Mark’s Tokyo Edge Mechanical Pencil Review

Sometimes I feel like a slave to free shipping! Having recently ordered some limited edition Field Notes I found I was close to the free shipping minimum spend and decided that it would be wise spend the money on an extra product rather than postage. I added a Mark’s Tokyo Edge purple mechanical pencil to my basket.

I have seen Mark’s Tokyo Edge products on several of my favourite stationery websites and I think their range of products is pitched at a fairly young demographic; there is lots of block lettering, prints, colours and textures. As a fan of Japanese brands though I thought I would give one of their pencils a go.

Design

Clearly the unique selling point of this mechanical pencil is that it is designed to resemble a wooden pencil! Which, in fairness, it does do well. The ferrule in particular looks very realistic and is the pencil’s push button. The barrel is slightly wider than a traditional wooden pencil and hexagonal in shape.

Realistic ferrule push cap.
Realistic ferrule push cap.

What gives it away is the end cap and lead sleeve! I wonder why they haven’t elongated this part of the pencil, a la Staedtler 777 or Pentel P205 to continue the wood cased pencil disguise. It seems a little strange to design a pencil to look exactly like a wood cased pencil and then not put any thought into the end cap.

End cap length of the Mark's Tokyo Edge mechanical pencil is very stubby and I'm not sure why this couldn't have been longer to keep up the wood cased pencil disguise.
End cap length of the Mark’s Tokyo Edge mechanical pencil is very stubby and I’m not sure why this couldn’t have been longer to keep up the wood cased pencil disguise.
Width of the Mark's Tokyo Edge mechanical pencil compared to a Staedtler Mars Lumograph B grade. As you can see it's slightly wider all round.
Width of the Mark’s Tokyo Edge mechanical pencil compared to a Staedtler Mars Lumograph B grade. As you can see it’s slightly wider all round.

The deep purple colour of the barrel is attractive and the pale green is a nice contrast. On each of the hexagon’s sides there is a day of the week and combined Saturday/Sunday with an idea of what to do on that day. Monday: watch a film, Thursday: write a poem, Saturday and Sunday: go on a little trip. This makes me feel like Mark’s Tokyo Edge is pitching itself closer lifestyle brand than a quality stationery brand and makes the barrel look quite busy. I don’t have a deep aversion to printed barcodes; this pencil doesn’t have one on the barrel but it does have a sticker with a barcode on which I found ridiculously difficult to remove and managed to indent the barrel doing so (very annoying).

Indentation left on the barrel where I removed the label.
Indentation left on the barrel where I removed the label.

The Pros

  • It’s lightweight. Compared to some mechanical pencils I think this is a lightweight choice and feels similar or even possibly lighter than a wood cased pencil.
  • It’s refillable. If the lead performance is something of a consideration to you then you can replace these easily and cheaply.
  • The hexagonal barrel is comfortable and similar in feel to a wood cased pencil. I like the purple and green colour contrast.
  • The design is quite funky and I do think it’s a fun touch to disguise it as a wooden pencil. *see continuation of this point in the cons section below.

The Cons

  • *The fact that it’s a novelty that it’s a mechanical pencil that looks like a wood cased pencil is something of a non-consideration for me though, similar to my feelings about the Muji erasable 0.4mm pen I talked about in an earlier post. If you want something erasable, why use a pen? Why not use a pencil? I think it’s the same with this product – if you want something that looks like a wood cased pencil, go for a wood cased pencil!
  • The eraser is pitiful. To be fair I have never yet tried an eraser-tipped pencil though and marvelled at the effectiveness of it.

  • You’ll only be able to use 0.5mm leads in this pencil. This is fine if that’s your preference but I prefer a sharper point which is why I enjoy mechanical pencils with 2mm leads that you can actually sharpen to a point. I found that I had to apply a strong pressure to achieve the line darkness I wanted from the leads that come with the pencil. This is one of the reasons I see this product as a “lifestyle” addition rather than a specialised stationery product; the leads included are quite generic compared to a better performing lead.
Close up of some companions with sharpened wood cased pencils.
Close up of some companions with sharpened wood cased pencils. Note again the poor eraser performance next to my blog title – I originally thought I’d put my Instagram username down but replaced it with the blog!
  • The label it originally came with was so tough to remove and my efforts to get it off left an indent on the barrel. I could have left the label on but I think this made it look a bit plasticky.
  • The Rattle. I’ve put Rattle with a capital R because it’s the overriding impression I’m left with from this pencil. The ferrule / push cap rattles noisily and continuously while writing. It’s tremendously annoying and unfortunately is the reason that I wouldn’t reach for this pencil often.

In summary

My impression is that the Mark’s Tokyo Edge mechanical pencil is a little of the old style over substance. It’s a bit of fun and novelty on the desk but at the end of the day it performs the same as any generic mechanical pencil would. It costs around £5-6 which I feel is pricey for what you get and for the same price you can get some great quality mechanical pencils such as the rotring 300 or the OHTO Promecha. Also – that Rattle; I can’t get over such an oversight in the testing of this product before it went on sale. You may have noticed the pros I’ve noted of this pencil are similar to any widely available mechanical pencil and I think this says something – there’s no one great quality about the pencil that makes it stand out in a busy market. Overall I’ve been left a bit indifferent and I wouldn’t recommend you buy it before other, better quality mechanical or wood cased pencils for the same or much cheaper cost.

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