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Rotring 600 series review


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8 replies to this topic

#1 MacTech

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 05:19

Rotring 600 Rollerball review

First off, I'd like to apologize for not reviewing a fountain pen, after all, that is the main focus of this forum, but since we all use pens *other* than fountain pens, even in passing, I feel that this pen deserves an equal chance at review

I do prefer fountain pens, given a choice between FP, RB, and BP, the FP gets the nod every time, closely followed by the rollerball, ballpoints are still useful, especially for multi-part carbonless forms, but they're my last choice

I've read the many glowing reviews of the Rotring 600 series pens, they're a solidly built, rugged, "bulletproof" tool pen, machined out of a solid piece of brass stock it gives them serious heft, as well as good balance, the unique hexagonal barrel makes it nigh impossible for them to roll away when set down, they stay where they're put, unlike the Fisher Bullet series, also machined out of brass stock, and having a decent heft and good balance, but unless equipped with the pocket clip, has a tendency to roll away and hide, most often when you need it most

The Rotring 600 series is comprised mainly of four writing implements, a mechanical pencil, a clicky ballpoint, a capped rollerball and a capped fountain pen, I was looking for a pen to replace/compliment my Fisher Bullet, which has a tendency to hide at the deepest bottom of my pocket, and tends to vanish to a secluded corner of the pocket when I need it

I was looking for a solidly built pen, with a minimum of moving parts, and extreme durability, no I'm not rough on my tools, I just appreciate a solid, well made tool

I already have a high-end fountain pen (Lamy 2000), some workhorse fountain pens (Waterman Phileas and Kultur) and some nice ballpoints (Fisher Bullet, and Parker Stainless Jotter), what I didn't have is a nice Rollerball pen....

So, I ordered the Rollerball 600 (the fact that it was the cheapest 600 series pen didn't hurt either wink.gif )

It arrived today, I eagerly tore the package open to reveal a heavy, hexagonal, jet black pen with a red ring at the top of the cap, right away I was struck by the simple, yet industrial lines of the pen, not only did it feel solid, it *looked* solid


the next thing I noticed was how *narrow* it was, it was a good thing, in this case, that I didn't order the FP version, as the R600 seems like it'd be a pen that would reinforce the "death grip" style writing position, I'm not a fan of narrow pens like the Cross Classic BP, and the R600-RB, although not as thin as a Cross Classic, is still narrower than my Waterman Phileas or Lamy 2000 k



once the pen is uncapped and is in hand, all that heavy brass makes for an incredibly smooth writing experience, held in an angled fountain pen grip, it balances well, either posted or unposted, I prefer it posted as the extra bit of weight helps the pen to comfortably settle in my hand, and strangely enough, it doesn't require the clawed "Death-Grip" or vertical orientation common to ballpoints, it naturally settles into a very comfortable writing position


when re-capping the pen, you'll notice a pair of spring loaded "Ears" (similar to the Lamy 2000) near the end of the section, and a series of "nubbins" around the edge of the barrel, the ears snap into a locking channel with a pleasant "click", the nubbins serve to align the hexagonal faces of the barrel and cap, when capped, the barrel and cap flow smoothly with undisturbed lines



the Rotring rollerball refill (RRR! wink.gif ) is a very smooth writer and puts down a nice dark line, it feels very fountain-pen-esque, and even allows a little bit of personality in the writing, however, the ink in the refill is *NOT* bulletproof, it can withstand alcohol and Xylene, but washes clean with exposure to plain old water (check my "Torturing Noodler's " thread in Inky Thoughts for more details), luckilly, the refills used in the UniBall Signo series pens (UMR-85N) fit with just a tiny bit of trimming needed, snip off about 1/8" or so off the open top of the refill, and you have a truly Bulletproof ink to use in your Bulletproof pen

The Rotring 600 series is a very nice series of writing instruments, I'm truly sad to see them go, with the "Assimilation" of Rotring into the massive Collective of Newell-Rubbermaid/Sanford, and their Inkological and Technological distinctiveness supressed by the Rubbermaid Collective (no Rotring "distinctiveness" has been added to the Rubbermaid Collective) we have lost a truly unique writing tool family

If you have an opportunity to grab a Rotring writing tool, get one, before they're gone for good

Curse you, Rubbermaid Collective, you've destroyed a unique family of writing tools.

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#2 jmkeuning

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 06:32

The 600 is a cool pen. I do not understand why they stopped making it.

Here is mine with its brothers and sisters (BP, RB, MP, and Trio).


