I must admit, when this little walnut box arrived at my doorstep I was a little apprehensive. In the world of stationery there are two clear writing tool categories, pens and pencils, well Napkin went ahead and merged the two together and spat out the 4.EVER designed by Pininfarina Cambiano.
It's marketed as a pencil, and in some senses that title suits. There's no ink so it's not a pen, but the mark it leaves is permanent. There's no need to refill it with more lead/graphite like conventional mechanical pencils or replace it entirely like wood cased pencils when they've been sharpened within an inch of their existence. So what is this thing? Well it's a beautifully designed tapered barrel made from aluminium with walnut inlays and a peculiar metal tip which replaces whatever you're used to marking paper with. This tip is actually an alloy called Ethergraph which contains zero lead or graphite and, from what I gather, leaves marks on paper by a process of oxidization. As the tip is dragged across your writing surface, it's the writing surface that changes as apposed to pens/pencils leaving a trail of ink or lead in their path.
That all sounds fun in theory but what does it feel like? Well writing with the 4.EVER kind of feels like a slightly dull hard grade pencil. The mark it leaves is quite light and varies depending on the paper you use. I experienced some friction when writing, sort of like it was grabbing on to the paper. Simply put it doesn't glide across the page like your favourite pen/pencil but it also isn't uncomfortable to use. Not much pressure is needed and I could easily write for extended periods of time using this.
Napkin claims that one of these Ethergraph tips could last 'forever', hence the name. This is down to the way it leaves marks on a page, similar to a pencils core it wears down but unlike a pencil this process is gradual and extremely slow. To say it would take a lifetime to use one up might not be an exaggeration.
Functionality aside the main feature of this tool is the design. Each and every one is handcrafted in Italy where it was designed by Pininfarina, the world renowned car designers that have worked with the likes of Ferrari, Maserati, Cadillac and Bentley just to name a few. So I guess you could say this is the Maserati of pencils?
The sleek body and smooth edges fits well in hand, available in two shades of black (shown) and a lighter silver. It weighs in at 55g (1.9 oz) and is very well balanced, thanks to the slim and tapered design. The walnut inlays on the barrel match it's presentation box that also doubles as a desk stand. Both lightweight box and pen have the 'Pininfarina' logo engraved into them which is a really nice touch. A slight groove is etched into the top of the box as a place to rest the pen, alternatively you could use the hole on one end to turn it into a pen stand. And when you want to store it, simply open the box with the 'Napkin' branded plastic cap and slide the pen into its case, a rubber lining keeps it secure inside the box.
Overall the Napkin 4.EVER takes luxury writing instruments to a whole new level. It's a novel idea that, for the right person, could be a really great addition to a desk top. This model has a RRP of $120 (approx. £77) so is more on the side of a splurge purchase of a special gift.
This Napkin 4.EVER was sent for review by Massdrop. They are a really cool "group-buy" service with a big community of people who vote on what products they want to buy. Whatever gets the most votes Massdrop will try to make available for sale, or what they call a 'drop'. People can then join the 'drop' and the more people who join the cheaper the product gets. It's a pretty fun way of getting the things you want, at a big discount. Massdrop is a members only site, so click here to make your account to see what drops they having going on currently and to vote on what drops you'd like to see in the future. Here is some more details on how Massdrop works!
Thanks for reading!