The Rotring 600 is a wonderful pen and an icon of writing instrument design. That said, it’s not for everyone. So if you want a pen like the Rotring 600 but different, what should you get?
Here are our top recommendations for alternatives to the Rotring 600.
The Rotring 600 is currently sold both as a ballpoint pen and mechanical pencil. The below options will be an appropriate option for one or both.
Rotring 600’s Defining Qualities
What features make up the Rotring 600? Here’s what what comes to mind, at least some of which will be found in any good alternative.
- All parts are metal
- Hexagonal barrel
- Knurled grip
- Parker-style G2 refill
- Excellent build quality
The Twsbi Precision is an all-metal pen with a hexagonal shape and knurled grip. Pretty close match for the Rotring 600 no? Like the Rotring 600 it is sold as both a pen and pencil, so you can have a matching set, just like with your Rotring. The build quality is excellent as well, so you aren’t stepping down your standards.
On the downsize, the Precision costs as much as the Rotring 600, sometimes a bit more. Also it’s only sold in silver, with no black option and definitely no green, blue, or red like the 2020 Rotring 600 models.
Pentel Graph Gear 1000
The Graph Gear 1000 is a handsome pen that is well-built with a long history, much like the Rotring. It also has a knurled grip, which is something many 600 fans will insist on, and a sub-$15 price which is a great bonus.
On the downside, the Pentel Graph Gear Ballpoint, the BK1017, is nearly impossible to find. On used marketplaces, like Ebay, these pens can sell for as much as $150… if you can find one!
The Pilot Automac is, unfortunately, only sold as a mechanical pencil… but what a wonderful pencil it is. This pencil has a double-knock design, super high quality knurling on the grip, and a aesthetic that rivals that of the Rotrings. It is sold in silver and black barrels, but both have silver highlights so you can’t go fully black.
On the downsides for this alternative, the price can get rather high (depending on where and when you buy it) and there is no ballpoint pen version.
Rotring Rapid Pro
The Rotring Rapid Pro is the much-loved but also much-maligned newer alternative to the Rotring 600. It shares much of the company’s design choices and aesthetics so it has a lot going for it. The Rapid Pro is sold as both a pen and pencil, plus the ballpoint uses a Parker-style G2 refill.
One of the major perks of the Rapid Pro is that it’s considerably larger than the Rotring 600, which means a more comfortable pen for people with larger hands.
The main downside of the Rapid Pro is that the piece that joins the grip and barrel is plastic, not metal like on the 600. This piece doesn’t frequently break, but it has been known to fail, which essentially never happens on the 600.
Read More: Rotring Rapid Pro vs 600
Lastly, if you like the Rotring 600 but want something different, there is the Rotring 800. This is essentially the same pen but it uses a twist mechanism to extend the body, not a push button. Like the 600 is it sold as both a pen and a pencil. The 800 even has the 800+ which has a tablet stylus built into the front of the pen.
Downsides of the Rotring 800 are the price (which has skyrocketed in the past year) and the fact that it’s basically the same pen/pencil so it’s barely an alternative. In fact, during the original sales periods, in the early 1990s, there was no Rotring 800 — it was simply the 600 (much as it is today) and the Rotring 600 Gold (which became the 800).
What year was the Rotring 600 released?
The Rotring 600 ballpoint pen was released originally in 1989 and then re-released in 2018.
What material is the Rotring 600’s body made out of?
The body, that is to say, the barrel, of the Rotring 600 is made out of brass. This is what gives the Rotring 600 such a nice weight to it. Brass is a gold color, not black or silver, like the pen, which is a result of a coating of paint over the pen’s brass hexagonal barrel.