I had planned on doing an unboxing video of this pencil, but I got way too excited and ended up opening it up before I had a chance to record it. So without further adieu….
This has been a pencil I have wanted for a while. It’s funny, I always thought that these were super expensive. To some extent that is true, but I found out they can be had on Amazon for much less than retail. This is the one I purchased: Rotring 600 .5mm on Amazon.
If you prefer to watch the review I have included a video overview, otherwise continue reading. =)
Rotring, means the red ring in German. The Rotring brand has been around since 1928, and in 1998 Sanford (a subsidiary of Newell Rubbermaid), purchased the Rotring brand. I believe they have since moved production from Germany to Japan.
The cap to the eraser is hollow and open, looking at it from the top you can see the eraser, but there is an indent that prevents the eraser from being exposed. The cap appears to be some sort of metal, possibly brass or aluminum. It fits nice, just be careful not to misplace it. The eraser is small, some people seem to complain how small the eraser actually is, but I believe they also forget this is a drafting pencil. The eraser is meant to fit in tight areas and allows it to erase fine lines. It wasn’t originally made for school work, or work documents, if it were, I am sure Rotring would have engineered the pencil differently. You can purchase replacement erasers for about $3 for a set of three, so don’t be afraid to use the eraser!
The Rotring 600 has a lead indicator, this allows you to track what type of lead you have installed in the pencil. To actuate the indicator, you rotate the knurled barrel that is just below the red ring. There isn’t a mechanical detent, rather the indicator is set and remains stable via friction. It isn’t going to easily move from one position to the next, as it takes a little bit of effort to rotate. The lead indicator has markings for: HB, B, 2B, 4H, 2H, H, F. So it covers many of the popular leads, but it is missing a few.
Right below the indicator, is a very solid clip. The clip has plenty of spring to it, and should work for the life of the pencil. The clip has the Rotring logo embossed on the clip face.
The shaft and front portion of the pen are made of brass and/or aluminum, and the pencil in general feels very sturdy. The shaft is hexagonal, so it will not roll off a table or desk. The front portion is knurled, and is very nice; it is very comfortable, it appears that the knurling will not irritate you after extended use. I do like the fact that this portion is round and not hex.
The only thing that concerns me about the Rotring 600 Pencil, is the tip. The tip is not retractable. This can cause issues when carrying the Rotring 600. These are not something you would want to pop in your pocket, as it will poke holes in your pockets, skin, clothing etc…. I suggest that the pencil is transported in some sort of case, so you do not damage the tip. If you drop the Rotring 600, there is a good chance you may bend or break the tip. This can be problematic, but the nice thing is that the tip can be replaced for ~$12.
Personally, I work from home, so the Rotring 600 will most likely rarely leave my desk. If the non retractable tip is a huge issue, you can purchase a Rotring 800 or Rotring Rapid Pro, both of which have retractable tips.
The tip of the Rotring 600 can be unscrewed from the shaft, and it will reveal the sleeve that contains the eraser, lead feed and the brass clutch. On the 600 both the tip and shaft are connected by metal threads. However once you remove the tip from the shaft, the interior sleeve is connected to the tip via plastic. I don’t see this as a huge issue as the part that would be susceptible to breaking is at the main connection point, which again uses metal threads. The plastic portion can be seen in the image above and below (white plastic). I would have liked to see this as metal, but it does look like high-grade plastic, so it should be fine.
As you would expect from a well designed mechanical pencil, the Rotring 600 uses a brass clutch to maintain a positive grip on the lead. Each click of the pencil emits a distinct audible noise, which isn’t too loud. The clutch advances the lead in small increments, which is nice for this .5mm Rotring 600, as the lead is very thin.
Final Thoughts: Rotring 600 Pencil Review
Overall, the Rotring 600 Drafting Pencil is very nice. It’s a high quality, precision drafting pencil, it feels great in the hand, and has a nice bit of balance for an all metal writing implement. I have to get some other leads for it though, while HB is pretty standard, I like something a little darker. I will experiment with a few of the different grades of lead, and see what suits me best. As you can see in the above image, the long tip, allows an excellent view of the writing surface. It would also help greatly when using rulers, t-squares and other bits of drafting tech. Admittedly, I am more of a pen nerd, but over the past few days, this pencil has solidified its place for daily use.
Pros: Well built, solid, precision all while maintaining a minimalistic and clean look.
Cons: The tip. You have to be cautious when carrying it. But that’s really it, and in reality not a huge deal.