When I first laid eyes on the rOtring brand, I knew that I would likely be sucked in, primarily within the 600 series. The unique design and styling are classic, yet modern and timeless enough to be intriguing well into the coming years.
rOtring pens, particularly in the "600" series are really some of the coolest pens around. This particular model, the rollerball (which also shares a body style as a fountain pen version), was one that I knew someday would be joining my arsenal.
Well, I am still in the process of acquiring one for my very own, but the one in the review was kindly sent to me by Peter LoRe (pronounced, Lo-Ray) from his personal collection in reply to my "Things I'm Looking For" post and section of the site. We had intentions of making a trade, but I'm not sure Peter is wanting to give it up so easily! Also a pen-oholic, he can be found on Instagram @trefste_metrese where he posts pics of his growing fountain pen collection.
Peter gave me a bit of back story about this pen and let me know that he bought it in 2008 as his first "real" pen and he carried it daily for several years. Based on his current collection, I'd say this pen has a lasting sting (in a good way) which has lead him down the path many of us are on with pens... I can absolutely see why!
Peter's pen has a bit of wear and tear from his daily use (as it should!), but is still in really great shape.
In all honesty, I'm not sure if I've ever used a pen that makes you feel more fantastic. For one, it has a super cool look, especially in the matte black. With the cool hexagonal barrel, this thing looks more like a gadget a spy would use than it does a pen. Did someone leave their Stealth Bomber on my desk by accident? The single red ring at the top lets you know, "this is a rOtring", and is in just the perfect amount.
When you finally get your hands on one of these, you think to yourself, "why have we not been acquainted sooner?" This pen feels amazing. I could probably pause and say, amazing, again. Still pausing...
The rOtring 600 rollerball is weighty and solidly built. Its substance takes you a bit by surprise, but it is not uncomfortable. Lets just say it feels like quality. The barrel and cap are made of solid brass.
One of the coolest features of this pen is how the cap and barrel interact. rOtring has manufactured them with a sort of "gear and groove" system wherein the base of the cap has grooves in it that must line up with teeth on the barrel just below the grip. Seems odd, right? Well, they did this so that when closed, the lines of the faceted hexagonal barrel and cap align perfectly every time you close it. Those lines can't be just floating around all willy-nilly. Even capping the pen is built with an additional level of precision so that when closed the pen maintains its presence in the best way possible at all times.
The cap does post on the end which has an o-ring in a groove and it stays well enough, but I don't really find posting it to be comfortable. It makes the pen a bit too long for comfortable writing. The grip section is comfortable and is tapered and smooth. On some of the older rOtring 600 fountain pens, they have a knurled grip in this section. That would be sweet.
This pen actually takes a variety of rollerball refills, but can also take a Pilot G2 with no modification or trimming. This actually opens the door for a lot of refills and I popped in a Pilot Precise RT 0.7mm in blue. This made the tip look weird against the black barrel, but it is a good refill that I like.
If you are familiar with the rOtring 600 pencils and ballpoints, you know that they can sometimes be referred to as thin in diameter. Not this thing. I'd say the barrel of the 600 rollerball is nearly 1.5x the size of the 600 mechanical pencils or ballpoints. This of course adds considerable weight to the pen that feels great.
Now, the catch. rOtring no longer makes these pens. Not sure when this happened, but rOtring completely stopped making the 600 series ballpoints, rollerballs, and fountain pens altogether some time in the recent past. In 1998 rOtring became part of the US based group Newell Rubbermaid which actually owns the sub-group, Sanford. Sanford is best known in the pen world for brands like Parker, Waterman, and Papermate. Crazy, right? Now, Parker and Waterman still make relatively expensive pens, so why are they not continuing on with the rOtring 600 series outside of the mechanical pencils? With some eBay listings on the 600 series going upwards of $300+, you'd think they would get on the ball and start selling them again. Maybe there is a patent that was not released or something. If anyone knows, I'd be super interested.
You can still find these pens, granted, likely for a premium as they are discontinued, but there are some online pen shops, eBay, and even Amazon that carry them.
I was given a tip by a reader, Gabe L., to Daly's Pen Shop out of Milwaukee that they had some online. In looking, sure enough they did for what I would consider a reasonable price of $109 for a brand new pen in a discontinued model. I took the liberty of reaching out to Daly's to see if they had some in stock, and they confirmed they had "a few", but if you were wanting to pick one up this might be a good option. I'd probably say to act fast if you're wanting one. They also have a silver 600 ballpoint marked down to $49 apiece (from $125)...done.
Again, I haven't been more excited to use a pen and the rOtring 600 rollerball didn't disappoint. Stunning. I really hope rOtring eventually brings the line back in full force as I'm sure it would do well.
A special thanks again to Peter for allowing me to borrow and review this gem from his collection!