Review of the Pentel Graphgear 1000

I’m not sure what it is that makes people so drawn to the Graphgear 1000. The brushed-metal utilitarian looks, the retracting tip mechanism, the size and weight? Whatever it is, it’s undeniable. Everyone who has ever dug through my pencil case, without exception, first arrives at the Graphgear. Their eyes light up when they start to write with it. More than a few have tried to sneak off with it. As I hide it back away, I never neglect to mention: “It’s only $12 on Amazon…” This pencil is very popular with newer graphite enthusiasts, and for good reason. Its low price combined with professional quality makes it ideal for a first purchase. It was the pencil that I myself started out on.


The Graphgear 1000 is on the larger side, slightly thicker and longer than average. It has decent heft to it, weighing in at around 22.5 grams (mostly centered toward the tip). These factors combine to produce a very refined writing experience, requiring little effort from the user. The wide grip tapers down all the way to a 4mm fixed sleeve, lending the pencil a feeling of great precision.

The pencil’s greatest advantage is of course its retractable tip. The tip is extended upon the first (hard) press on the top button, and to retract it one simply presses the upper part of the spring-loaded pocket clip and the tip fires back inside. One can write with a quality drafting pencil on the go, and put it in a pocket without risking being stabbed. And unlike other retractable-tip pencils in which quality goes out the window for the sake of the mechanism, the GG1000 feels as solid as any other pencil, maybe even more so. There is slight play in the tip, but it isn’t noticeable in writing for the most part. There is no sort of mechanical issue which so often arises with pencils made to retract, though I have seen the clips break after extended use.

The Graphgear 1000 fully disassembled. The retraction mechanism is not too complex.

The Graphgear 1000 fully disassembled. The retraction mechanism isn’t too complex.

But it isn’t the pencil’s mechanical prowess that people are immediately attracted to, that’s just an added bonus. Some of the most impassioned praise I have heard for the Graphgear 1000 is its appearance. The pencil looks very technical, with straight lines and that angular clip. The knurled grip is often foreign to pencil laymen, as are its striking rubber inlets. The entirety of the pencil connotes a professional, technical setting. I know many use it for work on mathematics or science in particular. It is also a solid general writing pencil, for note-taking and the likes.

With tip extended.

With tip extended.

The pencil writes very well for its price range, and it’s solid even when pitted against higher-end pencils. It really is a good economic investment, paying $12 for a pencil that feels like quite a bit more. My only gripes with the pencil are that the clip sometimes gets stuck on the body, preventing the tip from retracting (though this infrequent) and that something about this pencil’s grip is uncomfortable for me. Most people I have conferred with don’t seem to share this issue, so I am likely the problem.


Though the Graphgear is not one of my main pencils, it is a primary feature of many a new pencil bag. With modern looks, solid technology, and a pleasant writing experience, this pencil is hard to outdo.

So what is it that people instantly like so much about the Graphgear? It’s hard to say. Perhaps it’s everything?

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