Zebra Sharbo X TF12

I’ve been searching for a good multipen for a while and I think I found the one I like the most

(How much of a nerd am I to be excited about my pen and watch going so well together?)

I was pretty set on a body twist multipen from the start. The models with many clickers on the back are usually the cheapest and have a big problem (aside from being ugly): the ink cartridge is twisted in a different angle depending on the color, so the angle in which you write changes depending on the color. If you write at too much of an angle, annoying ink blobs will accumulate at the tip, and that’s a no for me. Twist selectors have the cartridges all come from the clip side, so as long as you write with the clip facing up you know that the cartridge will always write at the same angle.

The first multipen with a mechanical pencil ever made, as far as I understand, was the Pilot 2+1

(source: Pilot Japan website)
Many others had been made before in Europe without a mechanical pencil. Thanks to everyone in the comments for the clarification.
The first sharbo was sold around the same time. Here I know that the release date was 1978

(source: ZEBRA シャーボ sterling silberモデル|瞬|note)
From bottom to top: 2000 yen model, 3000 yen model, sterling silver 10000 yen model. The two cheaper models are what are usually understood as “first edition” sharbo, the silver model came afterwards.
The pilot 2+1 later evolved to the 1+1 series and later all got discontinued. The sharbo series is still going strong, with its most affordable models (sharbo nu) on the 2000 yen range.
Screenshot from 2023-04-19 08-28-11
(source: シャーボNu|ゼブラ株式会社)

The TF12 was made as a revival of the original model. It is very unusual to find pens with this kind of etching sold nowadays. It was sold as a limited edition in 2018, although there is still plenty of stock in Amazon and rakuten.

The pen itself is great. Little play on the mechanism and tip. The mechanical pencil click is integrated on the body, which makes it quite muted and not very pleasant for us pencil nerds, but that’s the price to pay for a non-scratchy body twist multipen. The connector is made of metal, which should be a given on such a high end model, but the 10000 yen sharbo (TS10) has a plastic connector. You have to unscrew it every time you want to put lead or a new ink cartridge, so one would think they would make such a high stress part out of metal… anyway…

The only criticism that the TF12 usually gets is that the “zebra sharbo” inscription is just painted, not engraved. I do agree with that. Considering that the TS10 is engraved, what made them make the TF12 painted? it makes no sense.

I will raise another criticism. When you buy this pen, ink and pencil mechanisms come with it in the same box. The ink has a date on it, and it says June 2022. Can someone explain which kind of limited edition is still being made 4 years after the release date? Of course how many have been made is not written anywhere. Although I would like to blame Zebra and Amazon for shady practices, considering that this is one of the few pencils that are still made nowadays with metal engraving treatment, one can suppose it’s not cheap to make and it’s not easy to market. So probably all of the limited edition stuff is just a ploy to make this pencil viable, or to make some higher up happy.

Anyway, if you buy it for the design and not because you think this is super limited and will go up in value, you will probably be satisfied with it.


Your preferred Sharbo is the only multipen I like.


About the 2022 dated refill. I’ve always thought that modern Sharbo are sold ‘empty’ and only filled with the customer’s choice on purchase. Or is that only for Sharbo X?


All sharbo X are sold without refills, except for this one. The two ink tubes and the MP mech are inside two unbranded bags (normally they have a barcode etc) and the bags are inside a cardboard envelope inside the box

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I believe these were amongst the earliest multi-pens. I own art. #0381.

1968 catalog link: https://imgur.com/a/ddbk7kc


When I think of early multipens, the ones that come to mind are the various iterations of slide-out designs with long slots on the body. Typically 4 ink colors. Made by Fend, Kanoe etc.

I wonder if the above claim for that Pilot 1+1 has some kind of qualification? Like “first knock-type multipen with an MP component?”


I added your last sentence in my mind to make the claim reasonable … the Norma, Fend etc. usually are either multi-pen or pencil.