The Staedtler Wopex is a unique pencil that divides opinions and won't be to everyones tastes, however there is something appealing about the Wopex pencil.
The Wopex has a strange thick waxy coating on it's barrel that is not like the traditional lacquer paint you would find on other pencils. The Wopex is made of a dense combination of woods and plastics that result in a weighty pencil. The wood used to create the Wopex is from 'PEFC-certified sustainably managed forests' which makes this an environmentally friendly pencil. You can find out more about the make up of the Wopex and it's materials here in this helpful link.
It is perhaps due to the combination of materials and the resulting design of the Wopex pencil that could deter people from using it. It's a different pencil and for some traditional pencil users these differences could be a barrier to using and enjoying the Wopex. In my opinion there are some positive elements that I think makes it a joy to use.
The Wopex writes really well. It's smooth on the page and I love the lighter tone of the graphite. I have a HB and 2B pencil that are lighter than other Staedtler pencils of the same grade. I have compared the HB Wopex to the HB Mars Lumograph, which you can see in my handwritten review, and there is a distinct tone difference. The Wopex site actually describes the graphite as 'velvet soft' and 'smooth gliding lead' (yes it said lead!). I agree with this, there is something sort of velvety about the graphite in the Wopex which I don't think it present in other Staedtler pencils and it definitely writes smoothly on the page. It also states that the graphite in the Wopex is more resilient and less likely to shatter. I have noticed that you can apply quite a bit of pressure when writing without without the graphite snapping. The Wopex is all round sturdy!
One small downside with the Wopex is it cannot be used with my Classroom Friendly Sharpener. Due to the materials of the pencil the sharpener churns right through and the auto-stop feature does not work. My 2B Wopex has fallen fowl to this problem.
In the UK the Wopex is well distributed. I have seen these in the traditional stores such as WH Smith, Staples and even on Ocado's online shopping. For such an unusual pencil the depth of availability is a little surprising, but there must be a level of demand and people must be buying this pencil otherwise the retailers would not stock it.
Overall I enjoy using the Wopex pencils and would happily buy more of them. They're not my most used pencil and they do have a very different feel to the traditional woodcase pencil but sometimes different is good and I really enjoy writing and doodling with the Wopex.