Thursday, February 5, 2015

David Hayward Design Carbon leadholders (Part 2/2)

David Hayward Design Carbon leadholders

In this last part of the installment on David Hayward leadholders, we're going to talk about something special. This 2mm carbon leadholder was really quite the surprise when I first saw it, it's the third pencil I review from David Hayward Design, though it's nothing like the previous ones. Nothing like any 2mm leadholder I've seen really!

The general design elements have remained relatively the same comapred to the bigger 5.6mm version I reviewed last week (matte finish carbon fiber and nickel-plated hardware), but the trims are polished nickel plated instead of the brushed finish on the bigger 5.6mm leadholder. The pencil has an interesting size. I've used a fair amount of leadholders over the year, and there have always been a few consistencies: 5.6mm leadholders are short and fat, and 2mm leadholders (generally drafting leadholders) are slim and long. This one clearly doesn't abide by those 'rules'! It's thinner, at 10mm instead of the 13mm on the 5.6mm hexagonal leadholder. The difference is easily noticeable when in use, even though 3mm doesn't sound like much. It's also not as long as the 'typical' 2mm leadholder, at 12.5cm, whereas most (drafting) 2mm leadholders are in the 14-15cm range. Together, these differences make for a leadholder that doesn't feel like anything else in the hand. It doesn't feel like a true drafting leadholder anymore, given the luxurious build, it's more like a general writing tool.

However, the compact dimensions don't mean it's a light pencil. Same story as with the hexagonal and carbon fiber 5.6mm leadholders: this thing is HEAVY! I don't have the exact measurements, but it feels a lot heavier than most pens, even pens that are a couple of centimeters longer. I personally like a bit of heft on my pens, though I'd rather have a heavy 5.6mm instead of this. I don't know why, but a 5.6mm benefits from extra weight, while this one doesn't. One thing's for sure, the weight doesn't throw off the balance. It's relatively short, so it doesn't feel either back or front heavy in the hand.

Build quality, as with the hexagonal and 5.6mm carbon, is superb, which is to be expected within this price category. The mechanism doesn't rattle, except when you actually shake the pencil. The carbon fiber body is built on top of a brass barrel, which gives the pencil its massive weight.

As far as appearance goes, it's pretty similar to its bigger brother, the 5.6mm Carbon. The nickel-plated parts are glossy, instead of the matte finish on the 5.6mm. Whereas the brushed look appears a bit 'rough', this combination of glossy silver and matte carbon fiber gives this one a more delicate appearance. A bit more high end -if you will. They also got rid of the rubber O-ring (Thank God!)

Apart from the obvious similarities, there's a pretty big difference when it comes to the advance mechanism. Instead of the usual clutch mechanism, this one comes fitted with a mechanical click-advance mechanism, which is comparable to normal mechanical pencils. The different mechanism makes for a completely different appearance as well, which -again- benefits the overall classier look of the pencil.

The included leads are pretty standard, something within the HB-2B range. They are smooth, and performed well. Though when it comes to 2mm leads, I always opt for Staedtler HB leads. As I said in the previous review, the writing experience with a pencil like this, lies within the choice of leads. Wether you like a certain type of leads is -as with fountain pen nibs- a completely personal opinion.

It should no longer come as a surprise that these beauties are serious business. Their retail price of around 80 EUR, says enough. Are they worth it? Well, definitely not for everyone, but isn't that the same with 300+ EUR pens? There's definitely a market for luxury pencils, every major brand has, besides its usual (fountain) pen offerings, a few luxury pencils as well.  Prices are always justifiable when you consider the handmade aspect of these pencils, and the fact that you probably won't immediately run into someone that has exactly the same one!

Note: this pencil was sent to me by David Hayward Design, free of charge, so I could write this review.  I was in no way influenced in the making of this review, nor was I monetarily compensated. The opinions shared in this review are completely my own!

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