March (...and half of April!) got away from me between a new job, a cross-country trip, and illness! So many things to catch up on, and so much coming down the pike here at Inkpothesis. Before I get ahead of myself, first things first...I'm sure everyone has been waiting with baited breath to find out about the results of the Analog Madness bracket. Even more importantly, the top four contenders will help determine a portion of the first ever Inkpothesis prize package.
Two champions in one post? See...it's all been worth the wait after all.
How did the 16 make it to this point you ask?
The Pencil Side (The Side of Chaos)
Viking 400- The Viking pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the tournament by upsetting the #1 ranked Swiss Wood pencil. How you ask? Precise execution of aesthetics, consistent performance, and the element of surprise. Plus it doesn't smell like soy sauce, so there's that.
Palomino HB- This pencil so outperforms its 12th seed, it's ridiculous. It wasn't even close- it sailed through the first two rounds.
Aspara Absolute- The closest game of the tournament (a triple overtime thriller!) was the match-up between this pencil and the CWPE Blackwood pencil. A rematch of that game on a different day may have ended with an opposite outcome. But after it overcame the Blackwood... it was untouchable. The point is ridiculously strong on the pencil while still being dark and relatively soft... what more could you want?
Grafwood- Caran d'Ache was bound to get at least one pencil through. Their pencils are just too good, and this one is no exception. It's just slightly heftier than a regular pencil, and for me that makes it nearly perfect in-hand.
Casemate Premium- This pencil is like the classic Hoosiers underdog of the whole tourney due to its humble place of origin: your local Wal-mart shelves. Turns out, this Indian made 16 seed pencil was more like a 3 or 4 seed in disguise, and it easily overcame a number 1 seed and number 9 seed to push though to the top 16.
Palomino Golden Bear- It's totally unfair to everyone else that this pencil was an 11 seed. This pencil is exceptional. Good looking, solid performer- this could easily be a desert-island pencil for many.
Made for Retail Hex- Next time you go to Target- you better make a bee-line to the dollar section and pick up a pack of these for $1. Make sure they are hex shaped and not the wrapped round variety. Seriously you will not be disappointed. The rosy-gold ferrules, variety of color offerings, and fun foil stamped sayings make this pencil hard to beat in my book. Well worth the $0.17, I assure you. Just ask the two pencils it beat out to get here.
The Pen Side
Zebra Sarasa Clip- Decent upset here as well with the #8 seed beating the #1 seed in the second round. The #1 Juice Up is a great pen, and may have taken it all in a different color offering... but in this match-up the features of the Sarasa Clip were just too much to overcome. That clip though. It's so good.
Hi-Tec-C- Luckily for the Hi-Tec-C it had two stellar performances in a row with no stuttering or skipping starts. And as we know, when it's going well for the HI-Tec-C- it's going great. Those fine lines are droll worthy.
Signo RT- The sleek looks and practical retractable qualities give this pen a killer instinct- especially in the blue-black offering. This one is hard to beat, I'm warning you now.
Ink Joy Gel- I was late to this party, and apparently so were this pen's opponents. Don't underestimate this big-box available pen. It's a legit contender.
Copic Multiliner- The #1 seed is well-earned here. It's expensive, but it's also amazing. There's no other writing experience quite like it in my opinion. Sturdy, reliable, refillable, replaceable tips... I'm really not quite sure what else you would want in a pen.
Signo UM 151- This pen is as good as the Pen Addict says it is. Maybe better. It could easily win the whole thing.
Energel- The darkness of the ink is ultimately what propelled this widely available pen into the third round.
Papermate Flair- Does this one really need an explanation? It's a classic for a reason. If you've never used this pen for some crazy reason, you better stop reading this and correct that immediately.
On the Pencil Side: One classic Indian pencil, one classic Danish pencil, one classic American Pencil, and one...Target Pencil??
On the Pen Side: Two fine lined pros vs two-felt tipped pros. Interesting match-ups!
Parity continued on the pencil side of the bracket... with a 14 seed and a 15 seed making it to the final four. The pen side was a little less surprising, with a Signo 6 seed, and a 1 seed filling out the final two slots.
And the final two?
So much of the analog tournament result was based on match-ups. I wasn't sure how it would turn out! But interestingly, I have to admit that the the final contenders are writing utensils I reach for repeatedly and carry with me a majority of the time. These are two quality, reliable writing instruments that really out-perform expectations in terms of their cost in my opinion.
What do you think? What's the biggest surprise? Are the finalists worthy of their top-spots?
That brings us to the most contentious match-up of all. Pencil vs. Pen. One year ago, this would have been no contest. But that's before I was introduced to a quality pencil, and before I started expanding my utility of analog writing instruments. For me, it honestly all comes down to context- and I think that might be a post for another day. For now, I'm happy to carry both in my daily arsenal. I don't remember the day that I didn't use at least one pencil and at least one pen. So there you have it.
Let's wrap things up by selecting our giveaway winner!
There were 10 unique commenters... and we will let a random number generator select our lucky contestant.
Heidi, be on the lookout for some goodies headed your way! Everyone else, be on the lookout for a Fransisco Stationery Haul post, a Col-o-ring test, and a CW Pencil Exclusive Round-up!