my favorite genre (double-knocks) by brand to see if I could uncover any surprises or learn anything unexpected.

Going in, here were my assumptions:

  • Pilot is the king
  • Mitsubishi produced the greatest variety, from cheap plastic models to some of the most intricate designs ever
  • Colleen Jib is the brand that went all-in on double-knock appeal
  • Pentel didn’t produce many
  • Other brands tended to stay away from the genre, but with a few notable exceptions

Now here’s my actual collection of double-knocks broken down by brand:

  • Colleen Jib — 28
  • Pentel — 20
  • Mitsubishi — 18
  • Pilot — 17
  • rOtring — 12
  • Ohto — 10
  • Platinum — 8
  • Tombow — 5
  • Staedtler — 3

I left out smaller brands like Sun-star, Alvin, Niji, Penac, and Pacific Arc, despite the fact I have a few double-knocks from each. All of their double-knock specimens are in the “¥500 or less” category and would only be worth mentioning if they had pricier companion pieces.

Anyway, here were my big surprises:

  • Pentel produced far more double-knocks than I anticipated, and this is without the W-knock, which is either the best or second-best double-knock in their lineup. But there’s a catch—most of these are all from one series with lots of variants: ROLLY/ClicSharp. In total, Pentel only produced 5 different double-knock models: PWP15/PSD5, W-knock, ROLLY, GG1000, and Technica-Ex. I think this is why I never considered Pentel to be heavy on the double-knocks, but in reality, there are quite a few specimens in the genre.

  • Pilot cannot be considered the undisputed champion, but one thing is unequivocally true—no one else produced more high-end double-knocks. Nearly all the most desirable Pilot pencils are double-knocks or double-knock variants:

    • H-1003/1005
    • H-2003/2005
    • H-2103/2105
    • H-3003/3005
    • Automatic 0.3/0.5
    • H-5005
    • Young
    • Grandee Priere (gold, silver, and black mirror)
    • ProTex
  • Mitsubishi produced the greatest variety of double-knocks, from white-labeled cheapies to the most hardcore steel and aluminum processing. IMO, Mitsubishi’s executive-style double-knocks are some of the coolest pencils ever made (in terms of both character and construction).

  • rOtring is a sneaky contender in the double-knock race, but none of their pieces meet the quality threshold evident in the best pieces from Pentel, Pilot, Mitsubishi, and Tombow. And like Pentel, rOtring only offered double-knock (or similar) functionality in a small number of models: Tikky double-push and its variants, Newton 600, 700, 800, and Rapid.

  • Tombow produced extremely high quality double-knocks, but only on two different models: W-knock series (3 variants plus a 0.3mm option) and the SH-500W, which was somehow only ¥500 new (it looks and feels like a ¥1200–¥1500 piece). I refer to the tip shape on the SH-500W as a “fat” double-knock tip; it’s very pleasant to use, but also quite rare! As far as I know, only the Pentel Technica-Ex and certain Colleen Jib pieces have similar “short cone, long sleeve” tips, but I consider the SH-500W to be the ultimate example of this tip style.

  • Colleen Jib is the brand you should think of when you hear the term “double-knock.” All of their designs are unique and somewhat whimsical, and aggressive but playful silkscreening seems to be the norm across their lineup. Mechanically, CJ double-knocks are very high quality and feature durable construction—a real bonus considering double-knocks get compromised through lots of usage and long-term storage.

  • Ohto only ever made cheap double-knocks, but one could argue they’re responsible for the most iconic double-knock of all time (the Grip500 and its variants). Indeed, the Grip500 solidified my love for mechanical pencils back in high school and is the reason I am such an avid collector today.

  • Platinum made some cool and unique double-knocks, including a ¥1500 specimen that is among my very favorites. Also, their W-knock series is the best expression of the Grip500 genre, both in terms of reliable construction and color options (I have black, blue, orange, green, and yellow—not sure if any others exist).

  • Staedtler only has one true double-knock model—the Retro, which has at least 4 variants: Gen 1, 2, and 3, and a metal version that fetches 5 figures at auction.

