A fair few people have asked me about this pencil after I posted a photo of my ‘monthly spread’ in a FB group in which the Pentel Graphgear 1000 had a little cameo. Some thought it was a pen! Others just had not came across it before and as I consider this to be one the best mechanical pencils out there I honestly couldn’t believe it is not more well known.

So here goes… After looking high and low for a new mechanical pencil that met my (very specific) criteria I stumbled across the Pentel Graphgear 1000. I can’t remember where exactly but it may have happened during a google search where I found an image of one and thought to myself… hmmm is that a pencil? It looks more like a bit of machinery.

pentel graphgear 1000 full length

I had other initial thoughts like ‘why on earth is the clip so big? and why does this thing cost around £10?’ But the thing that struck me the most about this pencil is very clearly, the design. And I think it looks fantastic.

It’s so different from any other pencil in its class. You could line up a bunch of mechanical pencils and the pentel graphgear 1000 would be  immediately identifiable. It clearly stands out from the crowd and I can understand how people would mistake it for a pen although this goes for most mechanical pencils.

So like a magpie dazzled by the beautiful shiny object I eventually snapped one up. And let me tell you… What a tool! (not me the pencil) I was so glad I picked one up and I managed to find one for a good price in a local arts & craft store. It has a really nice weight to it, felt comfortable to hold and has a very satisfying, strong click when you click for more lead.

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Pentel Graphgear 1000 specs…

  • This is an automatic mechanical/drafting pencil with a brushed steel barrel. It has a very premium feel and is very much a quality product.
  • It has a diamond cut knurled metal grip section with rubber ‘pips’ for added comfort and control.
  • Metal cap concealing the eraser, which when removed, gives you access to the lead refills.
  • Document clip (more on this below)
  • Retractable tip. (this is one of my criteria when choosing a mech pencil)
  • Lead grade indicator.
  • Comes with 6 Super Hi-Polymer HB refill leads. (could differ depending on where you buy it)
  • It has 4 different lead sizes with colours to match…
    • 0.3mm brown trimmings
    • 0.5mm black trimmings
    • 0.7mm blue trimmings
    • 0.9mm yellow trimmings


  • Z2-1N refill eraser
  • Weight 23g

Pentel Graphgear 1000 Cap

The metal cap has a little tiny marker indicating the size of the lead, which is good for people who have a few of these pencils and what to be able to grab the size they need quickly. When clicked it not only advances the sliding sleeve but the lead at the same time, this is a very handy function for speed which I feel gets missed by a lot of people. Very solid movement too. Pulling the cap out will reveal the eraser which you can also remove in order to replace your lead refills.

pentel graphgear 1000 cap lead hardness indicator
pentel graphgear 1000 eraser
pentel graphgear 1000 lead storage

Pentel Graphgear 1000 Document Clip

The Document clip is one of my favourite parts of the pencil. Not only because of its striking good looks but it’s also supposed to be able to hold around 15 sheets of paper and of course feels very capable of doing so with a strong hinge and powerful grip. The grip when pressed at the top also withdraws the lead sleeve when you need to holster it. I love this!

Again this is a very solid, satisfying click. So again just so we’re clear on how this works… to advance the sleeve and lead, you push down on the cap, obviously clicking more if you need more lead. To withdraw the retractable tip you need to press the top of the clip which almost sucks the nib back in, meaning your pencil won’t bend/snap or stab you in the leg (if you put in your pocket like me).

pentel graphgear 1000 clip

Pentel Graphgear 1000 Barrel

The brushed steel barrel is gorgeous and comes printed with some details about that individual pencil! Who doesn’t love that! Mine is printed with ‘GRAPHGEAR 1000 Pentel PG1015 41 .5’ The print is starting to very slightly come away now on the ‘5’ but it gets some heavy use and travels most places with me.

At the bottom of the barrel, you will see a little lead grade indicator which is a very handy feature so you know what lead grade you are using, but you can change it! You do this by keeping a tight hold of the grip and turning the barrel. This is great if you often change lead grades and want to keep the same pencil. It can display HB, B, 2B, 2H, H.

pentel graphgear 1000 knurled grip
pentel graphgear 1000
pentel graphgear 1000 adjustable hardness indicator h

Pentel Graphgear 1000 Knurled Grip

The knurled grip is the other standout design feature which I love to look at. With the added ‘pips’ I feel meets its objective of providing a very easy, precise and comfortable writing experience. Not only does the rubber feel soft and snug but the knurled diamond cut metal part really gives you that extra control and confidence that this won’t slip through your fingers.

pentel graphgear 1000 knurled grip

Pentel Graphgear 1000 Retractable Tip

Very important as I like to carry pencils when I’m out and about.  Now what I’m going to talk about is a real deal breaker when I’m looking to add a new mech pencil with retractable nib to my arsenal which is this…  Nib MOVEMENT or ‘wobble’ once it’s exposed.

If there is the slightest bit of movement I simply won’t buy it. It might seem a bit trivial to some mechanical pencil fans but one of the key reasons I love to use mech pencils is because of the precision they provide.

I don’t like the feel of a loose nib when writing or sketching and will lose confidence in its ability to perform to a good enough standard. (I surely can’t be the only one who thinks like this?) This pencil has NO MOVEMENT at all! It is solid to write and sketch with which means that this beast is and will remain a permanent feature in my collection. 

pentel graphgear 1000 retractable tip
pentel graphgear 1000 lead tip

Extra notes:

The overall weight and balance of the pencil feel good to me. I say ‘to me’ as everyone has their own preference here and I have read that a small group of people do complain about the weight.

Mainly down to the fact that this is a fairly long pencil and the clip being the monster that it is adds a bit of weight to the top. So depending on how far up the barrel you hold or grip your pencil this may be something worth bearing in mind. Those of you who hold your pencil closer to the tip itself may notice some slight fatigue especially doing any sort of long-form writing.

Some might say that this pencil is better suited to drafting or for engineers etc only due to the longer tip being designed in  way it can be used with other tools like rulers for example but to be honest, its performance is so good you can use it for pretty much anything you like like I said earlier I use it for writing and sketching and it works great. 

There are plenty of mechanical pencil made by Pentel, one of the most well known and revered is the P20 range and the not so well known the Pentel Orenz

Pros and Cons:


  • Tremendously good looking. (subjective I know)
  • Quality build.
  • Built to last.
  • Solid retractable nib, with no movement or ‘wobble’.
  • Price. Some might say it’s too expensive but I believe a lot of the time you get what you pay for and at a little over £9 sterling I think it’s worth every penny for something that looks good, performs brilliant and will last a long time. Unless you lose it…


  • When the lead advances, you don’t get much with one click so you may have to click slightly more than you’re used to when writing but I don’t find this an issue that would stop me from buying one.
  • Plastic inner mechanism. The outside is made from metal but the inside mechanism is plastic which kind of puts a damper on the overall design but it is still a solid functioning bit of kit.
  • I’ve read reports from other owners of this saying that the lead indicator breaks easily, I have had mine for a while now and have not experienced this myself.

So, should you buy this pencil? Yes, you should. Right now. Seriously it’s excellent. It might not be the mechanical pencil for some in terms of cost or weight but the quality is worth paying for.

If you are thinking about getting the Pentel Graphgear 1000 or have never heard of it and want to try it then I hope my review has helped you decide. If not feel free to ask me any questions below or on social media. I’m happy to offer advice.

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