When you’re a brand with a rabid, slavish following like French leathergoods giant Hermes, it’s important to think outside the box in order to both maximize profits and cater to your very particular customer’s every need. With quarterly growth in the double digits since time immemorial, Hermes has taken a page out of the Louis Vuitton book and now brands everything under the sun, including the simplest of writing implements: the pencil.
Fancy-pants pens have long been a hallmark of the luxury industry, but the leather-wrapped Hermes Arlequin H Pencil is something different entirely. Pens can be refilled with fine ink and passed down from generation to generation; pencils, on the other hand, are meant to be used up in short order by virtue of their very construction.
When I first came across this…pencil (there are no fancy words for pencil), my immediate thought was, “Well, I bet Louis Vuitton makes one too.” Hermes and Louis Vuitton are alike in a lot of ways (and LVMH seems to be hell-bent on making them part of the same whole), and they are perhaps the only two fashion brands with clients rabid enough to buy pencils from them. Chanel might also make that list, but I have yet to find a pencil from that particular set of Frenchies, so we’ll leave ’em out for a moment.
Louis Vuitton Golden Agenda Pencil, $245 via Louis Vuitton
Vuitton does, in fact, make a pencil. It comes in both silver and gold and retails for $175 or $245, respectively. The Vuitton pencil, though, appears to be a refillable implement intended for longterm use, so while it’s still a little silly, at least you won’t have to throw it away after a few months of using it in one of the brand’s agendas.
On the other hand, unless I’m mistaken, the Hermes pencil is just a normal, wooden writing implement wrapped in a thin layer of woven leather and meant to be sharpened. At this point in my nearly unending leather goods ennui, I’m merely surprised that Hermes doesn’t also offer a matching leather-covered pencil sharpener. Maybe next season. Buy through Hermes for $85.