I’ve always been a fan of the Rotring 800 mechanical pencil (via Amazon) but was reluctant to pick one up because of the hefty price tag and the fact that I’m not a huge pencil user. I finally decided to pull the trigger and pick one up recently to see if it was worth the price and deserving of all of the praise that I’ve heard for them.
So the things I can share with you about the Rotring 800 mechanical pencil that I like are the all metal construction, retractable tip, and knurlead grip section. The pencil has a very solid feel to it and also is balanced pretty well in the hand when holding it. I also like the mostly black dressing including the clip with only minor deviations when it comes to the gold tip and band between the plunger and the body. The knurling can also be found on that area above the clip which is where you twist the pencil to get the gold tip to come out and let you access your lead. A simple twist will expose and retract that gold tip and in addition you can still hold the plunger down and press the lead to push it back in to an appropriate length, or hide it away completely.
Beyond the nice visual appeal and pretty hefty feeling metal body, I’ve got nothing to share regarding the writing experience, so let me tell you why. For starters when clicking the plunger to advance the lead its pretty much hit or miss, at best it seems like about 50 percent of the times it actually works, other times it just clicks but pushes no lead through it. Secondly, if by some stroke of luck I do get the lead to advance when clicking the plunger, the mechanism that holds the lead in place while writing doesnt seem to be working. As soon as my pencil point hits the paper, the minimal amount of pressure sends the lead sliding back into the body of the pen. After some further research I found that other people have had similar experiences, and some people even alluded to the fact that the majority of the issues occur with the black version of this and not the silver version. Either way I think this was a deal breaker for me and I’m sitting out the Rotring brand for the foreseeable future. If for some reason you want to test your luck, you can grab the Rotring 800 mechanical pencil from Amazon like I did, at least they have a good return policy should you end up with a similarly useless pencil. For about $40 less you are much better off grabbing a Uniball Kuru Toga Roulette which I have 3 of and use regularly without them breaking.