When I was in Hong Kong a couple years ago, I picked up a Staedtler WOPEX pencil. The pencil I picked up did not have a ferrule or eraser on it and the paint color is a little lighter than the WOPEX pencils currently available in the US. Johnny from Pencil Revolution was kind enough to send me a couple. First, to satisfy my curiosity about any performance differences and second, because they are a lovely shade of green.
Besides being a bit brighter color (more granny smith green now), the new WOPEX pencils do not have the slight metallic flake in the paint that the older model does.
Both versions of the WOPEX are hexagonal, with a soft-touch rubber paint, made from the composite wood material. The cool thing about the composite material is that it makes perfect sharpening roses. As mentioned by Johnny in his review, I don’t recommend using an electric sharpener since the rubbery coating can confuse the auto-stop mechanism and chew up a whole pencil. I used a relatively new KUM handheld sharpener which worked fine.
The new pencils feature a silver ferrule and a white, rubber compound eraser on the end.
In writing, the leads seem to perform identically to the previous version. Its a smooth writer and I had no issues with the lead performance.
In the hand, the newer WOPEX pencils are not as sticky to hold. The paint/coating feels like a lighter touch was used in applying it. Its smoother in the hand and feels more like a matte finish than a squishy rubbery coating.
The fact that WOPEX is Staedtler’s attempt to make a more ecologically-responsible pencil is a big plus to using the WOPEX. Oddly I prefer the feel of the earlier rubber-y WOPEX but it might also be that as lovely as the new ferrule and eraser make the WOPEX look, I don’t tend to use them and they just make the pencil longer and a little unwieldy until its been sharpened a half a dozen times.
All-in-all, I think its a good pencil option and one that is readily available in your local big box or office supply store.
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I really like the Wopex. It’s just in another league than other extruded pencils… One of the small flaws I dislike is that if you sharpen the Wopex properly the end of the tip tends to break (unless you use a sharpener where you can adjust that).
I had a pack of these from summer 2013, and the finish is the old one, with a ferrule and eraser. I like the newer green, but I miss the rubber touch, too. 😉
I was disappointed that the 2014 exterior of the pencils was changed – as you say, a harder/duller finish with no metallic “flakes” – it just seems a little compromised versus what I felt was a near-perfect finish. The 2013 model still had the old exterior with the ferrule and eraser, while earlier models came without the ferrule/eraser. I have taken to my local Staples stores and purchased all remaining 2013 stock.