My Favorite Pencil: The Rotring 600

rotring mechanical pencil | Everything Clever

My Favorite is a deep-dive into the absolute best versions of things you use every day, from headphones to keychains to doggy poop bags.

There are few things more satisfying than a beautifully crafted writing implement, and the classic rOtring 600 has what it takes to rank at the top of my list: timeless industrial design, weighty, powder-coated brass construction, a subtle-yet-satisfying advancing mechanism, and the pedigree of countless artists, designers and draftspeople across the world. (Oh, and your humble writer as well). 

At first glance, the pencils are gorgeous, looking like something you’d see in a 1980s Bang & Olufsen catalog. I own one of the silver anodized models, on which I can’t discern a scratch, and one of the black powdercoated 600’s, whose small chips and scars let you catch a glimpse of the metal beneath — taking on the patina of an old, beloved Leica. The more I use it (and only slightly abuse it), the more beautiful it becomes. 

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My two beauties… (Credit: EverythingClever)

In the hand, the pencil is almost perfect. It is heavy – a world apart from the humble and omnipresent 5-for-a-dollar Bic plastic pencils – but it is stunningly well-balanced, a perfect amalgam of quality craftsmanship and sober, German industrial design. Your fingers grasp onto a textured barrel, so finely grained you can barely make out the knurls. The body of the pencil is hexagonal, to prevent it rolling off your drafting table, and the top of the pencil is equipped with a stiff, unyielding clip, and a knurled hardness indicator – a feature intended only for the serious draftsperson (for whom the rOtring 600 was so carefully engineered) – but which I find myself compelled to play with, and appreciate. 

The brass showing through the knurling on my black powder-coated 600. (Credit: EverythingClever)

Does anyone need a fancy mechanical pencil? Of course not. You could just as easily get by with a 25-cent Bic. But I didn’t buy my rOtring 600’s because I needed them; I bought them because I like the way they feel in my hand, and because I like the way I feel, using them. Like the best tools, they make tasks easier, but so doing, they also make them feel… important. And that’s why I love these things. 

Find the Rotring 600 on Amazon

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