For a few weeks, Amazon Japan had been selling a number of pencils on Amazon USA, with a promotion for free delivery (no Amazon minimum required). I picked up a few “lesser” pencils on the bottom of my wish list, one of them being this ABS model by MUJI (0.5 mm).
Years ago I tried it out in a MUJI store located in Manhattan (near Port Authority). It was $8.50. Not a bad value, but I passed on it. Some years later, the price dropped in the store to $6.50, but I’d not been by the store for a few years. On Amazon, I grabbed it for $6.28. I figured, why not?
Reflecting on my old opinion, I’ve changed a little about this one. The click action is decent, expelling a workable amount of lead with each click (not too much or too little) and with only a tiny bit of tip movement (back and forth). Firm tip when writing. The ABS matte plastic has a nice texture to it, easy to hold. True, it’s just a straight tube, with no contours for the fingers. But it’s OK. This has a forward clutch with a unique feature–spring-cushioning. It’s fairly stiff, but if you press down hard enough, the whole mechanism rides up a little into the body, coming back out as soon as tension is released. I guess it’s supposed to help avoid lead breakage. I did try it out and yeah, the lead wasn’t breaking.
There is a little bit of rattle. Actually, I didn’t hear much at all at first, but after taking it apart and putting it back together, it seems more prone to a little rattle. But it’s not bad. And if you’re a pencil flicker, you can probably put a little kaptan tape on the lower part of the eraser cap to completely eliminate it. MUJI did try to compensate for rattle with a thin plastic ring inside nestled around the mechanism at the rear, gently touching against the body walls. Plus the clear hard plastic lead reservoir tube is rigid.
The pencil is kept together rather simply, via screw threads in the nose cone seated inside the tube. Just unscrew and the whole mechanism slides right out (no need to remove the eraser cap). That nose cone isn’t plastic. It’s a matte silver finish chunk of machined steel. It has wide threading inset on the metal that goes around the threads inside the body. You can’t over-tighten it as there’s a definite hard-stop. I wouldn’t worry about barrel cracking.
The clip is decent. It has some nice spring and a firm hold. If you don’t like it, there’s a matte finish metal collar securing it. You can unscrew it and remove the clip. When you screw the collar back on, it will go all the way to be totally flush, so it doesn’t look like something is missing.
How does it compare to the LAMY Scribble? Well, if you’re talking about the closest lead size, the Scribble comes in at 0.7 mm. The Scribble’s build quality is much better with a subtle contour for more natural grip. VERY solid pencil. Plus it has a pipe guide. I prefer it. But then… it’s considerably more expensive.
Any regrets? No. Not at this price! Is it worth $9 or more? I’d say $10… but I wouldn’t buy it if you have to tack on shipping too.