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Rotring 600 Mk 2 Lava EF

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3 replies to this topic

#1 ayhc


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Posted 21 November 2009 - 15:39

Bandwidth warning: This review is graphics-heavy.

Rotring 600 Mk 2 (Newton Mk 1) Lava EF (steel nib)


Rotring made a number of fountain pens before being acquired by the Newell Rubbermaid conglomerate; among their many products was the Rotring 600. As others (most notably Splicer) have detailed elsewhere, the 600 went through two iterations, with the latter sometimes referred to as the "Newton" (not to be confused with the later Newton design).

First impressions

The pen came in a small cardboard box – evidently it was manufactured late in the 600’s production run, as the sticker on the box bore the name "Newton".

Rotring 600 Box (1)

Rotring 600 Box (2)

Appearance and design (9/10): Industrial chic

Rotring's 600 series embodies no-nonsense industrial design – a combination of a hexagonal cap and barrel and a cylindrical section. There are no adornments other than the trademark red ring on the cap. Even the clip is simplicity itself.

Rotring 600 (1)

Some 600s were manufactured with 18k gold nibs; this is not one of them. The stainless steel wing nib is unadorned, except for the discreet “Rotring” and “EF” markings on the sides of the nib.

Rotring 600 (3)

Rotring 600 (4)

The pen is coated in Rotring’s lava finish, which has a rough finish and is slightly sparkly.

Pilot M90 and Rotring 600

There are also abundant signs of attention to detail. There is a scalloped edge to the barrel where the cap meets the barrel. The section has spring-loaded studs which help to hold the cap in place.

Rotring 600 (5)

The section is threaded so that the nib is not symmetrical with the barrel. However, it is aligned so that the nib is at the right angle when the barrel is resting in the hand.

Construction and quality (9/10): Typically Germanic

The widespread reputation of Rotring 600s being nigh-on indestructible is well-deserved. The 600 appears to have an all-brass construction underneath; its solidity and build quality is reminiscent of that other miracle of German mechanical engineering, the Leica M rangefinder camera.

The one pitfall is that the cap does not post securely. There is a rubber grommet on the end of the barrel, but the cap does not fit snugly. In practice, however, I have not found this to be a problem as the centre of gravity is uncomfortably high with the cap posted.

Rotring 600 (2)

Weight and dimensions (10/10): Reassuringly substantial

I do not like lightweight pens, and this particular 600 feels reassuringly substantial in the hand. The 600 is not particularly large by fountain pen standards, although its angularity makes it look larger than it actually is.

Rotring 600 and Parker 45

Nib and performance (9/10): A smooth nail

This particular 600 has a stainless steel EF nib – in short, a nail, but a smooth one. I've had some occasional ink flow problems, but nothing unexpected in an EF nib and nothing that I would characterise as a show-stopper.

Filling system and maintenance (9/10): Standard cartridge/converter

The 600 is a cartridge/converter filler. My 600 was not supplied with a converter – and, because Rotring no longer makes fountain pens, the supply of original parts has already dried up. However, the 600 will accept both international (short) cartridges or Waterman long cartridges.

Rotring 600 (6)

Due to how securely the cap is mounted, small ink spatters can often be found on the nib after uncapping.

Cost and value (9/10)

HK$600 (about US$77) as new-old stock from a pen shop in Hong Kong – not that cheap for a 600, but not terribly expensive for something this durable.

Conclusion (9/10)

The Lava finish was the drawing point of this 600, and it has delivered in spades – it provides a grippy surface (even for sweaty hands) without being abrasive. Even without the Lava finish, the no-nonsense design and build quality would make this pen difficult to pass up.

Recommendation: Buy

Edited by ayhc, 22 November 2009 - 13:36.

Currently using:
Pilot M90 F - Pilot Iroshizuku tsuyu-kusa
Rotring 600 EF Lava - Waterman black
Rotring Newton F Copper - Pilot red

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#2 encre


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Posted 21 November 2009 - 15:49

Fantastic review, I often wondered how the lava finish would feel. I imagined it would resemble sandpaper- I am glad to be wrong this once!

I like the shape of the nib, looks really elegant in a minimalistic sort of way.

#3 MYU


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Posted 21 November 2009 - 19:51

Very nicely detailed and thoughtful review of an excellent pen. I'm glad to see the Rotring 600 Lava put in such good light. The lava material is quite unique and feels great in the hand. :) Oh, and $77 is a good price for this pen.

[MYU's Pen Review Corner]   |   "The Common Ground" -- Jeffrey Small

#4 2cents


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Posted 05 February 2011 - 16:40

Nice review, but except a Rotring with a red letter inscription was made in Germany all others were more than likely made in Japan for a cheaper price. I have a Rotring with a red letter inscription and another one without, both old style and not Newton. The differences are noticeable. The original German one feels much better, lighter and more egonomic. The one made in Japan feels like a chunk of metal, heavy. The original one with the knurled grip kind of melts in your hand and somehow the one made in Japan feels like you are pushing a heavy rod when writing. Just my 2cents

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