While I’ve always been attracted to the look of the Rhodia pencils, I never bought one. I guess I’d assumed it was all looks and little quality performance. Consider this a case of judging a pencil by its flashy looks before actually having used it.
The pencil features a sloping triangular shape similar to one of my favorite pencils, the Faber-Castell 2001. The orange paint on the exterior has a matte sheen, not a shiny gloss. It reminds me slightly of the texture of the new Field Notes covers, not rubbery per se, but indescribably matte. The wood is linden wood and has been dyed a stunning black to match the black metallic ferrule and matching black eraser. The logo is stamped in black foil on all three sides of the pencil but its quite understated at about 1/2″ wide.
The Rhodia is a standard HB (#2) pencil and I admit to being surprised at how smooth it was on paper. I ended up grabbing my Blackwing Pearl for comparison and their performance on paper was quite comparable. The Pearl was a little bit darker on paper and a tiny bit smoother on the paper.
As for the eraser, its adequate but when compared with my favorite Staedtler Mars Plastic eraser, there’s really no comparison. It makes me wish the Rhodia pencil skipped the eraser cap altogether and just had a dipped orange finish at the end.
Overall, wow. I’m quite impressed with the quality of the writing experience. And the flashy looks are starting to grow on me. The black wood is a particularly appealing detail.