Like many enthusiasts....
Like many enthusiasts. I was very skeptical of the Rotring 600 at the start. We
can sometimes get caught up in the "features" of our pencils. Is it a
retractable sleeve? Is it a sliding sleeve? Is it a good eraser? The Rotring
600 has the only feature it needs: quality. It is the gold-standard for
What makes this pencil so great? Three factors. I'm already mentioned quality.
It is all brass construction on the outside and mostly metal construction
inside. The clutch is metal and dispenses a "standard" 6 mm per 10 clicks.
There IS a plastic piece that connects the grip and body of the pencil together.
However, you can expect not to take it apart very often (ever?) and I would
recommend not doing so. The reason is that the plastic piece has very fine
screw heads that I could see getting worn out over time or excessive use. The
pocket clip is solid and the lead hardness indicator is a friction system that
will not move on its own but also isn't too difficult to move.
The second aspect is the grip. The knurling is, in my opinion, the perfect
knurling for a drafting pencil. Not too "sharp" and not too smooth. I feel a
secure grip in my hand without it being irritating.
Finally, the overall size of the pencil (on the smaller end) and weight make the
writing experience near perfect for me. The weight is substantial at 1.1
ounces, but not too heavy. Many metal pencils suffer from TOO MUCH weight, in
my opinion. This one may take some people a little getting used to, but you can
write with it for long periods and not get hand fatigue. You might compare the
600 to the Rapid Pro, in this respect, which is considerably heavier at 1.9
ounces. Yikes. I hope people try this before they try the Rapid Pro if weight
matters to you.
The grip and lead sleeve can be replaced if it breaks, which is a concern for
this pencil but just try to treat your stuff well. Accidents happen, but I
would keep this in a case if you can.
The 600 is manufactured in Japan now, not Germany, after Newell/Rubbermaid
bought the rotring brand.
Another consideration: The newest (this writing October 2015) versions of the
pencil have the full logo: "rotring 600 / 0.X mm". One generation earlier would
just say "0.X" on the side. So, keep this mind and maybe ask before you buy to
make sure you're getting the iconography you expect. Many enthusiasts pitched a
fit when they went to the "0.X" variant because the branding on this is a source
of pride for people, I think.
Finally: It is easy to get sold knock-offs and old models of this pencil
online. I would recommend that you buy from JetPens because you know that you
are getting the genuine article. It is worth the money to guarantee that.