Recent posts have scrutinized every aspect of the Blackwing 602’s iconic ferrule. This post takes things in the opposite direction.
I have neither read nor heard of the Blackwing being commercially available without ferrules. The ferrule—especially from the 1970s onward—was part and parcel to the Blackwing’s identity. This style of ferrule could be found on other Eberhard Faber products dating back to the 1920s, such as the Van Dyke, which would eventually become the Microtomic.
My guess is that these pencils were taken out of the production line just prior to being fitted with ferrules. Everything else about them, e.g. the labeling and finish, seem normal and they don’t appear to be defective in any way. I think it would probably be over-speculation to suggest that they may have been made for a European market, where eraser-tipped pencils are mostly frowned upon.
Maybe someone at the factory just wanted to take home a few without ferrules.