This is my first post so please be gentle.
I stumbled upon this site thanks to a long-time (fountain pen and) pencil collector I’ve known for years. And I’ve had some interaction with Cytherian and 2nd_Astronaut via DMP (you know if you know) and a post started there by “Pencil Paul” way back in 2012. In that post, Pencil Paul gave his opinion of the “Magnificent Seven”. That started a quest, which I finally achieved over two years later.
But I started collecting mechanical pencils even further back, if memory serves ca. 1989 in the infancy of the internet. I somehow landed on a site with a set of Montblanc (I know not particularly revered here) Pix MPs in red, blue and green. (I now see that being such a new member I can only upload one image. These will have to wait until I achieve enough posts to be worthy.)
But many years later when I landed my first Tombow Zoom, the V472, from Studio La Nave I was on the hunt. Over ten years later I finally got my hands on the España. Granted, it’s not a MP (that one eluded me last November at a price that was just too outrageous). The BP will have to suffice.
The Mano has both mechanisms. It came as a BP but I reached out to Tombow USA and the incredibly nice VP there was able to source a mechanical pencil insert in Europe and sent it to me. And gratis on top of it!
The V472s are amazing, both MP and BP.
The Oceanic was a gift from Dani Nebot, the designer. He even autographed the Tombow tin to me. Talk about above and beyond! And he has an amazing story behind the “hieroglyphics” on the V472, and even the nickname Titan
So, here they all are -
Drooling right now. The v472 is at the top of my grails list.
Welcome to the forum!
As a fellow La Nave collector, I would love to hear how you got to meet Nebot and the story about the “hieroglyphics”.
I didn’t meet Dani in person, but I did cold-email him about another mp he designed back in the early 90s. That mp never made it out of prototyping and stalled when the economic bubble exploded in Japan in 1993.
We started chatting back and forth (he offered to send me a V472 mp but couldn’t find one in his studio.) But he gifted me the Oceanic in it’s place.
The “hieroglyphics” are there only because when he designed the V472 he left a series of numbers when labeling the prototype as neutral text. They were merely placeholders and he thought would be replaced when it went into final production. He thought it was by chance and because of language difficulties, he being in Valencia, Spain and Tombow being in Tokyo, Japan. Also of note is Titan is not the name he used when designing it. Tombow replaced his designation with Titan. But I won’t divulge his secret.
Welcome sharing a good story!
Do you mean the “hieroglyphics” are random text and they are undecipherable?
I spent much time trying to figure out the meaning behind these “hieroglyphics”
Congratulations on the completion… I believe ‘one example per design’ is what most of us can manage nowadays. Well done!
Welcome, Elliot! Glad you made it to Knockology and showed off your wonderful La Nave collection. I’m glad to see Dani Nebot is still around and designing things. A lot of wine bottle labels! But it appears his 3 TOMBOW pens/pencils are still cherished accomplishments for him.
Thank you so much Gary! Means a lot.
O wow, the signed box pushes the most common family member to the top! And thanks for the background story.
I’ve got a question for you about the v472 pencil. To advance the lead, do you press down on the rear “button” as you would with most pencils? Or, is it actually like an old style metal switch where you push it from the side?
You press it down like a normal MP.
Thanks. I had suspected this would be the case. But looking at the shape of that rear piece, it started reminding me of those old style steel toggle switches and I thought… maybe I missed something?
Years from now, some vintage collectors are going to come across that image I made and start thinking that there was a “toggle” option for lead advancement.
Is there a MP with this kind of “toggle-knock”?
There is the USUS pi, which is primarily a ballpoint. You could swap in a Schmidt, I suppose.
What a magnificent story, and what an outstanding collection! I tip my hat for you @wildpony!
Also, I have a question regarding this:
Do you have any reference to the model/number of the MP insert used to convert the ballpoint pen into a proper pencil? I’d love to know whether it was a proprietary insert, if it’s still available, or how one can use a current MP insert to surgically convert the Mano into a pencil…
Thank you in advance!
There is no part number for the MP insert from Tombow, but you can use a Schmidt DSM2006 and it works perfectly fine.
Oh la la… Sounds like an excellent piece of news! Thanks @popossum, time to start searching for my next modification procedure…
Gosh, if I pushed the button like a switch I’m sure I’d break it. Glad I didn’t try that one. I’d be on the hunt for another V472 and those are getting very difficult to find at a not outrageous price, like the two no on the 'bay.
No, it’s a straight down push to advance the lead and again push to then pop the lead back in.
Hope this helps.
Oh I’m sure that if you did push on it from the side, you’d instantly see that there’s no give. It looks like TOMBOW used metal parts in all of that. And it’s enough resistance that you’d know not to force it.
@drifand, very cool reference on the USUS. I hope you don’t mind my sharing one of the images here:
Never saw anything like this. Looks like the USUS was originally designed in Berlin, Germany. Produced exclusively for Europe? According to an old expired Amazon listing (HERE), it uses a magnet system.
One of the reviews there is interesting:
This is a truly extraordinary pen. The design uses a toggle switch at the top end of the pen to extend and retract the ballpoint. I’ve been collecting pens for many years, and I’ve never seen a toggle-switch mechanism. It’s not an up-down bolt action, and definitely not an up-down clicker. It toggles. Side to side. The switch works perfectly, it’s fun to use, and it looks great. The clip is strong enough to hold the pen in place, but flexible enough to actually use. This is one my favorite daily-use pens in my entire collection.
Surprisingly, this German-made pen is very hard to find. I am told that they haven’t yet set up distributorships with any pen retailers in the United States. They don’t go to any of the national or international pen shows in the U.S. Their web site hard to get through, and their translations to English are often hard to follow. I don’t see any advertising or write-ups to promote these wonderful pens. It appears that Amazon is the only source of these pens in the United States. In one sense, this is good–they’re definitely rare. I just wish the rest of the community could really see these things
There is a USUS site: LINK
Interesting assortment. Some of the pens first up remind me of a rOtring Rive.
None of their shop links work. Most are on Amazon, but they all resolve to zero products. Their contact site is usus-design.de, but that domain is dead for HTTP / web. I sent them an email… it’ll be interesting to see if it bounces or actually reaches a person who can be helpful. usus-pens.com domain lookup shows it had expired in 2020… so you’d think the URL resolution wouldn’t keep going to the host, but pages are loading. Weird.