The Caran d’Ache Swiss Wood pencil is available just in HB. It’s quite expensive, for a pencil: £3.50 in the UK, $4.50 in the USA. That’s each.
According to CW Pencils, the Swiss Wood is made from wood. From Switzerland. More specifically, dark beech wood from the Swiss Jura. This is such a beautiful part of the world, I really love the idea of using a pencil that started its life in amongst rolling green mountains and crisp clear lakes.
The barrel is slightly larger than a normal pencil and this, combined with the heavier wood, makes for a reassuringly solid feel. It exudes quality and this is supported by crisp lettering and a jolly snazzy dipped tip derived from the Swiss flag, the bright red providing a great contrast to the dark wood.
Even the barcode manages to look okayish.
The core is wider than usual. The lead is smooth and the pencil keeps its point extremely well. This is an expensive pencil but it compensates somewhat by lasting a long time.
The wood is stained. I think it looks okay and it’s entirely in keeping with the aesthetic of the pencil. I’m not a huge fan of stained pencils but each to his (or her) own. The stain is smelly, too: a combination of liquorice and creosote. I quite like how it smells but your mileage may vary.
I don’t know if it’s the stain, the wood itself or the oversized barrel but I have problems sharpening this pencil. As you can see from the photo it always ends up a little ragged. The lead never breaks but the finish just isn’t very neat.
The Swiss Wood is a very high quality pencil that offers something different. This makes it impossible to say if it’s worth the cost. £3.50 is a lot for a pencil but it’s not a lot in the grand scheme of things. Less than a coffee and cake, even assuming you can limit yourself to only one cake. And who can do that? If you like how this pencil looks then it’s probably worth it to you. The Swiss Wood writes nicely, lasts longer than most other pencils and feels very special to use.
Thank you Mr Toffer for recommending this pencil to me!