Ohto Conception Mechanical Pencil Review

(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

The genre of mechanical drafting pencils has always been fascinating to me. They tend to look like industrial tools meant for a precise purpose compared to the grade school pencils I was accustomed to when growing up. It's a great genre, and there's a lot of interesting nuances between the different designs. Some of these pencils have special features that set them apart from the rest, but are those features always welcome? Well, it's likely a matter of preference.

The Ohto Conception Mechanical Pencil is one of these drafting pencils that has a couple of tricks up its sleeve. At $23, it doesn't break the bank compared to other higher-end drafting pencils. It's roughly the same size as a Rotring 600, although the Rotring has more heft due to the materials and better build quality. But, the Rotring 600 doesn't cost $23, either.

Straight from the JetPens product description, here's what the Ohto Conception sets out to do:

This ingenious mechanical pencil features two modes: drafting pencil mode and lead guard mode.

What this really comes down to is the ability to use or retract a guide pipe. In "drafting" mode, the pencil utilizes a 4mm lead guard for use with straightedges and other tools that the drafting trade requires. This is something we're all used to, and something that most drafting pencils have built in.

However, you can also retract the guide pipe, which allows the pipe to protect the lead as it wears down. As you write, the lead becomes shorter and the sleeve continues to retract as needed so you can continue writing. In practice, this means that there is a smaller chance of breaking the lead when writing because it never sticks out far enough to be brittle. The metal guide pipe keeps it stable and protected, but doesn't require you to advance the lead as often.

So, how do you switch between these two modes? Easy: just twist the pencil grip section to enable/disable drafting mode. There's a red section under the grip that is exposed when in "lead guard" mode, and that red section is barely visible in drafting mode.

Pretty neat trick, right? In practice, it works great. And, another great benefit of being able to retract the lead pipe is that the pencil can't poke holes in fabric or get caught on bags. This has happened to me a few times. The tiny lead pipe will either poke a hole in a shirt, or jab my leg through a pants pocket. Needless to say, that's not pleasant. Simple twist the grip section to retract the lead pipe, push the lead back in, and you're ready to go. The tip of the pen is now a round tip that won't cause any problems with clothing or bags.

But wait, there's more! The Conception has another trick. You can dial in the amount of lead is advanced when you click the cap. It ranges from 0.2mm to 2.0mm. Crazy, right? I didn't find myself adjusting this very often, but it was nice to dial it in and find my "sweet spot" for lead advancement so that it only took one click to get my ideal amount of lead out for writing. Very nifty feature.

My main complaint with this feature is that the click mechanism feels cheap and weak. The pencil works great, and I've never had any problems with it. This is purely a complaint about the way it feels. Also, if the lead guard is retracted, there is more distance in the click mechanism, and it makes a little more noise than when the pencil is in drafting mode. Again, this doesn't affect the performance of the pencil, but does detract from the experience.

Apart from that, the pencil works exactly as you'd expect. There's a tiny eraser hidden under the click mechanism, and that's also where you refill the lead.

This model uses 0.3mm lead, which is my favorite mechanical pencil lead size. You can also find the Conception with 0.5mm lead size, though.

The pencil is made up of aluminum, and the grip section is made of brass. This combination of metals give the pencil a great balance and feel.

The grip section is another area of major contention for me. It's way too smooth for me. There's a small amount of texture on the grip, but it's microscopic and offers no real texture for gripping and writing. Practically, it's smooth metal. If there is any moisture on your fingers at all, this pencil starts slipping. This was frustrating, and something to consider if you're looking at this pencil. If you'll be using it outside in the heat, you might want to look for another option that has a better grip!

Apart from those couple of gripes, this is a really cool pencil. It's a hard sell for me because I lean heavily toward the Rotring drafting pencils. At $23, the Conception doesn't make sense when compared to the Rotring 600 or Rapid Pro because they are only 10 or 17 dollars more, respectively. If the ability to retract the lead guard is important, then the Conception is a good choice. The added option to control the amount of lead that advances with each click is also nifty, but I think the Rotring is still a better pencil.

