The Platinum Pro-Use 171 is the latest to hit the market, and the best I have tried from a very good Platinum bunch. It is important to get the feel right in a drafting pencil: Weight forward towards the tip, light up top, both working together for ultimate pencil control. Platinum nails the feel with the 171.
The lightly-knurled metal grip section looks, feels, and functions great. It has some weight to it, which it should for proper balance. The knurling provides enough grip without being too aggressive, which would tire out your fingers. It also functions to engage and disengage the pressure-absorbing spring mechanism in the pencil, which helps prevent lead breakage. With a lead as wide as 0.9 mm breakage issues aren’t all that common. I can see this coming into play more with 0.3 mm and 0.5 mm lead widths.
Another feature the 171 has is an adjustable lead pipe sleeve length. This pencil does it differently than other mechanical and drafting pencils I have used with this feature. Instead of twisting to retract or extend the sleeve itself, the nose cone on the Platinum twists up and down to cover the sleeve. Functionally it’s fine, but aesthetically it’s not my favorite look when the sleeve is completely covered. It breaks up the clean lines of the pencil design.
The stock lead the 171 ships with is not noted specifically, but it feels and performs like an stock HB lead. It’s dark and smooth and doesn’t break down too easily. The eraser is shockingly good. I never expect much from small mechanical pencil erasers, but this one takes away the marks completely and cleanly.
I chose the 0.9 mm size to review since I have been enjoying wider lines to sketch with. The Pro-Use 171 also comes in 0.3 mm, 0.5 mm, and 0.7 mm width, each with a different barrel color to denote the tip size. At $19 I can see avid users of drafting pencils buying the full set. The build quality of the pencil is top-notch and should last for years through heavy use. I may have to pick up the 0.3 mm to add to the collection myself. They are that good.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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