Up until this point I’ve only ever tried Tombow’s MONO 100 but there are several others in the same line, including the MONO, MONO-R, MONO-J, and the MONO-RS to name a few. I can’t speak to the others but the MONO-R is a great pencil, just as you would expect from Tombow.


Everything about this pencil is high-quality, and I would be hard-pressed to describe the difference between the MONO-R and the MONO 100, Tombow’s masterwork. I suppose you could say the MONO-R is a little less smooth, but it is negligible.


Going by the rule of thumb that Japanese pencils tend to be about one grade darker than American pencils, this HB is a little closer to what I would call a No. 1 pencil. Even so, it retains its point very well—great for writing and for music.

Thanks to Tombow USA for sending the MONO-R pencils.

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6 Responses to MONO-R

  1. Gunther says:

    The MONO-R is truly another great pencil in Tombow’s range! The MONO lettering with the dotted hexagonal counter of the first O is amazing 🙂


  2. 8542037bnewk says:

    I agree. And check out the little pencil sharpener. The blade is super sharp and lasts a long time. It’s the best out of dozens I have.
    Wilburn Newcomb


  3. Johnny says:

    I like these a lot! The end-dipped ends with a band are simple and pleasant. The plastic ends on the100 are nice, but I’d like the same pencil better without them.


  4. Sean says:

    Thanks, everyone, for your comments.

    Gunther: Agreed on both counts! The hex center is not only a great design, but its execution is pretty much flawless.
    WIlburn: Thanks for the tip.
    Johnny: I wonder if the MONO-R mightn’t be the previous version of the MONO, which became the MONO 100. (The “100” refers to the height of their lead refining process, which purportedly achieves 10 billion particles per cubic millimeter.)


  5. Matthias says:

    I’ve never seen close-ups of the “R” before, thanks. I thought it’s just a slightly cheaper version without the end cap (R for regular). Now that I read it’s less smooth I wonder whether this is the kind of pencil used in Japanese offices, while the Mono 100 is preferred by artists…


    • Sean says:

      Please take my comment about them being less smooth with a grain of salt. Even if it is so, they are still much smoother and of higher quality than most of what’s available today.


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