Blackwing 725.

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If you pay the least attention to Pencildom, you’ve probably heard about Blackwing’s new subscription service (openly based on Field Notes’ model), Blackwing Volumes.

I assumed it was a dozen pencils (four shipments of three pencils) and thought it was pretty…out there. Realizing my mistake, I decided it was a good deal (being only slightly more expensive than if you just bought four dozen Blackwings — plus, I am nearly out of all three Blackwings). I asked for this for Fathers’ Day, and the first shipment arrived today: the Blackwing 725.

The box and pencil-in-the-tube are amazing, and there is even a handwritten note (addressed to the person who bought this for me) and a sticker inside. They spent more than the $3/shipment shipping that they charge, I’d bet. This is packed very, both aesthetically and practically.

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The pencils are gorgeous and speak for themselves. Being a Fender player (’94 Torino Red P-Bass), I like the homage to the legendary guitar maker. The white imprint is crisp, and the pencil sharpenered perfectly in my KUM Masterpiece.

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What I didn’t realize is two ways in which this is different from all of the other Blackwings at HQ. First, the ferrule is actually gold in color. It’s not silvery gold (like the first printing Blackwing Pearl next to me, from May 2013) or even ambiguous (like the Blackwing MMX that I have in front of me, from the day of release in 2010). Also, this is the first truly glossy Blackwing I have ever seen. The MMX is matte; the 602 is metallic; the Pearl is, well, opalescent. The 725 reminds me of the finish on an instrument, which is, of course, what they were going for.

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The 725 writes like the Pearl, with Blackwing’s “Balanced” core. I think that’s a good choice for the first edition, though I hope they do the softer MMX core next time or thereafter, since Charlotte and I have both come to love making cartoons with that graphite. Autumnal colors would be fantastic for the next batch, though I think this edition took care of that. I will remember to save one or two for October.

This is a great effort by Blackwing, and I am impressed by the experience. The careful packaging and presentation are worthy of such a lovely pencil. Plus, once you sharpen it, it’s as useful as any other premium pencil, which is the reason I wanted them — to use them. There’s one in the tube for The Archive, though I’m sure my kids will steal some of their own before then. I plan on sharpening at least half of one this weekend myself.

Also, check out Andy’s review!

12 Replies to “Blackwing 725.”

  1. Do I need 48 more pencils? Um, no. Did I order this subscription anyway? Yes. Conspicuous consumption seems less egregious in pencil form.

    1. “Conspicuous consumption seems less egregious in pencil form.” This is great! I am going to respond with this when people make fun of my pencil stash (right before they try to bum some off of me). :)

      1. It works only if you don’t collect vintage Blackwings. But with that one, I can use the nuclear option: “It’s an investment.”

  2. Boo!! Yet another over-priced version of an already over-rated Palomino pencil. Fender sunburst finish? How kitschy is that! Will the next issue be Burberry plaid? … I’m not buying into their marketing hype, thanks.

    1. Without the marketing hype (which I avoided on purpose here because it doesn’t really interest me as much as the pencil itself), I think the pencil stands well on it’s own. Certainly Blackwings are expensive. I wouldn’t call them overpriced, but I understand the position.

      1. Agreed. It wasn’t so much your review of the 725 that got me going, but what I read on the company website and promotional email I received. I just happened to vent here because I enjoy coming to your blog frequently. Cheers! :)

      2. I agree, I think it’s important to separate the marketing from the pencil itself. It’s easy to dismiss the pencil if the marketing present or past is a turnoff, though it’s never bothered me. The Palomino Blackwings are among the best in terms of looks, manufacturing quality and writing/drawing experience.

    2. Being a Blackwing pencil lover, I admittedly placed an order for these, but won’t be going in for the subscription. The archival pencil strikes me as silly; Palomino is clearly trying to cash in on the reputation and price of the old Eberhard Faber 602s by creating a “collector’s market” for their newer products. These pencils will never be as valuable as the EF 602, just as 1980s-1990s baseball cards will never fetch the same price as a 1910 Honus Wagner.

  3. This pencil–like its cousins: The 602, The Pearl, and the Blackwing Black, brings a range of pleasure and enjoyment to the writing experience, and as well to my occasional doodling project. There is the visual delight of the sleek, lacquered sunburst barrel with its sensuous tactile feel; then the exquisite ease, almost instanteous yield of a perfect point when sharpened; and, of course there’s the print–a magnificent soft and dark mark.

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