– Handwritten Review –
- Description: A top-of-the-line, retractable tip drafting pencil from Rotring
- Tip: 4mm retractable lead sleeve, 0.5mm lead size
- Weight: ~25 grams
- Body: All metal construction
- Measurements: 5.250″ retracted, 5.625″ extended
- Review Lead: Pentel AIN 2B 0.5mm lead
- Color Options: Black metal body, Silver metal body (Check them all out at JetPens!)
Handwritten Review Scans:
I finally have what I think is the holy grail of drafting pencils. The all metal, retractable tipped Rotring 800 both looks and feels awesome. This is the first pencil that has made me feel like I’ve been missing out on something all along. Huge thanks to my friends over at JetPens for sending over the pencil and lead for review!
Check out JetPens for tons of awesome Japanese pens and stationery. Free shipping on orders over $25, and hitting that is pretty easy with all the great stuff they have. So thanks again!
The Rotring 800 pencil is at the top of the line of drafting pencils from Rotring, and you can really tell. The 800 could be easily confused for the 600 from afar, but the retractable tip and the gold accents set the pencil apart from the pack. The accents give some added flair and reassure the user that the 800 is at the top of the line. The 800 looks nearly identical to the Rotring Rapid Pro ballpoint, but the angles are a bit sharper and more pronounced. That doesn’t mean that they’re sharp or uncomfortable though.
There is knurling on both the grip and the lead tube extension knob. The entire pencil is matte black with glossy red logos. I really like the subtle glossy black “Made in Japan” logo on the back of the pencil’s body. It’s an awesome looking pencil, and it’s definitely my new favorite.
Construction and Feel:
The Rotring 800 is the most expensive pencil from Rotring ($52.00) and it definitely feels that way. The 800 is all metal and feels as solid as a pencil can be. The 800 is a great weight – not too heavy, but with a nice amount of heft. The balance of the pencil is great, and it’s not weighted too much towards the front or back. While writing, the 800 felt very neutrally balanced. This is thanks to the all metal body, whereas in something like the Pentel Graph Gear 500, the weight is more towards the front. I wrote the entire handwritten portion of the review straight through with little to no hand fatigue.
The knurled grip is grippy, but not sharp. The same can be said for the hexagonal barrel – it’s nice and angular, but never digs into your hand. The top has no discernible wiggle, which can be a problem with other retractable tip pencils. Overall, I’m very happy with the quality construction and feel of the 800. It’s definitely doing a great job as the flagship model.
Upon opening up the 800, I ditched the included HB lead and loaded up some Pentel AIN 2B lead that JetPens threw in the package. The 2B lead is a bit softer than the HB, which results in a darker line on the page. Here’s a post about lead hardness scale with pictures showing the differences, I found it hugely helpful. The tip of the pencil has no wiggle to be reported, which is great for a retractable tip pencil. I did have one issue though, and I’m not sure if it’s due to the softer lead, or the internal lead advancement mechanism.
The lead seems to break inside the pencil, right at the point where the mechanism grips the lead. Sometimes when you press the knock to advance some more lead, a small amount of lead either falls out, or goes limp until the lead behind it catches. After doing some research on the issue, it appears that I’m not alone. This can be pretty frustrating when you’re trying to write for extended periods of time and the lead either pushes back into the body, or doesn’t extend when you want it to. I’m going to give some harder lead a try, as it may be that the softer lead is breaking more easily. Other than this, I’m very happy with everything about the pencil.
UPDATE: I swapped the lead out from 2B to a harder HB lead. There’s no more breaking, and it was as I suspected. The pencil writes just as nicely with the HB lead. Also worth pointing out, JetPens customer service reached out after seeing the review and said to send it back and they’d swap it out no problem!
- Awesome design
- Great feel
- Nice balance and heft
- Solid retractable tip
- Internal lead breaking is super frustrating (see update above, harder lead stopped the breakage)
For a flagship model, the Rotring 800 should be perfect, and it’s so, so close. Looks, feel, and construction are all top-notch. The 2B lead from Pentel is smooth and dark, but I’m going to swap it out for a harder lead to see if it remedies the breakage problem (it did!). Other reviews of the pencil are great, so I suspect that I may have a fluke, or it’s the lead. That issue aside, it’s an awesome writing instrument and looks great alongside my Rapid Pro ballpoint.
Thanks again to JetPens for sending this over to review, check out their site for more info on the pencil!
Disclaimer: This pencil was provided to me as a review unit, free of charge, by JetPens. I was not compensated for this review, and this did not have any effect on my thoughts and opinions about the pen. Thank you for reading!