The Tombow Mono 100 is not a cheap pencil. They cost about $2.35 in the USA and around £1.85 in the UK. There is a perfectly reasonable argument that no pencil could be worth this much. People who make this argument are wrong.
I sort-of-reviewed the Tombow Mono 100 back in October 2013 but this is a pencil that deserves better than that so here I am again.
The pencil is made from cedar and is finished beautifully. Gold on black isn’t really my thing but the paint is thick, glossy and smooth and the printing is crisp. The main part of the barrel is hexagonal but the end is round, with a distinctive white stripe. It’s all rather stylish and classy.
There are, in my opinion, better looking pencils but that’s down to my personal taste. The finish is as good as it gets.
They sharpen beautifully.
What makes the Tombow Mono 100 so special is the quality of the lead. It’s available in grades from 6B to 9H and, putting to one side how scary the point on a 9H pencil is, they are all incredibly smooth. When used for writing, the more sensible HB-type grades keep a point, glide over the page and put down a lush dark line. When drawing, all grades shade gently and consistently. (Almost all the pencils drawings on this site were drawing with Tombow Mono 100s.)
These pencils are so consistent I feel completely in control of them. They are so smooth on the page they are a pleasure to use with every line. It’s the quality of the lead that makes the Tombow Mono 100 is my favourite pencil.