After reviewing these pencils, I think Pilot, Mitsubishi, and Colleen Jib are the best manufacturers to use when introducing people to the double-knock genre. Between these 3, you’ll find the widest array of designs and the biggest departure from the sameness of the ¥500 crowd.

Honorable mention goes to Pentel, though—no other manufacturer riffed on its best designs to the extent Pentel did (and continues to do today).


Pentel also has the GraphGear1000, the FlexFit (PW2x & PW3x) and the Quick Dock (QD5 & QDxE).


I air-headedly left out the GG1000 in my explanation, but I did include it in my calculations.

Not familiar with the other models and am not sure I’d consider them true double-knocks; will need to research them to see more.

Update: The FlexFit appears to be like the Pilot Delguard, which I don’t consider to be a true double-knock. Maybe this is a capricious ruling, but I cannot consider cheapies like this to be double-knocks unless they’re part of the Staedtler Retro or Grip500 lineage.

I feel like @Knockologist has stated this better than me in the past, but certain pencils are not “collection-grade” and therefore aren’t worth my attention. Perhaps that’s a better way of describing how I see the Delguard and this FlexFit.

But then, of course, I’ll drool over certain ¥300 Mitsubishis just because they’re design departures from “modern cheapies,” which all look like the Delguard or FlexFit to me (transparent bodies, plastic internals, super light weight).

Update 2: The Quick Dock is in the same genre as the FlexFit and is thus too modern and shitty for my attention. My heart breaks for you when I think about the Pentel book and this leviathan of a longtail of cheap pencils that will take a lifetime to document.

Here’s my rough heuristic: If it’s transparent, plastic, and manufactured after 1995, forget it.

You are right about the Quick Docks, my mistake.

But I also missed the TranXition PWE25/27. The FlexFit, TranXition and GG1000 all use the same basic locking mechanism as the Rolly/ClicSharp, except the front of the clip slips into the body rather than hooking onto a protrusion like the R/CS.


Schwan-stabilo – 2 (microtoms, one Grip500 sibling and one independent design)


The microtom is my favorite play on the Grip500. I haven’t seen the independent design, though—intriguing!

In terms of ‘precision’ for double knocks I have to give my vote to FUJI CORONA for their No. 205-05/03 MECHA-PEN. All-steel construction so that there is no chance of spring induced self-destruction. Knurled grip. Tight tolerances. Feels like a slimmer Zebra M701 turned into a w-knock.

There are all black versions, no brand versions and OEM branded versions as well.


So far, I’ve not managed to snag one of these. One day, though!

I was thinking about the 3365


Yes, that’s what I’m calling the microtom. If they ever produced a different double-knock, I haven’t seen it.

Here’s a Stabilo Microtom 3105 with extra loooong leads


But that’s not a Grip500 sibling :wink:
There are microtom 3345 (no double-knock, some colors), 3110 & 3105 (Grip500 relatives; red, blue, black,…), 3365 (double-knock;red-black and black), and I think I have a higher number like 3375 or 3385. Maybe there are more …


Whoops, I’m thinking of the 3365 as an elevated riff on the Grip500. I don’t know what the 3345 looks like.

Needs a fam shot! Would love to see the whole lot :slight_smile:

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Just a snapshot of Schwan-Stabilos (taken while I was searching the Pentel Non-Repro for the ID book): SchwanStabilos | 2nd_astronaut | Flickr
The numbers missing in my previous post were 3275 / 3285. The long 3105 I don’t have, it seems.


Haven’t even seen this many schwans at the zoo, and that 3285 is fantastic :fire:


Stop looking at me swan!


Hey @pearsonified when you said there is a ¥1500 Paltinum double knock that is among your favorites. Which one is that?

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This one, perhaps:

True double-knock mechanism with slide pipe and spring cushioning.


I wouldn’t say it’s a favorite, but it IS Platinum’s most elevated double-knock. Interesting/unique features include a retractable lead sleeve and lead cushioning.

It comes in black, blue (very rare), and red (good luck ever seeing one).