The new Palomino Blackwing 602 pencil is a fine tribute to the Eberhard Faber Blackwing 602


I started writing about the Eberhard Faber Blackwing 602 pencil in December of 2002. A lot of people love this pencil, not only for its soft lead, but for its unique eraser and ferrule, its metallic dark gray finish, and for its motto: "Half the pressure, twice the speed."

At $.50 each the pencil was quite expensive compared to other pencils. It was discontinued in 1998, and by 2002 the price had jumped to $20 per pencil on eBay. And because the pencil is no longer in production, a cult has formed around it. There is even a blog called the Blackwing Pages: Celebrating the Genuine 602.

Last year, a company called California Cedar Products bought the rights to the Blackwing trademark and manufactured a pencil called the Palomino Blackwing. It was met with mixed reviews. I tried the pencil and found the lead to be much softer than the original Blackwing -- it required frequent re-sharpening. Also, the finish was a semi-gloss black that didn't look anything like the metallic charcoal gray of the original. I kind of liked it, but it was quite unlike the original.

Earlier this week, California Cedar Products introduced the Palomino Blackwing 602, which comes much closer to replicating the look and feel of the Eberhard Faber Blackwing 602. The owner of the company sent me a dozen to try out.

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I have an original 602, which I was able to use to compare with the Palomino 602. The lead is harder than the first Palomino Blackwing. I can't tell the difference between it and the Eberhard Faber Blackwing's lead. The finish is mighty close to the original, too.

The Palomino Blackwing 602 is my new pencil of choice. I also have the pencil sharpener that Clive Thompson demonstrated for me at TED2011, which I will use to keep my 602s pointy.

Palomino Blackwing 602: $20 for a dozen

More photos and links after the jump.


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