If black isn't your game, then the Ohto Conception also comes in a few other colors.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


Enjoy reading The Pen Addict? Then consider becoming a member to receive additional weekly content, giveaways, and discounts in The Pen Addict shop. Plus, you support me and the site directly, which I am very grateful for.

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Posted on December 7, 2016 and filed under Ohto, Mechanical Pencil, Pencil Reviews.

The Pokka Pen Is Born (Sponsor)

We are all tinkerers at heart, hacking and modifying pens to suit our needs. Terry O’Connor got tired of losing his space pen and started making pen runts by cutting Bic ballpoints in half. That’s when the idea hit him - why don’t I make my own pen, and make it great?

Enter the Pokka Pen.

These precision injection molded pens are small and light enough to carry in your pocket or bag and go unnoticed, but when uncapped they turn into a full sized writing instrument. The unique Double Dokk system ensures the cap fits securely when open or closed.

The Pokka Pen comes in several different colors, including a series of premium Kustom Koated pens, and can be accessorized with the upcoming Keyring Kaps which allow you to attach your Pokka Pen to key rings, zippers, or lanyards. Best of all? They cost less than $9 for a 3-pack with free shipping on orders of 10 pens or more. Talk about the perfect stocking stuffer.

As a bonus for Pen Addict readers, any order of 5 or more Pokka Pens will receive a free Pen Addict logo Pokka.

My thanks to Pokka Pens for sponsoring The Pen Addict this week.

Posted on December 5, 2016 and filed under Featured Sponsor.

Lamy LX Fountain Pen Review

Lamy has made some interesting design decisions this year. The highly anticipated Lamy 2000 50th Anniversary pen fell flat in my eyes, and the announcement of the Lamy Lx - aka the iPhone pen - looked to be a marginal Al-Star upgrade at a non-marginal price.

I wanted to check out the Lx myself to see if the over 50% price increase from the Al-Star is worth it. Are you getting enough value to justify the price?

I don’t think so.

The selling points of the Lx (pronounced “Luxe” if you are wondering how Lamy sees this pen) are upgraded anodizing - barrel, clip, and finial - plus coated black steel nibs. The packaging is upgraded too, featuring a tube to match the color of your pen. Don't forget: You pay for packaging.

While the visual differences between the Al-Star and Lx are minimal, there is zero difference in the feel of the pen. Blindfolded, I would assume this is an Al-Star. It writes like one, which is to say wonderfully, and has the same molded plastic grip, weight, and balance.

If you are interested in the Gold or Rose Gold models, I can see the justification for purchasing the Lx. Those colors don’t appear in the rest of the product lineup, and the clip anodizing is more of a standout feature compared to the Palladium and Ruthenium models. If the latter two interest you, I would consider the Al-Star in Black or Graphite Grey and save some money. If you just want to experience the nib, like the EF in my review, you can drop down to the Safari and not miss a beat.

On it’s own merits, the Lamy Lx is a good pen. If the Al-Star didn’t exist, I would dare to say it is fairly priced. But the Al-Star does exist, so you will need to weigh the pros and cons between the two when making your buying decision.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


Enjoy reading The Pen Addict? Then consider becoming a member to receive additional weekly content, giveaways, and discounts in The Pen Addict shop. Plus, you support me and the site directly, which I am very grateful for.

Membership starts at just $5/month, with a discounted annual option available. To find out more about membership click here and join us!

Posted on December 5, 2016 and filed under Lamy, Fountain Pens, Pen Reviews.

Tom Barrington

Tom Barrington sells beautiful exotic leather pen cases, and should be on your radar this holiday season.

I know the Red Stingray Double Pen Sleeve is on mine, or possibly the Single Pen Orange Sleeve. All leather exteriors are genuine, and each case is lined with Napa cowhide for an added layer of protection.

Whatever your pen case needs, Tom Barrington is certain to have you and your pens covered. And they make wonderful gifts too!

My thanks to Tom Barrington for sponsoring The Pen Addict this week.

Posted on December 2, 2016 and filed under Sponsors.