The Rotring 600 is a fine ballpoint pen and one of the most popular writing instruments on Unsharpen.com. The Rotring 800 is a similar pen, and, based on the name, possibly better. But is it better? If you are buying a pen, which should you get?
The Short Version
The number one thing to know, and the detail that will answer most questions, is that the Rotring 600 is a click button pen while the 800 is twisted to retract and extend the writing tip. The Rotring 800 ballpoint looks like it has a button but it can’t be pressed.
In this video you can see the obvious differences between the pens. It’s worth noting that the Rotring 600 was first released in 1989 and then re-released in 2018. We’ll focus this article on the re-release. Why is that? Because the Rotring 800 didn’t exist back then!
In the original series the Rotring 600 has a sub-series known as the “Rotring 600 Gold” or the “Rotring 600 KS.” These are much more rare and more more expensive then the standard (non-gold) Rotring 600 ballpoint, meaning the by 2005 or so, these pens were basically impossible to find on Ebay (and similar places) and selling for $200+ when they did arrive. Now, in 2021, a mint condition Rotring 600 Gold might list for $400 or more.
As a solution Rotring re-released the 600 Gold ballpoint and mechanical pencil as the Rotring 800.
Check out our video and the comments on Youtube to get the full details.
Rotring 600 vs. 800 Ballpoint Comparison
Looking at the new models, which are made in Japan and released in 2018 or later, you’ll note the following differences.
- The Rotring 600 has a clickable button, the Rotring 800 is twisted to write.
- The Rotring 600 has a fixed pipe extending from the pen (where the refill extends through). The 800’s pipe extends and retracts.
- The Rotring 600 ballpoint is sold in black, silver, red, blue, and green. The Rotring 800 is only sold in black and silver.
- The Rotring 800 has gold trim, where the 600 only has matching colors
- The Rotring 800 costs about twice what the Rotring 600 costs
- The Rotring 800 has a “800+” model which has has a phone/tablet-friendly writing tip, the 600 does not have a stylus model
- The Rotring 600 is often knocked for its rattle (where the refill knocks against the pipe and makes noise as you write). This issue is worse with the Rotring 800.
That about covers it! The Rotring 800 is the more expensive model and it’s more pocketable because the pipe hides in the pen when you aren’t writing. The 800 is a lot more expensive than the 600 and it tends to have worse tip rattle, making the pen sometimes very annoying to write with because it makes a lot unwanted noise.
Which Should I Buy?
On the whole, most people are happier with the Rotring 600 and find the Rotring 800 ballpoint to be expensive. The 800 even has some downsides, like the tip rattle and a twist mechanism that isn’t particularly reliable or consistent from pen to pen.
Unless you are a deeply committed Rotring fan, the Rotring 600 is the pen you want.