Thursday, August 2, 2018

Rotring 500 review

The Rotring 500 is the little brother of the 600 series. It shares the same looks but has a plastic barrel instead of metal. The grip is made from metal and has knurlings the same as the lead hardness indicator. It comes in sizes 0.5 and 0.7 only in black while the Rotring 600 can be found in silver as well.

This was not always the case. 
The first appearance of the rotring 500 is around 1989 - 1990, about the same time the rotring 600 appeared on the market. 
When it came out the pencil was available in 0.3 mm, 0.5 mm, 0.7 mm, 0.9 mm and the grip and lead harness indicator sections were silver while the rest of the pencil was black 
The codes for the pencil were:
502 503 (0.3 mm)
502 505 (0.5 mm)
502 507 (0.7 mm)
502 509 (0.9 mm)

Notice that Rotring was using lead size notations 0.3 mm and 0.9 mm. Nowadays the 0.3 mm became 0.35 mm and the 0.9 mm became 1.0 mm.

This looks like a very serious drafting pencil, and it is. It has a Rotring classic design, it is built very well with precision and comfort in mind, but the times have changed. If you could buy this serious tool in all drafting sizes, now it is available only in 0.5 mm and 0.7 mm. These are the most common sizes used nowadays for general writing. So even the most die-hard drafting pencils are becoming regular mechanical pencils with a  peculiar design.

Getting back to the pencil. 1904725 and 1904727 are the new product codes for Rotring 500 0.5 mm and for 0.7 mm.
The 500 is the cheaper version of the 600. It is not the cheapest (that spot is reserved for the 300 complete plastic build). The 500 is made in Japan and the build seems solid. The grip, lead hardness indicator, and the cap are made out of brass, the clip is made out of stainless steel and the barrel is plastic (ABS) but feels nice to the touch.
I like the tool design, it screams, I was made with a precise purpose in mind. The barrel is hexagonal so it does not roll off the table, it has written with red "rOtring 500 / 0,7 mm". The clip is a very solid one and has the name rOtring, stamped on it. The lead hardness indicator is a nice touch, it does not move too freely so I do not think there is the risk of moving it by accident. What I like a lot is the repositioning of the red ring right at the end of the pencil. Also, it is not a strip of paint, it is a plastic with a red color. Very nice, because the paints used on the rotring's tend to get erased with not too much use. The endcap is made out of brass and hides a small eraser and the feed system. One thing it misses is the color coding for the size, but as I mentioned before even the drafting pencils seem to move towards general writing instruments, so the lack of size colored marking is not a concern for most people.
This is about 3 times more expensive than a Rotring Tikky but when you hold it in your hand you can justify paying 3 times more. You could go even higher by purchasing the 600, but I feel that this is a great deal. You get a great mechanical pencil that is good looking, is well built and will cost less than half what a 600 will cost.

I like how on the 2017 Rotring Catalog Cover the Rotring 500 0.5 mm pops up.

rotring 500 catalogue


  1. What a shame there is no 0.3mm version anymore.
    This information is great! Thank you for collecting it.

  2. You should add this info to - There are still a few days left for the contest and you can win mechanical pencils!

  3. Thank you Matthias, i followed your advice and added the information to the I know about your project and tried to add some content on previous occasions but I gave up as I am not familiar with the platform and didn't find it very intuitive.
    I have tried a bit more today and managed to create a page in the category and subcategory I wanted.
    Impressive work has been put behind a copy paste :) but I managed

  4. That's great! Thank you very much. I don't want to edit pages until the contest is over but when it's over I'll add links to your blog in the article.


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