I’m very excited about this post which has been several years in the making. Desiring to design a new pencil, I set out to design the RoyalPoint Janus 929. This pencil differentiates itself from the crowd by having a cylindrical barrel, simple imprints, and a black eraser.
Have you ever noticed that there is a groove carved into your finger after writing with graphite pencils, but not after writing with colour pencils? The reason is simple. Colour pencils normally have cylindrical barrels whereas graphite pencils traditionally have hexagonal barrels.
To address this, certain pencil makers have softened the corners of their hex pencils. Compare the corners on the Palomino Golden Bear with those of the General’s Semi-Hex or the Dixon Ticonderoga.
To be perfectly honest, I can’t even write with the Golden Bear pencils since they dig into my finger too much. That being said, aside from the slight risk that your pencil can now roll off of your desk, cylindrical pencils are just more comfortable to write with. The only currently mass-produced pencil which has a cylindrical barrel is the Papermate Black Warrior. Extra points for the name, but unfortunately quality has decreased significantly these last few years and it is no longer as good as it used to be. Naturally then, the Janus 929 has a cylindrical barrel.
The next issue is the hardness of the lead. The HB hardness scale although universally used results in drastically different pencils being graded the same. You have hard HB pencils and soft HB pencils. As a general rule, German/American pencils have firmer leads and Japanese pencils have softer ones. Compare the Staedler Norica to the Mitsubishi 9850.
The hardness of the lead is inversely correlated to the darkness of the line which the pencil lays down. What does that mean? A soft pencil is generally quite dark and a hard pencil is generally lighter. A softer pencil needs to be sharpened more often and a harder pencil needs to be sharpened less. It therefore follows that a harder pencil has better point retention than a softer pencil. The Janus 929 has a firmer lead which means that it doesn’t need to be sharpened as often, but it lays down a fairly dark line.
Barrel imprints were also kept to a bare minimum to show off the pencil without being in your face. To ensure that the pencil can be used in any context, the imprints are simply black without any foil. This also means that the imprint doesn’t wear off as quickly as say that of the Palomino Blackwing line of pencils.
The Janus 929’s eraser is black for style, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that it won’t erase well. Long gone are the days when an eraser had to be pink to erase well, so you might as well have a nicely coloured eraser which emphasizes the contrast of the white barrel with the black text imprint.
After extensive field testing, people grab Janus 929 pencils over anything else available. Granted, I do always keep a mug full of them at all times at the office to encourage such behaviour. These pencils have even led to many picking up wooden pencils for the first times in years since they make the writing experience so enjoyable.
The pencils are manufactured in the United States and are attractively priced at $6 per dozen, making them considerably cheaper than all currently available premium pencils (Blackwing pencils ($3/pencil), General’s Semi-Hex ($0.75/pencil), and Mitsubishi 9850 ($0.75/pencil)). You can buy them through our Shop either in a 12-pack alone or with a leather pencil sleeve.
Want to really enjoy your pencils in style? Consider a leather pencil case to store your new RoyalPoint pencils. Enjoy!