Thursday, May 12, 2011

Reviving the Blacking: The All New Palomino Blackwing 602

Well folks I have some exciting things to share with you in this update. We’ve recently received the first small production batch of the new Palomino Blackwing 602 model. This is just 5000 pencils with the next 25,000 schedule for arrival early in June. But more about the availability of this pencil in just a bit, for now let me tell you about this new product.

First, we are very pleased with the new 602’s lacquer finish which reflects the traditional blue-grey grey finish of the Eberhard Faber product during its later years of production, but with an even more distinctive gunmetal grey brilliance. The earliest production of Eberhard Faber product dating to the 1930s actually sported a darker black finish more similar to our existing Palomino Blackwing product. In response to feedback of many 602 fans we have revived the famous slogan “Half the Pressure, Twice the Speed” and finished off the design by topping our pencil with a black eraser giving the overall design a simple elegance. Understandably this is a departure from the pink eraser of the Eberhard Faber product that some would prefer, but we have provided this option among our eraser replacement pack options. Sorry I've not had time to get decent quality photos shot of the pencils before getting this post out.

Even more exciting is our specially formulated graphite core which has been developed to provide the Blackwing’s well known smooth glide while offering a significant improvement in wear rate vs. both or Palomino Blackwing and the Original Eberhard Faber product. One of the key concerns expressed by those customers doing extensive hand writing with our initial Palomino Blackwing pencil was that despite the extremely soft and smooth feel some customers would like to see an improvement in the wear rate to reduce sharpening frequency. The challenge has been to improve the hardness and reduce the wear rate without sacrificing much in smoothness and as little blackness as possible. We were looking for a firm and smooth formulation to complement the soft and creamy smooth performance of our existing product.

During our formulation and evaluation process with our Japanese graphite producer we performed a set of technical bench tests to develop objective measurements of the wear rates as determined by the length of line drawn per millimeter of wear under constant pressure. This is a mechanical testing device used routinely by our supplier to assure production batches meet established standards for each graphite grade. Our results indicated that the new PB 602 graphite core provided at least 25-35% more extended life vs. our existing Palomino Blackwing and approximately 15-25% greater line length than the original Eberhard Faber 602. So we have improved wear rate substantially versus both items. Of course we give up something in darkness by creating a harder, firmer lead, but the new product compares favorably with the original.

As indicated in my Timberlines post last Fall about graphite performance we’ve found no objective, scientific test that measures smoothness of lead. Each person has their own writing angles and forces reflecting their own writing and drawing style and posture. Based on the more subjective personal testing a number of us involved in the development of this pencil have completed it’s our assessment that the our new 602 model has only a slight loss of smoothness versus our existing Palomino Blackwing pencil and has comparable to slightly improved smoothness vs. the original Eberhard Faber 602. Clearly in the end you all will have to be your own judge on the smoothness characteristic as with your overall assessment of these pencils.

We’ll be officially introducing the new PB 602 model along with a fully redesigned lined of retail packaging for our entire range of Palomino and Palomino Blackwing pencil products the marketplace at the National Stationery Show in New York In just a few days. Our goal is to make our products more widely available by focusing on developing a retail dealer network that appreciates the fine quality and performance of our growing range of. If you have a favorite local stationery shop, artist supply store, bookstore or other gift or specialty retailer you think would be ideal for this product please let them know to drop by our Pencils.com booth if they happen to be visiting the show next week. At the show we’ll also be introducing a line of luxury notebooks and sketchbooks under the Palomino and Blackwing labels as well as FSC Certified notebooks under our ForestChoice brand. But more about these developments in a later post.






As to launching on Pencils.com and actual initial shipments we expect the final packaging production to be complete in the next week and will begin packing pencils as soon as we receive the packaging. This is a photos of our packaging production proofs just received this morning in time four use at the Stationery Show. We have not yet determined if we’ll drop the existing gift box or continue to offer that option on Pencils.com. We expect to initiate Pencils.com sales of the PB602 on or about June 1st providing all goes to current plan. To be notified about when the new Palomino Blackwing 602 goes on sale on Pencils.com make sure to register on our site here.


Finally, we are thrilled to see that our efforts at Reviving the Blackwing have now been covered in the latest issue of Fortune Magazine now on the newsstand. We’re hoping we’ll see increasing press coverage as a result of our launch at the Stationery show this next week.

11 comments:

WoodChuck said...

Sorry my photography at this point is not up to normal standards. I was in a hurry to get this out before departing tomorrow for New York and our newsletter going out today. We'll be scehduling a proper shoot for after our return from New York.

Adair said...

Wonderful news! Can't wait!

Matthias said...

Extended life sounds great, the only reason why I don't use the Palomino BW (lying above the F keys on my keyboard) more often is because it doesn't keep the point very long.

David Nethery said...

Excellent ! I readily admit to the label "Blackwing cultist" . (I still have several hoarded boxes of original Blackwing 602's , sparingly used for special projects). I bought a few boxes of the new Palomino Blackwings and I like them ok, but to me the "mystique" of the Blackwing is that it has that Blackwing look. I am much more likely to buy more boxes of the new Blackwing on a regular basis (I'll start with half-a-dozen boxes) now that they have the traditional "Half-the-Pressure-Twice-the-Speed" slogan restored along with the designation "602" and the dark grey paint . It's all part of "the look" .

And to show that I'm not a total purist I don't mind the new black erasers or the white erasers. (the erasers were always the worst part of the original Blackwing anyway , darn things were almost useless for drawing work. I use a soft grey kneaded eraser for most things) . I think the little design touch of the distinctive black eraser or white eraser (you should offer both options) sets this apart as a NEW product , but still retaining a stronger identification with the old product now that the distinctive dark grey paint and the slogan and the "602" are restored . Thank you. I'll buy as soon as they are available.

Pencil Reviewer said...

This is great news! I am looking forward to reviewing them. I just posted my own review of your current offering.

Love it. Worth every penny.

Adair said...

How soon...?

WoodChuck said...

Just got product photography completed yesterday and the next batch of pencils just arrived that we need toget packed up before we launch. Also our replacement eraser packs are now in. Last few details being worked out. A newsletter going out tonight with an update on specifics, but it will be mid-next week..

Pencil Reviewer said...

If there was say a link where a few choice customers could purchase some of the first boxes available I am sure it would be good for everyone involved.

:)

WoodChuck said...

Generally all customers are choice customers as far as we're concerned. If you're on our e-mail newsletter list you'll be getting the details within next 12 hours I think. If not here's the link:

http://pencils.us2.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=f2c185d308a569ffedf3f4e11&id=253260d937

Pencil Reviewer said...

I know I know! I feel like I'm camping outside the Apple store or something here. I am on the list.

JC said...

I commented on one of your previous posts that I would prefer the pink eraser, but I must say that I am starting to prefer the look of the black eraser on the new 602. It definitely is a nice combination.

I ordered two dozen today along with a set of pink erasers -- will be ordering more soon. Half of the 602's will have the pink eraser while the other half will keep the black. Why not??

Can't wait to get them. The Palomino Blackwing is actually my favorite pencil, but since I mostly write I think the Palomino 602 will take that place while the other will be a close second.

Keep up the good work, and thanks for bringing back and improving on the Blackwing.