Pencils have slowly but surely made their way into my every day stationery arsenal. Wood cased pencils especially, they have such a great feeling to them and a sense of accomplishment as you work through one. But today I'm talking about the other kind of pencils, mechanical ones!
In my eyes rOtring's design is what first pops into my head when I think of mechanical pencils, that and those really cheap plastic ones that come in various neon shades of transparent plastic. But when I think of quality, higher end, mechanical pencils it's rOtring. I blame Mike Dudek of Clickypost for this, his collection of vintage rOtring's is nothing if not impressive and is what first opened my eyes to the brand.
My first impression of the rOtring 600 drafting mechanical pencil is the construction, it feels incredibly solid. The entire thing is made of brass and is available with a black or silver finish. I opted for the silver version but it was definitely a tough call because they both look really sleek. It does have some weight to it compared to standard mechanical pencils thanks to the full metal construction, but that only adds to the well built feel. The weight is so evenly distributed and well balanced that it's comfortable to hold and write with it for a period of time.
The hexagonal body and knurled grip section are not only practical but create the classic design. The body shape is quite iconic for rOtring and without being round theres no worries of it rolling away when set down, . At the top of the body there's a pretty strong pocket clip that I don't have any fears about flexing to clip on to something.
The knurling of the grip section feels and looks fantastic, this element is carried through to the top of the pencil with the lead indicator. You can spin this section around to signify which grade of lead you have inside the pencil, a really awesome feature. Above this is the sign of rOtring, the red ring. And finally the push button at the end to dispense more lead. Pulling out the metal casing of the push button reveals an eraser (not much of one but it's there), and pulling out the eraser reveals the hole to refill the pencil with lead. The standard configuration for a mechanical pencil.
I have the 0.5mm model but theres also a 0.7mm model available if you prefer using a thicker lead. Of course the writing quality depends on what sort of lead you choose to fill it with, although it does come pre filled with a few pieces of nice quality rOtring lead. But no matter what, the look and feel of this pencil is always good.
As irrelevant as packing is, I appreciate the sleek and minimal black cardboard sleeve this came in. It does the job of keeping the product safe from store to customer without any unnecessary bulk. I'd like to see more brands take this approach with packaging.
In a nutshell it's a mechanical pencil stripped down to have only the features it needs. A well designed product built to last. It's a pleasure to use and has been a go-to for note taking recently. Retailing for £30 (approx. $43 USD) it's not a light purchase but I have faith it will stand the test of time well.
Thanks for reading!