The Ito-ya pencil is made by Camel. Per CWPE the eraser was designed for Camel by Eiichi Kato. Most pencils with this sort of ferrule-free eraser experience are made by Camel. I’ve reviewed another Camel pencil here.
I love the look of ferrule-free erasers. That’s no different on the Helvetica pencils. All the erasers are black, no matter the color of the pencil. They are available in white, black, red, and gray. You can find mixed packs on Amazon. I purchased a 12 pack with 6 red and 6 black pencils. The paint is thick and well applied to a perfect satin finish. It’s not quite dull enough to call it matte but also not shiny. The black paint and eraser feel stealthy. TThe imprint is printed rather than debossed. On all the pencils the imprint is glossy black. It stands out quite well on all the colors, even the black on black it looks great. Very minimalist.
Inside the paint is nicely fragrant cedar, which sharpens up in any sharpener I own. Inside that lovely cedar is smooth dark graphite. The writing experience with these is silky smooth. The graphite is dark too. If you own the Camel 60 pencil the Helvetica is significantly softer and darker. I’d liken it to a B Misubishi 9850 or Nataraj Super Black pencil. That is to say, dark and smooth.
Honestly, when I bought these I didn’t put mine down until it hit Steinbeck stage, then I immediately sharpened up another. Though these are $15 for a 12-pack, they are so pleasant to use that I keep an eye on Amazon and keep them in my future to buy cart. I also like to include them in trades and pencil gift package.
I have resisted the allure of the Camel HB pencils for quite some time. I told myself, “they won’t be great, they are pretty but they aren’t great.” Finally in my last CWPE order I broke down and order 4 of them. At $1.50 each they aren’t cheap but they aren’t Caran d’Ache Stinkwood prices either.I resisted them because I’m in complete and utter lust with their minimalist design. The sleek lacquered finish, with a clean white imprint, and a ferrule-free eraser is simple pencil perfection. They are available in 2 color combinations (plus some pastel shades)- cedar with clear lacquer and a grey eraser cap and cedar with a warm honey stain and lacquer, with a off white eraser cap. Stunning. I really love how these look.
I sharpened one of each of the colorways and told myself they were going to suck, this despite the glowing reviews they’ve received just about everywhere. I’ve used them for page after page in my most recent novel in a Yoobi Composition notebook (more on those at a later date.) I’m getting 3 to 4 pages per sharpening in the Carl A5 and the same with the KUM masterpiece. Other than point retention/durability the feel of the core is smooth on all the papers I’ve tested it on. It performs well on Yoobi comp, Tomoe River, Moleskine, and various Field Notes. I like these pencils a lot. I’m bummed I only bought 4 of them. I should have bought 10, or a dozen, but more than the mere 4 I have in my grubby paws.
The eraser works admirably well, though I am loath to use it lest I grubby up the clean lines of these pencils. I purposefully pulled one off to see how it worked and the pencil itself is whittled down to fit inside the eraser just like a regular pencil cap. A dab of superglue reacquainted the two pieces and now even when I try I cannot remove the eraser.
The bottom line on these pencils, is that they have a beautiful clean design, crisp printing, a thick coating of clear lacquer, and that ferrule free eraser cap is a stunner. Overall the minimalist design of these pencils makes me super happy. The fact that they perform well means I can keep using them over and over again.