Pens and Pencils | Reviews and Data


Rotring 600 Ballpoint

Rotring 600 vs Rapid Pro

First released in 1989, the Rotring 600 is an iconic family of writing instruments. The most popular of the set was the ballpoint pen, which was available in a number of variations. The pen was re-released in 2018 as the Rotring 600 ballpoint (a top-button click retractable) and the Rotring 800 ballpoint (twist retractable), though they were both known as the “Rotring 600” when originally sold.

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Rotring 600 vs Rotring Newton Comparison

Rotring 600 vs Newton

The Rotring Newton is often confused with the older, more desirable Rotring 600. Both are great pens and they are remarkably alike, but they are distinctly different models and while the Newton echoes the design of the 600 it is not a Rotring 600. Sorry to say it, but there is no “Rotring Newton 600,” that’s just something people write in auctions.

Does any of this matter though? Are we just splitting hairs? Or is there a real difference between the Rotring 600 and the Newton pens. Let’s find out.

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Rotring 600 Red, Blue, and Green Editions Coming Soon

The re-release of the Rotring 600 ballpoint in 2018 was a historic moment for pen collectors. The Rotring 600 ballpoint returned to the market, to the excitement of everyone who didn’t get one in the late 1980s or early 1990s (or didn’t spend a fortunate on Ebay).

Since that point Rotring did little with the 600 and 800 ballpoint (the 800 being the re-release of the Rotring 600 gold edition), but that could be changing early next year.

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Rotring 900 Ballpoint

Rotring 900 Family

The Rotring 900 is family of pens and pencils that was sold in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was one of Rotring’s flagship pens at the time but it has not received the level of attention or the beloved status of the Rotring 600. The Rotring Altro was a cheaper, plastic version of the 900 but it wasn’t sold in all the same models.

Now, almost 30 years later, this is a cult pen with a small but dedicated following and relatively high prices on the used market.

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Pen Refills Guide

Pen refills adhere to ISO standard 12757 and the later revision ISO 12757-1:2017. This isn’t something that’s mandatory — custom and proprietary refills certainly aren’t illegal — but for practical purposes if you are making a certain refill type, it makes sense that yours is the same dimensions as that of all the other makers.

The standard has two main components: one for general use and one for “documentary use,” basically a stricter standard. This latter application is ISO 12757-2, and it would cover the legibility of letters as well as writing for archival documents.

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Rotring Trio Multi-pen

Rotring Trio Multipen Image

The Rotring Trio is a slick, modern multi-pen that is the predecessor to the Newton Trio (the pen often misidentified as the Rotring 600 Trio). It’s also a modern take on the rare, expensive Rotring Quattro Executive. The good news is that the Rotring Trio is neither rare — it’s easily findable online for sale — nor is it expensive, with a retail price of about $30.

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The Best Pens for Writing a Lot

Rotring Tikky

Picking the best pen is never an easy task, but one thing is clear: there is a big difference between a pen that you will use for a few minutes here and there and one that has to be used for sustained periods of time. Just like when you are running and marathon shoes are different from sprinting shoes, pens for writing a lot tend to be very different than other pens.

The thing with pens though, is that there is no category of pens for extended time periods or distance, so we need to come to our own conclusions.

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Rotring 400 Mechanical Pencil

Rotring 400 Pencil

The most popular and most desirable pen in the Rotring 400 line is the Rotring 400 “Double Push” mechanical pencil. This pencil, and it’s close cousin the Metallic Tikky Double Push, are prized for their interesting 1990s design and push button mechanism. This is what we today call a “double-knock” design.

The Rotring 400 pencil was sold in gunmetal grey and a lighter matte silver. Both are rare today. The pencil was also sold in a set alongside the Rotring 400 ballpoint pen.

The modern version of this pencil is the plastic Rotring Tikky 3-in-1.

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Rotring 400 Rollerball

Rotring 400

The Rotring 400 is very cool but rather confounding line of pens from the early 1990s. It’s often disregarded as a cheaper version of the Rotring 900, with was a flagship of sorts. The Rotring 400 was later replaced with the Rotring Espirit, which is easier to fine but generally considered to be less collectible. The Rotring 400 also resembles the Altro, which was a plastic version of the Rotring 900, the the price of the 400 and Altro are more inline with one another.

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Rotring 400 Fountain Pen

Rotring 400

The Rotring 400 is an interesting but very confusing line of pens from the early 1990s. It’s a clear relative of the Rotring 900, but the 400 is smaller and more affordable. The Rotring 400 was later replaced with the Rotring Espirit, which is easier to fine but generally considered to be less collectible.

The closest surviving relatively of the Rotring 400 is the Rotring Tikky line.

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