Rotring Newton

Rotring has changed a lot since Sanford / Newell Rubbermaid took this company over in 1998. It actually changed so much that it’s difficult to believe that the generic products that are left today used to be from a company that created many great pens and pencils. The sad remains actually remind me of the transporter accident in the first Star Trek movie, where Starfleet replies to Kirk “What we got back didn’t live long – fortunately”.

Today I want to talk about one of their post-Sanford pencils, the Rotring Newton. I saw it being advertised on Japanese web sites as being Made in Germany, but I doubt that. The Rotring 600 morphed into the first Rotring Newton, sometimes referred to as the Rotring 600 Newton, which then became the pen shown in this blog post, the final version of the Rotring Newton, a pen that can look nice, depending on the colour combination chosen, but that doesn’t feel like a proper Rotring. Even though this pen is not available any more with a red ring on its barrel, it is still available – in its reincarnation as the Parker Facet. This doesn’t come as too much of a surprise because this pencil doesn’t feeling like a real Rotring and because Parker is another subsidiary of Newell Rubbermaid.

I mentioned that this pencil doesn’t feel like a proper Rotring. The main reason for this is that it is not very practical – it is actually one of the most impractical pencils I know. To advance the lead once you rotate the front barrel clockwise. If you rotate the barrel counter-clockwise you advance the lead and unlock it, i.e. the lead can be pushed back or can be pulled out. If the barrel is in this position and if you wanted to and if there’s no other lead blocking the way you could refill lead by pushing them from the tip into the pencil.

If you want to refill this pencil the proper way you have to

  1. Pull the front barrel out of the sleeve section in the middle. This hexagonal sleeve section its the main design link to the Rotring 600 pencil.
  2. Unscrew the cap you’ll find on the barrel. This cap come with a removable eraser.
  3. Take the pencil mechanism out of the front barrel.
  4. Remove the lid of the pencil mechanism
  5. Refill leads.
  6. Close the lid of the pencil mechanism.
  7. Put the pencil mechanism back into the front barrel.
  8. Screw the cap back onto the barrel.
  9. Push the fron barrel back into the sleeve section.

If you thought that’s acceptable… There’s one more thing you need to do: Pray that the eraser from the second bullet point doesn’t get stuck in the sleeve section. If it does you won’t be able to get it out and the rotate-to-advance mechanism will not work any more, instead you’ll have to advance the lead by pushing the front barrel against the sleeve section – or if you want press the sleeve section while holding the front barrel.


I bought this mechanical pencil last week from eBay for around £5 (~ $8; €6.25). The price including shipping was around £7 (~ $11.20; €8.75).

Price and exchange rates: September 2012

Dave has a review of the Trio version of this pen.

5 thoughts on “Rotring Newton”

  1. I like the case, reminds me of a cryogenic chamber. The pencil seems to be a handful, but how does the pencil write? I guess with all the extra steps and care boggle down the performance of the pencil.

  2. The case reminds me of the hexagonal honeycomb wall in the original Star Trek series. I won’t go into more detail regarding the lead quality as you can put in whatever lead you like, 0.5mm leads in the case of this pencil. The pencil writes well, but the front barrel doesn’t have much grip. Some people might prefer a mechanical pencil with a rubber grip or a knurled grip. I hope I will somehow manage the get the stuck eraser out of the sleeve so that the pencil will work again the way it’s supposed to work, but all attempts so far have been futile.

  3. I have the Rotring Newton fountain pen which is very reliable but as you say, nothing like the original 600…not even close.

    Memm, is it not possible to drill a hole in the eraser and then put the drill in reverse gear with the drill bit still in the eraser…if that makes any sense.

  4. Kevin, thanks for this suggestion. I actually got the eraser and the ring holding it out using a similar method as the one described by you. I didn’t have a drill bit long enough, so I used a screw on a string (to be able to pull it out afterwards). The plastic ring that holds the eraser is also responsible for transferring the force of twisting the sleeve and this ring was split in a place. I assume it split before it got stuck, probably because the material is a few years old now …and that is what made it stuck in the sleeve. Now that it’s split the twisting mechanism doesn’t work any more and glueing doesn’t help as the glue cannot withstand the relatively big force on that tiny bit of plastic. I really wonder who thought this up. My next plan is to ‘repair’ it by permanently fixing the ring using a needle or small nail – if I can find one small enough.

  5. Thank you for this review – this pencil doesn’t like one a fan of mechanical pencils has to get :-/ It’s a shame to see what Sanford has done to brands which have been famous and guarantors for quality before. – As far as I know Parker Germany has produced at least some mechanical pencils for Rotring in the pre-Sanford times.

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