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Rotring Initial


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11 replies to this topic

#1 KarloT

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 18:22

I decided to review this pen seeing that there was only one review on file here at FPN.

Introduction
I got this pen NOS from a brick-and-mortar store favored by the FPN-Philippines pen group. I picked it out from a batch of 4 or 5 Initials. No box or papers. No converter. One short international cartridge furnished (stored in the barrel.)

Appearance and Design (8/10)

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The Initial has a rather ergonomic look about it. Some casual observers may dismiss it as a fancy version of a Pilot Dr. Grip rollerball. I think this to be an advantage, in that I can go about writing instead of explaining the pen I have in my hands.

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Cap and barrel tail are polished chrome. The clip’s arch reinforces the avant-garde theme, and closer inspection reveals that it uses a leaf spring to create tension for the clip. Nifty detail but I don’t know if this may prove to be an Achilles heel in the long run. You have to admit that there are strong similarities between the Rotring and some pens coming from Faber Castell. Whether the two German firms use the same design house, I would not know. Cool looking pen though.

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The barrel is polished midnight blue resin, while the rounded section is a satiny grey plastic affair with grasping grooves. The section looks to be a little low rent compared to the rest of the pen, but it is comfortable in use.

Construction & Quality (7/10)
The assemblies appear to be properly fit together. No gaps can be discerned anywhere. The polish on the metalwork as well as the barrel resin is evenly done.

The clutch on the slip cap does not make use of fingers, but instead relies on raised dimples on the cap liner to grasp the section. The fit is snug but I would be interested in finding out if these dimples wear down over time and make cap retention less secure.

Weight and Dimensions (9/10)
I like the weight of this pen. It is lighter than a Lamy 2000 but it has a good heft to it.

Unposted, the balance of the pen is slightly biased towards the nib. The uncapped length of the pen does not require me to post, and so I opt not to post when writing with the Rotring.

The cigar shape of the pen’s barrel is a joy. The pen seems to settle quickly and comfortably into my hand and allows lengthy writing sessions to be undertaken without strain or fatigue.

Nib and Performance (8/10)

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The steel nib has the profile of a spear, rather than an arrowhead. Flex or spring is not expected, but neither is it needed. My Initial’s Medium writes very smoothly and required no tine adjustment at all. The tipping material seems more flat than spherical and writing fast, stubbish tendencies become visible. At normal speeds, line variation is negligible. In many ways, it felt as smooth as the Pelikan steel Medium nibs, which is a good thing.

A word of caution: this is one thirsty pen!

I used the included short International for the pen’s first outing. I did not flush the pen before the first inking, but it laid down really wet lines nonetheless. After a couple of Letter-sized pages of scribbles, I unscrewed the barrel to check ink levels and the cart was empty, save for some ink clinging to the cartridge walls.

I surmised that the feed held a lot of ink which is why this pen has yet to stutter at all. Converters are strongly urged if you pick up one of these things.

This pen is designed for those who need to write all day, and if need be, all night. The looks may take a while to grow on some, but its performance is immediately felt. If the Faber Castells are the SLS AMGs of the German fountain pen realm, the Initial could very well be a Volkswagen Beetle hiding a Porsche engine in its derriere.

Filling System (7/10)
It is a C/C pen. It takes International Converters. I could not find any Rotring or Waterman converters around, but those made by Inoxcrom work well. Flushing the pen is easy, using an ear syringe.

Cost & Value (10/10)
I got this pen for the equivalent of $9 and change. You can’t beat this price:performance ratio without going the Sumgai route.

Conclusion (8/10)
This pen is a real sleeper. I have not heard many folks mention Rotrings when it comes to good modern fountain pens, but the Initial does the Rotring brand proud. Sadly, Rotring no longer makes fountain pens so those wanting a copy are destined to scour the NOS and pre-loved markets to get their fix.

If you are a form-follows-function sort of chap, then this pen is for you. And even folks with more traditional tastes owe it to themselves to at least roadtest the Initial if they need to write all day.

Edited by KarloT, 27 June 2011 - 18:39.


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#2 KarloT

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 18:26

Well, this is embarrassing. I've linked to the pics on my Flickr account but can't get them to appear.

Anyone with a bit of savvy in the pics uploading department?

