Faber-Castell’s Perfect Pencil makes a bold claim in its name. Can one pencil really satisfy every single need? As John Steinbeck once observed, “A pencil that is all right some days is no good another day. . . . I have my plastic tray you know and in it three kinds of pencils for hard writing days and soft writing days.”
Equipped with a rich, B-hardness core, the Perfect Pencil might be best suited for those soft days, but Faber-Castell confidently calls it a “true all-rounder” for writers and artists. What makes this implement particularly notable is not just its ability to lay down silky-smooth, grit-free strokes but also its design: It’s equipped with a protective cap that doubles as a sharpener so a clean point is always immediately attainable. When flipped to cover the velvety eraser, the cap also extends the length of any pencil that’s worn down to a nub for comfortable handling. Replacement pencils from the company come at a price, but the cap will accommodate most standard-size drawing and writing pencils.
Over time, the Perfect Pencil has appeared in versions ranging from a basic $12 model, in green plastic with a matching green-painted pencil, to iterations with rose gold–, platinum-, or titanium-plated metal caps. This year, the classic tool has received an ornate refresh. In honor of Faber-Castell’s 260th anniversary, the company has released a limited-edition Perfect Pencil that provides real luxury for particular pencil users. The fluted wooden pencil is a handsome deep black, and the durable metal cap is gussied up with anthracite-colored PVD coating and crowned with a genuine jade stone. (In a simplistic appropriation of East Asian culture, Faber-Castell’s press release needlessly calls this a nod to “Far Eastern mythology,” with the jade meant to represent “both lived tradition and a promising future.”)
Limited to an edition of just 750 pieces, with each pen’s number engraved on its clip ring, this special iteration has an eye-watering price tag of $525. Of course, that bejeweled cap will last forever, and replacement pencils are readily available to keep it in action. For those not able to spring for the commemorative version, the bare-bones Perfect Pencil with plastic cap works equally well.
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