Sometimes gimmicks turn me off a product before it even has a chance. Sometimes an especially cute gimmick can get me to try a product that I would otherwise pass over. This is the case with the Ten KM Pencil.
Visual appeal is where this pencil wins. It is a comfortable semi-hex painted a cheerful, lemony yellow that does not immediately make me feel childish (as is often the case with yellow pencils). The finish is smooth but not glossy and carries a bit more "rustic" feel compared to many other pencils. But what I love the most are the little tick marks along the barrel that supposedly mark off each kilometer worth of writing you do. This painting is very crisp and only along one side, so nothing feels overdone. On the opposite side is the branding, with "THE TEN KM PENCIL" on the dip end and "MADE IN ENGLAND" on the point end.
I am pretty sure that this is billed as an HB pencil, and that seems like a fair grading. I typically prefer a softer core in pencils, but will use an HB if I want better point retention. Sadly, I don't feel like this pencil holds a point for an especially long time either. The core is also scratchy, which I don't enjoy when writing more than a few words. On the plus side, I don't find it to be especially smeary and it does erase easily with a quality eraser.
Besides the sub-par core, this pencil is pleasant to use. It is very light, due to the fact that it does not have an eraser. I will sometimes put on an eraser cap if I expect to do a lot of erasing but the balance is definitely improved when left naked.
At $1.50 each, this pencil's price surpasses its quality. It is nice, but I don't reach for it "just because" and I will probably not use it extensively now that the review is done. It will probably live on the workbench in my office, which is seems perfectly suited for based on the ruler theme.
This pencil was purchased with my own money. If you want one for yourself, you can get it here (no affiliation).