Rotring


Rotring rapid PRO 0.5 4

During my hunt for the perfect sliding sleeve pencil I came across the Rotring rapid PRO 0.5. I’m looking for a sliding sleeve that slides back easily enough so that I can keep writing while the lead is worn down – without having to advance the lead all the time.

I bought the rapid PRO for £18.95 (~$29; €26) from Pilotfishpens on eBay. It usually sells for about £25 in the UK.

A well reviewed pencil

Having bought it because of its sliding sleeve I was aware of and have read reviews of the pencils, but every blog post or review pays attention to very different details, so if you are interested in this pencil please look at the other reviews (see list at the bottom of this blog post), they might contain more of the information you might be after – oh, well infinite diversity in infinite combinations.

Rotring

As far as Rotring mechanical pencils go, this is a fairly new model. It has been released many years after Sanford / Newell Rubbermaid took over. You can find more of my thought about how Rotring changed since Sanford / Newell Rubbermaid took this company over in my blog post about the Rotring Newton.

 Looks – stunningly beautiful

I read Dave’s review and I have also seen reviews of other Rotring pencils with a similar surface, but I didn’t expect such a good looking pencil! The finish, matt but also reflective, is absolutely beautiful. I tried to capture it using HDR, a technique Lexikaliker has used many times on his blog, but the photo doesn’t show the real beauty of this pen in any way.

rotring-rapid-pro

Other observations

The knurled grip area is metal, but the knurling is so fine, dust and small particles will stick to it. Nice looking, good to grip, but not easy to clean.

The lead it comes with is (for my taste) ridiculously soft. I like harder leads. This one is nice and dark, but gets worn down very fast.

The red ring is plastic, so the colour wouldn’t come off, as is common on Rotring Tikkys. Most parts are metal, but some parts, like the red ring and the screw threads, as well as the mechanism holding the sliding sleeve, are plastic. I wonder whether the pen will one day fail because of some cheap plastic parts, as was the case with my Rotring Newton, which didn’t last long at all

Sliding sleeve

The sliding sleeve, the main reason why I bought this pencil was a disappointment. You need even more force to slide this sleeve than you need to slide the sleeve of the Caran d’Ache 844, the worst performing sliding sleeve in a previous comparison. This renders one of the main advantages of a sliding sleeve, not having to forward the lead all the time, useless.

I really love the look of this pencil, so in the end I made a minor modification to make this pencil work for me (more about this in another blog post). The diagram shown here, comparing the force needed to slide the sleeve of different pencils, does however represent an off the shelf, unmodified Rotring rapid PRO 0.5.

Excuse the image quality, I took the photo with my mp3 player.

Force needed to slide the sleeve. Excuse the image quality, I took the photo with my mp3 player.

Conclusion

A beautiful pencil. Not cheap, but also not one of the really expensive ones. I love the look. The sliding sleeve is too stiff for my taste, but can be adjusted if you don’t mind voiding your warranty. I hope it will last a long time and won’t fail because of some of the plastic components used.


As usual, please open images in a new tab for a high resolution version.

Price: September 2015.

Exchange rates: October 2015.

More about sliding sleeves in this blog post about their disappearance and this blog post about the Color Eno.

More reviews of the Rotring rapid PRO at

The notebook is handmade by Shangching. It’s not the first time you can see it in a blog post on Bleistift. I should really write a blog post about this notebook.

 


Going up… 2

Rotring TikkyYou might remember my blog post about stationery becoming more and more expensive …and  my facebook post about the price of the Rotring Tikky.

Well, I got a shock today when I saw that Tesco now charges £5 for the Tikky. It used to cost £1.99 not that long ago…
When it was £1.99 I actually thought it’s too cheap and people might not value this pen because of the price, but now that it has been cheap for a long time in all major shops I don’t understand this price increase that is completely out of line with inflation, either. I guess I must be difficult to please…

Rotring Newton 5

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.