I’ve used Croquis pencils for a couple of years now and found them very good.
They’re robust, pleasant to hold (nice grip shape) and the lead variety is
excellent (H to 6B). The size is also excellent – they fit in any pocket –
and the advantages of this type of pencil are:
1. The pencil stays the same size even as the lead shortens.
2. In the closed position the lead is protected and should stay safe (unless you
drop it on a concrete floor from a considerable height).
However, I’ve only given the pencil four stars because there are better
alternatives. Koh-I-Noor make clutch pencils of differing sizes that do a
similar thing. The lead of the Croquis pencil is 3.8mm in diameter which is a
nice chunky size. Koh-I-Noor make clutch pencils with 2mm, 2.5mm, 3.2mm, 3.8mm
and 5.6mm diameters apart from the standard really fine leads you will find in
most mechanical pencils.
The Croquis pencils use a lead that is 60mm long. Koh-I-Noor have three main
lengths – 80mm, 90mm and 120mm. Because of the difference in lead lengths
there is also a difference in clutch pencil lengths so you can have a longer
pencil for longer leads or a “drop in your pocket” shorter version for the
Most Koh-I-Noor clutch pencils have a built in sharpener so you can grind the
lead back to a point, while the Croquis has no such facility.
The clutch pencil is also easier to operate than the Croquis because you just
have to press the thumb button to open the jaws and let the lead drop out, while
with the Croquis you have to “wind” the lead in and out with a twist
Croquis pencils use standard graphite leads while Koh-I-Noor pencils also use
coloured leads, charcoal and chalk, all of which are available in packs, though
not all types can be found in all three lengths.
The final advantage of Koh-I-Noor is that with a clutch pencil the lead is
gripped just behind the point so you can use a very small lead of only a couple
of centimetres length, while the Croquis holds the lead at its base, so any
broken leads may be too short to use. The Koh-I-Noor can use very small bits of
I’d like to finish by saying that I still use my Croquis pencils. I love them.
They are ergonomically excellent and the lead quality appears to be better than
Koh-I-Noor, but they could certainly improve on the design.