Karlo

#3 jgrasty

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 18:30

Just get rid of the html code (bare link) and it should work, for example:

Posted Image

Regards,

Joey

http://flexiblenib.com


#4 KarloT

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 18:40

Thanks jgrasty! That did the trick!

Karlo

#5 Pickwick

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 19:44

A very good review. I have one and haven't used it for some months. Just got it out of its case and found it still full of Noodler's manhattan Blue, it started immediately as if I'd only just recently used it!

They came as a boon, and a blessing to men,
The Pickwick, the Owl and the Waverley pen

Sincerely yours,

Pickwick


#6 tru

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Posted 05 July 2011 - 20:53

There's one at Overstock right now. Silver, fine nib. $28.95

http://www.overstock...59/product.html

#7 nm4

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Posted 05 July 2011 - 23:32

tru...how I wish you hadn't pointed out that initial on overstock...soon there will be a silver F-nib initial on its way to me.

Karlo thanks for the great review.

Cheers,
NM

#8 KarloT

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 19:18

tru...how I wish you hadn't pointed out that initial on overstock...soon there will be a silver F-nib initial on its way to me.

Karlo thanks for the great review.

Cheers,
NM


NM

It was my pleasure to review the pen. Am actually hunting down a few other pens for review, but I'll have to wait until work simmers down. :vbg:

#9 penguinmaster

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 21:18

These are really great pens, I have had quite a few (kept coming back to them). That said I always end up having cap issues with mine. After a while the cap gets loose and has trouble staying on. Disappointing to say the least, because the rest of the pen is great!

-Tom
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#10 Phormula

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 18:59

These are really great pens, I have had quite a few (kept coming back to them). That said I always end up having cap issues with mine. After a while the cap gets loose and has trouble staying on. Disappointing to say the least, because the rest of the pen is great!

-Tom


Had the same issue in one of my Initials, after a year of regular use, the cap lost most of its grip.
Although this is a fantastic pen in terms of writing performance,I would not recommend it to people with the habit of snapping the cap on and off every 30 seconds...
Don't take life too seriously
Nobody makes it out alive anyway

#11 Bilko262

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 21:50

Hi everyone! My first post, after quite a while observing this wonderful website :) Decided to jump into the waters and add my thoughts to this much under-appreciated pen.

 

I got mine from Lewertowski? France a few years ago. No affiliation, for £20 not including P&P. Fantastic pen for the money! The finish is excellent and certainly well made. The smooth barrel is the most beautiful deep matt blue colour; the chrome highlights of the cap, clip and barrel-foot compliment it nicely and the final touch... a red ring in the cap. Lovely. The pen has a decent heft to it. The nib is a very smooth medium and lays down a nice wet line, with the Diamine Sargasso Sea in it at present. I really like it a lot :)

 

I haven't had any problems with my cap.... yet!

 

B2



#12 Rahul_Does

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Posted 01 November 2017 - 06:40

I decided to review this pen seeing that there was only one review on file here at FPN.

Introduction
I got this pen NOS from a brick-and-mortar store favored by the FPN-Philippines pen group. I picked it out from a batch of 4 or 5 Initials. No box or papers. No converter. One short international cartridge furnished (stored in the barrel.)

Construction & Quality (7/10)
The assemblies appear to be properly fit together. No gaps can be discerned anywhere. The polish on the metalwork as well as the barrel resin is evenly done.

Nib and Performance (8/10)

A word of caution: this is one thirsty pen!

Cost & Value (10/10)
I got this pen for the equivalent of $9 and change. You can’t beat this price:performance ratio without going the Sumgai route.

If you are a form-follows-function sort of chap, then this pen is for you. And even folks with more traditional tastes owe it to themselves to at least roadtest the Initial if they need to write all day.

 

Shocked and awed! I paid $100 + 10 for a Visconti converter! You are ONLY lucky person to have got this got a tenth of that price!

I was unfortunate to receive a defective pen whose cap was way too lose and the pen used to fall off even when housed in the pocket.They have sent me a new pen and all is well.

This is a remarkably frugal pen when it comes to ink! I do not know what pen you are comparing it to but I get bored, waiting for the converter to dry up. I had a Cerruti and that used up one converter per week.

I have recently learnt about flex pens and I have already ordered Faber Castell Basic, another non-flex pen! I guess that I shall go in for an Ahab by Noodler, keeping these two as prospective gifts!








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