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#3 Splicer

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 07:41

Nice review, and I'd like to point out that the "ears" (the spring-loaded cams that hold the cap in place) are among the reasons that I consider the 600 you have to be superior to the earlier "knurled ends" version of the 600. The early models seem to be in higher demand because they are "the original" but I think Rotring nailed it with the second revision.

Which is just to say, "nice pick."

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#4 MacTech

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 07:48

Ayuh, the Rotring 600 series is a great pen, I've noticed that thanks to the combination of excellent balance and the Uni-Ball Micro-point refill, I can write really small, but still legibly

for example, these pics of my handwriting on ordinary notebook paper;

Note the penny for scale, I tend to write quite small even normally

the most legible text was from the Rotring rollerball and my hand-reground Waterman Kultur, I took the Kultur nib from the stock Medium to what you see there

And just because the Fine point UniBall refill wasn't fine enough, I also picked up some Pilot Q7 Gel "Needle Point" refills, can't wait to use up the UniBall refill then drop in a Needle-Point refill

I also noticed that my printing legibility degrades dramatically with ballpoints, maybe it's the lack of feedback from the paper or something....

Edited by MacTech, 27 January 2008 - 07:51.


#5 Splicer

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 10:14

Wow. Those samples reminded me of a time in high school when my chemistry teacher allowed us one page of notes for one of our tests. This only happened once, a fact I mention because it seems I can't tell this story without getting a lecture on the decline of education in America as evidenced by the fact that teachers allow students to bring their notes to tests! Oh the scandal! Anyway, it happened once, so lets note call it a pattern.

Anyway, I knew that I was in for it because I didn't know the material. So I stayed up most of the night with a single sheet of paper, the textbook, and a 6x0 (0.13mm) Rapidograph, covering every inch of that sheet of paper with teeny tiny writing.

I wish I'd kept that cheat sheet. I have no idea what happened to it, but I got the highlights of a substantial portion of our textbook onto one side of one letter-sized piece of paper.

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#6 MacTech

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 19:38

Now that I've spent a couple days with the Rotring 600 RB, I find that I like it just as much as my fountain pens, I know that's pretty close to heresy here wink.gif, but there's method to my madness, hear me out....

first off, we've recently switched to a cheaper paper for my service repair work orders, before, the *good* paper yielded a sharp line with any of my fountain pens, with the "new" paper, it's a hair too absorbent, it turns a Fine point FP into a Medium, and it happens on both my fine point Waterman Kultur, and my extra-fine point Lamy 2000, each pen gains at least one nib size on this paper, it's not "feathery" in the sense that i can rest the tip of the nib on the paper and a blob expands out from under the point, that doesn't happen, but the new paper seems vaguely "thirstier" in that it sucks the ink in more, making a wider, blobbier mess, especially with my tiny handwriting as seen above

So, writing with my FP's is no longer fun on the sucky paper (sucky in more ways than one, it seems wink.gif )

strangely enough, the UniBall Signo-equipped R600 RB *DOES NOT* get thick or blobby, the lines stay razor thin (it's a Micro-Point Fine refill), yet it has the smooth feel of a fountain pen, writing with the R600 RB is fun, and my printing stays readable

Plus, the substansial weight of the R600 just feels good, it's solid in a way that not even "My Precious" Lamy 2000 is, I've taken to calling my R600 my "Smashy-Stick", and I have had to resist a lot of temptations to go around smashing things with it, heck, at one point, I even considered taking my 3000 RPM grinder to the tail of the barrel and grinding a glass-breaker point on it, i'd leave most of the cap post there to support the cap, but I was tempted to machine the end into a point.....

not that I'd do it, mind you, as then It'd be harder to resist the siren-call of "Smashy-Smashy".....

oh well, better go now, there are some empty cardboard boxes that need Smashing..... wink.gif

Edited by MacTech, 29 January 2008 - 19:39.


#7 MYU

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 17:14

I've also heard the Uniball Signo refill is superb and fits perfectly in the 600. I was going to buy it, but they didn't have the fine point available at Staples. I did pop in a fine point Pilot G2 refill and that works nicely. The Rotring brand 600 refills are awful. I had two of them and they both started skipping despite being nearly 3/4 full (I hadn't really used them much). Centrifugal force and just letting the refills sit point down for months didn't help any. Blah.

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#8 psrivats

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Posted 26 June 2011 - 22:50

I'd love to see the photos in the review -- can either the OP or someone else who saved the photos please repost? :)

#9 opus7600

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 12:41

I'd love to see the photos in the review -- can either the OP or someone else who saved the photos please repost? :)


From 3 years ago? Unlikely, at best. Try here instead.






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