The Rotring 600 perhaps needs no introduction. But just in case… it’s a mechanical pencil made from brass that’s available in black or silver. Different versions can take 0.35mm, 0.5mm and 0.7mm. There’s also a clutch pencil version that takes 2mm lead. It costs around £23 in the UK and $33 in the US.
The pencil is weighty but well balanced and not so heavy it’s uncomfortable to use for any length of time. It just feels solid and well constructed which is, in fact, the case. The Rotring 600 feels as if it will last you a lifetime, assuming your cat doesn’t knock it off the table and under the sofa, never to be seen again. Even if that were to happen, the pencil itself would survive. It’s a pencil that’s built to be used.
The barrel is an iconic design. It has a hexagonal cross-section, which looks great and also stops the pencil rolling away, and the red ring of Rotring. The knurled grip is also something we all think of when we think of Rotring and it’s done well, not too knurly but just enough so it’s comfortable and grippy.
By now you’re perhaps detecting a theme. This pencil is extremely well designed but every part of that design enhances its functionality. I think that is the secret of the Rotring 600’s success.
The weak point, in common with just about every other mechanical pencil, is the eraser. It’s fairly small and although it does actually rub pencil marks out, just about, it disappears at an alarming rate.
At the business end everything gets great again. The tip and mechanism hold the lead firmly, allowing great precision.
The internal tube holds plenty of spare leads and there is a lead indicator (ranging from 2B to 4H, including F) just about the clip. The clip is a very strong piece of metal that performs its function well.
I really love this pencil. Can you tell? It doesn’t have the posh rotation mechanism of the Uni Kuru Toga but it has oodles of character and class. I’ll pick the Rotring 600 over the Kuru Toga any day of the week.
You can find some more reviews of the Rotring 600 on Pennaquod.