To ordinary people in Korea, Tombow is very famous by its art eraser and the professional grade pencil, MONO J. They're not aware of Tombow's higher grade pencils like MONO R, MONO and MONO 100.
Today's review item is the MONO 100, the flagship model among MONO lineup of Tombow.
The basic design of MONO 100 has little visual difference with the other members of the MONO family. Like other MONO lineup pencils, gold letters are imprinted. The hardness grade is also imprinted, and it's one of the differences with MONO and MONO R.
The main feature of MONO 100 is the plastic cap. Maybe it's for convenience of using a holder when this expensive pencil is shortened (or, for raising the price). The white part of cap is not painted. It's a seperated piece of plastic.
Well, actually, the purpose of this review WAS to praise the high quality of Tombow MONO 100. I'd never had any intention to say anything uncomplimentary, BEFORE I took some pictures for this posting.
Because of the shadow, it may be hard to you to recognize, but please watch above picture with attention. Did you get it?
The second pencil is bent upward.
A two-US Dollar-pencil is bended like very old vintage pencils - 10 USD for 5 dozen - you can buy on eBay.
I tryed to calm down, and took a photo of the lead end.
Is it OK?
Off center lead - easily found among 1 USD-for-1 dozen pencils - appears on the great stationery company, Tombow's flagship!
Well, if you're disappinted with the quality of pencils made by your local vendors, be hopeful. Even MONO 100, The world class quality pencil has off center lead. Maybe the technology of this world class company is not too hard to get.
Anyway, let's go on.
Like other Japanese quality pencils, case of the MONO 100 is quite lavish. A paper cover wraps the plastic case.
There's a transparent window in the plastic case.
However, I don't like this kind of pencil case design. It's quite hard to stock on the shelf. I think a wooden case like Palomino's could be a better choice.
In fact, I thought that the grey-colored thing was an eraser, but it's just a paper piece, which occupies space. Maybe it is for protection of the pencil caps, but the increment of cost may be too much.
One dozen of pencils is separated up into 2 layers, and there's a partition to prevent scratching. That partition looks really artless being compared with one of Mitsu-bishi Hi-Uni's.
That's the paper piece that I thought was an eraser.
Though my Japanese is very poor, I can get to know that it's some brag.
Here's my humble translation (partial).
"Thank you for purchasing MONO 100. We increased the required characteristic to the extreme.
This world best pencil lead contains 10 billion particle in 1 cubic millimeter. Even the MONO, which was loved by many people has only 8 billion particles in 1 cubic millimeter....."
Well, my heart has been already hurted by bent barrel and off center lead.
However, I have to admit the lead of the Tombow MONO 100 is world best class.
Frankly, all MONO-lineup pencils including the cheapest MONO J are great and can compete with other high quality pencils all over the world. MONO R and MONO are quite great pencils to use, so I want to praise Tombow's effort of trying to improve upon greatness.
The hardness grades of MONO 100 are 9H-H, F, HB, B-6B.
I recommend F and HB grade for general writing as you would expect.
Being compared to STAEDTLER Mars Lumograph 100, MONO 100 is a bit lighter. But the gap is hard to see, it's less than half a grade. The quality of the lead itself is absolutely nice. It's quite smooth like other Japanese quality pencils.
Even if you're not a pencil collector, Tombow 100 is worth buying. But carefully select and avoid bent barrel and off center lead!