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Rotring 600 vs Rotring Newton Comparison

Rotring 600 vs Newton
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When discussing vintage pens and pencils, the Rotring Newton is often confused with the older — the original — Rotring 600. Both are great pens and mechanical but they are quite alike. Even so, 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 on Ebay 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 models. Let’s find out.

Rotring 600 vs Rotring Newton Video

History

The original model is the Rotring 600, which was first released in 1989. The Rotring 600 family contained a ballpoint, mechanical pencil, rollerball, fountain pen, and a 3-in-1 multi-pen, the Trio. (I’ve messed this up in the past, so I’ll be totally clear here: there was in fact a Rotring 600 Trio!)

This was later followed up by the Newton family. This made later, around the mid-90s but pinning down an exact date has been a challenge

This is important: The 600 is distinctive for its hexagonal brass body and knurled grip. The Newton has the hexagonal body but does not had a knurled grip.

The Re-releases

Interestingly both models were re-released at one point. The Newton family was re-introduced in totally new designs in 2005, but that family of pens didn’t follow the designs of the original 600 or Newtons and failed to take off.

The Rotring 600 was discontinued and then re-released in 2018, with a Japanese manufactured mechanical pencil and then later a ballpoint pen and multi-pen, the Rotring 600 3-in-1. These modern Rotring 600 models are quite popular today and are the major reason for the resurgence of interest in the series. The vintage 600 units aren’t super rare, but they command very high prices on platforms like Ebay.

Rotring 600 vs. Newton Features Compared

  • Rotring 600 has knurling on the top of the cap, grip, and bottom of the pen, the Newton does not
  • The Newton has a shiny finish on the conical tip and top of the cap, the 600 does not
  • While both have a hexagonal shape, the corners of the 600 are sharper
  • The original Rotring 600 was made in West Germany, the Newton was made in Japan
  • The 600 has polished threading inside, the Newton’s threading matches the pen’s coating color
  • The Newton was released in a Lava finish, the 600 never was
  • The Newton gold ballpoint and mechanical pencil are not retractable like the gold Rotring 600 (and now the Rotring 800, which was released in 2018)

Some differences are distinctive to the specific writing instruments as well…

  • The Newton mechanical pencil and ballpoint have a conical tip, where the 600 models use a cylindrical pipe.
  • The Newton fountain pen and rollerball have a spring-loaded tab that holds the cap super-firmly in place where the 600 only has brass “gears” which wear out over time making the cap loosen easily.

At the end of the day the two are quite similar and the Newton is an excellent writing instrument. That said, they are different models and the Rotring 600 remains the iconic original and it demands a higher price tag.

The Rotring Newton Line

Here is a 1996 Rotring catalog scan featuring the Newton line-up featuring the:

  • Newton fountain pen
    • Black and silver
    • EF, F, M, B
  • Newton fountain pen with 18K gold nib
    • Black and silver
    • EF, F, M, B
  • Newton rollerball
    • Black and silver
  • Newton gold rollerball
    • Black and silver
  • Newton Trio pen
    • Black and silver
  • Newton ballpoint pen
    • Black and silver
  • Newton gold ballpoint
    • Black and silver
  • Newton mechanical pencil
    • Black and silver
    • 0.5 mm, 0.7 mm
  • Newton gold mechanical pencil
    • Black and silver
    • 0.5 mm, 0.7 mm