Blackwings are the darlings of the pencil world. Like so many, it was the Blackwing 602 that was my gateway into the world of superior graphite. (If I’m honest, I’m a sucker for legacy marketing. They hooked me into their stories of Hemingway using the 602 to pen(cil) his novels. “Take my money!” I cried, heady with romance.) After trying the Blackwing Natural, though, it is a real contender for my favourite pencil- romance or not.
I held off trying the Naturals because I couldn’t imagine liking a Blackwing more than I did the 602. The point retention bugged, but that was the cost of geting such a smooth, dark line, right?
Nay, my friend.
My first thought when I tried the Natural was, “Oh my gosh! It’s so dark!” It’s quite surprising considering it is Blackwing’s extra firm core offering. I just assumed that meant it would be considerably lighter. Look at that writing, though, compared to the 602. It’s hardly noticeable.
When it comes to point retention, I was able to go for 3 A5 pages of journaling before I even thought of needing to sharpen. And I was able to happily go for 2 more. This is truly a tool that will not get in your way to maintain it.
I really like the look of the Blackwing Natural as well. It has a thin clear lacquer to show off the wood grain and gold type. You wouldn’t think the gold goes as well with the natural wood, especially with a grey eraser, but it works. It works really well. And the wood grain veining down all the way from ferrule to tip. It is a thing of simple beauty. It’s dark, it has great point retention, it’s real real pretty- what is there not to like? Well, my one quibble – and this is being OTT nitpicky – is that I’d prefer a thicker lacquer feel against my hand (I know- even I am rolling my eyes at myself). That is literally my only con.
The Blackwing Natural is suited well for long writing periods. I also like it to keep in my handbag as it keeps its point retention so well, you don’t have to worry about sharpening it much at all when you’re out. While this next point only applies to a small population of readers, I must say I also find it great for tying up messy buns when a hair bobble is not within arm’s reach. The Blackwing’s length really holds the weight of thick hair and the natural finish goes with many an outfit. You are rolling your eyes again, aren’t you?