rOtring 600 Gold 0.5mm Review

Introduction

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I love my rOtring 600. The solid construction and the attention to detail make it a joy to write with. However, the thin tip is fragile and prevents it from being pocket friendly. rOtring’s answer to this was the rOtring 600 Gold. It has a modern relative, the rOtring 800, that has been met with relative controversy due to fit and finish issues. How does the rOtring 600 Gold match up with its relatives?

Specs

Place of Manufacture: Japan
Length: 13.3cm (retracted), 14.3 (extended)
Weight: 34 grams

Design

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The rOtring 600 Gold can be easily disassembled to show all the main components. On the back end, the eraser cap and eraser can be removed simply by pulling. While the pocket clip can be removed, it is firmly attached and removing it would require a large amount of force. The pocket clip itself is engraved with “rOtring” with a stylized “O”.

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On the front end, the knurled grip can easily be unscrewed. Following that, the tip and main mechanism is exposed. The tip can also be removed by unscrewing, although it is a tad more difficult as the mechanism itself will turn as well if it isn’t held tightly.

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One interesting thing to note is that the mechanism is all metal and that there appears to be no plastic parts (except for perhaps the lead indicator). This probably has no impact on the actual performance or longevity of the pencil, but it does give the pencil a different feeling knowing that it is all metal.

rOtring pays a lot of attention to these small pieces of detail. The engraving on the clip seems pretty standard, but they also marked the lead size on the end cap. This is not found on the newer rOtrings.

The main feature of the rOtring 600 Gold is the retracting mechanism. When the pencil is closed, the tip is retracted 3-4mm into the grip, which protects it from damage. Further, when the pencil is retracted, the mechanism is locked and no lead can be extended.

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The mechanism itself is activated by twisting the end portion of the pencil. This also houses a lead grade indicator, which also rotates. Here is where you will also find their iconic “red ring” (rotring in German).

It can be easy to identify why the pencil was called “gold” due to the gold hardware on the tip and at the end of the pencil.

Fit and Finish

I bought this pencil used, but through the wear and tear, there are still some aspects of the fit and finish that I can comment about. The tolerances are not as tight as I would have expected, though not so bad to the point that it is a bother. The end mechanism that rotates to extend the tip has some wiggle, but the pencil as a whole, however, does not rattle.

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There is very obvious wear to the finish. It appears as though someone had tried to move the clip and, instead, scraped off part of the logo and quite a bit of the coating. The finish, however, seems very tough and it is a bit confusing to me as to how much force was required to do this type of damage.

The knurling is a bit blunted by design and does not provide the grippiness that is usually associated with more modern rOtring products. However, during writing sessions, I did not find myself losing grip of the pencil and it did not have as big of a “bite” as rougher knurling does.

Functionality

This pencil meets the expectations that I had for it. The clip holds the pencil securely to my jeans with no wiggle. I have no fear of it falling out of my pocket at anytime. It hasn’t fallen apart or had the tip accidentally extend while the pencil was in my pocket. It can really easily be said that the pencil is very pocket friendly, especially because of the mechanism lock.

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Extending the pencil is quite easy. Exactly a half turn of the end piece is required to extend the tip. The tip will “snap” into place, with an audible click.

In order to turn the lead indicator, the end piece must already be fully extended in the direction that you want to turn the lead indicator. Otherwise, you will end up extending or retracting the pencil instead. While some may think of this as a flaw, as rOtring did as they removed the lead indicator on the rOtring 800, I personally think the lead indicator is a nice touch and is very helpful.

As for writing experience, once the tip is extended, it feels just like a rOtring 600. While I am sure the weight distribution is different, they are both hefty enough that I cannot tell the difference. The tip has a bit of wiggle, but when the lead touches the paper, it no longer moves.

I had an issue where the lead kept on breaking and the pencil was becoming hard to twist open. I soon realized the problem was that the tip was unscrewing itself ever so slightly. The extra length that it gave made twisting the pencil open harder and, because it wiggled more, the lead was more prone to breakage.

