Pilot Automac 0.5mm Mechanical Pencil - Review and JetPens GIVEAWAY!

It isn't very often that when holding an instrument the thoughts, "this is like the Rolls Royce of "blank" occurs.  In this case, I'm going to say flat out that the Automac, to me, seems like it could be at that level in the mechanical drafting pencil realm.  Oh my, this thing is a beauty.  The only thing missing is inlaid burled mahogany and a cigar humidor to put this baby in Rolls Royce territory...but without the $250,000 price tag.

I received this pencil from our good friends over at JetPens to have for review, and they will also be providing an Automac giveaway to a lucky reader of The Clicky Post!  Please see the details of the giveaway below and how to enter!  Thanks so much JetPens for sponsoring this for us.

The Automac comes packaged in your standard cardboard sleeve with a clamshell clear plastic cover (in this case with a beige velvety insert with elastic band); nothing really to write home about on that front, but when you open her up... again, oh my.

I received the Automac with the all silver finish and when you first open it up it astounds you how nice this thing looks.  The colors throughout from tip to nock are consistent in their shade so no weird distracting breaks in detail.  Granted, the barrel is slightly metallic and shiny while the tip, grip, and nock section are more of a silvery matte.  No matter, all the pieces flow beautifully together like one solid piece.  Just stunning.

What catches your attention first is obviously the unique grip section.  I would consider it to be "knurling" so to speak, but not in the traditional sense.  Knurling usually consists of either little spikes on the surface or a machined crosshatch pattern in the barrel to act as texture for grip.  The knurling on the Automac is made up of several tightly machined lines that run parallel with the barrel.  Within those lines are rings that are cut throughout that run perpendicular to the barrel that create a set of small rectangles towards the tip section.  I'll let the pictures speak for themselves, but I really enjoy this aspect of the pencil.  The whole thing looks very futuristic.  

The nock mechanism is top notch and feels good and solid when depressed.  It has a retractable tip that requires one big click to extend it and then subsequent small clicks to extend the lead.  Standard issue for these kinds of pencils, but done really well.  Under the nock is a small eraser.  Let's face it; with nearly all mechanical pencils the eraser underneath the cap is fairly worthless.  It is small, gets dirty extremely fast, and wears down too quickly with excessive use.  I'd recommend a separate eraser to go with it as I would most other drafting pencils.

The only caveat that might be of some concern is a slight wiggle in the lead.  Not dancing noticeably around (remember the Lamy Logo?...yikes), but slight.  I'm not really a huge pencil guy, but I do have a few (well, like 7 or 8) that I could use to compare the wiggleness to.

Speaking of lead, Elaine from JetPens is a mind reader as she included some Uni NanoDia Low-Wear lead in 3B.  This is a softer lead which I prefer over the HB lead pencils usually come with and is fantastic.  Lays down a nice soft and dark line.  Thanks Elaine! 

Per the request of some friends, here is a link to a recent Instagram post showing how the 3B compares to some standard HB.

I did a simple test of the following pencils (many of which still need review) and gave them a brief description on tip movement while writing (in order as they appear in the photo below):

  • Uniball Kura Toga - Some Movement
  • rOtring Newton (black) - Some Movement
  • Zebra M-701 - No Movement
  • rOtring rapid Pro - No Movement (surprised me and very comfortable)
  • Pilot Automac - Noticeable Movement
  • rOtring Newton (silver) - Some Movement
  • rOtring 600 - No Movement (although the tip seems long)
  • Parker Jotter - Very Slight Movement (Almost Unnoticeable)
  • rOtring 800 - No Movement
Recent Instagram Post of Pencils While Testing

Recent Instagram Post of Pencils While Testing

The Automac doesn't rate extremely high in comparison, but I wouldn't consider it a deal breaker.  This is the only aspect of the pencil that doesn't live up to the Rolls Royce status in my book.  Lexus maybe.

Ok, there is one other thing that is more of a pet peeve than a criticism to the pencil itself, but why in the world do pen/pencil companies put stickers on the barrels of a nice writing instrument?  It baffles me that they'll slap a sticker with the gummiest, stickiest adhesive in the world to a $50 pencil that I then have to peel off.  Not only that, but I then have to find some sort of none abrasive solvent to get the residue off.  grrrr...  Although, the Automac residue wasn't too bad in comparison to some.

Alright, I'm done.  Whew...  Moving along.  

The weight of the Automac is incredible.  For a mechanical pencil it is pretty weighty, more so than even a rOtring 600 that is notoriously heavier than you'd expect.  The heft is nice in my opinion and the pencil is well balanced.  Everything about it feels very sturdy.

Overall, a phenomenal piece.

Now for the fun part...


JetPens has offered to do a giveaway of a Pilot Automac to a reader of The Clicky Post!  There are some limits to this one as it is open to only US readers, but I hope my international friends feel the love through other giveaways on the site.

Click on the button below to be taken to the JetPens giveaway page:

Enter Giveaway!

You'll need to sign up as a JetPens newsletter recipient if you haven't already to enter.

The giveaway will run through Friday, January 17th at noon PST.

Good luck to everyone and thanks again JetPens for sponsoring the giveaway and review!