My grail-tier pencils

There’s many pencils I’ve desired since I started having interest in stationery, but due to price and/or availability concerns I never got them. During the last years living in Japan with a stable income I was able to scratch the itch of most of those grail pencils, with a bunch of others which I never knew of at the beginning.

Pilot H-3003 and H-3005 - Together with the mechanica, these are the pencils that threw me head first into the world of vintage stationery. I remember many years ago seeing pictures of these pencils from Cytherian and others on the subreddit, and wondering how in hell they even got their hands on them. The Pilot Hi-mecha are all very well balanced pencils, albeit fragile on their center connection. I have used them a lot at university.

Pilot Clutch Point Window Pattern - The double clutch gimmick is one that, after I first heard of it, I became obsessed with it. As someone who likes hearing the mechanical noises inside the pencil when clicking, I was hooked after getting the first one. I’ve got quite a few Pilot Clutch Points in my collection, but I almost never use them because, simply put, they’re ugly. I have no idea why, since these first executive models look stunning.

Pilot Young Double Knock - I was promised tight tolerances, and it didn’t let down. The machining on the body is amazing, and the clip is beautiful as well. A perfect match for the coveted Pilot Myu FP. I use this one less than I would like since it’s a bit thin for my taste.

Pilot Fumi Raku MP - One of my few big finds in brick and mortar stationery stores. The MP version of the recently discontinued Fumi Raku series was only produced for 3 years, and in a very short run—5000 of each color during the first year, and probably none afterwards due to poor sales and thus a quick discontinuation. Easily one of the most underrated pencils of all time. The internals are beautiful, it has one of the most unique mechanisms I’ve seen (twist+shaker+lock) and the streamlined design is lovely. I had this one clipped to my agenda for more than a year, and I’d be doing the same now if I wasn’t scared of losing it.
More photos: Reddit - Dive into anything

Pentel Mechanica 0.3 1st edition - The first ever 0.3mm mechanical pencil. Such an important historical pencil, I wanted to have in its first edition. The problem is that most are in terrible condition, or NOS at astronomical prices. I bought this in a well worn but working condition off a retired architect on mercari, and fully restored its metal internals and plastic body. I really like the final result.
Restoration post: Mechanica restoration

Pentel PSD5 - One of my few regrets in this picture. I overestimated how rare it is, and overpaid for a relatively worn specimen. The guide pipe isn’t bent and the mechanism works perfectly, so at least I can use it without problems. It’s a lovely pencil, and it suits my hands better than the hi-mechas. I’d like to use it more.

Marvelous Wood 0.5 Briar - My latest purchase, while on a trip with a friend around Japan. 590&co is the most unique stationery store I’ve ever visited, and I encourage anyone that has the chance to visit Kobe to check it out. The pencil is quite heavy, with a brass insert running through the body. Custom internals, very well machined back cap and a lovely handmade wooden body make it one of the best non-vintage pencils money can buy.
More photos: Visiting 590&co in Kobe

Mitsubishi Hi-Uni 5050 0.5 - My most expensive pencil. I got a good deal for the time, with stickers and some wear but no box—perfect for someone who seeks user grade pencils. The ffmatic mechanism is incredibly satisfying to use and the balance feels just right. It’s such a simple design but well refined at the same time. The history about the development of automatic mechanisms at Uni and how it led to the creation of the Dive also sets this model as an important historical piece as well.

Mitsubishi Uni Kuru Toga Dive, Grand Blue - I was able to get the first edition Dive at retail by placing a reservation. The hype wasn’t that high at the time. I used this pencil a lot at university, I enjoyed it way more than the previous automatics I had tried. The color is also very unique in my opinion. I tried to find a matching pen, but I couldn’t find anything with the same tone and treatment. I’m glad to see that the madness about this pencil is dying down and the standard production colors can now be acquired without huge markups.
Megapost: All about the Kuru Toga Dive


So many great MP’s you’ve got now, Diego. So smart of you to take advantage of your location being in Japan for some years to pick these up. The 590&Co is particularly special, because it was hand made all the way through, and with a precious wood barrel. It’s beautiful.

It’s a wonderful collection that you should cherish for many years to come!


These are all so beautiful pencils. Pilot Young Dluble Knock is my holy grail also.


Pilot Gentleman Young Double Knock makes a very strong case for “best pencil ever.”

I love how well the entire piece is machined.


Congratulations for this amazing collection!!!

Some of your grail pencils are also in my list. I have some questions:

  • Do you have an Accugraph? How does it compare to these pencils?

  • This is a subjective question. Is the price of the 5050 justifiable or it is hype and rarity? I own some pencils of the line, but none have the FF-matic mechanism. While the writing sensation is nice, it is not that incredible (compared to an Accugraph, personal taste), so while I want a 5050, I don’t know if the price justify it.

  • How does the H-3005 compare to the PWP 15? Is the mechanical pencil fragile and prone to break (like a graphgear 1000)? Do you need a lot of care?

  • Between a PWP15 and H-2005, which one you think is a better choice considering a tight budget?

  • Can I find that Wood 0.5 Briar in mercari?


PWP15 is better than an H-2005, but you won’t find a PWP15. You will find a PSD5, which is the same pencil (just not the Japan-only version), and I’d still recommend it over an H-2005, which is prone to cracking in a way the Pentel is not (because it has steel-on-steel threading).


Thanks for the comment! Sorry I don’t have any accugraph, it’s a classic design but it never particularly interested me, so I can’t say how they compare.

About the 5050, I won’t say the price is justified, because the price isn’t justified for most of the pens on the photo lol. It used to be a 5000 yen pencil. It’s an unique mechanism and if you enjoy unique mechanisms, then you’ll enjoy the 5050 as well. There’s been a few 3051ff selling for less than usual recently, so maybe you can snag a ffmatic pencil at some point for a price you can agree with.

The Pilot Hi-mechas are fragile, even more as plastics get brittle with age. There’s a ton of hi mechas with cracked bodies. The PWP15/PSD5 are more robust in that regard.

As for which one I’d recommend someone with a tight budget, it depends on the budget and on what you’re looking for. If you want to have a pencil for using on your desk, or for EDC, or as a display item on your house, my recommendation would vary.

You can find tons of marvelous wood pencils on mercari. Prices vary depending on the wood used.マーベラスウッド


My favorite of the bunch has to be the window etched ‘top chuck’ / pre-Clutch Point. Eminently useful and beautifully made :+1:t2:


There is something rather special about the window-pane grid motif. For the most part, PILOT really didn’t veer off too far from a usual set of etching steel designs. There are a few others even more rare to find, but I find them more of a curiosity.

The Young Gentleman Double-Knock is another one-off design. The angled cut of the rear barrel half is daring and the length is just a touch shorter than the average, for better shirt-pocket carry – young man on the go. It was my first PILOT double-knock, outside of the H-100x/H-200x line.



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Some more eye candy shots of the window-pane grid clutch pencil:


Lovely shots, thanks Gary :heart:

The “0.5 PILOT” text on that last photo (the striped early clutch point) is still one of my favourite details on a pencil. For some reason, the wide font on the 0.5 just looks so good.

There’s many great modern pencils but it’s a shame that there have been no modern etched pencils aside from the Zebra Sharbo TF12. It’s a design element that looks characteristically vintage but I’d love to see a modern take on it.