Replacement erasers seem to be near impossible to find. rOtring 600 erasers do not fit as they are a tad too big. I have heard that rOtring 800 erasers will fit, but I have yet to try them. I will update the review once I do.

Comparison to rOtring 600
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The body of the rOtring 600 and the rOtring 600 Gold are the same length. The tips, however, are a bit different. The tip of the rOtring 600 Gold is slightly longer, though the slim sleeve area is the same length.

The knurling is much milder on the rOtring 600, as previously stated. The rOtring 600 has pyramid shaped knurling, while the rOtring 600 Gold has flat knurling.

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The clips are nearly the same, although I found the rOtring 600 had deeper engravings. Also, the rOtring 600’s lead indicator text was a bit whiter and the lead indicator itself was a bit harder to turn. This, however, may be because the pencil is newer and has not sustained the same amount of wear as the rOtring 600 Gold has.

Conclusion

Given the choice to pick the rOtring 600 Gold or the rOtring 600, I’d have to pick the rOtring 600 Gold again and again. The retractable tip simply provides so much more usability to the pencil. While there are more moving parts, when all the components are properly fitted, the pencil is a mechanical monster. I’ll be treasuring this pencil for years to come and it’ll definitely never be too far from my side.

Rotring 600 0.5mm Review

IntroductionIMG_20160127_232013

When one talks about premium mechanical pencils, there are usually two ways the conversation can go: luxury or drafting. Here, we discuss one of the most common drafting pencils. The Rotring 600 has been around for a while (still researching its history) though its newest version began in the 1990s with Rotring having been bought out by Sanford. It has a very fragile tip that many new users have bent beyond repair and a price that is way above similar Pilot and Uni offerings. So, how does Rotring stand up to the lore it carries?

Specs

Lead size: 0.35mm (effectively 0.3mm), 0.5mm, 0.7mm, 0.9mm
Country of Manufacture: Japan
Price: $50 (Retail), $20-25 (Amazon)

Packaging

The Rotring comes in a lackluster cardboard box. While the Midori Pen Case also came in a cardboard box, the Rotring’s feels noticeably cheaper. Inside, there is a cardboard divider forcing the pencil into a snug corner. The pencil is sheathed in a plastic bag which it can easily slip out of (which can give a scare to the one opening the packaging). On the other side of the divider, there is a small information pamphlet that provides some general use tips and warranty information.

Fit and Finish

Upon holding the pencil, the first reaction most people have is “this is so heavy” and it’s true. At around 20 grams (more accurate number to come), the pencil is much heavier than store bought Bic mechanical pencils.

Taking the pencil apart, one finds that there is a minimum of plastic components. I’ve done some research on the history of the pencil to find out that the internal mechanism used to be completely metal. However, the plastic in the pencil does not feel weak and I do not fear that it will fail to work anytime soon.IMG_20160127_232325

Functionality

Holding the pencil is a joy. The knurled grip provides a wonderful surface to hold. The Alvin Draft-Matic (a similar pencil based on the Rotring 500) has a sharper grip that can be painful to hold for long periods.IMG_20160127_232229

The mechanism seems to take any type of lead. I have fed HB, B, and 2B leads from different manufactures and no single brand seems to break more often. As a matter of fact, even though it has a thin tip, lead breakages are seldom and are mostly from user error.IMG_20160127_232409

The thin tip is an area of concern. Having seen many pictures of the result of fallen pencils (most should be marked “nsfw”), when I bought the pencil, I immediately dug up an old tin pencil case from my childhood to protect the pencil when I took it from my desk. It has since been replaced with a Midori Pen Case.IMG_20160127_232503

I have not used the eraser although I will note that it is about the same size as Pilot P20x series pencil erasers. It feels like it is on the dry side.IMG_20160127_232119

 

Conclusion

The Rotring 600 is a wonderful pencil. It is easy to write with it for long periods of time and it is very robust, sans the tip. This is one for the pocket.