visual guide to the
From left to right: 2nd Gen Rollerball, 2nd Gen 18k Gold Nib, 1st Gen Steel Nib.
As most of you already have seen plenty of images of the Rotring itself I'm going to concentrate on the differences between the three basic generations. Getting written information about these pens is really difficult because the company got bought by Sanford 1998 and most information of former times was lost or destroyed.
Because of those somewhat murky waters I'm gonna refrain from trying to exactly date the generations
1st Generation: No printing on the cap or body, deep knurling, bevel above red ring 50% of height. Was only available in steel, nib indicator has no "L" setting.
2nd Generation: Rotring 600 printed on the cap, not as deep knurling, bevel above red ring 30% to 70% straight. Rollerball and Gold version available
3nd Generation: Rotring 600 printed on the cap, different color used (RAL 3001), deep knurling, bevel above red ring 50% of height, cap is slightly bigger then 1st and 2nd generation. Rollerball and Gold version available. If you find a 2nd or 3rd gen without printing that means it was initially sold via the Rotring branch that sold promotional items to be printed with the promoting company's logo.
4th Generation: USA only, imported by levenger, produced to theire specs in Japan. Not much information available. 4th Gen Second Wave has Levenger printed on the side. Additional silver holding lugs protrude from the grip
The mechanism for holding the cap changed too over the years, but there was a cross over period, so there are 1st Gen Caps with 2nd Gen holding caps:
Difference in height
EF, F, M, OM, B, OB, BB, L (L only starting 2nd Gen), all were available as gold or steel
Notice the difference in knurling? Generations from left to right: 1,2,1,2,2,3
Top: 4 pen gift case
Bottom: 2 pen gift case
Holder for ink bottle
2 Pen leather case
4 pen leather case
For the grand finale, a few things I've seen people getting wrong:
This is not a Rotring 600
This is a Rotring Newton. Although it looks quite similar, it has almost nothing to do with the 600 Series. Because the first run wasn't succesful in terms of sales this was meant to appeal to a broader market. Was mildly more succesful, ran until 1998 when Rotring was bought by Sanford. Sanford initially continued sale but most likely was just selling of old stock. Was removed from catalogue in 2004.
This is not a Rotring 600 "Prototype"
This is a Rotring Lambda. I've seen a few labeled as 600 Prototype, but they're not. Are about 10 years younger then the 600. Only produced as promotional item. You could get them printed with your name (or what you wanted, made to order) on at a large warehouse chain in Germany.
Feel free to ask me anything you want to know about the Rotring 600 and its versions or other Rotring Pens or even Rotring in general. If you want pictures of something in particular, don't hesitate to ask me.
Please excuse my grammar and writing, english is my third language. Feel free to point out errors to me!
Edited by Carrie, 21 July 2013 - 20:37.
Edited at request of OP to add a few minor corrections