Its been awhile since I've posted an official rOtring review. In my observations, it looks like the prices on the discontinued models are a bit on the decline which is good as things got a bit crazy (not that $150 isn't a bit crazy) about a year ago.
If you've been following the blog for a bit, you may recall kind of an odd rOtring I reviewed back in November of 2013 called the Lambda. That particular review was of the rollerball version, but I've been watching eBay from time to time and was able to snatch up a ballpoint for the collection for a reasonable price of I think $30 or $40. I've seen these go as high as $100+, so I feel pretty good about it.
The history of the Lambda is a little dicey. I've seen some places where they say it is older than the 600 while others say it is younger, but I'm not really sure. Regardless, they have long since been a discontinued model and are more of a collector's item today.
When I think of rOtring, I think of metal barrels, generally of the 6 sided variety. rOtring has made several other models outside of the 600 or Newton, but they seem to be the most iconic and memorable. Oddly enough, they still only produce the mechanical pencils which is a strange business decision all on its own.
From a design standpoint, the Lambda can best be described as a "stealth" style pen. It is completely matte black from tip to tail. A pen definitely for Batman or a ninja. The pen does have some metal components (likely brass) in the tip section as well as the knock and clip, but the barrel I believe to be a matte black, rubberized plastic. It doesn't feel like metal.
One aspect of the pen that gives it somewhat of an edge is the knurling found on the grip as well as wrapped around the knock. A little bit of subtle kick-butt goes a long way on the Lambda as it takes what could be your average looking clicker and gives it just enough to allow it to stand out. Even though I'm not into anything super tactical with spears, saws, or glass breakers, I think the edgy look of the Lambda is well played.
I call the grip, "the grip", although there really isn't one. The knurling I spoke of is a thin, 1/4" line of knurling that wraps around the circumference of the pen at the barrel and tip break point. Since the barrel is one long cylinder, there are times that my hands don't even grip the knurling. Lets just say it isn't as apparent as in the 600 series as it makes up the entire grip in those varieties.
The pen takes your standard Parker style ballpoint which allows you to use refills like the Schmidt EasyFlow 9000, Moleskine Gel Roller, Parker gel, or even the Fisher Space Pen with the adaptor. I used to abhor ballpoint refills when gel pens were all the craze, but they've actually grown on me quite a bit. Even though they aren't usually the crispiest or darkest writers, they serve their purpose and fit a wide range of writing environments where gels, rollerballs, or fountain pens dare not go...
The Lambda is pretty light weight, but feel sturdy. In using it I'm never in fear that it will break or even that a gentle drop will damage it. The knock has a very satisfying click and it's design makes it literally feel like you're pressing a button or plunger of sorts.
Should you race out to buy a Lambda ballpoint? Probably not, unless you happen to be a collector. They are, oddly enough, fairly tough to find for a decent price. There is also a fountain pen version, but I've only seen them ridiculously priced at around $300 or so. Pass. Good deals do pop up from time to time it seems as I got my rollerball for around $35 if I remember correctly.
So why review a pen that is hard to find or discontinued? Simply to provide some history and awareness. Although, sometimes these elusive rabbit holes are the hardest ones to get out of!